The world of skin care ingredients and products can be a weird and wonderful one. It seems that barely a week goes past without a new fancy wonder potion or Instagram influencer talking about a new miracle cream.
One such ingredient that’s been hitting the skin care shelves (and our social media feeds) is niacinamide. In this article we’re going to talk in depth about what niacinamide is, how it works and what it does to benefit the skin…
What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide, and despite its name, has nothing to do with nicotine! It’s actually one type of vitamin B3, the other type being niacin.
The human body needs vitamin B3 for releasing energy from food and for a healthy nervous system and skin. Foods rich in vitamin B3 include meat, fish, eggs and products made with wheat flour such as bread and pasta.
In terms of niacinamide for the skin in topical preparations such as creams and moisturisers, it’s very beneficial.
How does niacinamide benefit the skin?
If you have acne prone skin, or skin that suffers with eczema, psoriasis or other types of inflammation, then you could benefit from using niacinamide.
What effects does niacinamide have on acne prone skin and inflammation?
Studies show that niacinamide can be effective at managing mild to moderate acne and is as effective as taking antibiotics for acne prone skin.
Niacinamide can also be effective at reducing the production of sebum. Sebum is a natural, wax like substance that is produced by the skin to keep it well moisturised. Those with oily skin produce too much sebum and this leads to shine and greasy skin.
Too much oil can also be a factor in causing acne too. For this reason, niacinamide is often an ingredient added to lotions and ointments designed to help manage acne prone or oily skin types.
In terms of inflammation related redness and rosacea, niacinamide can also help here too. Studies have shown that it can help clear up mild to moderate rosacea. More severe rosacea, as well as severe acne, requires more medical intervention if these kinds of remedies fail to have an effect.
The science is in its infancy, but there is also some evidence that niacinamide can help to reduce the size of the pores in the skin. It’s thought this is due to its ability to hydrate the skin and keep it feeling smooth.
Visible pores are something that many of us prefer not to have for aesthetic reasons. But also, enlarged pores can be magnets for dirt, oil and pollution to become trapped, so they’re best if they’re managed.
Can niacinamide help with ageing skin?
There is also evidence that applying skin care products that contain niacinamide to the skin, can help promote the manufacture of compounds called ceramides. You might have heard of ceramides on adverts selling skin creams and hair conditioning products.
Ceramides are a type of lipid (or fat) that’s naturally present in our skin. They help to maintain the integrity of the skin’s natural barrier functions which helps to keep it hydrated. It’s thought that the more ceramides present in the skin, the more hydrated it is. This then has the consequence of protecting the skin against the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Niacinamide also has the ability to help reduce the damage caused by environmental pollutants and toxins on this skin. This is again due to its ability to help strengthen the skin's natural barrier function. Past skin damage caused by a weak cellular barrier damage can also be minimised by using niacinamide products on the skin.
So niacinamide is often added to skin care products that promise to hydrate the skin as well as to those that are marketed as anti ageing.
How to use niacinamide
You’ll find niacinamide in skin care products such as moisturisers, toners and serums. Some may be marketed as beauty products, aimed at helping with the signs of ageing such as dehydration, enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles.
Other skin care products containing niacinamide will be more ‘medical’ looking than cosmetic. These will be targeted towards helping with inflammation, rosacea and acne, and for minimising oil production.
Niacinamide is rarely, if ever, found in skin care products on its own. It’s usually found in combination with other ingredients such as zinc, retinoids and antioxidants such as vitamin C.
Using skin care products that contain niacinamide, for whatever reason, won’t be a miracle cure. They might even cause some irritation when you first start using them. But most people will tolerate them and any irritation will clear up within a few weeks.
The best way to support healthy skin is to choose products such as those that contain niacinamide as supplementary to your base skin care regime. Getting the basics right, with the right cleanser and moisturiser is key to getting your skin under control.
At Sönd, we specialise in making skin care products for skin that doesn’t like to conform. Be that skin that’s too oily, too dry, acne prone or simply stressed out, we can help. We created our range of alkalising and kind skin care products because we were stressed out about our own stressed out skin.
Our products, including our brand new Clear Out Face Mask have been developed to support and nourish the skin, whatever type it is. We’ve based them all on our hero ingredient, silica salt.
Silica salts are alkalising, which helps to support healing and regeneration, deep within the cellular structure of the skin. They help to hydrate the skin, optimise the pH of the skin (a measure of how acid or alkaline something is), strengthen the connective tissues and boost the natural defence systems of the skin.
So whatever you’re supplementing your skin care regime with, get the basics right with us first!