Why Niacinamide is One of the Best Skincare Ingredients for Everyone

There’s no hyperbole here: Niacinamide is one of the most universally best skincare ingredients you can incorporate into your regimen. It is one of the most easily tolerated by all skin types, works well alongside other ingredients, and quite possibly has the most benefits to its name, compared to other good-for-you ingredients.

There is one key overarching benefit, which is what most individuals seek out—and which paves the way for other benefits down the road. “Primarily, niacinamide reduces water loss along the skin, strengthening the skin’s natural moisture barrier and improving elasticity,” says board-certified NYC cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green

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    Specifically, niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the B-complex family (it is a form of vitamin B3, or niacin). Niacinamide is an essential nutrient, meaning that the body cannot produce it on its own, and it must be obtained through diet or topical applications. A niacinamide-rich diet would include meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, and/or grains.

    Green says that anyone who risks having dehydrated skin should absolutely seek out niacinamide, though its universality suits all types; again, there’s only good to be found. Though Green does offer this warning: “As with any skincare ingredient, overusing or using high concentrations of niacinamide can lead to skin irritation.” But worry not: Pretty much all name-brand concentrations of niacinamide will offer you a safe amount. (Anything under 5% will be fine for most people, and few products will get as high as that marker.) Niacinamide can be used morning and night, Green adds, largely since it pairs so well with other ingredients and won’t be compromised by other active ingredients.

    Niacinamide Benefits for Skin

    1. Improves skin barrier function

    It enhances the skin barrier, helping to retain moisture and prevent water loss. While this is especially beneficial for individuals with dry or dehydrated skin, all people should prioritize a reinforced skin barrier, as it prolongs skin’s suppleness, firmness, and ability to defend against toxins in the environment around us.

    2. Anti-aging properties

    Niacinamide helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by promoting collagen synthesis in the skin. Collagen production naturally decreases as we age, so this boost can prolong skin elasticity and boost skin suppleness.

    3. Reduces hyperpigmentation

    Niacinamide has been shown to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, including dark spots, sun spots, and uneven skin tone. It inhibits the production of melanin as well, which prevents additional hyperpigmentation from occurring.

    4. Anti-inflammatory properties

    This hero ingredient can help calm redness, irritation, and inflammation, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive or rosacea-prone skin. For any face shavers out there, it’s a terrific addition to a post-shave regimen, too.

    5. Balances oil production

    Niacinamide is one of the primary actives that can regulate sebum production in the pores, making it beneficial for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin. By balancing oil production, it can contribute to a clearer complexion and reduce forehead shine.

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    6. Minimizes pore appearance

    Consistent use of niacinamide can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, leading to a smoother-looking skin texture. (Niacinamide is often called a “soother” and “smoother” for this property, paired with its anti-inflammatory ones.)

    7. Protects against environmental damage

    Continuing with the long list of benefits, niacinamide has also been found to have antioxidant properties, meaning it helps protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and environmental stressors. This can be everything from city pollution, UV rays, blue light exposure, and it can even inhibit the effects of stress on one’s appearance.

    8. Highly compatible with other skincare ingredients

    Echoing an earlier sentiment, one reason niacinamide is so universal is because it is so easily incorporated into various skincare routines thanks to its compatibility with a wide range of other active ingredients, such as retinoids, Vitamin C, beta hydroxy acids, and alpha hydroxy acids. Those ingredients in particular can be volatile when paired together or matched with other ingredients, but niacinamide plays nicely with them all.

    9. Works for most people

    There isn’t much fine print when it comes to who can benefit from niacinamide. It is so well tolerated by most skin types. Again, it’s only a risk in higher concentrations, but most brands will alert users of this concentration, since it tends to be an intentional choice (like if someone wants a high-grade niacinamide treatment for some reason). But usually, niacinamide is found in manageable, safe concentrations. Still, it’s best to err under 5%, if you are otherwise usually sensitive to things.

    Discover Custom Skincare

    You can find niacinamide in certain custom Cleanser and Moisturizer formulas to help with signs of aging, blemishes, and much more. Discover your personalized skincare routine by taking the Prose consultation today.