Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is a non-sensitising active with a whole host of skin benefits.
Here are the top 5 reasons we love niacinamide.
1. It regulates sebum production
It has been proven in concentrations of 2% to help regulate sebum production in the skin, by either reducing the rate at which sebum is produced by the skin, or the volume (interestingly research shows different mechanisms working in different ethnicities).
This reduced level of sebum production means that skin is less likely to get congested, reducing the instances of blemishes as well as making pores appear smaller.
2. It hydrates through supporting of the skin barrier
Our skin barrier is fundamental in protecting us from the external environment. The outer later (the stratum corneum) is made up of dead skin cells (keratinocytes) which continually shed over a monthly cycle, whilst new cells continue to be generated in the basal layer of the epidermis. Skin cells are held together by naturally occurring lipids known as ceramides, which ‘seal’ the gaps between the skin cells, creating an (almost) impermeable barrier, which becomes our first line of defense against pollution, UV, infection & dehydration.
Niacinamide helps to keep the skin hydrated through encouraging ceramide production in the skin, leading to a healthy skin barrier, which locks in moisture and prevents any excess water evaporating from the skin through trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). If the skin becomes dry, tiny cracks form in its barrier, resulting in excess moisture escaping and the skin becoming more dry, and the cycle continues. So if we can use niacinamide to support the barrier function, we reduce the risk of the skin becoming dehydrated.
3. It increases microcirculation in the skin
Niacinamide has been proven to stimulate microcirculation in the dermis. This means that it increases the blood flow in the capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the cardiovascular system, which supplies nutrients and oxygen to the outer extremities of the body including the skin.
An improved flow of blood brings more oxygen and nutrients, meaning the skin can function in a healthy way, promoting skin radiance and clarity. It also helps reduce skin redness (caused by dilated vessels under the skin), by supporting blood flow away from the face.
4. It can reduce pigmentation in the skin
Niacinamide has been shown in concentrations of 2-5% to reduce visible pigmentation in the skin. It is thought to do this by reducing the transfer of the melanosomes from the melanocytes to the skin cells (keratinocytes). If the transfer is reduced, the melanin cannot pass into the skin which means it can’t show up as pigmentation.
5.It is non-sensitising
Unlike its vitamin cousins Vitamin A (retinol) and Vitamin C, which can be drying and unsuitable for sensitive skins, niacinamide can be used by anyone. If you're dry or sensitive, it can be used alone to achieve the host of benefits above, or if your skin is less reactive, you can layer it with other actives, as it's very compatible with other ingredients.
So there you have it, we love niacinamide and all the wonderful things it can do for our skin.
Are you ready to introduce this wonder-vitamin into your skincare regime? Below are our top picks.
If you're not sure where to start - let us us tailor you a personalised skincare plan.
SVR Laboratories Topialyse Cream - best for drier skins, to support the natural barrier
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ - best for blemish-prone skin, includes salicylic acid
Garden of Wisdom Niacinamide serum - best for barrier support, includes panthenol to hydrate
Face Theory N10 Porebright Serum - best for those with scarring, includes azelaic acid