Mark our words: niacinamide is the best under-the-radar ingredient that is about to get its day in the sun. You might recognize this gentle player by its more popular ‘street’ name: Vitamin B3. It’s a cult-favorite amongst skin junkies for its ability to reduce pigmentation associated with acne and the benefits it has with aging skin.
Clearly uses niacinamide in its topical form, ranging from 2-6% concentrations depending on your skin needs. Here are three benefits that this vitamin can do for you:
Skin Strengthener: Everything about our skin is better when our epidermal lipid barrier is properly functioning. Our lipid barrier helps our skin retain moisture, maintain elasticity, and protect from the harsh environment around us 24/7. Think of it as a gatekeeper keeping the moisture in, and blocking the pollution out.
As skin ages, the lipid barrier thins out due to the lower production of two enzymes: NADPH and NADH. The application of niacinamide helps to maintain the production levels of NADH and NADPH. This strengthens our epidermal barrier and improves skin texture and wrinkles creating a positive anti-aging ripple effect on our skin.
Retouch Abilities: When the tissue surrounding a pore is inflamed (aka: when we break out), melanocytes in your skin reacts by creating melanin, the dark pigment that gives our skin (and our scars) their color. Melanin is then transferred to our keratinocyte skin cells leaving that dark spot long after your acne heals. Niacinamide inhibits the transfer of melanin to keratinocyte skin cells so as the inflammation with acne subsides, the skin is more likely to return back to its normal color.
In addition, UV rays (something we all know too well in Singapore) triggers our melanocytes to generate melanin (aka: a tan) and as we get older, this transfer of pigment from our melanocytes starts to break down and we end up with uneven blotches or red marks when our skin gets overstimulated. Niacinamide slows down the transfer of melanin to the skin’s surface, reducing the appearance of uneven pigmentation and splotches. If Mother Nature were to produce her own version of Facetune, niacinamide would definitely be part of it.
Free Radical Neutralizer: We’re constantly exposed to free radicals in the form of UV rays, smoke, pollution, and dust. These free radicals ‘steal’ electrons from our skin, causing damage to lipids, proteins and DNA … a major contributor to the skin aging process and cancer. Niacinamide is an antioxidant that ‘donates’ electrons to free radicals and neutralize their ability to steal electrons/damage our skin.
Overall, niacinamide is an all-star ingredient for strengthening, hydrating and evening out the tone of the skin. For those with acne, it means it can help reduce inflammation, normalizes sebum production and reduces the chance of spots due to hyperpigmentation. For those with aging concerns, niacinamide strengthens the lipid barrier, evens out skin tone and wrinkles.
Clearly often pairs niacinamide with retinol because while retinol is busy clearing out our pores and stimulating new skin growth, niacinamide plays defensive, and keeps our skin hydrated and balanced. Let’s give thanks to our gentle ingredient that does so much behind the (skin) scenes.