It’s the buzziest ingredient on the internet, but niacinamide AKA vitamin B3 is well-studied, has a truckload of benefits and is suitable for all skin types. Beauty editor Kelsey Ferencak explains why it’s worth the hype.
In this week’s beauty-themed Healthy-ish Podcast, beauty editor Kelsey Ferencak and host Felicity Harley talk all about the internet’s favourite skincare ingredient: niacinamide – also known as Vitamin B3.
Recently it’s become as hyped as Vitamin A or C and dare we say it, is equally as good, with loads of studies to back up it’s effectiveness.
Here, Felicity quizzes Kelsey on the in’s and out’s of the skincare powerhouse.
Q: What does niacinamide do for skin?
A: The vitamin itself is water-soluble, which means you either have to consume it by eating it or apply it topically via skincare to reap the benefits.
It’s a powerhouse ingredient for both brightening and hydration and has a range of actions like helping skin maintain it’s normal barrier function, improving both skin texture and tone, reducing the appearance of pigmentation and pores, softening lines and wrinkles and can even restore radiance and brightness to sallow, dull skin.
Q: What skin conditions does it best suit and what does it do to skin?
A: The great thing about niacinamide is that it works for a vast range of skin issues with no major side effects. Not only is it an anti-inflammatory, it’s also an antioxidant so is great for both protecting and soothing skin, while reducing redness – that’s why it’s well known for being super restorative. Niacinamide increases the level of skin lipids – ceramides so it’s great for moisturising, too. Hydrated skin is happy, healthy skin.
When we talk about it being restorative, it’s actually very impressive. It can restore and repair damaged DNA, improve cellular energy and reduce the effects of sun-induced UV rays, so it is fabulous for fighting early signs of ageing such as wrinkles and pigmentation.
Other skin conditions it’s ideal for are acne-prone and congested skin types, as it can help to regulate sebum, clear out pores and reduce the redness associated with breakouts.
Q: When and how often should we use it?
A: It is suitable for morning or evening use every day and is likely already in skincare you’re using – you can find it in serums, moisturisers and even sunscreen. But depending on what you’re hoping to use it for, I would recommend doing a little research to see what formulations at what percentage is most effective.
It’s recommended at 0.5-5%. This ensures you’re getting the results you’re after and not compromising your skin, causing irritation or wasting your money.
Q: Are there any skin types that should steer clear of vitamin B3?
A: It’s safe for sensitive skin, those with rosacea and even eczema. There has been some info around irritation, but I believe that’s when it’s associated with high concentrations – so if you’re new to this ingredient start slowly and don’t overdo it.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% $9.90 at Adore Beauty
ASAP Super B Complex $81.90 at Adore Beauty
Olay Luminous Niacinamide Super Serum $59 at Chemist Warehouse
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