Vitamin B3. In concentrations from 2%, Niacinamide helps the skin to produce its own antioxidants that in turn fight photo-damage. Niacinamide rarely caused irritation. Most people can use it once or twice daily. Niacinamide can be included in a serum, moisturizer or any other product that stays on your skin (they you do not wash off like a cleanser).

Learn more about niacinamide and how to use it in an anti-aging skincare routine.
How does niacinamide work for anti-aging?
Niacinamide helps produce essential molecules called NAD(H) and NADP(H), which assist enzymes in carrying out chemical reactions vital to maintaining healthy skin. These molecules contribute to energy production, barrier reinforcement, and firming support, which results in a more youthful, glowing complexion. As we age, our skin cells experience a decline in NAD+ and NADPH levels. But topical niacinamide can penetrate the skin’s surface and directly target specific areas, offering a wide range of skincare benefits.
  • Reduced hyperpigmentation: Niacinamide has been shown to inhibit melanosome transfer. This is how It helps fade and prevent age spots for a more even complexion.
  • Brighter skin: It combats dullness and yellowing (sallowness)
  • Minimized pores: It refines pore size for a smoother skin appearance.
  • Improved texture: It enhances the overall surface texture of the skin.
  • Fewer fine lines and wrinkles and enhancing elasticity: It helps diminish visible signs of aging.
  • Hydration boost: It helps moisturize the skin and lock in hydration.
  • Stronger the skin barrier: It reinforces the skin’s natural protective layer.
  • Recent research has uncovered even more skin benefits associated with niacinamide, such as promoting skin structure, elasticity, wound healing, and pigmentation, but more research is needed to confirm these additional benefits.A fascinating discovery is niacinamide’s ability to protect against UV-induced skin damage. It has been shown to reduce the production of harmful molecules in skin cells exposed to UVB radiation and maintain cellular structures’ overall integrity. This protection extends to both topical and oral applications. Furthermore, studies on circadian rhythm regulation suggest niacinamide’s critical role in connecting cellular metabolism with regulatory processes. This connection may contribute to strengthening the skin barrier. Experts hypothesize that niacinamide’s impact on cellular energy metabolism could be the secret behind its multitude of skin benefits. Whatever the case may be, niacinamide remains a powerful ally for radiant, healthy skin.
Combining niacinamide with other skincare actives
Combining niacinamide with other skincare actives can lead to even greater skin benefits. Clinical studies show that partnering niacinamide with specific ingredients can amplify their effects. For example, niacinamide strengthens the skin barrier, making it an excellent companion for topical retinoids. Applying niacinamide before or alongside retinoids can enhance skin tolerance, minimize irritation, and promote the repair of photodamaged skin. Furthermore, niacinamide pairs well with other skincare ingredients, such as azelaic acid, exfoliating acids (salicylic and glycolic), and bakuchiol. However, it’s crucial not to mix niacinamide directly with ascorbic acid, as this could compromise their effectiveness. Keep in mind that mixing different skincare formulations is generally not recommended. Regarding the application order, there isn’t much difference if you apply a niacinamide product before or after other skincare actives. Just allow the first product to absorb into your skin before applying the next one. It might be helpful to layer products based on their texture, starting with more watery products (toners, light serums) and finishing with heavier ones (oils, moisturizers).
Effective concentration and frequency of use
When searching for niacinamide in skincare products, the ideal concentration is best for achieving skin results. Research suggests that a concentration of 2% to 5% niacinamide is effective for most skincare concerns, while some studies have shown benefits with concentrations up to 10%. However, higher concentrations may increase the risk of skin irritation, especially for sensitive skin. Therefore, starting with a lower concentration and gradually increasing it, if necessary, is a safer approach. For optimal results, applying niacinamide once or twice daily is usually recommended. Consistency is key, so incorporating niacinamide into your daily skincare routine is crucial. Remember to follow the specific instructions on the product label and consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns.
How long before you see results?
It usually takes a few months for niacinamide to help reduce wrinkles, lighten dark spots, even out skin tone and improve texture. For optimal results, applying niacinamide once or twice daily is usually recommended. Consistency is key, so incorporating niacinamide into your daily skincare routine is crucial.
Irritation risk
Topical niacinamide is generally well-tolerated, even at higher concentrations up to 5%. However, it’s important to note that, in rare cases, some individuals may experience mild skin irritation. As with any skincare product, it’s essential to monitor your skin’s reaction and adjust usage accordingly. Skincare products with 10-20% niacinamide concentrations that have recently gained popularity are more likely to cause an irritant reaction.
How long before I see results?

You should start seeing the first serious results from your retinoid after 4 months (minus the initiation period where you build up your skin tolerance to it). The results typically improve further until 24 months. After this period, you can consider a “maintenance” retinoid regime (more on it below in the Concentration section).

You can notice an effect from retinoids already after 2-4 weeks of usage. But these first results are literally superficial. Your skin didn’t have enough time to increase collagen, but the retinoids help to smoothen the skin surface quite quickly, and the skin might appear younger and healthier because of this.

Contrary to a common belief, topical retinoids are not shown to have adverse effects for the baby development in pregnancy. (Retinoids taken orally do though). Still, doctors still often recommend to avoid topical retinoids in pregnancy out of caution.

Clinical evidence overview: niacinamide for anti-aging
There is a lot of clinical evidence confirming that niacinamide works for fighting photo-damage and preventing signs of aging. For example, one study showed that a test moisturizer containing 5% niacinamide reduced hyperpigmentation after four or eight weeks of use. In another study, researchers compared effect of a vehicle moisturizer, a vehicle moistruizer with sunscreen SPF15 and sunscreen moisturizer containing 2% niacinamide. After 4 weeks, the researchers found that the anti-pigmentation results were strongest in the group that used a sunscreen with niacinamide, followed by the control sunscreen moisturizer with SPF 15, and the vehicle moisturizer. niacinamide alone or in combination with other ingredients reduced pore, wrinkle, unevenness, erythema, and spot and increased moisture levels. In terms of anti-aging, one study found that a test moisturizer containing 5% niacinamide improved fine lines/wrinkles, hyperpigmentation spots, texture, red blotchiness, and skin yellowing (sallowness) compared to the control in endpoints. Another study found that the test product containing 5% niacinamide reduced fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and increased elasticity. A cosmetic regimen containing 5% niacinamide and peptides in a daytime lotion with SPF 30, a night cream containing niacinamide and peptides, and a wrinkle treatment containing niacinamide, peptides, and 0.3% retinyl propionate and 0.02% tretinoin in an emollient base was also found to improve wrinkle appearance. Overall, topical niacinamide is an effective ingredient for reducing hyperpigmentation and signs of aging, particularly when used in 2-5% concentrations and over an extended period of time.
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