Niacinamide; the quiet achiever.
Many brands will offer a plethora of miracle ingredients for you to ponder. But in truth, we can narrow down the ingredients that truly support your skin, not to hundreds but a mere handful providing significant improvement to your skin. One such ingredient is niacinamide. And while it’s not a miracle ingredient, it’s undoubtedly worthy of the attention it receives. So, what is it, and what can niacinamide do for the skin?
But what is niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also referred to as vitamin B3, is an essential nutrient that keeps your body functioning. 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 how does niacinamide help your skin?
As essential as it is for your body, it may be time to view niacinamide as a topical skincare ingredient and a permanent ‘must-have’ in your beauty routine.
I’ve got eight excellent reasons why you should give it space on the top shelf of your bathroom cabinet and why niacinamide for the skin is an intelligent choice when putting together a skincare routine.
#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 Niacinamide 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. Niacinamide for the skin increases the production of ceramides (an essential component of your lipid barrier), keeping the skin firm and preventing Trans Epidermal Water Loss (dehydration).
#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 increase. Redness, blotchiness and sensitivity brought about by exposure to the environment due to a poorly functioning barrier will diminish.
#4 Regulates facial oil flow.
When your skin retains its natural moisture with a well-functioning lipid barrier, the skin’s natural oil flow becomes controlled. If you have oily skin, rather than try to manage it with excessive cleansing, which exacerbates the problem, consider topically applied niacinamide for the skin as an essential factor in getting any excessive oil flow under control.
#5 Niacinamide protects your skin from radiating heat.
Niacinamide protects the skin from the heat of the sun. Along with the damaging effects of UV exposure, the sun’s heat activates free radicals stimulating an overproduction of pigmented cells. If your pigmentation is hormonal, then heat is a big problem. Niacinamide protects the skin from an inflammatory heat response.
#6 Helps to prevent Hyper-pigmentation.
The transfer of pigment (melanosomes) from melanocytes to the surrounding skin of your epidermis is known as a tan. However, this activity becomes dysfunctional over time, and many of us end up with uneven, blotchy pigmentation rather than the golden tan of our youth. If your skin has become susceptible to blotchy brown patches, then niacinamide can assist in slowing down the transfer of melanin to your skin’s epidermis. Including this clever ingredient into any hyper-pigmentation treatment plan is a must-do!
#7 Minimises lines and wrinkles.
Niacinamide boosts collagen production. Along with improving 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 Improves dull and sallow skin lacking luminosity.
While antioxidants prevent damage caused by oxidative stress and AGE’s, as time goes by, with constant exposure to free radicals and glycation, the skin can appear dull and sallow with a loss of radiance. You don’t want that!
Niacinamide reverses the visible signs of ageing and sun damage, reduces oxidative stress’s negative impact, and improves the skin’s ability to fight back. You want that!
So next time you go looking for the holy grail of skincare 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?
Here are five cosmeceutical brands worth taking a closer look at.
An Australian brand with a solid skincare range to suit most skin types. There B Super Complex is an absolute favourite in their brand repertoire. A fast-acting, multi-functional serum increases skin hydration, calms and visibly reduces redness. A high concentration of Niacinamide targets pigmentation, while Red Clover helps reduce the appearance of pores and Licorice brightens skin.
ASAP skin products consider themselves Australia’s #1 cosmeceutical skincare range, which is true, as they were one of the first Australian skincare brands to venture into skincare with active ingredients. ASAP pride itself on providing high quality yet simple and effective skincare at an affordable price. They’ve been going for two decades now, so they’re doing something right. Retail: $105
This powerhouse serum delivers a generous dose of B vitamins alongside complementary ingredients such as Copper Tripeptides and Hyaluronic Acid to help bring a more radiant appearance to even the most devitalised skins.
Considered a global leader in corrective and preventative skincare, Alpha-H creates revolutionary cosmeceutical formulations, which help bridge the gap between the beauty counter and invasive treatments. Retail: $70
Synergie Skin Vitamin B contains 13% of the active ingredient, vitamin B3 (niacinamide). This formula rejuvenates the skin, enhancing skin clarity and luminosity.
Synergie Skin vitamin B strengthens skin against a broad range of skin conditions such as dryness, pigmentation and excess sebum. This vitamin B serum is an excellent multi-tasking cosmeceutical.
Retail: $115.00 AUS
Environ is the creation of renowned plastic surgeon Dr Des Fernandes and a pioneer in cosmeceutical skincare. Founded nearly 30 years ago, this is a highly effective skincare range worthy of your consideration. If you’d like to know more about this brand, you can get in touch or book a consult with me here.
The Mela-Prep Lotion provides a generous dose of niacinamide and other botanical ingredients to protect and prevent the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
Retail: $90.00 AUS
My first foray into niacinamide was from Rationale: another Australian success story and a cult amongst many created by the cosmetic chemist Richard Parker.
Rationale’s Serum #1 offers skin protection and supports skin immunity, giving the skin clarity and calmness.
Niacinamide is not just for lightening and brightening the skin.
Many brands recommend niacinamide to prevent and treat blotchy pigmentation, which it does, but it’s so much more than that, and it’s essential for anti-ageing and skin health.
All of us will benefit from the long-term use of this scientifically proven ingredient.
How much niacinamide is enough?
Generally, ten per cent is the ideal, but it’s not a deal-breaker, and if niacinamide is high up on the ingredient list, then there’s probably enough to get the job done.
What’s important? Look for the quality of the formula. And commit to applying your serum every day under your moisturiser and sun protection.
When is the best time to apply your niacinamide serum to your skin?
Because of the protective nature of niacinamide, I favour use once a day underneath my moisturiser and sunscreen. However, if your evening serum or cream contains niacinamide, well then, all the better.
And now you?
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See you next time,