What Does Niacinamide Serum Do: Top 10 Benefits and Uses

what does niacinamide do
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What Does Niacinamide Serum Do For Your Skin?

Although Niacinamide is not as talked about as some of the other skincare ingredients we know and love,  read on to find out why this could be your secret anti-aging, acne-fighting weapon. 

Niacinamide serums can help fade hyperpigmentation, promote the production of ceramides and elastin to prevent wrinkles, prevent moisture loss and promote hydration, help stabilize oil production to treat acne-prone skin, decrease skin redness and blotchiness, and calm irritated skin.

Discover below how to make this part of your daily routine and reap the benefits of this all-in-one ingredient.

Read more about:

How and when to use face serums under your eyes

The benefits of using face serums

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What are Niacinamide Serums?

Think of serums as extra treatments that address individual skin concerns outside of regular cleansing, toning, and moisturizing routines.

A niacinamide serum is a liquid formulation that includes a concentration of vitamin B3 used to target sun damage, aging, and acne-prone skin. They also often contain additional ingredients that work together to provide overall skin health benefits.

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 that can be found in cosmetics and skincare products. It’s most commonly used in anti-aging skincare products, but it is also often used to treat oily skin, acne, sun damage, and rosacea. 

Niacinamide is one of the most researched and documented cosmeceuticals for anti-aging.  An article published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology states that “Because of its verifiable beneficial effects, niacinamide would be a suitable component in cosmetic products for use in disorders of epidermal barrier function, for aging skin, for improving pigmentary disorders and for use on skin prone to acne.”

Our body is not capable of producing niacinamide on its own. In order to reap the benefits of this vitamin, we must either ingest it as a pill or in food or apply it to the skin. 

How Does Niacinamide Work?

The exact mechanism by which vitamin B3 works is still unknown. However, there are several theories about how it could benefit our skin. One theory suggests that niacinamides act as a precursor to the formation of collagen.

Collagen is the main structural protein in the dermis, which provides support and structure to the skin. When collagen levels begin to decline with age, wrinkles appear. By increasing collagen production, B3 could slow down the aging process.

Another theory suggests that B3 increases cell turnover, which means that new cells are produced at a faster rate. This would lead to smoother, younger looking skin.

Benefits of Niacinamide Serum

Here are some of the ways that the topical application of niacinamide can support your skin health. 

1. Helps Restore the Skin Barrier

The skin barrier function protects the skin from external factors like UV radiation and pollutants. As the skin ages, its ability to protect itself weakens. Niacinamide helps strengthen this barrier so that it can better fight off environmental damage to the skin.

2. Boosts Collagen Production

When collagen is increased, skin texture will improve, becoming more firm and elastic. Smoother and firmer skin will make the skin look healthier and younger.

3. Helps to Retain Moisture and Improves Skin Hydration

Because Niacinamide aids in restoring the skin barrier, this, in turn, increases the skin’s ability to prevent water loss and lock in moisture. If you are prone to dry or flaky skin, this will fit well into your skincare routine. 

4. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation causes redness, swelling, and irritation. Reducing inflammation helps to improve overall skin health.

5. Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation occurs when melanocytes become overactive. Melanocytes are responsible for producing melanin, which gives color to hair, eyes, and skin. Overproduction of melanin can cause uneven skin tone and dark spots.  Topical B3 can help to prevent this overproduction of melanin.

6. Provide Powerful Antioxidants

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, molecules that can damage healthy cells. Free radical damage is associated with premature aging and wrinkling. Applying a niacinamide serum daily can help reduce the effects of free radicals on the skin.

7. Promotes Cell Turnover

Cell turnover refers to the replacement of old cells with new ones. Aging slows down cell turnover, leaving older dull skin cells behind. Topical niacinamide stimulates cell turnover, helping to shed dead skin cells.  This will lead to brighter skin and a more youthful glow.

8. Increases Blood Flow

Blood flow is essential for delivering oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Increased blood flow can help to boost the appearance of healthy-looking skin, giving it a more radiant youthful glow.

9. Helps Regulate and Stabilize Oil Production in the Skin

When the skin barrier is restored,  this affects the sebaceous glands in the skin that produce oil. This stabilization in sebum production then helps to prevent oily skin and treat mild acne.  

10. Can Treat Mild Forms of Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by flushing, erythema (redness), papules (small bumps), and pustules (large pus-filled blisters). It is often accompanied by burning or stinging sensations. Topical B3 can often provide relief from these symptoms.

How To Use Niacinamide Serums

Niacinamide serums can be applied and left on the skin twice daily, both morning and night, to freshly cleansed skin.  Apply along with a hyaluronic acid serum and follow with a moisturizer to maximize its benefits.

what does niacinamide serum do

What to Look For When Selecting a Niacinamide Serum

When it comes to serums, there is a wide range of niacinamide concentrations available.  Most serums contain a concentration of 10-12 percent niacinamide, but some can contain as little as 1% and as much as 20%.

In general, look for a skincare product containing at least a 5% concentration of niacinamide to combat sun damage.  Studies have shown that 5 percent formulas are effective in managing hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and loss of skin elasticity caused by sun exposure.

For more sensitive skin, you might want to consider using a lower concentration to start off with. Once your skin adjusts, you may then be able to tolerate a higher concentration. Studies suggest that skin care products containing 2% niacinamide may also be helpful for treating skin conditions such as eczema.

When looking for a serum, you may see niacinamide listed as “niacin” and “nicotinamide” on product labels.

You may also want to look for a B3 serum that combines other helpful ingredients such as zinc to help minimize enlarged pores and control acne, hyaluronic acid to aid in hydration, and vitamin C to help brighten skin.  

How Long Does Niacinamide Serum Take to Work?

As a general rule,  improved skin tone and texture can be seen 2-to 4 weeks after incorporating niacinamide serum into your skin care routine.  Results can vary depending on the concentration of the serum and the extent of your skin concerns.

For continued and sustained improvement, the serum should be used indefinitely.  

Niacinamide serums work more rapidly and more effectively than rinse-off products such as cleansers because of their lengthier contact time with the skin.

Side Effects of Topical Niacinamide

B3 is generally a very mild ingredient that works well with most skin types,  but some people may initially experience mild irritation such as swelling, redness, or itchiness. 

This is more common in more reactive skin when using a concentration over 4%. If your skin is sensitive, start with a lower concentration and work your way up over time. 

As with any new ingredient, it is also a good idea to first apply a small amount to a dime-sized area of your face for about 2-3 days.  If you don’t see any reaction, you should be safe to apply it to the rest of your skin. 

If you do experience any severe reactions such as blisters or extreme burning or itching, always immediately consult a board-certified dermatologist.  

Can Niacinamide Be Combined With Other Skincare Ingredients to Maximize Results?

A combination of niacinamide and several other active ingredients can be used to achieve more optimal and rapid results.

For instance, some reports have shown that niacinamide may help treat acne when combined with folic acid, copper, and zinc.  This is why you will often see niacinamide products with the addition of zinc. 

Niacinamide serum can also be made more effective by using it alongside hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid works with niacinamide to moisturize and plump dehydrated skin.  Better hydrated skin will help to increase the absorption of the serum. Click this article to find the best hydrating serums for 2022.

B3 is also an excellent complement to products containing vitamin c, kojic acid, or retinol.  As these ingredients can cause skin irritation and dry out the skin, niacinamide can counteract their effects with its soothing, hydrating properties. 

Niacinamide is adaptable and typically pairs well with most ingredients, which is why it is often combined with a variety of other anti-aging actives. 

More on Face Serums

Check out this page at Beauty Calypse to find the best face serum tips and reviews!

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