Skincare Demystified: Niacinamide

Skincare does do its best to confuse us, with the complicated names and the thorough directions – it can all be a little mystifying. I’m trying to cut through all the marketing, sales and chemist-degree wording, and find out exactly what ingredients do for the skin. First up is Niacinamide, a hard-working little ingredient that doesn’t seem to get too much attention….

What does Niacinamide do for the skin?

Niacinamide is also known as B3 and is a soluble vitamin (meaning it can’t be stored in the body). It’s found in meat and nuts naturally. In terms of what it does for the skin, it does a lot! I use it for its blemish-busting benefits, as it does an excellent job at reducing any inflammation in the skin. It’s a bit of a hero ingredient, because it has a whole myriad of skincare benefits. It improves barrier function, reduces redness, regulates oil and it also helps to boost collagen.

How do you use it in your skincare routine?

It can be used morning and evening, on all skin types. It’s not an irritating ingredient, and actually works towards repairing the barrier function of your skin, so it’s not one you have to be cautious when using. It doesn’t work well when used in conjunction with vitamin C, as the two ingredients counterbalance each other. I tend to use it in the evening whenever skin needs to be cleared.

What products have it in?

There is The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 5%, which seems like an obvious choice. A classic case of it doing what is says on the tin. This is one I’ve tested for a while (I wrote about it in more depth here) but I have this to be an indispensible element of my skincare routine. I use it on areas of my skin which are prone to blemishes and I have noticed such a difference in how many breakouts I’ve been getting. I’ve also used the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo for years as a moisturiser for my t-zone, and I think it does an excellent job at smoothing and calming skin without being too heavy. Newer to the mix is the Super Facialist Pore Purifying Clay Mask; an excellent mask for treating oily skin without leaving it dry and stripped. I find it leaves pores definitely feeling a lot less congested, and it leaves the complexion looking a lot brighter.

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