Why Niacinamide Is The Best Ingredient For Your Tired, Irritated, Or Blotchy Skin

·3 min read
Photo credit: schlosann
Photo credit: schlosann


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Niacinamide is no Botox, but it can still work wonders on your skin. The vitamin B3 derivative helps to calm redness, soothe acne-prone irritation, and even build up skin so it's stronger and more stable against outside aggressors.

The best part about it? You can buy it at most beauty stores in the form of serums and creams, and it doesn't need to be injected by a professional. And while it's powerful enough to basically help (in some part) heal most skin issues, it's also still gentle enough that it works on all skin types too. Still not convinced you should add niacinamide to your skincare lineup? Keep reading to learn about all of its skin-saving benefits.

Meet Our Experts: Jennifer MacGregor, MD, board certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in NYC, Debra Jaliman, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of niacin, a.k.a. vitamin B3, says Jennifer MacGregor, MD, of Union Square Laser Dermatology. It is a combination of vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid.

In the body, vitamin B3 supports your metabolism and helps your body function properly (from lowering your bad cholesterol levels to removing toxins from the liver). But when it comes to your skin, niacinamide is a powerful anti-inflammatory, says Dr. MacGregor.

What are the benefits of using niacinamide?

If your skin is red, irritated, or blotchy, (say you have sensitive skin in general or have acne or rosacea), niacinamide can help calm the irritation, says Dr. MacGregor.

It's also great for any anti-aging routine, since it can help repair the skin barrier (the part of the skin that keeps out bacteria and locks in nutrients and moisture) and make your skin more hydrated. More moisture = plumper skin, less dullness, and less-noticeable fine lines and wrinkles.

Niacinamide can also help brighten dull complexions and gently evens out discoloration (like sun spots or leftover redness from a zit) and uneven texture (like large pores), says Debra Jaliman, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

As if the benefits of niacinamide didn't sound great already, it also plays nice with other common skincare ingredients like retinol, most alpha hydroxy acids, and antioxidants like vitamin C. This makes it super easy to add to your routine without having to worry about it reacting with something else you're using.

How can I use niacinamide?

Dr. Jaliman says you'll get the best results from using a day or night cream with niacinamide (like Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream). You can also try mixing a few drops of a niacinamide serum (like The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%) into your go-to moisturizer.

Meanwhile, Dr. MacGregor recommends getting niacinamide in your sunscreen (like EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46). "This is a great daily sunscreen for those with acne or rosacea," she says, since it protects the skin without irritating it.

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