Niacinamide 101: How this brightening ingredient affects skin of color

It’s good for everything from hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and improving skin texture.

It feels like Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is in every beauty product imaginable. But beyond knowing it exists or how to say it (nia-cina-mide), how does it benefit skin? Particularly skin with melanin that’s more prone to hyperpigmentation and scarring? 

Here’s what to know about this buzzy brightening ingredient when it comes to skin of color. 

First up, what is Niacinamide?

It’s one of two forms of Vitamin B3, the other being Niacin. Both forms are water soluble vitamins that are essential to cellular functions within the body.

What are its benefits? And what skin concerns does it address?

It is a multifunction ingredient that has shown to reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the transfer of melanin, smooth skin roughness, promote skin hydration, and soothe inflamed skin. So it’s good for skin with hyperpigmentation, rough skin texture, irritation, and inflammation. 

Why is it beneficial for skin of color?

Studies show that niacinamide is effective for POC although more research needs to be done to understand the benefits of niacinamide specifically on darker skin types. That said, its ability to soothe inflamed skin may provide protection against post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which can be more commonly experienced in skin of color.

How does it help hyperpigmentation or PIH? 

Niacinamide has been shown to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by preventing the transfer of melanin. This pathway is different from that of traditional hyperpigmentation actives, which act as tyrosinase inhibitors: tyrosinase is the enzyme that catalyzes the production of melanin resulting in your overall skin tone, so inhibiting them changes your overall color. Furthermore, Niacinamide has also been studied to reduce redness and inflammation, which could help further prevent PIH.

How much Niacinamide does skin need? 

Studies have shown that Niacinamide is effective at 2-4% concentrations. While anything above those percentages will work, they might unnecessarily irritate the skin (and increase the price of your product). 

How should Niacinamide be used?

It performs incredibly alone or with the help of other anti-aging ingredients, so layer it accordingly. It’s also safe enough to use everyday.

Leave a Reply