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Among the many beneficial ingredients found in skincare products, niacinamide tends to stand out.
Found in serums, moisturizers, and other skincare products, this water-soluble nutrient attacks common skin concerns from multiple sides.
What is niacinamide, aside from a tongue twister for the uninitiated? Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, typically found in foods such as fish, eggs, milk, meat, green vegetables and fortified cereals. Skincare products have also advanced how to use niacinamide for skin health via strong, effective formulations.
When used topically, niacinamide has the potential to work like an antioxidant, improving the skin's barrier function, treating dark spots and reducing signs of aging.
The most well-known of niacinamide's skin benefits is its reputation as an anti-inflammatory. "It's been used as an add-on for acne treatments for years to reduce the redness and inflammation associated with breakouts," says Dr. Erum N. Ilyas, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology and CEO and founder of AmberNoon.
Niacinamide can also reduce signs of sun damage, including fine lines and wrinkles, as well as even out dark spots and minimize pore appearance. In other words, it's a versatile powerhouse with a diverse array of benefits.
"Niacinamides are often found on their own in serums or as an ingredient in moisturizers and creams," says Dr. Ilyas. For it to be effective, she suggests selecting a product with a significant concentration of the active ingredient.
As you decide how to use niacinamide for skin in your daily routine, try a treatment like the Neutrogena® Hydro Boost+ Niacinamide Serum, Fragrance Free. This powerful yet gentle serum exfoliates to reduce dark marks and refines the look of pores, leaving skin with a clearer complexion. It also helps strengthen the skin's moisture barrier while visibly improving a dull, uneven skin tone. This multi-action serum contains 10% niacinamide, plus hyaluronic acid. To use, apply a pearl size twice a day to clean skin.
The Neutrogena® Stubborn Texture Niacinamide Serum is a resurfacing serum strong enough for acne-prone skin types. It contains 10% niacinamide, and works to improve texture and refines your skin's complexion in just two weeks, plus 4% neoglucosamine to lighten up dark spots and smooth skin.
How long does niacinamide take to work? The timeline varies from person to person. It can take up to 12 weeks to really see the effects, but Dr. Ilyas says she's had patients see improvements in the quality and texture of their skin after just one week.
One great feature of niacinamide is that it tends to work well with other active skincare ingredients, such as retinol and benzoyl peroxide.
Retinol is a powerful agent in the fight against acne and the appearance of fine lines. However, for some, it can also cause redness and irritation. Using niacinamide in addition to a treatment like the Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Pro+ .5% Power Serum can soothe any potentially irritating effects on the skin.
Commonly used as a treatment for those with severe acne, adding niacinamide can actually improve benzoyl peroxide's efficiency. One 2021 study from the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that participants who used both ingredients saw significant improvements in their acne after 12 weeks of use.
As you build your daily regimen, you may look to target multiple skin concerns — luckily, so does niacinamide.