Your guide to niacinamide, beauty's underrated but important ingredient

Niacinamide isn’t as ‘sexy’ as retinol, hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid, because you don’t see results as instantly as you do with these other hero beauty ingredients.

However, that doesn’t mean the ingredient isn’t worthy of a place in your bathroom cabinet.

Niacinamide is all about the long game.

Overtime, it can regulate sebum levels and control excess (which in turn can prevent spots), brighten skin (fading dark spots), and strengthen the skin barrier (resulting in less water loss and dehydration).

All of this promotes healthier, more resilient and balanced skin.

Dr Emma Wedgeworth, anconsultant dermatologist for La Roche Posay, tells us: ‘One of the many great things about niacinamide is that it really is suitable for all skin types and skin tones.

‘It helps boost natural skin barrier function and therefore works with even sensitive skins.’

How does niacinamide benefit skin?

Niacinamide is true multitasker, which is what makes it so great.

Dr Emma says: ‘It has antioxidant properties, helping to protect skin against highly active molecules in the environment known as free radicals, which can age skin and cause pigmentation.  

‘It also reduces the interaction between pigment cells and skin cells and can tackle pigmentation caused through sun exposure or hormonal changes.  

‘On top of this, it’s anti-inflammatory, good for blemish prone or even rosacea skin.

‘It regulates oil production and it boosts natural ceramide production in the skin barrier helping to boost hydration.’

To get the best from it, you should use it daily once or twice.

She adds: ‘Niacinamide combines brilliantly with most other ingredients.

‘Think about your skin goals and then choose ingredients which can tackle these. For example, salicylic acid for blemishes or retinol for anti-ageing.’

These are some of the best niacinamide serums to shop.

La Roche Posay Pure Niacinamide 10

Get it for £28.50 from La Roche Posay.

Within a week of using this, skin looked slightly brighter with some spot scars fading as it’s been combined with a gentle exfoliant and brightening anti-oxidant complex.

Apply only a little, as it pills when too much is used.

Medik8 Clarity Peptides

Get it for £42 from Medik8.

A little goes a long way with this option that targets dull skin.

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Get it for £44 from Paula’s Choice.

Use this alone or drop it into a moisturiser to boost its properties.

Glossier Super Pure

Get it for £24 from Glossier.

Almost like water, this is a good option for dry skin that doesn’t need lots of excess sebum control, as the effect here is gentler.

Glow Recipe Niacinamide Dew Drops

Get it for £31 from Cult Beauty.

This thinner texture works to moisturise as well as brighten.

Allies of Skin Pore Refining Booster

Get it for £65 from Cult Beauty.

This helps to refine pores and get oil levels under better control.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Get it for £5.60 from Boots.

This is great for oily skin, as it targets excess oil particularly well.

It’s slightly tacky, but that disappears when you layer your next skincare step.

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