What is it?
Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin which is also known as nicotinic amide, the amide compound of vitamin B3. Naturally occurring, it can be found in foods such as meats, nuts and mushrooms.
What is it used for?
Whilst foods including niacinamide or vitamin B3 should be eaten as part of a healthy diet, it is also a popular topical ingredient due to its ability to treat problem skin conditions with minimal side effects. Thanks to an anti-inflammatory action it is particularly effective for conditions such as acne and hyperpigmentation, and in the repair of sun-damaged skin. Niacinamide can also be taken in the form of oral supplements to treat acne.
What are the pros and cons of using it?
In the treatment of acne, niacinamide can not only reduce the inflammation associated with existing blemishes, but can also help to prevent future incidences. As a cell-communicating ingredient, it helps to stimulate microcirculation in the skin - as well as improving skin tone and elasticity for a resurfacing effect. It is also believed to be a good anti-ageing ingredient since it is capable of increasing levels of fatty acids in the skin. In skincare, where dosage is controlled, niacinamide has little to no known side effects and is stable in both heat and light. Some research on niacinamide has suggested that it protects skin against the sun but, whilst it is a great ingredient to include in your skincare regime, proper broad-spectrum sun protection should still be used every day.
Which products can I find it in?
Niacinamide is at its best in leave-on products such as resurfacing serums and anti-acne treatments. To get your fix try La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+], Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 or Oskia Renaissance Brightlight.