Niacinamide – what is it, and what are the best products?

Find out how this wonder ingredient could help your skin

These days we’re a lot savvier about the ingredients our skincare contains, from niacinamide to glycolic acid, peptides to salicylic acid.

But if you’re yet to be versed in the ways that niacinamide benefits skin, allow us to clear some of the fog and initiate you into this excellent all-rounder of skincare ingredients.

We picked the brains of one of the biggest beauty brains in the business, Paula Begoun, skin expert and founder of Paula’s Choice, to break down why niacinamide is so good for your skin.

What is niacinamide?

‘Niacinamide is the name for vitamin B3, which is a part of the entire vitamin B molecule,’ Paula says. ‘Niacinamide is a vital part of your diet, required throughout life to maintain health. It is found in foods such as grains, fish, meat, and beans in the form of niacin (another part of the B vitamin) and then it is converted to niacinamide.

‘For skin, topical niacinamide has long standing research showing a wide range of remarkable benefits for all skin types and all ages. Interestingly, not much of the niacinamide we consume from foods or supplements makes it way to skin, so topical application is a great way to get its numerous skin benefits.’


Niacinamide in skincare

‘Topically, niacinamide has so many ways to help skin it’s really mind boggling. Decades of research has shown niacinamide works to protect skin from environmental damage, especially sun damage, and also helps skin make vital substances it needs,’ Paula explains. ‘It also improves hydration, reduces signs of aging, diminishes enlarged pores, lessens blackheads, and significantly improves skin discoloration and uneven skin tone. More current research shows it even has cell repairing properties. WOW!

‘There are a number of ways niacinamide does all this. One way is because of its powerful antioxidant properties. Another way is how niacinamide helps generate other important substances in skin such as ceramides and keratin (both ceramides and keratin are major protective elements in skin). Even more notable is how niacinamide works as a “cell-communicating ingredient”. This means niacinamide can “talk” to many different kinds of cells in skin, telling them to make normal, healthier, and younger-acting cells.

‘And the list goes on,’ she continues. ‘Research has also shown niacinamide helps control excess oil and reduces the appearance of wrinkles because of its anti-inflammatory action, and assists in repairing the skin’s barrier. In short, it’s an endlessly fascinating ingredient for skin with ongoing research discovering new benefits.’

Which skin types would most benefit from using niacinamide?

‘Because of niacinamide’s long list of amazing benefits, truly everyone can achieve great results whether they have dry skin, oily skin, acne, signs of aging, skin discolorations, or clogged pores.

‘Personally, I use my water-light 10% Niacinamide Booster (it is absolutely one of my favourite Paula’s Choice products). This kind of product is can easily be layered with any other skin care product you use, without even noticing you’ve added an extra product to your routine.’

Intrigued? Keep reading for the niacinamide skincare buys to shop right now.

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