As a long-time beauty editor, part of my job has been to road-test an endless supply of potions, lotions, and miracle creams. I know, it’s a tough gig but someone has to do it. With age and experience of course comes wisdom — along with fine lines and wrinkles. Add to that I’m Aussie and, let’s just say growing up in one of the hottest countries on earth is a sure-fire recipe for sun damage.
So I’m the first to attest to the importance of boosting and maintaining skin health with the help of clean, science-backed skincare products infused with ingredients that live up to their claims of efficiency. Enter: Niacinamide, which is generating serious buzz in the skincare world — not to mention blowing up on TikTok. It’s said to be a multi-tasking powerhouse that has proven to reduce the signs of aging and sun damage, smooth and brighten the skin, reduce redness and inflammation and even treat more serious conditions like acne, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea. Sign me up.
Over the course of a month, I switched up my usual skincare regimen to add in twice daily applications of Sunday Riley B3 Nice 10% Niacinamide Serum — a new serum turbocharged with 10% niacinamide and botanical antioxidants that are said to deliver more clearer-looking radiance, prevent water loss, regulate oil production, minimize the appearance of pores and redness, and even out blotchy skin tone. This is my journey.
Meet the Experts
Carole Hazan, M.D., is a dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and medical director of Aesthetic and Surgical Dermatology of NY.
What Is Niacinamide Anyway?
Niacinamide is a vitamin B3 (niacin) derivative. It’s not a new ingredient but it is currently enjoying the limelight thanks to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and multi-tasking approach to skin repair, renewal, and plumping. In the skincare world that adds up to the ability to boost the skin’s elasticity and production of collagen, reduce signs of sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles, improve and smooth the texture of the skin, and leave it brighter and more radiant. And if you can’t take our word for it, scientific studies have proven niacinamide is a multifunctional master molecule that has a myriad of benefits for the skin.
“Niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant that is important for cellular repair and fighting oxidative stress from environmental factors. It works deep at a cellular level to strengthen the barrier of the skin, which leaves it hydrated, plumper, smoother, and brighter. It’s also proven to help treat acne as its anti-inflammatory properties regulate the amount of oil the sebaceous glands produce preventing them from going into overdrive which is what causes acne and breakouts,” says Carole Hazan, M.D., dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and medical director of Aesthetic and Surgical Dermatology of NY.
My Niacinamide Journey
Say no more. To put niacinamide to the test and make it the focus of my skincare regimen, I stopped using my usual serums and oils — not that you can’t combine niacinamide with other products and ingredients like vitamin C, so beware the myths — and went for a simpler approach. Cleanser, niacinamide serum, and moisturizer (day and night). The great news about niacinamide is, it’s super gentle so it works for all skin types, even sensitive ones. Using the dropper, I squeezed a few drops onto the palm of my hand and then gently applied it all over my face, including just under the delicate eye area and my neck. And well, the results really do speak for themselves.
I have combination skin, so it’s oiler in the t-zone area, and overall has a tendency toward dryness and redness (especially around my nose). I also have some open pores (again mainly around the nose). And as a woman in my 40s, there is no denying the signs of aging, loss of collagen, and hyperpigmentation. I also get the odd breakout — yep, pimples and wrinkles are still a thing. I’m diligent about my daily skincare routine though and after a week of following my 3-step approach — cleanser, niacinamide serum, and moisturizer — my skin definitely looked more hydrated, healthier, and even a little glowy.
After the second week of this routine, I saw more subtle signs of improvement. My skin appeared clearer and more radiant and there was also a noticeable reduction in redness. Even my partner commented on my skin and friends kept telling me how well I looked. The niacinamide serum has a lovely hydrating texture so just applying it feels like a treat for your skin, but that hydration hit and the dewy glow it gives tended to last all day, unlike a lot of other products I’ve tried.
By the end of week three, I really had my glow on. My skin was much brighter and healthier looking — the redness had all but diminished — and it had more of a taut feel to it. The surface of my skin also felt smoother and, dare I say, it looked a little bit plumper and maybe I even looked a little younger. I also took a closer look at my open pores under a harsh light and they weren’t quite as noticeable. Usually when I apply my foundation, I add a little illuminator to it to fake a glow, but I found I didn’t really need it. I’m really starting to dig this niacinamide game.
After four weeks of using niacinamide, I’m all in praise of beauty’s superhero ingredient. It’s not often a single product performs so many functions but if my skin’s health and radiance is anything to go by, it certainly worked its magic. I’ll definitely be adding it to my daily routine permanently — using it in conjunction with my beloved vitamin C, which is also great for skin renewal and mopping up sun damage and environmental hazards. Overall, I definitely see a noticeable reduction in redness and pore size, my skin looks clearer and more even toned, it’s brighter, less dry and congested, and almost looks like I’ve been on holiday. A vacation in a bottle, I’m here for it.
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