Can niacinamide, the touted skin hero praised for its ability to soothe irritations, minimize redness, balance oil production, heal painful breakouts, and even out skin tone, also cause texture?
The answer is yes! Niacinamide can sometimes cause the skin to become dry, textured, and even sensitive.
However, a few possible explanations may help clear up why this occurs.
Therefore, before you ditch your niacinamide products, be sure to read on and learn more about the possible causes of niacinamide-induced texture and what you can do to mitigate the issue.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is one of the two active forms of vitamin B3 known for its antioxidant, soothing, and barrier-strengthening properties.
This form of vitamin B3 is called niacin and is the building block of the active ingredient in most over-the-counter niacinamide products.
Belonging to a water-soluble group of vitamins, niacin is also present in many nutritious foods, like meat, fish, poultry, leafy greens, legumes, avocado, peanuts, whole grains, mushrooms, green peas, and potatoes.
However, while our body benefits more from eating foods rich in niacin, our skin absorbs niacinamide better, making it the preferred form for skincare products.
This is why niacinamide has become a popular ingredient in beauty and skincare products, as it is known to be effective in addressing several skin concerns as well as offer multiple benefits for the skin.
The Benefits of Using Niacinamide
Niacinamide is generally known for its multipurpose approach to skin improvement.
Here are some benefits of using skincare products with niacinamide:
Side Effects of Using Niacinamide
Niacinamide is one of the safest ingredients used in skincare products. Generally well tolerated by everyone, including those with ultra-sensitive skin, niacinamide rarely causes any side effects.
However, with that being said, each individual is unique, and so is our skin. Therefore, it is still possible for niacinamide to cause certain side effects in certain individuals, though these are usually mild and temporary.
Some potential side effects of niacinamide are dryness, stinging, redness, itching, peeling, and burning.
Active ingredients tend to have these effects, but eventually, once your skin gets habituated, they go away unless the product you’re using is unsuitable for your skin.
Can Niacinamide Cause Textured Skin?
Yes! Niacinamide can cause textured skin in some cases, and here are some potential explanations as to why this may be happening:
Issues such as rough, uneven texture are more prominent on dry and dehydrated skin. This occurs when the skin doesn’t have enough moisture and oil to keep it plump and smooth.
Perpetual dryness and dehydration can trigger our oil glands into producing more oil that will have difficulty traveling to the skin’s surface because of a weakened skin barrier and will instead stiffen inside the pores, causing issues like closed comedones that appear on the skin as flesh-colored bumps.
So, if you are using a niacinamide product that’s drying out your skin due to containing other irritating ingredients or not enough hydrating ingredients, this could be one possibility of why your niacinamide is causing your skin texture.
Another possibility why niacinamide is causing texture on the skin could be due to the concentration or potency of the niacinamide used.
Studies have shown that just 4% niacinamide produces results and that any more than 5% is not necessarily more effective and, in fact, may be irritating.
However, many popular products contain way above that concentration and can go up to 10 or 20%, which may be too strong for some skin and can cause irritation that manifests as dry and textured skin.
The skincare market is incredibly vast, with new brands and products popping up every single day.
So, while many brands are making excellent, effective products, there are also those that are using subpar ingredients that don’t work well together and can sometimes result in irritation, redness, and in some cases, textured skin.
So, if your niacinamide product is causing textured skin, it could be due to a bad formula, and you should consider switching to a different product.
This is probably one of the main reasons why niacinamide could be causing your skin texture.
For example, using niacinamide that is too strong for your skin’s needs or using it too often can, in some cases, lead to skin issues, one of which is textured skin.
While niacinamide is advised to be used as a part of your daily skincare routine, as mentioned several times before, everyone’s skin is different, and so is our tolerance towards certain ingredients.
Additionally, when using a water-based serum that contains niacinamide, it’s important to follow up with a moisturizer, as water-based ingredients need to be sealed with an emollient to prevent them from evaporating and leaving the skin dry, which will lead to textured skin.
Combined With Other Products That Cause Irritation
Although gentle enough and generally compatible with most actives, niacinamide can sometimes cause dryness, irritation, and texture when used with other actives that can cause skin sensitivity.
For example, using niacinamide and retinol together is usually a great combination that will help tackle various skin concerns, including acne, hyperpigmentation, signs of aging, etc.
However, some people find that using these two together can cause their skin to become dry, red, and irritated, which then manifests as textured skin, especially at the beginning stages of using retinol when the skin is getting used to the active ingredient.
So, when trying to figure out why niacinamide might be causing various skin issues, such as dryness and texture, it’s a good idea to take a look at your skincare routine and consider multiple factors, including the other products that you’re using.
Niacinamide is a fantastic ingredient with a whole host of benefits, but as with any other ingredient, it’s important to understand how to use it properly and what products to combine it with to avoid any skin issues.
Finally, niacinamide might be causing skin concerns such as dryness and texture because its pH might clash with the pH of other components used in your skincare routine.
For example, niacinamide sits at a pH between 5-7, and its performance might get compromised if used with products with a pH of less than 4, such as exfoliating acids.
While it’s worth noting that this isn’t always the case and that a combo consisting of exfoliating acids and niacinamide has improved many people’s skin concerns, again, this might not be the case for everyone.
Therefore, if you think the pH of your products might be clashing and causing skin issues, try using them on alternate days to avoid skin irritation and make the most out of your products.
How to Use Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is an ingredient that can be found in many skincare products, from cleansers, serums, essences, moisturizers, and even sunscreens.
Therefore, it’s essential to pick a product that works for you and incorporate it into your skincare routine in a way that your skin will be able to tolerate it without getting irritated.
For example, niacinamide in cleansers, essences, moisturizers, and sunscreens is usually lower than the concentration found in serums, as these are leave-on products that usually contain active ingredients in higher concentrations to be more effective.
Therefore, if you want to try a serum containing niacinamide as its main active ingredient, using it once a day as a part of your evening skincare routine is a good start, and you can always increase the frequency of use if your skin can tolerate it.
It’s also important to follow the instructions on the product, as some products might need to be used more or less often than others, and using them as recommended is always the best way to get the most out of them without causing skin concerns.
In general, niacinamide can be used up to twice a day as a part of a complete skincare regimen that consists of a cleanser, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.
If you want to incorporate niacinamide into your skincare routine but are unsure where to start, I have an article on the best niacinamide serums, which might be helpful.
In conclusion, niacinamide is generally safe for all skin types and concerns; however, using it in the wrong way, or using a product that doesn’t work for your skin, can lead to concerns such as dryness, redness, and texture.
If you think that niacinamide is causing any skin issues, it’s important to take a look at your skincare routine as a whole and consider all the possible factors that might be causing the problem, starting from the ingredients in the products you’re using, to the pH, and even the frequency of use.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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