No matter how dedicated you are to your skincare routine, your skin won’t look (or feel) as healthy as it could if your skin's natural moisture barrier isn’t functioning properly. This barrier, which consists of various proteins, lipids, and acids, is your body’s primary defense against external stressors. As such, it's crucial to keep it nourished and hydrated if you want healthy-looking skin. One of the best ingredients for maintaining barrier function is vitamin B3, or niacinamide.
Though you may be familiar with niacinamide’s usefulness in treating blemishes, this powerful ingredient has numerous benefits for all skin types. Ahead, we’re doing a deep dive into the benefits and uses of this unique ingredient. Plus, we’ll answer common questions like “is niacinamide safe?” and outline some of the many ways this ingredient can help improve your skin’s appearance. Read on to discover the benefits of niacinamide and how to use it in your routine for clearer, healthier-looking skin.
What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3. It is present in various grains, meats, and dairy products and is responsible for helping the body convert food into energy. As a skincare ingredient, niacinamide is used extensively in anti-aging and anti-acne formulations. When used topically, niacinamide helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, which helps protect the skin against damaging external stressors, such as pollution, UV exposure, harsh ingredients, and bacteria. It also increases the skin’s antioxidant capacity, making it more able to resist damage or irritation caused by these environmental stressors.
How Does Niacinamide Help Skin’s Appearance?
The benefits of niacinamide are extensive, particularly for those with blemish-prone or mature skin. Studies show that niacinamide can help improve the function of the skin barrier and protect the skin against external stressors like pollution. Some research also suggests it can help reduce the appearance of age-related concerns, like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Below, discover some of the primary benefits of niacinamide products for your skin.
Niacinamide Helps Reduce Oiliness and Acne
In anti-acne formulations, niacinamide helps reduce the production of sebum, your skin’s natural oil. Too much sebum production can clog pores and lead to blemishes, like blackheads. By helping to regulate the production of sebum, niacinamide helps keep breakouts at bay. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties also make it a useful weapon against inflammatory acne. Since it’s gentle on the skin and doesn’t cause irritation, it’s an especially useful acne treatment for those with sensitive skin as well.
Kiehl’s Tip: Learn more about the best ingredients for acne-prone skin in our article The Best Ingredients For Treating Pimples.
Niacinamide Can Help Minimize Discoloration
Various studies have found that niacinamide can help minimize several types of discoloration, including age-related hyperpigmentation (like age spots), redness, and yellowing of the skin. This is likely related to the vitamin’s ability to penetrate and strengthen the skin barrier. Much of age-related skin discoloration is linked to oxidative stress. As niacinamide boosts the skin’s antioxidant capacity and strengthens the skin barrier’s response to environmental stressors, it helps minimize the development of age-related discoloration, promoting a clearer, more even appearance.
It Boasts Anti-Aging Benefits
As we age, our bodies naturally begin to produce less collagen, one of the key proteins responsible for giving skin its elasticity. External factors, like excessive sun exposure, can also negatively impact collagen production. These forces combine and eventually result in the development of fine lines and wrinkles. A lack of adequate collagen may also cause the skin to appear saggy or dull.
Studies show that niacinamide helps reduce the visible signs of aging, including fine lines and age spots. Unlike other anti-aging compounds, like retinoids, niacinamide doesn’t typically irritate the skin. It’s therefore ideal for those with sensitive or reactive skin types.
Kiehl’s Tip: Discover more ways to minimize fine lines and wrinkles in our article 6 Skin-Firming Tips For Smoother, Younger-Looking Skin.
Try It: You’ll find the anti-aging benefits of Niacinamide in our Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Eye Cream! This formula visibly lifts the brow bone area, smooths the eyelid, firms the outer corner to minimize crow’s feet, and depuffs the under-eye area.* The cream can be applied morning and night after you apply your serum and before your moisturizer.
*Based on an 8-week consumer study with 93 panelists.
How To Use Niacinamide In Your Routine
A common question we get from customers is, “can you use niacinamide every day?” The answer: Yes. Whether you’re using it for blemish control, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, or simply to promote a healthier-looking complexion, you can incorporate niacinamide into your daily skincare routine with just a few key products. Read on to discover the best niacinamide skin products from Kiehl’s and how to use them in a simple, four-step routine.
Regardless of your skin type or unique concerns, cleansing should always be the first step in your skincare routine. For those looking to incorporate niacinamide into their routine to control oiliness, we recommend reaching for an oil-free face wash, like Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser. This foaming cleanser for normal and oily skin helps reduce excess oil on the skin’s surface without stripping or over-drying. Use it morning and night to cleanse your face for fresh, balanced skin.
After cleansing, we recommend using a gentle toner, such as Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner, to prepare skin for the rest of your routine. This cult-classic formula (a Kiehl’s staple since the 1960s) contains soothing calendula extract and allantoin. The refreshing formula is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and is formulated without harsh drying agents, like alcohol.
Even if you have oily skin, it’s crucial to moisturize to keep your skin’s moisture barrier healthy and hydrated. For daily hydration, reach for an oil-free moisturizer, like Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. This unique formula with desert plant extract and glacial glycoprotein conditions the skin with lightweight, 24-hour hydration. The non-greasy formula absorbs quickly for a refreshed appearance.
Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion
If your skin is extra oily or prone to frequent blemishes, we recommend using a moisturizer formulated with niacinamide, such as Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion. This effective moisturizer for acne-prone skin contains two powerful blemish-fighting ingredients: niacinamide and salicylic acid. This powerful formula visibly reduces acne blemishes and helps prevent new ones from forming. It also helps improve the appearance of dullness and roughness for clearer, more even-looking skin.
The final step in your skincare routine is to treat any significant concerns with a targeted treatment. To address active blemishes, reach for a spot treatment formulated with niacinamide, like Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment. This powerful spot treatment is clinically-demonstrated to rapidly reduce the appearance of acne blemishes.* It also helps prevent new breakouts from forming. Apply it to breakouts one to three times daily as needed to visibly diminish the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne.
*Tested in a dermatologist-controlled clinical study.