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Niacinamide Benefits - what does it do for my skin?


Who doesn’t want healthier, brighter, glowing skin? We have all heard about the ‘glow’ power of Vitamin C and Vitamin A (retinol), but have you heard about Vitamin B3 (niacinamide)?


With its impressive ability to work with any ingredient, multi-task and work for all skin types, Vitamin B3 is one of the most hardworking and potent anti-inflammatories in skincare. Keep reading for the full benefits of niacinamide and why you need this ingredient in your skincare routine.


What is niacinamide?

Also known as Vitamin B3, nicotinamide and niacinamide, we will stick with niacinamide for this discussion, it is an essential water-soluble vitamin, which is not synthesized in the body, meaning our bodies don't produce it on their own so we either have to eat it or topically apply it to receive its brightening benefits.


Fast Facts:


What are the benefits?

Niacinamide is incredibly restorative on a cellular level, thus helping to boost cell energy, repair damaged DNA, and reduce the immunosuppressive effects of sun-induced UV rays. Vitamin B3 fights against premature signs of ageing like discolouration and wrinkles by shielding the skin against internal and external environmental stressors that can ultimately lead to the deterioration or breakdown of our skin.


Studies have also shown Niacinamide preserves skin hydration, strengthens your skin barrier, and improves the synthesis of healthy fats in the skin (key for glowing skin). It also brightens skin tone by preventing the transfer of pigment within the skin and therefore helping to reduce brown spots.


So, what do the scientific studies say?

Dr Jacquelyn Levin DO, and Dr Saira B. Momin DO, wrote an abstract titled ‘How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?’ where scientists gathered all published scientific data on five common cosmeceutical ingredients (including niacinamide), to answer the three major questions about the scientific rationale for their use and ascertain how much we really know about consumers' favourite cosmeceutical ingredients. (Study)

They found that studies showed niacinamide provided a significant reduction in transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and an increase in the skin's ability to resist any potential harmful topical agents. It was also seen that niacinamide inhibits oxidative processes in the skin reducing discolouring due to its antioxidant capabilities.


One study showed that including 5% niacinamide in a moisturiser provided a 35–68% reduced pigmentation (The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. Br J Dermatol. 2002 Jul; 147(1):20-31. )


Overall, their finding concluded the following:

  1. Provides potent antioxidant effects.

  2. Improves epidermal (top skin layer) barrier function.

  3. Decreases discolouring of skin through its antioxidant capabilities.

  4. Decreases skin redness and blotchiness to a reaction of environmental aggressors by improving skin barrier function.

  5. Decreases fine lines and wrinkles by increasing dermal collagen and protein production.

  6. Reduction of hyperpigmentation and brown spots by reducing the amount of pigment is transferred between cells in the bottom and top epidermal layer of skin.


How do I get the most out of niacinamide?

To get the most out of niacinamide your need to apply it topically in the form of a cream, lotion, or serum. Essentially, anything that will stay in contact and preferably sink into your skin. You won’t see any benefits from a facial cleanser as it goes on and off too quickly.


As with all skincare ingredients, less can often mean more and niacinamide is no different. Dermatologists recommend keeping to low concentrations (1-2 %) of niacinamide in any given formulation. Higher concentrations have been known to cause skin irritations. If your product contains a higher dose of niacinamide, reduce your usage to a few times a week instead of twice daily to avoid skin redness or (even worse) dermatitis.


How long does niacinamide take to work?

With twice-daily use, you should start to see results after 2-4 weeks. This will depend on the severity of your skin concerns and how concentrated your niacinamide product is. It is recommended that ongoing use is required for continuous improvement.


Takeaway

So, what can’t this ingredient do? Well, nothing. It’s quite simply amazing and when formulated correctly to penetrate the skin there is no end to its benefits.

For well-rounded support, pair your niacinamide with other skin support ingredients such as peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. Consistent use you will start to see that your pores look smaller, skin tone that looks more even, visibly reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and an overall healthier glow.

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