Maxfield’s dream combo: niacinamide and retinoids. According to Maxfield, both of these products can decrease oil production, address fine lines and wrinkles, manage breakouts, fade dark spots, and improve elasticity in the skin. However, these products work in very different ways.
“Retinoids carry the team,” Maxfield says. This makes sense given retinoids (both OTC and prescription-grade options) enhance cell turnover in the skin. When it comes to photoaging, this process is ideal.
On a molecular level, retinoids combat skin aging by inhibiting metalloproteinases, or collagen-degrading enzymes. Additionally, they encourage cell turnover and help thicken the epidermis and even out hyperpigmentation. Plus, retinoids help to improve skin texture–all A+ functions for those looking to treat photoaging.
While retinoids are the key product in this combo, niacinamide serves as a “booster,” Maxfield says. See, niacinamide boasts a few benefits that retinoids don’t—it nourishes the skin barrier and serves as a soothing antioxidant, so it protects the skin from oxidative stress and is ideal for inflamed skin.
While the benefits of retinoids take the cake, think of niacinamide as the cherry on top. Here’s a curated list of 12 mbg approved niacinamide serums if you’re on the hunt.