The multitasking all-rounder that your skin will thank you for
Vitamin C often hogs the limelight, leaving other vital vitamins a little bit in the shade. Go back in the vitamin alphabet slightly, and you’ll find the complex and multifaced Vitamin B3, which could be the unsung hero of skincare.
It is a brilliant multitasker in the skin-boosting stakes and is supported by long-standing research. Addressing a range of skin concerns is one of the most stable active ingredients in skincare with a neutral pH.
This miracle ingredient’s benefits are diverse and far-reaching, from how it continually communicates with the cells in your skin to how it makes your skin clearer, healthier, and younger-acting; this is why we have it in ample concentrations in our skin shot B+ Niacinamide complex.
To provide further insight on this hard-working ingredient, from how it helps to reduce hyperpigmentation – inflammation associated with premature ageing, to how to incorporate it into your skincare routine, here’s your go-to guide.
What is Vitamin B3?
When referring to this essential ingredient’s skin benefits, we talk about a specific form of B3 (an amide) known as Nicotinamide or Niacinamide. An essential water-soluble vitamin is not synthesised in the body, meaning our bodies don’t produce it independently. Therefore, if we want to reap the benefits, it needs to be applied topically or ingested via a supplement.
Promotes barrier function
Vitamin B3 is particularly beneficial due to its ability to strengthen the barrier function. Your skin’s barrier is the first line of defence against environmental aggressors, UV exposure, pollution, and irritants. Niacinamide boosts the barrier function by increasing the production of ceramides and improved the synthesis of healthy fats and barrier proteins such as keratin, involucrin, and filaggrin, making it perfect for an impaired barrier.
Because it helps restore the barrier function, water loss from the skin’s tissues (TEWL) is prevented, and hyaluronic acid’s natural levels are boosted.
The benefits also extend to uneven skin tone, as the transfer of melanin from melanocytes is inhibited. As the pigment transfer to the cells in the outer layer of the skin is disrupted, it signals the melanocyte to stop producing melanin, reducing hyperpigmentation.
A split-face study was carried out in 2011 over eight weeks in 27 participants. What was found was that a topical application of 4 per cent Vitamin B3 was nearly as effective as the controversial 4 per cent hydroquinone. The result found that 44 per cent of those in the study saw good-to-excellent improvement with Vitamin B3, and 55 per cent saw the same with Hydroquinone. So, B3, with its fewer side effects, can help reduce hyperpigmentation within the skin; I know which one I would rather use.
Decreases fine line
Topical niacinamide can reduce the appearance of fine lines by increasing collagen production and reducing excess glycosaminoglycan (GAG) compounds within the dermis.
It can help to reduce papules and pustules – and the inflammation around them. Two double-blind studies published by the international journal of dermatology, one of which was published here, shows a topical application of 4 per cent Vitamin B3 treated acne just as well as 1 per cent topical antibiotic Clindamycin, which is commonly prescribed to acne patients. This is the reason you’ll find it in our formula, B+ complex. The oral version is also great at treating acne, especially when some oral medications such as antibiotics aren’t well tolerated.
Oily Combination skin folks
If you suffer from that oily shine, further research suggests that applying just 2 per cent Vitamin B3 daily may also significantly slow down the flow of oil onto the skin’s surface. The other great thing about B3 is that it is relatively non-irritating compared to other acne treatments, making it a desirable option for those with combination skin prone to bouts of inflammation.
Has the potential to treat skin cancer?
I know a big deal, but ask a dermatologist what niacinamide does best, and the very first thing they’ll say will probably be skin cancer prevention. To understand this further, you need to look at skin science; It is thought that Vitamin B3 is so effective because it’s a precursor to two essential biochemical cofactors: Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide and Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate. These molecules are central to your cells’ chemical reactions – including skin cells – need to repair, propagate, and function normally. Many of these essential reactions can’t occur at all without NAD+, which your cells can’t make without niacinamide.
By supplying your body with the precursor, more NAD+ can be created, fuelling cellular proliferation and allowing your body to absorb and neutralise more free radicals.
Incorporating it into your routine
Vitamin B3 is one of the most versatile ingredients out there. It’s suitable for morning and evening use,
Most major studies used topical preparations containing 2 per cent to 10 per cent niacinamide; the B+ niacinamide complex is within that range, both gentle, soothing, and hydrating; it can be incorporated anytime into your routine. If you use it with a Vitamin C product, I recommend using it at the opposite time of day, ideally night time, as Vitamin C is recommended to ward off free radicals.
Does it cause flushing?
This is where we need to look closely at the ingredients Nicotinic Acid versus Nicotinamide or Niacinimide.
There is one common misconception when it comes to using Vitamin B3. Nicotinamide is a specific amide – a particular chemical structure form of B3. It is not niacin, which is the acid version of Vitamin B3, which on occasion has the unpleasant side effect of causing the skin to flush; Nicotinamide or Niacinimide doesn’t have this side effect. So if you’re not into having a red face on occasion, be sure to scan your products Inci list and don’t make the mistake of assuming that it is still the same ingredient despite the lack of “amide”.
The naked truth
In short, it’s an incredibly restorative ingredient. It helps restore energy in the cells; it can repair damage to our DNA; it fights off external stressors that can ultimately lead to premature ageing, like discolouration and fine lines. It reduces the effects of sun-damaged skin – preventing the transfer of pigment within the skin. Thanks to vitamin B3’s anti-inflammatory properties, it can also reduce redness and irritation whilst strengthening the skin’s barrier.
No wonder it’s given a gold star for its multitasking abilities, so I think you’ll agree, with so many benefits it brings to the skin – this is one little beauty ingredient that should most certainly be incorporated as part of your skincare routine.