The skin care benefits of vitamin B3

It’s a leading anti-ageing ingredient

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 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 ingredient.

#1 / Vitamin B3 can protect skin

Whilst sunscreen can shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays, vitamin B3 can protect skin further from infrared, UV and visible light. “Niacinamide protects the skin from the infrared heat of the sun,” says 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.”

#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 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. “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 wearing five per cent or greater concentrations of niacinamide on the skin prevents and stops 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.
Dr. Natasha Cook

#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 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.”

#7 / Vitamin B3 can improve the epidermal barrier

For your skin to stay moisturised, it’s essential to have a strong epidermal 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.”


Along with niacinamide, Dr Natasha Cook Concentrated Illuminator is formulated with vitamin C to decrease the appearance of pigmentation 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 niacinamide 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).



Dr Natasha Cook Concentrated Illuminator

Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque

Paula’s Choice RESIST 10% Niacinamide Booster

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Do you currently use vitamin B3? Why do you love it? Tell us in the comments below.

Main image credit: Getty