It was a simple question.
What’s in it? I asked. “Oh well, there is no particular ingredient…
I nodded politely, sparing the poor girl what was really on my mind.
No particular ingredient? What!! Are you kidding me? Then how is it going to smooth, fill in, plump and diminish my lines and gulp.. wrinkles?
Okay, perhaps I have a need-to-know-how-things-work personality more than most, which is why I didn’t buy this miracle serum, a serum well-known for perfecting the skin? No, no and no. I didn’t. Not because it may not live up to the marketing promises, but because I kind of object to spending $160 or more on any skin care product without an explanation of the key active ingredients. Blind faith? Uhem.. I don’t think so.
To be honest, there are a lot of serum formulations on the market today that’ll promise to fill in your lines and wrinkles. Some of course, better than others. Mostly, they do this by adding silicones to the serum. Silicone is often referred to on ingredient lists as Dimethicone.
To be clear. There’s nothing wrong with Dimethicone as an ingredient, in fact, I quite like it, as it gives your serum its silkiness, helping suspend other active ingredients in the product until released into your skin upon application.
Dimethicone will also smooth and fill the surface of your skin making it appear less lined. Great!! I’m all for it.
But, here’s the thing. I prefer my serums to include other ingredients that do more than smooth and plump; I want my serums to contain meaningful and specific active ingredients with the potential to change my skin for the better. That’s all.
Enter, Vitamin B3.
Niacin also referred to as vitamin B3 is well recognised as an essential nutrient when it comes to a well-functioning and healthy body. Your digestive system, nervous system and brain function are all dependent on Niacin (Vitamin B3).
Mostly you’ll get your daily supply from red meat, chicken, turkey and fish like salmon and tuna as well as green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and asparagus and like it or not, many packaged foods are fortified with Niacin, so most of us are not likely to be deficient.
But what about your skin?
As essential as it is for your body, it may be time to view topical Niacinamide as a permanent ‘must have’ in your beauty regimen, and I’ve got eight excellent reasons to share with you.
8 Reasons why your skin needs Niacinamide.
#1 Boosting the immunity of your skin.
There are cells in your skin known as Langerhans cells. They are responsible for the protection and repair mechanisms of your skin. They are shy little guys, and when you expose your skin to the sun, especially when you burn your skin, they temporarily retreat leaving the skin without its natural immunity against invading microbes or the safeguards against the activity of precancerous lesions.
#2 Improves epidermal barrier performance.
Everything about your skin is better when the epidermal lipid barrier is functioning at its peak. Your lipid barrier helps retain moisture, keeps it hydrated for longer and will protect your skin from the harshness of the environment, regardless of the time of year. Niacinamide increases the production of ceramides (an essential component of your lipid barrier), keeping the skin strong and preventing Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL).
#3 Improves redness and blotchiness in the skin.
With an improved epidermal lipid barrier, the skin’s natural ability to protect itself from external aggressors becomes vastly improved. Over time and with a daily application of a Niacinamide formulation, improvements in skin structure will reduce redness, blotchiness and sensitivity brought about by exposure to the environment due to a poorly functioning barrier.
#4 Regulated oil flow.
When your skin retains its natural moisture with a well-functioning lipid barrier, the natural oil flow of the skin becomes controlled. So, if you have oily skin, rather than trying to wash it scrupulously away and exacerbate the problem, consider topically applied Niacinamide as an essential factor in getting any excessive oil flow under control.
#5 Protects skin from infrared light.
Niacinamide protects the skin from the infrared heat of the sun. Along with the damaging effects of UV exposure, infrared activates free radicals and stimulates an overproduction of pigmented cells, and if your pigmentation is hormonal, heat is a big problem. Niacinamide protects the skin from heat.
The transfer of pigment (melanosomes) from your melanocytes to the surrounding skin of your epidermis is known as a tan. However, over time, this activity becomes dysfunctional, and many of us end up with uneven, blotchy pigmentation rather than a golden tan. If your skin has become susceptible to hyperpigmentation, then Niacinamide will assist in the reduction of uneven pigmentation by slowing down the transfer of melanin to your skin’s epidermis. Including this smart ingredient into any hyper-pigmentation treatment plan is a must do!
#7 Minimise lines and wrinkles.
Niacinamide boosts collagen production. Along with the improvement of the skin’s lipid barrier comes an increase in cell differentiation which contributes to better synthesis and formation of collagen and elastin. Music to my ears!!
#8 Dull and sallow skin.
While many antioxidants prevent damage caused by oxidative stress and AGE’s, Niacinamide goes one step further and reverses the visible signs brought about by the onslaught. As time goes by and with the constant exposure to free radicals and glycation, the skin can appear dull and sallow with a sad loss of radiance. You don’t want that! Niacinamide as an antioxidant reduces the negative impact of oxidative stress and improves the skin’s ability to fight back. You definitely want that!
Next time you venture out for something to improve the appearance of your skin, or when a well meaning beauty consultant extolls the virtues of their best-selling and most fabulous serum for smoothing away lines and wrinkles, just ask them. Does it contain Niacinamide?
Five brands with a healthy dose of Niacinamide.
From left to right: ASAP – B SUPER COMPLEX | Alpha H Liquid Gold – INTENSE NIGHT REPAIR SRUM | Synergie Skin – VITAMIN B | Verso – Day Cream with Retinol 8 | Rationale – IMMUNOLOGIST Niacinamide Serum
Not just for lightening and brightening.
Many brands recommend the inclusion of Niacinamide for the prevention and treatment of hyper-pigmentation, which it does, but as you can see, it is an all-around ingredient for anti-ageing and skin health. Everyone, no matter how old or what condition the skin will benefit from the long-term use of this scientifically proven ingredient.
How much is enough?
The best formulations will contain at least 10% Niacinamide. Some brands will be forthcoming with this information while others prefer to keep it under wraps. A good indication of how much is in your serum is how far up the list of ingredients Niacinamide appears. It should be close to the top of the list.
When is the best time to apply?
Anytime is the best time. If you are keen, by all means, use it morning and night, but because of the protective nature of Niacinamide, I favour use once a day underneath my moisturiser and sunscreen, however, if your night time serum or cream contain Niacinamide, well then, all the better. If you’d like to read more on this excellent ingredient, you may also like this article. Niacinamide: Your Plan B
And now you?
Have you found a serum with Niacinamide that works well for you? Why not share your findings in the comments below.
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Got a question you’d like answered? Why not shoot me an email over here. I personally read every email and usually reply within 24 hours.
See you next time,