Here's When You Should Use Niacinamide In Your Skincare Routine

Niacinamide is a powerhouse ingredient found in a range of skincare products, from face serums to body washes. Beauty experts swear by this multipurpose skincare active, which boasts an impressive number of benefits, such as soothing acne and redness, and even having an anti-aging effect, per Healthline. It is especially known for its ability to brighten the skin, hence its popularity among those with uneven or acne-prone skin.

According to dermatologists, most formulations containing niacinamide are safe to use twice daily after cleansing. However, you can also reap the brightening benefits of niacinamide by applying once per day, as long as you remain consistent. The frequency of application also depends on your skin's reaction, as individuals with sensitive skin may experience slight irritation upon first use. "Ideally look for products that contain at least 5% niacinamide for the best results and ensure that it features highly on the ingredients' list of a product (top three to five ingredients)," cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto shares with Glamour. When you incorporate this essential skincare ingredient properly into your routine, you can expect the ultimate skin transformation.

How to incorporate niacinamide into your routine

There is no shortage of options when it comes to selecting a product with niacinamide. However, each product and formulation may target a specific skin issue, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, or barrier repair. For instance, "concerning pigmentation, specifically, nicotinamide [niacinamide] is best paired with other ingredients like hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin, and soy, which can work synergistically on the 'pigment pathway' to best help clear brown spots and discoloration," dermatologist Jennifer Hermann, M.D., reveals to Byrdie. Niacinamide also pairs well with ingredients that help strengthen the skin's barrier and provide hydration, such as peptides and hyaluronic acid (via Healthline).

The easiest way to incorporate niacinamide into your skincare routine is by applying it, either as part of a serum or moisturizer, one or two times daily, depending on how your skin reacts. "If treating acne, hyperpigmentation or fine lines, a serum-based product works best so it can be applied easily to the skin and penetrate to produce effects," dermatologist Reshmi Kapoor, M.D., shares with Today. "If treating dry or eczema(-prone) skin, applying a moisturizer with niacinamide is beneficial as the ingredients can help restore the skin barrier." Dr. Anetta Reszko also points out to the website that it's important to apply niacinamide serum before any oil-based serums, layering it onto your skin before thicker products. 

The science behind niacinamide

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and contains anti-inflammatory properties, which explains its popularity among those with inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and rosacea (via Healthline). You will also find niacinamide in products targeting hyperpigmentation due to acne or sun damage. "Nicotinamide [also known as niacinamide] has been shown to prevent the transfer of pigment within the skin, which can help reduce brown spots," Dr. Jennifer Herrmann explains to Byrdie.

The skin-saving benefits do not stop there, as niacinamide also provides antioxidant support. "It functions predominantly as an antioxidant, meaning it counteracts oxidative stress induced by environmental damage, which can be caused by things like ultraviolet (UV) light," Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Robin Schaffran, M.D., tells Today. In other words, the antioxidant properties fight off environmental stressors, such as sun exposure and pollution, which contribute to premature aging and skin damage. Niacinamide, therefore, also prevents wrinkles by boosting the skin's antioxidant capacity and playing a role in collagen production, per a 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

This multi-tasking ingredient also improves skin barrier function by helping the skin produce ceramides, which make up the skin's protective barrier. "... niacinamide reduces water loss from the epidermis and increases lipids (ceramides) and proteins found in the skin barrier layer," cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto explains to Glamour.