AM Or PM
|Caution: Plays well with everyone
|Best for: Acne, Rosacea
Possibly THE best
Ingredient for sensitive skin
|Mode of action:
Mild pigment corrector, barrier function
What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide or vitamin B3 is the go-to skin care active if you have rosacea &/or sensitive skin. This molecule can be combined with most actives. The action of this vitamin can give the following benefits to your skin.
- Reduce inflammation & redness (blotchy skin)
- Reduce pigmentation from conditions such as melasma
- Establish barrier function in patients with dermatitis & eczema
- Offers modest immune function regulation from UV damage
What does niacinamide do?
Niacinamide aids in skin barrier function, helping skin recover from acne, rosacea & dermatitis. It also increases its resiliency, improving skin quality by making pores look smaller. It also helps balance oil production, and—bonus! —it’s good for all skin type including sensitive skin & darker skin types.
What is the skin science behind Niacinamide?
Vitamin B3 has many actions in the skin however the anti-inflammatory effects are most useful. This compound can also aid in restoring barrier function, reduces UV immune suppression, as well as decrease sebum production. It has weak pigment reducing effects & hence is useful in conditions such as melasma (best used with other pigment correctors).
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Can I use Niacinamide every day?
This skin care active is well tolerated, & 95% of people can easily tolerate one a day use. Scroll down to the end of the page to see what a skin care routine involving niacinamide looks like.
How long does it take before niacinamide starts to work?
Most patients will notice an improvement within 2 weeks of application; however the best results are seen at week 6 to 8.
*Anti-inflammatory effects are seen faster compared to pore reduction effects.
** Most common formulations are between 5-10% niacinamide.
Are there any side effects with niacinamide?
Unlike niacin, niacinamide does not cause flushing & is well tolerated. Applied to skin, niacinamide reduces and not worsens inflammation. 95% of patients can tolerate nightly usage. Skin allergies following niacinamide are extremely rare.
Why is this compound my number one active if you have rosacea?
For my rosacea patients, I normally start you on niacinamide before other topicals, as this compound is anti-inflammatory. Niacinamide can reduce redness as well as pimples & papules (lumps & zits) associated with acne rosacea. B3 can be combined with other topicals if the pH is over 5.0. For further information discuss your skin care issues with my clinical team at Cutis Dermatology in Brisbane, or Clinic DVP in Sydney.
Can i use niacinamide with retinol?
Retinol and niacinamide are two absolute staples on their own (if your skin can tolerate retinol), but using them together is a match made in heaven!
Together then can:
- Enhanced skin cell turnover: Niacinamide increases skin hydration, aiding in the breakdown of structures holding dead skin cells together, facilitating their shedding from the skin’s surface through proteases.
- Reduced irritation: Niacinamide improves the skin’s barrier function, making it more tolerant to retinol, thus reducing irritation when used together.
- Similar pH levels: Both niacinamide and retinol work effectively at overlapping pH levels (between 5.0 and 7.0), ensuring minimal pH interference between them.
- Treat similar skin conditions: Niacinamide and retinol are effective for acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, complementing each other’s approaches for enhanced results.
How to use niacinamide with retinol?
- Start with niacinamide a couple of week before starting retinol.
- Continue to use niacinamide as a ‘buffer’ while using retinol.
- Leave a 5 min gap between applications or use them at different times of the day.
- AS ALWAYS use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily when using retinol (you should be using sunscreen daily anyway).
- For those with sensitive skin, retinol can be irritating, so start with once a week and gradually increase the frequency as your skin builds up a tolerance. You could also add a small amount into your current moisturiser.
Can I use niacinamide and hyaluronic acid together?
Hyaluronic acid & niacinamide are both “water-based” molecules so they can be used together. Start by applying hyaluronic acid first then followed by niacinamide. This combination is super safe for patients with sensitive skin.
Can niacinamide reduce skin pigmentation?
