The skincare world is buzzing about the benefits of naturally-occurring skincare ingredients, like Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. Rightly so, but there’s another superstar skincare ingredient just as worthy of our praises out there. It’s called niacinamide, otherwise known as Vitamin B3. And while it definitely sounds like the name of a cyborg villain in a sci-fi movie, don’t worry: niacinamide is definitely the superhero when it comes to skincare!
Naturally found in foods such as green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains, niacinamide is extracted and infused in skincare products like creams, serums, and toners. Niacinamide is a real multitasking ingredient that tackles various types of skincare concerns, and best of all, it plays nice with all skin types. It’s even safe to use around the eyes and for people with sensitive skin. There are no known side effects or adverse reactions to niacinamide, and it’s been known to yield results almost immediately upon application. Niacinamide has so many benefits that it’s almost impossible to believe it’s real — but it is, and there are a few reasons why you should be adding it to your routine.
Niacinamide: The Shield You Didn’t Know You Needed
Niacinamide’s skin-smoothing powers are arguably its biggest claim to fame. This ingredient evens skin texture in a few different ways, most notably by creating a protective lipid barrier on the skin’s outer layer.
Your skin is composed naturally of different layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and subcutaneous fat. The epidermis is the outermost layer, and it’s the skin’s first line of defense against foreign invaders like pollution, bacteria, allergens, UV rays, and free radicals. Keeping this barrier moisturized is vital to its health — otherwise it begins to break down, allowing those skin-damaging particles to enter the body and wreak havoc on your cells. Niacinamide promotes the health of that barrier by keeping it plump and hydrated, effectively keeping the skin clear and evenly textured.
Because niacinamide is so effective at shielding the skin from external irritants, it also can promote a vibrant, youthful appearance. Toxins like pollution and UV rays contribute to fine lines and wrinkles, which means a healthy epidermis is vital to shielding the skin from these aggressors. What’s more, niacinamide has been known to help repair signs of past damage, so even if the skin has already begun to show signs of aging, niacinamide is able to gently reverse them.
Beyond strengthening your skin’s outer layer, niacinamide works its skin-smoothing magic in various other ways, one of which includes visibly minimizing enlarged pores. When left untreated, enlarged pores can make the skin appear bumpy and uneven. Tightening those pores not only evens out the skin’s texture, but contributes an additional line of defense against toxins — smaller pores mean there’s less space for foreign substances to enter the skin.
Treating Redness, Irritation, Etc.
As if all the above wasn’t good enough, niacinamide possesses another superpower: it’s a strong anti-inflammatory agent. That means it can be used to tackle a variety of inflammatory skin concerns, such as redness and rosacea, acne, and eczema. Additionally, niacinamide helps regulate the sebaceous glands that release sebum, a natural, oily substance which can make the skin look shiny. By preventing those glands from going into overdrive, niacinamide brings a healthy balance to the skin and its appearance.
Hyperpigmentation, or darkened spots on the skin, can also be treated using niacinamide. According to some studies, just a 5 percent niacinamide concentration can be effective in lightening those dark spots.
Not only is niacinamide a stellar ingredient on its own, but it’s also a team player. It amplifies the benefits of other natural skincare products, which means it really packs a punch when combined with certain ingredients. Using leave-in niacinamide products will yield best results, which is why it’s present in many night creams and serums.
Both red and green algaes have been lauded for their anti-aging properties for centuries. Algae is a powerful and naturally-occurring antioxidant, a substance that prevents or slows damage to cells caused by free radicals. Astaxanthin, an extract derived from red algae, is 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, which is popular for treating fine lines and brightening the skin’s complexion. Algae is also known to help improve the skin’s elasticity while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. What’s more, it’s super hydrating, another added bonus for keeping the skin healthy and looking youthful. In combination with niacinamide’s texture-evening properties, algae makes for a truly powerful anti-aging solution.
Like algae, Vitamin C3 is an antioxidant that prevents and repairs cell damage, leading to a visibly radiant, healthier complexion. Dark spots, dullness, and wrinkles are no match for Vitamin C — and when combined with niacinamide, its brightening and skin-protecting properties are truly amplified. But Vitamin C offers more than just antioxidant properties; it’s also known to accelerate the production of collagen and elastin, which are proteins that retain the skin’s firmness and elasticity.
Rosehip is a natural oil that is pressed from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant. The benefits of rosehip are many, but it’s coveted primarily for its ability to spur collagen production and keep the skin hydrated. As a result, it’s a key ingredient in many anti-aging formulas. Rosehip penetrates deep into the skin, actively fortifying it by enabling cells to retain their moisture. Coupled with niacinamide, rosehip oil reverses and halts the signs of aging in its tracks.