It is said that a skin care product is like a little miracle in a bottle; so it can be disappointing, even heartbreaking, when you decide to add a new skincare product to your routine to tackle a skin concern (hyperpigmentation) or for sun protection (sunscreen) only to see your skin getting worse when you look in the mirror.
It seems like in Skincare-verse (Skincare Universe) every so often a skincare ingredient rises to the top, and becomes all the buzz. First there was Hyaluronic Acid, then came Vitamin C, and how could we ever forget Retinol... But fairly recent a new 'hero' as emerged... Niacinamide.
Niacinamide is a topical form of vitamin b3 that showcases excellent effects for different skincare concerns, making it a versatile and promising ingredient. It aids the repair of damaged skin barrier, helps regulate sebum production in oily skin types and lastly, products containing >5% Niacinamide help diminish hyperpigmentation. Little wonder most skin care products these days have Niacinamide on their ingredient list. From cleansers to toners, serums, sunscreens & moisturizers.
No doubt it is a powerhouse skincare ingredient, but some people with different skin types seem to have an allergy/sensitivity to Niacinamide. These allergy/sensitivity symptoms include an itchy face, fresh or worsened breakouts (whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules), redness, and rash.
I had two skincare enthusiasts share their Niacinamide experience with me:
Vanessa (of @theoilyskinblog) shared how she had fairly clear skin before she decided to introduce a 10% Niacinamide product into her skincare routine. She noticed new breakouts in less than a month which worsened over time till she decided to reconsider everything in her skincare routine; and on discontinuing the 10% product, she started to notice her skin clear up. More so, she decided to try another product with just 2% and her skin still reacted the same way.
Chichi (of @skinreligious) reported an increased appearance of whiteheads especially on her nose & chin which sometimes extend to her forehead within 5 days to a week of starting any product with Niacinamide irrespective of the % it contains.
Additionally, my experience with Niacinamide isn't pleasant. I have learned that my skin can tolerate it up to 3% and nothing beyond that. A few months ago, I tried a product with 5% and that resulted in painful pustules sprouting up on my forehead till I discontinued the product. Hence, I am very wary of adding products with Niacinamide to my skincare routine.
While I understand most skincare brands are working hard at providing solutions to the skincare needs of their consumers despite whatever skincare ingredient is the trend, it'll be great if consumers generally have the option of niacinamide-free products to choose from just like we have fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free product lines, especially with products targeted at treating hyperpigmentation and sun protection; the reason being that hyperpigmentation is very common with melanin-rich skin and sunscreen is important to its treatment and/or management.
What’s your Niacinamide story? Is your skin in love with Niacinamide or it’s part of the unlucky minority?