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Niacinamide: A Beginner's Guide

by Aubrey Lee

The highly raved skincare ingredient, Niacinamide aka Vitamin B3, is highly revered in the skincare world. Let us share all the reasons why you might just fall in love with it too!

2020 can be dubbed as “the year of niacinamide” in the skincare world. If you are a skincare junkie, niacinamide is no stranger to you. This skincare ingredient is very much talked about by beauty influencers, dermatologists and has taken all over Tik Tok this year. It is not a newfound breakthrough ingredient and has been used for decades in the beauty industry, but as consumers -you & I- are becoming aware of what are the ingredients in our tiny skincare bottles, niacinamide has won many hearts. Does it really deserve all the spotlight it receives? Let’s find out.

So first, what is niacinamide?

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a well-researched skincare ingredient. It is stable, water-based and fairly easy to incorporate in your AM and PM skincare routine as it pairs well with many ingredients. Most major studies use 2%-10% niacinamide topically, it has been proven that concentration as little as 2%-5% with daily use for a minimum of 8 weeks resulted in significant skin improvement.


1. Control sebum production

Good news for oily skin folks! Niacinamide reduces your chances of getting skin congestion, which then minimize pore appearance. However, when sebaceous glands are overly active in pumping out sebum, your pores get clogged easily, and leads to whiteheads and blackheads formation making pores appear larger. You’ll notice skin texture becomes rough as these bumpy whiteheads and blackheads formed. Don’t be mistaken, sebum is not your enemy, it is your skin’s natural moisturizer. You need it, however too much of it brings more harm than good. It’s all about finding a balance.

2. Strengthen skin barrier

Niacinamide increases lipids and protein synthesis, which keeps skin hydrated. Your skin barrier is basically a protective shield; it prevents moisture from escaping and protects from UV and pollutants attack. Just imagine holding a good sturdy umbrella, it protects you from rain and sun. When it is damaged with holes, it gives access to rain and UV. A healthy skin barrier can prevent skin problems.

3. Reduce hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is caused by excess melanin production that is triggered by UV and inflammation, it is in fact a defence mechanism to block out UV damage. Daily use of 2%-5% niacinamide for 8 weeks will help inhibit pigment transfer to skin cells resulting in even and brighter skin complexion.

4. Anti-aging

With the above benefits mentioned, it is clear that niacinamide keeps skin healthy, well-lubricated, hence reducing the appearance of fine lines and dark spots. If you notice early signs of ageing but are intimidated by the use of retinol due to its possible adverse side effects such as redness, flakiness, increase of skin’s photo-sensitivity etc, you may give 4%-5% niacinamide a try.

5. Antioxidant & anti-inflammatory

Like many other vitamins, it fights off free radicals and it is soothing to sensitized and sensitive skin.

Who can benefit from it?

Niacinamide has great tolerability, almost everyone can benefit from using it without causing irritation, even people with sensitive skin. Plus, it is pregnancy safe. It’s a no brainer why niacinamide is greatly loved by many. It is advisable to patch test new products to assess for skin allergies . There are some rare cases, where redness may be experienced. Consult your dermatologist about incorporating redness-fighting ingredients such as caffeine and ceramides, you may still enjoy the good in niacinamide. All in all, it is multi-functional and almost sounds too good to be true. So, is it worth the hype? If you ask me, it is an easy “Yes”!


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