Deciem the Ordinary Niacinamide Serum | One Month Review With Before & After Photos

If you also enjoy spending way too time reading about skincare on the interwebs, chances are you've probably heard of Deciem and their newest brand, the Ordinary. If you need a recap, the Ordinary is the newest skincare brand launched by Deciem. Their approach to skincare is to produce familiar and effective skincare products at reasonable prices.

Almost everything in the Ordinary line retails for less than $10, and they offer free US shipping on purchases over $25. They have various outposts around the globe so there's also international shipping!

What I appreciate about the Ordinary's line is not only are they so affordable, but each product has a targeted purpose and ingredient list. Soo many skincare products claim to do x, y, and z and as a result, contain tiny amounts of active ingredients which aren't always effective. Today I'm reviewing the Niacinamide serum which includes 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc PCA.

Bonus! If you're interested in Glossier's the supers but are looking for something more affordable, check out the Ordinary. Super pure is similar to this serum, super bounce is similar to the Ordinary's HA serum (which I'm also currently testing out), and super glow is similar to a variety of the Ordinary's vitamin C products (you can read their Vitamin C guide here.)

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Price & Size
$5.90 for 30 mL+ of serum. According to the brand, 30 mL of product would reach the top of the label but mine was way past that point so they are totally generous with the amount given. I've been using this for about a month and a half now so I would venture to guess one bottle would last about 3 months depending on how much and how often you use it.

The packaging is very simplistic and clinical which is on brand for Deciem and the Ordinary. Considering the price tag of the serum, I'm very impressed with the bottle. It's made of a heavy, frosted glass-like material and is topped off with a rubber dropper. The dropper picks up and distributes the serum very easily.

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As you can (hopefully) tell from the photos, the serum is a clear color and has a runny viscosity to it. When I apply the proper amount, it absorbs nicely into my skin without making it feel tight or sticky.

But if I apply too much it can take some time to sink in and can leave a sticky, white-ish residue. It's not too much of a big deal because it doesn't cause any adverse reactions (aka no clogged pores/ breakouts.) The only negatives are that it's a bit difficult to layer my moisturizer on top and I'm wasting excess product.

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Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Zinc PCA, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Pentylene Glycol, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

The Ordinary's website doesn't make too many outright claims but does suggest using Niacinamide in a brightening routine. On the box the serum came in, it says that this serum regulates sebum and visibly minimizes pores.

Let's get a little nerdy 
I have to admit I never thought I would be browsing Google Scholar for fun but somehow I spent 2 hours Sunday night reading about the effects of topical Niacinamide. As a result, this section was originally 4 paragraphs long. But I cut it out because a) the longer I talk, the greater the chances are I say something incorrect and b) this isn't a science blog and a lot of the info I mentioned was extraneous.

If you are interested in reading up about niacinamide, I recommend this article which succinctly summarizes the various potential benefits of niacinamide with a manageable amount of sciencey jargon. If you aren't into reading sciencey skincare stuff for fun, here are some of the findings on the effects of niacinamide from various in vivo and in vitro experiments:
  • -Niacinamide can stimulate ceramide synthesis and improve the skin barrier
  • -Niacinamide can stimulate collagen synthesis in aging cells
  • -Niacinamide can aid in fading hyperpigmentation 
  • -Niacinamide can have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne
  • -Niacinamide can cause a reduction in sebum production
  • -Niacinamide can improve the texture of aging skin
Suffice it to say, niacinamide has a ton of promising uses! It's no wonder it's such a popular skincare ingredient. 

Some bumps along the road
I wish I could say that I tested this serum in a totally controlled environment, but let's be real, that's impossible.

I have dehydrated, acne-prone skin and things only get worse as it gets colder and subsequently drier. On top of that, I realized that the Nars tinted moisturizer that I used all through last winter did not agree with my skin and caused breakouts if worn for more than 2 or 3 hours. And that didn't even stop me from using it occasionally because finding a new base product is a pain. Aaaand I ran out of all three of my chemical exfoliants at the same time which means that instead of exfoliating my usual once or twice a day, I was exfoliating 2 to 3 times a week. And of course, I can't forget that Aunt Flo came around and gifted me with some angry, hormonal breakouts.

Basically, there were various outside forces at play affecting my skin negatively throughout the last month.

How much & how often
It took my some time to figure out how much to use, but ultimately I realized 3 to 4 drops was sufficient to cover my cheeks aka my problem areas. Since the serum didn't layer well under my sunscreen, I applied it every night under a ceramide cream + sleeping pack.

So I initially bought this because I thought it would help in fading my acne scars. Unfortunately, I don't think it had much effect in that department. I also can't say that it made my pores any smaller, but I don't think anything can do that permanently cause your pores are your pores. But all is not lost because I did see improvements in the texture of my skin!

I'm still figuring out how to photograph close-ups of my face so please pardon the less than stellar photos.

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As you can see, I was not joking around when I said my face went through the ringer last month. While there are new acne scars that need healing, I would say the overall texture of my face has improved. Those stubborn closed comedones (skin colored bumps) have been plaguing me for as long as I can remember. Last year when I began using AHAs I saw an improvement in them, but it has sort of leveled off. After introducing this niacinamide serum, I saw another marked improvement.

Overall I'm really happy with the results! I'm going to continue using the serum and will add in the Ordinary's Alpha Arbutin serum which I've read is more effective at fighting acne scarring. I've also restocked on my chemical exfoliants so hopefully, I can keep any new breakouts at bay. Have you tried anything from the Ordinary yet? What do you think?

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