What is it?
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that can be ingested orally or used as a topical cream. It’s famed use is for the treatment of a disease known as pellagra, one that's the result of a vitamin B3 deficiency.
Niacinamide is often confused with another form of vitamin B3, known as niacin, an there’s an ongoing debate whether the two are interchangeable or if they perform different functions when it comes to skincare. However, because niacin is associated with skin flush, which isn't exactly harmful, niacinamide has taken the front seat as a skin-treatment favourite.
Want to know a little more science behind it?
Although niacinamide is naturally produced by our bodies and found in foods such as yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, our skin needs an extra boost of this anti-ageing, skin-brightening, anti-acne ingredient, popularised as a one size fits all for most skin types, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Ideally, we want our skin to be able to retain everything that it needs and protect itself against damage. A review of the effects that niacinamide has on human skin found that the nutrient acts like a burglar door by increasing ceramide levels and stabilising the functioning of the epidermal layer to help retain moisture and improve the skin’s overall appearance.
How does it help your skin?
Our skin’s ability to produce protein weakens as we age. Niacinamide is said to play a part in boosting the molecules needed to generate essential proteins that keep wrinkles at bay. For dark spots or signs of hyperpigmentation, early research shows that cream-based niacinamide leads to the reduction of pigmentation.
It may also be beneficial for the treatment of rosacea, erythema and seborrheic dermatitis – skin conditions associated with redness, inflammation, dryness and itching. Look out for this ingredient that's most commonly found in serums for day and night and in sunscreens for niacinamide's restorative qualities against UV light.
Although no major side effects have been reported, keep an eye on the amount you use if you have sensitive skin.