Skin care circles have been buzzing about topical niacinamide for the last few years. From fighting acne to reducing wrinkles and dark spots, the active ingredient of niacinamide has a host of potential benefits that make it worth considering for your skin care routine.
In order to know how to use niacinamide effectively, it helps to understand what it is—and what specific skin conditions it can help address.
So, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you get to know the new(ish) kid on the block.
Knowing when to use niacinamide in routine skin care can help you elevate your current healthy skin habits—and possibly unlock answers to your most pressing complexion questions.
Also known as nicotinamide, the skincare ingredient niacinamide is one form of vitamin B3. The fats and sugars in your body need niacinamide in order to maintain healthy cells. But because niacinamide is water-soluble, you can’t store it in your body. Instead, you replenish it through the foods you eat.
You can find it in foods such as:
- Green vegetables
While some people may try to use niacinamide as a cure-all for things like diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer, it’s important to note we have no academic evidence to back up those uses.
That said, we do have evidence to support the use of the skincare ingredient niacinamide in topical treatments for certain skin conditions. Let’s explore those now.
4 Ways to Use Niacinamide in Your Skin Care Routine
To benefit from niacinamide, you’ll want to use a niacinamide product that will stay in contact with your skin long enough to have an impact. For example, a cleanser that you use quickly to wash your face will likely have less effect than something like a serum, cream, or mask that’s left on for your skin to absorb over longer periods of time.
Beyond that, here are a few general rules of thumb to follow before we dive into more of the specifics below:
- Use it regularly – You can use most niacinamide products at any point during the day, between one to two times every twenty four hours.
- Incorporate it wisely into your regular routine – For the most part, you can also use niacinamide products in collaboration with your other skin care items without causing complications. However, it’s always a good idea to check the instructions on your skin care items to find out how best to use those exact products, as well as learn about any relevant use restrictions.
- Be patient – Expect to use your selected product for some time before noticing a visible effect. Some niacinamide products may show results as early as two weeks, but most will take closer to four weeks or more.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at niacinamide in action in serums, creams, sunscreens, and maks.
Many people use serums (also known as light-weight, water-based solutions) as part of their skin care routine.
- Absorb into your skin quickly because they use lighter skin care formulations than a typical moisturizer
- Soothe sensitive skin, especially for people with more acne-prone or oily skin
- Feel light on your skin, rather than heavy or greasy
- Create more visible results since they typically contain a higher concentration of their various ingredients
Additionally, niacinamide serums contain all the potential benefits of niacinamide that we’ll discuss in more detail below, such as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Their potency can make these serums especially effective.
However, too high of a niacinamide concentration could actually lead to skin irritation.
If you choose to use a serum, we recommend starting with one that has a lower niacinamide content.
Depending on the ingredients, a trustworthy face cream can help moisturize your skin, protect it against environmental irritants, and reduce signs of aging.
To see the best effects, select a cream appropriate for your skin type:
- For oily skin, normal skin, and skin that fits multiple categories, try a lighter, water-based cream.
- For dry skin, try a heavier, oil-based cream.
- For sensitive skin, try a cream with soothing ingredients like aloe.
- For more mature skin, try an oil-based cream to help retain moisture.
Once you’ve determined the best cream type for your skin, look for a cream that contains:
- Alpha hydroxyl acids
Dermatologists typically recommend starting with one pump of cream every other night. After one to two weeks, you can try increasing to nightly applications, but pay attention to your skin. If it shows signs of irritation, go back to the every-other-night application.
Sunscreen can benefit your skin in a number of ways, up to and including reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Studies suggest that using sunscreen daily can:
- Reduce wrinkles
- Minimize hyperpigmentation
- Reduce dark spots
- Significantly lower your risk of skin cancer
Sunscreen falls into two categories:
- Physical – Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun.
- Chemical – All other sunscreens qualify as chemical sunscreens. Whether a lotion or a spray, these sunscreens absorb into your skin, causing a chemical reaction that converts UV rays into less harmful heat.
Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen daily.