Studies show that niacinamide can suppress the cells that produce pigmentation (melanocytes). This compound can fade age spots, lightens and whitens the skin because of its ability to treat hyperpigmentation. Unlike ascorbic acid, niacinamide is stable with heat and light.
Niacinamide is often combined with other pigment inhibitors such as hydroquinone, vitamin C, arbutin, liquorice root extract, bearberries, retinol, retinaldehyde as well as AHA & BHAs.
What is the recommended strength for niacinamide creams?
Niacinamide formulations between 5-10% are most effective (+/- 5 %). Even though niacinamide is anti-inflammatory, I suggest that patients start on a low concentration then increase as tolerated.
How to use niacinamide:
A sensible skin care routine that involves vitamin B3 – niacinamide goes something like this.
AM: Cleanser, SPF, Make up, with the option of antioxidants (Ferulic acid, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopherol)
PM: Cleanser, Niacinamide, anti-aging serums – gels
*Option to alternate nightly application with low concentration skin acids, specific actives or retinol, if tolerated.
Davin’s Skin Protip
This is the number one skin care active if you have sensitive skin conditions including rosacea, dermatitis or just ‘reactive skin.’ This compound plays well with others & can be used on a nightly basis. Much like azelaic acid, it reduces inflammation & repairs compromised skin barriers. It has very weak anti-pigment properties.
Incorporating niacinamide into an advanced skincare routine alongside vitamin C and retinol can be beneficial for addressing multiple skin concerns, such as pigmentation, signs of aging, and skin texture. However, it’s essential to use these ingredients correctly to maximize their benefits and minimize potential irritation. Here’s a detailed guide on how to use niacinamide into your skincare routine with vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and retinol:
- Start Slowly:
- If you’re new to niacinamide, vitamin C, or retinol, introduce each ingredient into your routine gradually. This helps your skin acclimate to these active ingredients and reduces the risk of irritation.
- Morning Routine:
- Cleansing: Begin with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities.
- Vitamin C Serum: – Apply a vitamin C serum to clean, dry skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps brighten skin, fade hyperpigmentation, and protect against environmental damage. – Allow the vitamin C serum to absorb for a few minutes.
- Niacinamide Serum: – Apply a niacinamide serum to the skin. Niacinamide can help reduce redness, improve the skin’s barrier function, and regulate sebum production. – Allow the niacinamide serum to absorb for a few minutes.
- Moisturizer: Apply a hydrating and protective moisturizer.
- Sunscreen: Finish with a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. Both vitamin C and retinol can make your skin more susceptible to UV damage, so sunscreen is crucial.
- Evening Routine:
- Cleansing: Use a gentle cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen, and impurities.
- Retinol Serum or Cream: – If you are new to retinol, start with a lower concentration and use it 2-3 times a week initially. – Apply retinol to dry skin after cleansing and wait for 15-20 minutes to allow your skin to dry thoroughly. – After some time, you can increase the frequency of retinol usage if your skin tolerates it well.
- Niacinamide Serum: – Apply niacinamide after the retinol has absorbed (or on the nights you’re not using retinol). Niacinamide can help mitigate potential irritation caused by retinol. – Let the niacinamide serum absorb for a few minutes.
- Moisturizer: Apply a hydrating and nourishing moisturizer to combat any dryness or irritation from retinol.
- Patch Testing: Before applying any new product, consider patch testing on a small area of skin to check for any adverse reactions or allergies.
- Alternate Days: If using both retinol and niacinamide in the evening, you can alternate between them on different nights to minimize any potential conflicts.
- Consult a Dermatologist: If you have specific skin concerns or conditions, or if you’re using prescription-strength retinoids, it’s advisable to consult a dermatologist for personalized guidance.
- Patience: Results from skincare routines take time. Be patient and consistent, and remember that improvements may not be immediate.
It’s essential to listen to your skin and adjust your routine if you experience any irritation or sensitivity. A well-balanced skincare routine, along with appropriate products and application methods, can help you achieve your desired results while maintaining healthy, radiant skin.
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