To achieve beautiful skin, there’s no 'one size fits all' solution. You can be consistent with your routine by cleansing and moisturising daily (not to mention, twice-weekly scrubbing and masking), you can protect your skin with sunscreen to prevent premature ageing, and you can even equip yourself with products infused with antioxidants to nourish your skin; but sometimes that’s not enough to keep your complexion glowing and free from fine lines and wrinkles. And while retinol is the leading ingredient to reach for when it comes to slowing down the signs of ageing, there is another ingredient that you should look out for when shopping around for a new skin care product. Vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide, offers a host of benefits that all ages and skin types can benefit from. Here are seven reasons to try this powerful anti-ageing ingredient.
#1 / Vitamin B3 can protect skin
Whilst sunscreen is necessary to shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays, vitamin B3 can protect skin further from infrared, UV and visible light, and prevent pigmentation such as dark spots from appearing on your face. “Niacinamide protects the skin from the infrared heat of the sun,” says Australian dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook. “Along with the damaging effects of UV exposure, infrared activates free radicals and stimulates an overproduction of pigment. If your pigmentation is hormonal, heat is a big problem. Niacinamide protects the skin from heat and all its unwanted side effects. It is a powerful antioxidant and removes all the damaging free radical molecules created by the environment.” Note to self - apply a vitamin B3 product before any sun exposure.
#2 / Vitamin B3 can reduce hyperpigmentation
You know those niggling dark spots on your face caused by an increase in pigment from melanocytes? A dose of vitamin B3 can work to address them. Dr Cook explains: “Niacinamide can help with hyperpigmentation by reducing pigment production and the subsequent transfer of pigment into your skin, leaving you with a more even complexion”.
#3 / Vitamin B3 can minimise the signs of ageing
Besides pigmentation, vitamin B3 can also reduce signs of ageing, such as fine lines, on your face. “Niacinamide has been shown to reduce yellowing, wrinkling, red blotchiness and pigmented spots, which are all signs of facial ageing,” says Dr Cook.
#4 / Vitamin B3 can boost skin immunity
Beyond preventing the signs of ageing, vitamin B3 can improve your overall skin health, too, including helping with DNA repair. “Your skin’s immune cells, also known as Langerhans cells, are responsible for protecting and repairing your skin. They mop up damaged DNA and stop skin cells from transforming into precancerous ones,” explains Dr Cook. “When you expose your skin to the sun, the Langerhans cells run out of the skin and into the bloodstream, leaving the skin without its natural protectant against infection or the development of abnormal cells. It fundamentally increases your risk of skin cancer and ageing.”
Pioneering Australian research has shown that wearing five per cent or greater concentrations of niacinamide on the skin can help prevent and stop the immune cells from leaving the skin when exposed to the sun. It’s also the only proven topical skin ingredient shown to have this benefit.
#5 / Vitamin B3 reduces redness and blotchiness
If your skin becomes flushed from sensitivity, then it’s worth adding a vitamin B3 product into your skin care routine. “With an improved epidermal lipid barrier, the skin’s natural ability to protect itself from external environments (i.e., water, heat, wind, sweat, sun) vastly improves. Over time and with a daily application of a niacinamide formulation, this reduces redness, blotchiness and sensitivity, and improves the overall appearance.”
#6 / Vitamin B3 regulates oil flow and staves off breakouts
Fact: Vitamin B3 works well on all skin types, particularly combination to oily skin. “Niacinamide has been shown to reduce oil output from the sebaceous glands, which means less acne and fewer breakouts,” says Dr Cook. It's also been suggested that vitamin B3 carries anti-inflammatory benefits, especially for those with acneic skin or conditions such as rosacea.
#7 / Vitamin B3 can improve the epidermal barrier
For your skin to stay moisturised, it’s essential to have a strong epidermal barrier (or skin barrier) to lock hydration in. “A healthy, intact epidermal lipid barrier layer is paramount for ageless skin,” explains Dr Cook. “If the barrier isn’t right then your skin truly suffers. Your lipid barrier helps retain moisture, keeps your skin hydrated and protects it from the harshness of the environment.” She adds, “Niacinamide increases the production of one of the most important lipids—ceramide—which strengthens your skin and prevents water loss. Your skin will be stronger, better hydrated and healthier, as well as less sensitive through B3 usage. It’s also especially good for rosacea sufferers.”
Want to upgrade your skin care routine with a product that features vitamin B3? Then try these immediately:
Along with vitamin B3, Dr Natasha Cook Concentrated Illuminator is formulated with vitamin C to decrease the appearance of dark spots and protect the skin.
Detoxify skin with Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque, which contains activated charcoal to draw out impurities, AHAs to polish the surface, and vitamin B3 to calm the skin.
Paula’s Choice RESIST 10% Niacinamide Booster can address pore size, bumpy skin texture, and it can be mixed in with your existing skin care products (like your moisturiser) to boost their benefits.
Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinot noir, she has a healthy obsession with fake tan smell, wispy false lashes and CND Shellac in the shade Romantique. Her words and styling can also be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and previously in SHOP Til You Drop and Cosmopolitan.