If you have to wear sunscreen anyway, why not enjoy some extra benefits by choosing a sunscreen that includes niacinamide? In addition to the regular benefits offered by sunscreen, sunscreens that use niacinamide as an ingredient could help reduce hyperpigmentation.
Once confined to simple creams or clays, face mask options have exploded in recent years.
Face masks can give your skin an intense dose of concentrated ingredients that can nourish the skin. However, not every mask is created equal, and your skin needs may prove different than someone else’s. Before you invest in any given face mask, check the description and ingredients to confirm that the mask’s benefits correspond to your skin care needs.
If you want to try a niacinamide mask, take the time to confirm that it does, in fact, contain niacinamide. In addition to checking for ingredients you want, you may also want to check for ingredients to avoid.
For example, we recommend avoiding the following ingredients, which can sometimes cause redness and irritation:
- Essential oils
Once you’ve selected your mask, try to set aside enough time to relax and use it correctly. Using a mask can be an excellent time to catch up on your favorite podcast, call your bestie (albeit on speakerphone), or listen to chill music. Whatever you choose, pick something that enhances the experience and helps make your skin care routine something to look forward to.
In order to use most masks correctly:
- Clean your face gently with warm water.
- Cover your skin with your chosen mask.
- Let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes, or whatever the instructions recommend. That’s normally enough time for your skin to absorb the ingredients so that they can take effect.
- Remove your mask with warm water and a gentle washcloth.
Dermatologists caution that the benefits of most face masks tend toward temporary. While face masks can prove a fast fix for dry patches and inflammation, you should ideally use them in combination with other skin care products—like sunscreen and moisturizer—that can offer more long-term effects.
Benefits of Niacinamide for Your Skin
Now that you’re equipped with four simple ways of using niacinamide, you might be why you should bother incorporating it in the first place.
Various studies suggest that regular use of niacinamide products can help smooth and brighten your facial skin.
Beyond that, other possible benefits of niacinamide include:
- An antioxidant effect – Niacinamide can increase certain forms of NAD(P) that have strong antioxidant properties. Using antioxidants as part of a skin routine could promote a more youthful appearance by protecting against UV damage and soothing inflammation.
- Improved epidermal barrier function – Repeated use of niacinamide could increase your skin’s resistance to potentially harmful elements that may be present in your external environment.
- Reduced fine lines and wrinkles – Regular niacinamide use may both reduce glycosaminoglycans and improve protein and dermal collagen production. Together, these effects could reduce facial wrinkles and fine lines.
- Decreased blotchiness – Niacinamide may reduce areas of redness by lessening your skin’s sensitivity to certain environmental irritants.
- Decreased yellowing of skin – Through antioxidation, niacinamide can inhibit certain oxidative processes that may produce areas of yellow-ish brown skin as you age.
- Decreased hyperpigmentation – Niacinamide can reduce melanosome transfer from melanocytes to their surrounding keratinocytes. In simpler terms, this could reduce darkened spots on your skin, known as hyperpigmentation.
- Reduced acne – Niacinamide treatments can help refine pores and balance sebum production, both of which support healthy, clear skin for people with a more oily skin type.
Incorporate HPPY’s Niacinamide-Rich Clarifying Mask Into Your Skin-Care Routine
Here at HPPY, we’re committed to ingredient transparency. That means no cryptic ingredients and no secrets—just the good stuff like niacinamide, aloe vera, Manuka honey, matcha, and more.
Whether it’s your first niacinamide product or the finishing touch to a niacinamide-rich skin care routine, our Clarifying Mask can infuse your skin with pure ingredients, delivering the radiant complexion you deserve.
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Healthline. Do Face Masks Actually Do Anything for Your Skin? https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/do-face-masks-work
Healthline. Every Sunscreen Question You Have, Answered. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/sunscreen-guide#indoors
Healthline. What Are the Benefits of Using a Face Serum? https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-face-serum#benefits
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921764/
Very Well Health. How to Use Antioxidants for Skin Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/antioxidants-for-skin-health-4587778
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