There’s a reason why you keep hearing about this ingredient. Here’s why this wildly multi-talented superstar, Niacinamide deserves its newfound popularity.

Of the many interesting phenomena of the modern world, one of our favorites is how, overnight, random somethings—D.T.C. dog food, comically tiny purses—find their way into the zeitgeist and start appearing everywhere. Like on every flat surface, in every conversation with friends… things that you’d never heard of three weeks ago become inescapable.

Some of these trends are bound to have shorter lifespans. Others are built to go the distance. And though it can be hard to guess the longevity of a trend with any accuracy, there are certain fads that our intuition tells us will outlast the others. Niacinamide is one such craze.

At first glance, niacinamide appears to be a relatively new ingredient to the skincare scene, but it’s actually been a dermatologist favorite for many years. So why the sudden mania? Let’s take a look at the fine print.

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of water-soluble vitamin B3 that supports the structural integrity of your skin. It’s best known for its ability to strengthen and fortify your skin barrier, and it does this by promoting the production of proteins and collagen, which are the building blocks of healthy skin. By finding and repairing damaged skin cells, niacinamide actively restores and revitalizes skin, leaving it tighter, stronger, and more even-toned (which as we all know, is the holy grail of ageless skin).

What are the benefits of using niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a multitasker, which is part of the reason that it’s become so popular. By repairing damaged skin cells, it improves the health of your skin barrier, which is the part that keeps oil and water production in perfect harmony. And while that’s super important, the visible benefits of niacinamide are also worth noting. Niacinamide is a pro at improving rough, uneven skin texture thanks to its ability to build proteins. These proteins help restore structure to your skin where it was once missing, filling in the gaps and evening things out. This also makes niacinamide helpful in softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Impressed? There’s more friends. Niacinamide can also truly help even skin tone and diminish signs of hyperpigmentation. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, niacinamide can calm visible redness. It’s also been shown to help treat hyperpigmentation by preventing the spread of pigment in the skin, which is what creates dark spots. Niacinamide also works hard to prevent future damage from happening by rebuilding damaged skin cells and making your skin stronger and better able to protect itself. All in all, a pretty impressive list of talents for just one ingredient, and that is why it is a staple in some of Ourself’s greatest hits such as Daily Dark Spot Intercept, Daily Renewal Cream, and Mineral Sunscreen.

How should I use Niacinamide?

As you may have noticed, there are many, many different ways to include niacinamide in your skincare routine. Serums, essences, toners, creams—you name it, it exists. Niacinamide is an ingredient that works best when given the time to absorb properly into your skin and work its magic. For that reason, a cleanser is not necessarily the most ideal or efficient way to deliver niacinamide to your skin because most of it will just get washed off. Niacinamide is water-soluble, so water-based serums are a good option for many people, as they’re able to deliver higher concentrations of the active ingredient straight to your skin. Other great choices are moisturizers and creams, which contain inclusive properties that help to lock niacinamide into your skin, allowing it to absorb and boost its hydrating wondrousness.

What else should I know about it?

Niacinamide is generally friendly with most skin types; however, those with particularly sensitive skin should be aware that in higher concentrations (10% and above), some people may find it to be irritating. The good news is that niacinamide is still quite effective in concentrations below 10%, so don’t worry about missing out on the maximum benefits if you’ve got sensitive skin. Just look for products with lower concentrations and you should be good to go.

Another thing to consider is that while niacinamide can do wonders when it comes to improving skin texture, it’s not a magic bullet fix for erasing pores. Pore size is largely determined by genetics, which is why no ingredient, however powerful, can make pores simply disappear. What niacinamide can do is even the area surrounding your pores, reducing their overall appearance. And hey, we’ll take it.