The Story Behind The Ordinary
The Ordinary is a popular skin care brand under the global beauty brand, Deciem’s, umbrella. Created to offer effective, clinical solutions at an affordable price tag, The Ordinary features a cohesive collection of treatments to meet the most common skin care needs. Since its launch, The Ordinary has gained a loyal customer base of users who not only love The Ordinary skin care products, but also appreciate the brand’s commitment to transparency. In this review, we are going to focus on The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. We’ll discuss what it is, the key ingredients, how to use it, reviews from real customers, and more.
What is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%?
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is a high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula that combines niacinamide to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion with the zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) to balance visible aspects of sebum activity. Although both niacinamide and zinc PCA can reduce the look of blemishes and balance visible sebum activity, neither is a treatment for acne. Therefore, the brand recommends using other products with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and/or retinoic acid if you’re dealing with persistent acne-related conditions.
What Are The Key Ingredients in The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%?
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% includes a high concentration of niacinamide (10%) as one of the key ingredients. Niacinamide is the amide form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that provides many benefits to the skin. For instance, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling.
Niacinamide is able to help with acne because of its antimicrobial and sebostatic effects, meaning it can help protect against the bacteria that cause acne while also helping to reduce oil production. Two double-blind studies published in the International Journal of Dermatology (one in 1995, the other in 2013) found that a topical preparation of 4% niacinamide treated moderate acne just as well as 1% clindamycin (a topical antibiotic prescribed for acne) when applied twice daily for eight weeks. And a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy found that a 2% topical niacinamide formulation could reduce oil production.
Niacinamide also function as a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants help the skin combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Niacinamide is also a precursor to the coenzymes NADH and NADPH. These coenzymes play an important role in cellular metabolism, which means they provide skin cells with the energy needed to function properly.
In addition to niacinamide, The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% also includes zinc PCA as a key ingredient. Zinc PCA is the salt form of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, also known as pyroglutamic acid, which is the cyclic lactam of glutamic acid. Zinc PCA is known to help control acne and decrease sebum secretion. Although it’s not fully understood how zinc helps with acne, it is thought that salts of this metal decrease inflammation caused by acne. Zinc is also an antibacterial, and when combined with PCA it is able to decrease sebum secretion.
Another benefit of zinc PCA is its ability to function as a humectant. A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups, such as hydroxyl groups (OH) and/or amine groups (NH2). The structure of zinc PCA has two amine (NH2) groups, which hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin. Humectants pull water from the dermis to the epidermis and stratum corneum. In addition, humectants can draw water vapor from the air to help moisturize the skin if the humidity is over 50 percent.
PCA is also a component of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF). According to an article by Practical Dermatology, the NMF is composed principally of free amino acids, and various derivatives of these amino acids such as PCA, urocanic acid, and inorganic salts, sugars, as well as lactic acid and urea. All of these substances work together to keep the skin’s surface intact, supple, and hydrated. The NMF can become depleted as we age, and also from routine exposure to sensitizing ingredients like drying cleansing agents and denatured alcohol. The result is visibly dry, tight-feeling, flaky skin. Therefore, using skin care products that replenish the components of the NMF — such as the zinc PCA in The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% — can help to maintain skin hydration.
How to Use The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Apply The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% to the entire face morning and evening before heavier creams. If irritation occurs, cease use and consult a physician. Use only as directed on unbroken skin. Patch testing prior to use is advised. If topical vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid and/or Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid) is used as part of skincare, it should be applied at alternate times with this formula (ideally vitamin C in the PM and this formula in the AM). Otherwise, niacinamide can affect integrity of the vitamin C.
Where is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Sold?
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and other skin care products by The Ordinary are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party sellers like Amazon, Ulta, and Sephora. The brand has a store locator and list of authorized retailers on their website.
What is The Ordinary Return Policy?
All Deciem brands, including The Ordinary, offer a 365-day full refund policy.
Is The Ordinary Cruelty Free?
The Ordinary is cruelty free. DECIEM and The Ordinary do not test on animals and do not ask others to do so. For this reason, none of their brands or products are sold in stores or conventional retailers in mainland China, since such sales require animal testing for registration purposes.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Reviews
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% reviews on the brand’s website are mostly positive, with the product receiving an average rating of 8.3 out of 10 stars after more than 1,300 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% are from customers who saw great improvements after using product, such as brighter skin, fewer breakouts, and reduced oiliness. For example, one review says, “I have been using this product for a few months and I will never leave it again! I have oily skin and dilated pores which in certain times of stress or in the hormonal phase causes me small pimples that lasted weeks.This product has greatly improved the appearance of my skin! It is brighter, I no longer wake up with that shiny patina on the area and even the pores are minimized.With constant use the small spots of old pimples have disappeared and no more have come out of the others! my skin is very beautiful! I recommend it 100% it has become my favorite product!!!”
Negative reviews for The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% are mostly from customers who did not notice any difference after using this product. For example, one review says, “Meh. This might as well have been tap water, seriously. Used 1x daily for a month which should have been sufficient to see some small indication of efficacy but sadly, nothing. Zero effect. So many great reviews that I’m willing to try again but as of now, I’m not optimistic. I gave four stars instead of none because my skin didn’t react badly to it.”
What Are Some Alternatives to The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%?
Overall, we think that The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is formulated well, especially the high concentration of niacinamide that can help with multiple skin conditions. While niacinamide can help to reduce the appearance of blemishes and help control sebum production, it’s imperative to use a cleanser that will help to clear pores if you’re dealing with acne. We recommend Formulyst’s Clarifying AHA Cleanser.
The Clarifying AHA Cleanser is formulated to gently cleanse and exfoliate the skin while removing dirt and makeup. It contains glycolic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), to help refine pores, control excess oil, and smooth away any surface-level roughness. The formula also contains ingredients to moisturize and soothe the skin, such as rosehip seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and chamomile flower oil. Overall, Formulyst’s Clarifying AHA Cleanser can help your skin to feel clean, clear, and beautifully refreshed.
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1. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41
2. Int J Dermatol 1995 Jun;34(6):434-7.
3. Int J Dermatol 2013 Aug;52(8):999-1004.
4. Practical Dermatology “Understanding the Role of Natural Moisturizing Factor in Skin Hydration” Joseph Fowler, MD, FAAD July 2012