Is Niacinamide the New Hyaluronic Acid?

Courtesy, into the gloss.

Editor: Alexandria Taliaferro, @clapbacksandcontours

Skin Type: Combination

Skin Concerns: Texture, Hyperpigmentation

Every few years, a new skincare ingredient rises from the depths of a dermatologist’s handbook and into popular culture, appearing in everything from drugstore sheet masks to high-end luxury serums. First it was retinol – an anti-aging powerhouse known for tightening and brightening the skin, then hyaluronic acid – a luscious plumper that holds up to 1000 times its weight in water, and now, niacinamide – a potent vitamin that’s been touted as cure all for a myriad of skin conditions and deficiencies. But despite our personal unfamiliarity with these powerful ingredients, they aren’t really new at all; Chemists and skincare aficionados alike have actually been using these components in face and body products for years! So why are ingredients like niacinamide suddenly blowing up the market? And does it really work? Let’s discuss.

Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3 or nicotinamide, is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin to visibly minimize the appearance of pores, soften fine lines and wrinkles, and even skin tone by strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier (the outermost layer of skin that helps protect the deeper layers from moisture loss and irritation). Niacinamide can also help improve the natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides and reduce the impact of environmental damage on the skin by blocking harmful free radicals (think: smoke, smog, and other pollutants) from penetrating the lipid layer.

Ultimately, the more fortified the moisture barrier, the tighter, plumper, and more hydrated the skin. If you’ve ever wondered how that girl in your office maintains that luminous glow all day long, this is probably why! But beyond all the benefits, the most enticing fact about niacinamide is that it plays well with the majority of products in your skincare cabinet. Unlike many other “trendy” ingredients, niacinamide is a gentle giant – it packs a mean skincare punch in very small doses, and is stable enough to be combined with a wide variety of other components. In fact, niacinamide has actually been found to be more effective in smaller percentages than most other hero ingredients on the market today! The one exception to this combo rule? Vitamin C! Due to their molecular volatility, Vitamin C-based products should not be combined with niacinamides, as they can render them inactive when merged.

So now that you’re all in on the benefits of niacinamide, how can you incorporate it into your daily routine? Keep reading for a list of my favorite niacinamide-fueled clean skincare products for more radiant, hydrated skin!

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, The Ordinary ($6)

The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum combines niacinamide with zinc salt of pyrrolidine carboxylic acid to balance visible signs of sebum activity (read: enlarged, congested pores and oily skin) while brightening and adding moisture to the skin. When I see breakouts beginning to form, or if my skin appears dull or uneven, I pat a few drops of this serum onto a damp face and neck before moving on to heavier serums or moisturizers.

 

Glass Skin Refining Serum, Peach & Lily ($39)

Inspired by Asia’s “glass skin” trend, the Glass Skin Refining Serum by Peach & Lily combines niacinamide with power-packed peach extract, Asian mountain yam extract, and a proprietary blend of peptides to stimulate collagen production, reduce inflammation, and help fill fine lines and wrinkles while firming the skin for a smoother, glassier appearance. My favorite thing about this serum is how it manages to deliver the perfect balance of internal hydration and outward glow without leaving a greasy film on the surface of the skin. She’s a game-changer!

 

Instant Reset Overnight Gel-Cream, Fenty Skin ($40)

There’s nothing more luxurious to me than a full-bodied night cream. Made from an inspiring combination of global ingredients including niacinamide, Fenty Skin’s Instant Reset Overnight Gel-Cream instantly hydrates the skin and packs on mega glow. The best thing about this product is the formula itself – because of its unique gel-cream texture, it is both thick enough to really nourish the skin throughout the night and thin enough to feel comfortable on the skin (read: not sticky or treacly) when layered over the other products in your nighttime routine like essences or serums. Since its launch, this has become an absolute staple in my routine!

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