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So-called miracle skin-care ingredients often come with drawbacks—retinoids are notorious for flaking and redness, while glycolic acid can sting. But niacinamide benefits skin without downsides: There’s no learning curve, and overdoing it shouldn’t be a concern. Read on to see what this powerful product can do for your skin.
What is niacinamide?
“Niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant B vitamin, B3, that helps improve redness, soothes inflamed skin, and reduces hyperpigmentation,” says Shari Marchbein, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. That means it can target fine lines and wrinkles, acne, post-acne dark spots, melasma, and redness all in one go—and without a huge caveat. Surprising? Not really, when you look at the evidence.
For instance, one review of common skin-care ingredients found that of all those assessed, only niacinamide came close to upholding the three Kligman standards of cosmeceuticals, named for renowned skin researcher Albert Kligman: It penetrates skin, offers mechanisms of actions (which lead to benefits), and is backed up by a ton of clinical studies.
Not only that, but it’s also safe for sensitive or even rosacea-prone skin, says Marchbein. She recommends using it once or twice a day. Keep in mind when layering ingredients, though, that “niacinamide can decrease the efficacy of topical vitamin C, so they should either be used at different times of day or separated by about 10 minutes,” she says.
What does niacinamide do for your skin?
Sounds like a powerhouse ingredient, right? It is. Here we take a closer look at all the ways niacinamide benefits your skin.
It’s a powerful antiaging ingredient.
Being an antioxidant, which counteracts the free radicals that damage cellular DNA, collagen, and beyond, niacinamide can offer a lot of benefits when paired with a sunscreen—and that’s not even counting the fact that certain forms of vitamin B3 can actually defend skin against UV rays. That being said, “while nicotinamide can help reduce the risk of UV-induced skin aging and skin cancer, it should not serve as your sole sun protective skin-care product,” says Terrence Keaney, M.D., a dermatologist in Arlington, Virginia. “Make sure to combine with a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen.” Marchbein recommends the below formulas, as they work double duty to protect skin.
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