Ingredient focus

Ingredient in focus: Niacinamide

Joining the realms of cult-beloved skin care ingredients with hard-to-pronounce names, niacinamide (that’s nigh-a-sin-a-mide) has cropped up in formulas here, there and everywhere with very (very) good reason: this clever clogs has plenty of benefits for all kinds of skin concerns. With so many talents, it’s little surprise that decoding niacinamide can be such a mind-boggler – what do you actually need it for? Is it right for your skin type? How should you use it? Never fear! We’re here to unravel its mysteries so you can pick the best niacinamide-spiked product for you.

So, erm, what actually is it? Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide, or easier to pronounce, vitamin B3. This is an essential nutrient for our body and skin, yet our bodies can’t produce it themselves and therefore rely on our diets to get their fix. We can also apply niacinamide topically, which leads to a plethora of benefits for a spectrum of skin types – whether you’re oily, congested, dry, sensitive or a combination of the lot.

Ticking a multitude of boxes, the crowd-pleasing ingredient primarily helps to improve the skin’s barrier function, which in turn leads to visibly reducing enlarged pores, evening out skin tone, combating dullness, protecting against age-accelerating environmental aggressors, reducing expression lines and clarifying… Phewf! Best of all, it works well alongside your other skin care staples (think: retinol, AHAs, BHA, vitamin C), making it incredibly easy to introduce into your routine.

Perhaps its most well-known talents, niacinamide helps to promote clearer skin and protect against pollution. It reduces inflammation in blemishes and has anti-bacterial effects, as well as regulating sebum levels in oilier complexions – all of which contribute to a more clarified complexion over time. Alongside this, niacinamide strengthens skin’s barrier function – the first line of defence against harmful and damaging environmental aggressors like free radicals. Exposure to these airborne nasties can lead to accelerated ageing and dullness – so niacinamide is as much a preventative measure as it is a reliever of present skin concerns. 

How do you introduce niacinamide into your routine? We’re glad you asked! If you can’t get enough of the wonder-working ingredient, The Ordinary’s {Niacinamide Powder} is the perfect way to supercharge your favourite formulas with its skin-unifying, blemish-fighting properties. Its ‘mixable’, readily water soluble format means you can add the powder to your favourite water-based creams and serums. Simply mix a quarter scoop with your chosen formula – et voila! You’re in for a clearer, less oily visage over time.

Also treating your skin without upsetting your bank balance (win win!), THE INKEY LIST’s potent {Niacinamide} serum is perfect for more dehydrated yet oily types as it combines the ingredient with hyaluronic acid to reduce excess oil, blemishes and redness while hydrating your complexion.

Finally, Versed’s {Just Breathe Clarifying Serum} is rerfect for stressed skin, this pore-purging serum unites willow bark extract, niacinamide and zinc to calm inflammation, decongest pores and soothe redness.

For those concerned with skin texture and enlarged pores, look no further than Shani Darden Skin Care’s {Texture Reform} – an all-in-one serum that combines pore-minimising niacinamide with mild retinol and exfoliating lactic acid to reveal brighter skin, soften the look of fine lines and reduce the appearance of sun damage and dark spots to leave your complexion looking youthful (without irritating it).

If you’re all for the pollution protection, Alpha-H’s {Vitamin B} is fortified with niacinamide and copper tripeptide to put up a formidable fight against damaging environmental elements and prevent the appearance of premature ageing. With super antioxidant chia seed added into the mix, this is like ‘daily protein powder’ for your complexion, energising and invigorating while promoting elasticity for a youthful, radiant result. 


Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert