July 17, 2019
In general, it's safe to assume that something that seems like a cure-all will probably end up acting more more like a "cure nothing." But in the skin care world, there's one buzzy ingredient that seems to help with just enough different types of concerns to be legit: niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3. At the 2019 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) conference earlier this spring— an annual event where experts in skin care get together to talk about the biggest new trends, treatments, and procedures in the industry — niacinamide was a hot topic of conversation, with several brands releasing new products that contain the vitamin.
Basically, all the clinical trials that have been done so far (here's one on melasmaand one on treating uneven skin tone more generally) have shown that this stuff can help with almost any minor skin concern, whether you're looking to treat acne or just add a little more brightness to your complexion. While you should always check with your dermatologist before adding any ingredient to your routine — especially if you're taking medication, Feely notes — the risks of side effects from using it are low. In fact, Joshua Zeichner, a director of cosmetic and clinical dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told Allure,""Niacinamide is generally considered to be such a soothing ingredient that I do not have a conversation with most patients about side effects." Hsu echoes this, telling Bustle, "Niacinamide is an extremely well-tolerated product. There are very rare instances of irritation even with the use of high percentages."
In terms of working the ingredient into your own routine, Hsu recommends his patients start out with a product that has at least a 4% niacinamide concentration. And you don't really have to worry about it interacting poorly with your current skin care faves, either. Ivana Veljkovic, PhD, the vice president of research and development at PCA Skin, tells Bustle that the only time niacinamide doesn't work is if it's mixed with L-ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) into one water-based product. "This does not happen if the ingredients are used at the same time on the skin from different products," she explains. "They mix well in the skin, but not in one water-based product."
Naturally, you can get your niacinamide from a sheet mask, too. This one has brightening effects, and the B3 helps even out skin tone.