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I swear by this must-have skincare ingredient to soothe my problem skin – and experts agree

Suffer with acne? HELLO! speaks to experts about skincare regimes

Skincare, beauty and oil serum on hands, isolated on blue background in studio. Beauty products, skincare products and woman holding liquid vial for
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
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For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from oily, acne-prone skin. As if being a teenager wasn't challenging enough with hormones flying about all over the place, battling pimples and regular breakouts was certainly not an enjoyable experience.

"You'll grow out of it," Mother dearest said to a hapless 15-year-old me. Yet here I am aged 30 still combatting what is officially titled "adult acne". Excellent! The fun never stops!

I'm all for embracing natural beauty and loving flaws and, for what it's worth, it's not quite as bad as it was during my secondary school years. I do, at times, have good skin days. Nevertheless, angry breakouts are not a thing of my past.

As a skincare obsessive, I'm always trying out products that promise to guide me to the heavenly destination that is clear skin. My bathroom cabinet might as well be a revolving door of products that have come and gone in times gone by. But there is one ingredient that has stood the test of time and helped me and my skin out enormously: Niacinamide.

Hand holding up a bottle of The Ordinary Niacinamide serum© Francesca Shillcock
I swear by Niacinamide to soothe my problem skin

We all know that acne can be caused by various factors including genetics and hormone imbalances. While there's not a lot I can do about those two elements, what I can do is treat the symptoms and Niacinamide genuinely works for me.

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An expert opinion...

But don't just take my word for it. If you're seeing yourself in this article then you can be assured that experts back up the ingredient as a must-have.

Dr Leah Totton, former winner of BBC's The Apprentice and founder of Dr Leah Cosmetic Skin Clinics, told HELLO!: "Niacinamide can help improve the skin's protective barrier by stimulating ceramides, this leads to a healthier skin barrier which retains moisture."

Well, that makes sense to me, I was always told that dehydrated skin exacerbates pimples. Leah continued: "It is also a gentle skin active and has antioxidant properties." 

But it's not just acne it helps target, she explained further: "It also has anti-ageing benefits, it has the ability to help improve the skin's collagen production which can lead to fewer fine lines and wrinkles." Winner, winner.

Photo showing journalist taking selfie
My skin has improved enormously using Niacinamide

Dr Leah also stated that Niacinamide is suitable for sensitive skin and advises using it every day for its full benefit. Meanwhile, Dr Kubicka MD, aesthetic medicine physician and founder of ClinicBe in Knightsbridge, echoed this argument.

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"Niacinamide's anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce redness and irritation associated with acne, eczema, or other skin issues. It also regulates oil production, which can be particularly beneficial for those with oily or acne-prone skin, as it helps to prevent the clogging of pores that can lead to breakouts." 

So, where to begin? There are many options on the market to choose from to incorporate the B3 active into your regime. 

My favourite is The Ordinary's 'Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%'. But there are, of course, many others that do the same thing. It's the ingredient that's key.

For me, it does exactly what it says on the bottle: "A universal serum for blemish-prone skin that smooths, brightens, and supports." It's so easy to apply, absorbs quickly and isn't heavy so I happily throw on my favourite moisturiser on top.

I genuinely would be lost without this little beauty, and if you ask me how many bottles I've got through, to that I say: no comment. 

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