By Lauren Valenti | 4 April 2021
A breakdown of what niacinamide is, the multitude of ways it benefits the skin, and the best way to build it into your regimen
Over the past year, niacinamide has sprung up as the It-skincare ingredient. Not for nothing, it's largely-considered a holy-grail solution for many of the most common skin issues—ones that have only been exacerbated by an influx of maskne and pandemic stress.
"Niacinamide is well-loved by those in the know for good reason," says Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. Among its many benefits, it's been shown to reverse and prevent signs of skin ageing, brighten and smooth skin, calm inflammation and redness, reduce hyperpigmentation, decrease the appearance of pores, and hydrate and support the skin barrier, she says. Here, a breakdown of what niacinamide is, the multitude of ways it benefits the skin, and the most effective ways to build it into your regimen.
What is niacinamide, and how does it benefit the skin?
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of Vitamin B3 that is water-soluble, which means that it is not stored in the body and is important to replenish. "We can get niacinamides orally through the foods we eat, but they are also ingredients found in skin-care products as they are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, antioxidant, and skin-brightening benefits," explains New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman. Because niacinamides nourish while calming redness and inflammation, Engelman likens its benefits to that of retinol. "It has similar effects by strengthening the skin barrier, however it fortifies from the get-go without sensitivity or irritation," she explains, adding that it also acts like an antioxidant by limiting free radical damage. What's more, it boosts hydration. "It prevents transepidermal water loss and actually boosts the ability of other moisturising ingredients to do so as well," says Murphy-Rose.