Certain ingredients in the skincare world are on many people’s wish lists – just about everybody has heard of them and the skin-transforming benefits that they provide. Then there are others that are just as promising but get far less credit for the work they do. Niacinamide, which is part of the vitamin B3 compound, is an example of the latter. It’s notably less talked about than certain other ingredients such as Vitamin A, C and hyaluronic acid, yet it provides an array of benefits for the skin by helping to improve uneven skin tone, soften fine lines, boost radiance and minimise large pores, to name a few.

In recent years, new research has come to light demonstrating just how special this ingredient is, sparking conversation in the skincare communities. But it’s not a new ingredient; it’s been lurking in the skincare world for a very long time. So, what exactly is niacinamide, what does it do, and most importantly, should you be using it?

What is niacinamide?

Also known as vitamin B3, when used topically on the skin, niacinamide has been shown to stimulate the dermis and increase the cells’ fatty content, helping them to retain water. It’s naturally occurring, has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and is essential to healthy skin cell functions. As it has shown to enhance the barrier function of the epidermis (thereby protecting the skin against bacterial attack), it has excellent results with acne sufferers.

What does it do?

One of the biggest appeals of niacinamide is that it prevents UV damage and inflammation as an antioxidant. Niacinamide works well with your skin’s natural chemistry to improve overall skin texture by rebuilding a lipid layer, minimising the appearance of pores, diminishing fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen, and it’s an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin, rosacea, and acne as it can help to reduce redness and regulate oil production.

Niacinamide strengthens the skin barrier’s function, making it especially beneficial for skin prone to dehydration. A strong skin barrier will lock in all the good stuff (like moisture) and keep the bad stuff out (like pollution and bacteria).

Should you be using it?

This wonderfully versatile ingredient can benefit all skin types and ages. If your skin is dehydrated or if you’re battling a condition such as acne or rosacea, it can be an excellent addition to your skincare routine.

For best results, ideally, you should use it twice a day in a formula such as a serum or a moisturiser that will provide optimal product absorption into the skin.

You can use niacinamide around the eyes too. Applying a niacinamide eye cream can help target and improve the appearance of under-eye circles, soften the appearance of crow’s feet lines, and help this delicate area retain crucial moisture and resist loss of firmness.

As with any good skincare ingredient, it’s essential to be diligent about protecting the skin daily with a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or greater. This will help you achieve maximum benefit from niacinamide and any other proven skin saviours that you use in your routine.