Every once in a while, a certain skincare formula comes to market and swiftly becomes the new gold standard of its kind. For years, people have gushed over the combination of niacinamide and zinc, with an ability to radically transform the look and feel of skin by keeping it clean and clear. But what exactly are these ingredients, what do they do, and how do they work together?
How Niacinamide and Zinc Work Together for Skin Health
There is a lot of crossover when it comes to the offerings of both of these superstar ingredients, especially with regards to helping those with oily or blemish-prone skin keep their complexions clear. By reinforcing the skin’s protective barrier and balancing your skin's oils, these ingredients help to keep pores free of too many pimple-promoting components. Then, by further reducing the effects of toxins and environmental stressors niacinamide and zinc help foster healthier, less congested skin. Let’s dive into the individual benefits of each ingredient.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also sometimes referred to as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B-3, an essential nutrient helping to support proper body, brain, and skin function. It is not naturally produced by the human body and is water-soluble, which means that while it can be carried to our internal tissues when consumed (either by ingestion or topical application), it cannot be stored for future use. Consequently, we must actively seek it out regularly to sustain proper amounts.
Niacinamide can be found in a number of highly nutritious whole foods or taken orally in supplement form, while synthetic versions of niacinamide can be applied topically to address a variety of skin concerns.
Skin Benefits of Niacinamide
It brightens and fights signs of aging.
This is likely due to niacinamide’s ability to protect skin from sun damage and rejuvenate your skin. This then minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and may help to prevent the look of new ones. Niacinamide also has brightening effects and can diminish the look of age and dark spots. Finally, niacinamide promotes firmness and an even skin tone.
It calms the skin.
Niacinamide is an exasperated complexion’s bestie. It calms the skin and helps to manage and reduce the look of temporary redness and blotchiness.
Niacinamide improves barrier function.
Niacinamide helps to reinforce the skin’s protective barrier. This shields against environmental stressors, toxins, and pollution, while simultaneously having occlusive effects, helping to seal in critical moisture and prevent dehydration.
It clarifies and regulates oil production.
In addition to sealing in moisture, niacinamide helps to better balance the skin’s natural oils, control shine, and minimize the appearance of pores by preventing them from becoming clogged in the first place, setting even those with oily skin on the road to a healthier, happier complexion.
What Is Zinc?
Though zinc is critical for whole-body health, it is another essential nutrient that our physical forms cannot independently produce or store. It is however abundant and naturally found in a number of delicious and nutritious foods; things like nuts, seeds, and even dark chocolate. Zinc supplements are also widely available and can be a great way to supply your body with this major mineral in the absence of obtaining proper amounts from natural sources.
Zinc is the second-most abundant trace mineral in the body and is required for practically every bodily function from cell growth to digestion. It is notorious for enhancing immune function and consequently is found in a number of immune support products like lozenges and electrolyte powders. But zinc also offers a swarm of benefits for the skin and, especially when applied topically, can have a dramatic impact on its appearance.
Skin Benefits of Zinc
It has anti-aging powers.
Zinc helps balance skin proteins, helping to plump-up the skin for a more youthful appearance. This added volume can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even help prevent new ones from forming!
Zinc protects against environmental stressors.
Similar to how zinc offers support for our immune systems, it functions similarly for the skin, helping to defend against infection, pollutants, toxins, and environmental stressors that can damage skin tissue and keep it from looking and feeling its best. Zinc also helps fortify the skin for proper healing when damage does occur.
It is an anti-irritant.
Zinc soothes the skin, helping to alleviate the effects of irritation and reducing associated redness. For this reason, it is often used by professionals to treat a variety of skin conditions.
It prevents clogged pores.
Zinc regulates oil production and also keeps dead skin cells from sticking together and jamming up your pores. These combined help to clarify the skin and prevent all sorts of skin-related party fouls.
How to Use
The duo of niacinamide and zinc are most simply delivered as a combination serum. Apply a few drops to skin after cleansing and before the introduction of any moisturizers or facial oils. As mentioned earlier, these ingredients can work wonders for those with oily or breakout-prone skin, but the combination is generally considered safe for twice daily use by all skin types. It can however cause minor irritation and redness in some users, so be sure to patch test before applying to the face and consider starting off slow. Try using only once per day or every other day and then gradually increase the frequency of use once your skin has adjusted. And lastly, but most importantly, always consult with your physician before adding any supplements or minerals to your regimen.