Cosmeceutical | Acne

Is Vitamin B3 Niacinamide the Gold Standard in Skincare?

The multitasking all-rounder that your skin will thank you for

Vitamin C often hogs the limelight, leaving other vital vitamins in the shade.

Go back in the vitamin alphabet slightly, and you’ll find multifaced Vitamin B3.

It’s a bit of an unsung hero in the skin-boosting stakes and is supported by long-standing research.

It communicates with your cells to make your skin clear and healthy and behave young.

It is one of the most stable and active ingredients with a neutral pH in skincare.

Our go-to guide provides further insights into this hard-working ingredient.

What is Vitamin B3?

When referring to the skin benefits of this essential ingredient, we talk about a specific form of B3, an amide known as vitamin B3 Niacin, Nicotinamide or Niacinamide.

It is a crucial water-soluble vitamin not synthesised, meaning your body can’t independently produce it.

Therefore, it must be applied topically or ingested via a supplement to reap the benefits.

Vitamin B3 Beautifying Benefits?

#1: It heals the barrier function

Vitamin B3 benefits are numerous; it can strengthen your barrier function, the first line of defence against environmental aggressors like UV exposure, pollution, and irritants.

It does this by increasing the production of ceramides and synthesising healthy lipids and barrier proteins such as keratin, involucrin, and filaggrin, making it perfect for an impaired barrier.

#2: It prevents dehydration

Vitamin B3 can help prevent tissue water loss, referred to as transepidermal water loss, by boosting the skin’s natural hyaluronic acid levels.

#3: It targets hyperpigmentation

The benefits also extend to uneven skin tone, as this clever ingredient signals the melanocyte cells to stop producing melanin, reducing hyperpigmentation.

A split-face (1) was carried out in 2011 over eight weeks with 27 participants. It found that a topical application of 4 per cent Vitamin B3 was nearly as practical as the controversial 4 per cent hydroquinone.

The study found that 44% saw good-to-excellent improvements with Vitamin B3, and 55% saw the same with Hydroquinone. Thus, vitamin B3, with fewer side effects, can significantly help reduce hyperpigmentation within your skin.

It is even more powerful when combined with N.acetyl glucosamine, so we recently added this ingredient to our B+ Niacinamide skin shot.

#4: Decreases fine line

Topical vitamin B3 on the skin can reduce the appearance of fine lines on your skin by increasing collagen production and reducing excess glycosaminoglycan (GAGs).

These Gags are structural components of your skin’s extracellular matrix; they crosslink to other matrix proteins like collagen and form supermolecular structures that can increase tissue stiffness, causing many signs of ageing.

The cool thing is that vitamin B3 can reverse this, so we use a potent formula with 10% blended with vitamin B5 – Panthenol and N.Aceyyl Glucosamine.

#5: Treats acne

It can help reduce papules and pustules – and the inflammation around them. Two double-blind (2) published by the International Journal of

Dermatology found that a topical application of 4 % Vitamin B3 treated acne just as well as 1% of the topical antibiotic Clindamycin, commonly prescribed to acne patients.

The oral version also treats acne, especially when oral medications like antibiotics aren’t well tolerated.

#6: Regulates oil on the skin 

Further research (3) suggests that applying just 2 % Vitamin B3 daily can significantly slow oil flow onto your skin’s surface if you suffer from daily shine.

The other great thing about vitamin 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.

#7: Minimises pores

Niacinamide helps to control oil and debris buildup, which contributes to clogged pores and breakouts. It also helps to reduce pore size.

#8: Has the potential to treat skin cancer

Ask a dermatologist what niacinamide does best, and there will probably be skin cancer prevention.

To understand this further, let’s look at some skin science. Vitamin B3 is 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 – which need to repair, propagate, and function normally.

Many of these essential reactions can’t occur 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.

Introducing it into your routine

So, as you can see, Vitamin B3 is extremely multitasking and has a natural affinity with the skin. It is one of the most versatile ingredients available.

Most successful studies have been centred around topical preparations containing 2 per cent to 10 per cent.

Our B+ niacinamide complex contains 10%, and we are seeing great results on ageing skin, helping to balance oily skin and combination skin and targeting breakouts and acne.

The addition of N-acetyl glucosamine lifts hyperpigmentation and PIH from the skin after three months.

It is versatile and can be incorporated anytime into your routine. With one exception, if you are using a Vitamin C product, we recommend using it at the opposite time of day, ideally, nighttime.

Vitamin C is recommended for daily wear because of its potent antioxidant properties that ward off the damaging free radicals from UV rays.

Can vitamin B2 cause facial flushing?

This is where we need to look closely at Nicotinic Acid ingredients versus Nicotinamide or Niacinimide.

There is one common misconception about using Vitamin B3. Nicotinamide is a specific amide—a particular chemical structure form of B3—not niacin, the acid version of Vitamin B3.

Occasionally, it can have the unpleasant side effect of causing the skin to flush; Nicotinamide or Niacinamide doesn’t have this side effect.

So, if you’re not into having a red face on occasion, be sure to scan your product’s Inci list, and don’t assume that it is still the same ingredient despite the lack of the word “amide”.

To conclude. The naked truth

In short, vitamin B3 is an incredibly restorative and healing ingredient.

It helps restore energy in the cell, repairs damage to the cell’s DNA, fights off external stressors that can lead to premature ageing, prevents lines and wrinkles by reducing GAGs, and lifts discolouration by preventing pigment transfer within the skin.

It also balances an oily, combination skin type and helps clear up acne and breakouts.

Vitamin B3’s anti-inflammatory properties also help to reduce redness and irritation whilst strengthening the skin’s barrier.

No wonder it’s given a gold star for its multitasking abilities.

We think you’ll agree that this little beauty ingredient is certainly incorporated into your skincare routine, given its many benefits to the skin.


  1. A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Niacinamide 4% versus Hydroquinone 4% in the Treatment of Melasma.
  2. Topical 4% nicotinamide vs. 1% clindamycin in moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris

  3. Biological Properties of Vitamins of the B-Complex, Part 1: Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5

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