also available at:

This Star Ingredient Is What Your Skincare Routine Needs Right Now

It's called niacinamide a.k.a. vitamin B3.

The thing we miss most about being in the office – sorry, work BFFs – is the air-con. When you’re working at home in a room that is not likely to be temperature controlled, the heat and humidity can exacerbate oil production which in turn can lead to breakouts. Plus, every time you do leave your home office, you’re wearing a mask which could result in skin irritation, redness, and more breakouts.

That’s where niacinamide, or vitamin B3, comes in.

What is niacinamide?

Also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinamide, niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin. It’s essential to skin health because it helps keep the skin barrier strong. This group of B vitamins is also particularly known for its soothing and healing benefits. But the body doesn’t make this vitamin, so you need to get from your diet or topically via your skincare. The great part about vitamin B3 is that it is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

What does niacinamide do to your skin?

Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin Clinic and Associates, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, says the ingredient has three top benefits. It’s a powerful anti-ager as it protects cells against photodamage and environmental pollution. It is anti-inflammatory, so it will not worsen eczema, rosacea, and acne. It also helps to both boost moisture content and reduces moisture loss in the skin. Other lesser-known benefits include lightening pigmentation and reducing pore size. Plus, it’s safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Xenia Wong, founder of Sigi Skin, is a fan of niacinamide. It’s used in three of her products, including the newest Dream Capsule overnight mask. Wong started looking into the ingredient to help her own hyperpigmentation issues, then discovered it could do so much more. She says: “Many Dream Capsule users have commented that their pores look smaller and pimple scars fade faster. It also works well with moisturising ingredients to restore skin’s moisture.”

Niacinamide also co-exists well with many active ingredients, says Dr Tan. “It can be combined with retinol or azelaic acid for anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. It also works well with hyaluronic acid to improve skin absorption and hydration.”

Here are some niacinamide-infused skincare products to consider adding to your routine for their soothing, skin barrier strengthening, and moisturising benefits.

This article originally appeared in Cleo Singapore.

Dr. Dennis Gross DRx Blemish Solutions Breakout Clearing Gel, $65
Niacinamide, along with salicylic acid and other oil-regulating ingredients help to tackle the existing breakouts, and inhibit future blemishes without the harsh drying effects usually associated with breakout treatments. Derma Lab Hydraceutic Double Power Vitamin Concentrate, $49.90
Five per cent vitamin B3 together with five per cent vitamin B5 helps soothe skin, strengthen skin’s natural defence system, protect it from external aggressors and inhibit melanin production to brighten and even out skin tone. Skin Inc My Daily Dose Of Armour, $98
This serum combines vitamin B3 with pro-vitamin B5, adding liquorice and ceramides to clear up blemishes and post-acne pigmentation, shrink the look of pores and strengthen skin. Sigi Skin Dream Capsule, $82
Niacinamide works with bakuchiol (a plant-derived retinol alternative) to repair and nourish skin all night. Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial, $74
Slather on this mask when your skin needs a boost of moisture. Rich in vitamin F, soothing niacinamide, plant squalane, ceramides and antioxidants it deeply nourishes and hydrates skin. Innisfree Brightening Pore Serum, $52
Fade pigmentation, clarify, soothe and protect skin with this lightweight serum that is a potent blend of niacinamide, vitamin C and vitamin B5. Yves Saint Laurent Beaute Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender SPF50+/PA++++, $92
Made of 100 per cent niacinamide and citrus peel, its ultra-thin texture (eight times thinner than regular sunscreens) lets skin breathe more easily. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $10
Niacinamide combined with zinc fights zits and keeps skin shine-free and clear.