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Are You Overdoing It With Niacinamide?

December 29, 2020

Are You Overdoing It With Niacinamide?

Are You Overdoing It With Niacinamide?

With plenty of benefits for smoother, glowing skin, the popularity of niacinamide has been on the rise in recent years. 

But are you overdoing it with the amount of niacinamide in your routine? Today, we’re going to take a look at why more is not necessarily better. First, let’s start with what niacinamide actually is.

What Is Niacinamide?

A form of Vitamin B3, niacinamide is a skincare ingredient beloved by dermatologists the world over. 

The results? 

It is perhaps best known for effectively brightening dull skin but the benefits don't end there. Niacinimide also boasts; 

  • Improving skin tone and reducing the appearance of redness
  • Reducing the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pore
  • Strengthening skin
  • Calming acne-prone skin

It's easy to see why it's popularity is on the rise and why we are seeing it in so much of our skincare, but, sometimes it's wise heed the age old adage of 'more isn't always better.' 

Why More is Not Necessarily Better?

For some users, higher concentrations of niacinamide can lead to redness and irritation, particularly near the eyes.

So what is a high concentration?

Well, studies have shown that dosages as low as 2% are effective. So anything over 2% is technically a bonus!

This is why 2% is the golden standard in Korean beauty products. Having reviewed thousands on K-Beauty ingredients lists (and their percentages!), STYLE STORY Founder and K-Beauty expert Lauren Lee confirmed:

““I rarely see niacinamide in Korean Beauty products in percentages less than 2%. In fact, I would say 2% is the rule. This is probably because the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) stipulates that products must contain at least 2% to make brightening claims. If they contain anything more than that, the companies will likely say so on the packaging, because it’s a good marketing point.”

As a general rule of thumb, this minimum effective dose of niacinamide is good enough.

Although there are commercially available products with super high dosages (eg. The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum), be careful when combining multiple products with niacinamide. If you’re layering toners, serums, essences, moisturisers and sleeping masks in a single routine its easy to see how you might actually be getting too much of a good thing. 

What To Do Instead?

As always, we recommend playing it safe and starting with lower dosages before scaling up. You only have one skin barrier and if you damage it, you risk disturbing its protective abilities to keep bad bacteria out, and hydration in.

While you’re at it, check to see what other skincare actives or chemical exfoliants are in your routine. We’re talking things like:

- L-ascorbic acid (pure Vitamin C)

- AHAs

- BHAs

- PHAs

- Retinols and Vitamin A

Overdoing on these products can lead to over-exfoliationas well, the results of which aren’t pretty.

Our Favourite K-Beauty Niacinamide Products

K-Beauty has been a long time promoter of niacinamide, particularly for Korean girls in the pursuit of glass skin,

Some of our favourites include:

D’Alba White Truffle Anti Wrinkle Cream – Designed to be used last thing at night before heading to bed, this is a beautifully rich anti-aging cream. It takes care of the key signs of aging with antioxidant and skin brightening effects.The formulation includes niacinamide to assist with pores, plumping and a clearer complexion.

Tosowoong Green Tea Essence– ideal for anyone with acne-prone, red and irritated skin, this Essence combines green tea with niacinamide. It also contains star ingredients galactomyces and rh-oligopeptide-1.

TOCOBO Collagen Brightening Eye Gel Cream contains lavender flower water and Retinol. It moisturizes and vitalizes on the eye area. Vegetable collagen safely helps keep skin elasticity.

Some By Mi Yuja Niacin 30 Days Blemish Care Serum – Formulated with Korean Yuja extract and 5% niacinamide for brightening, this serum restores dull and stressed skin.

Dr Jart Vital Hydra Solution Biome Eye Cream – Powered by patented Jartbiome technology, this formula features niacinamide and fermented probiotics. It aims to bolster your skin’s moisture barrier.

So let us know – Are you overdoing it on the niacinamide? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.

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"You only have one skin barrier and if you damage it, you risk disturbing its protective abilities to keep bad bacteria out, and hydration in."


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