This week we’re going to look a little deeper into the wonderous skincare ingredient that is Niacinamide! Just like our friend Squalane, this ingredient has versatility for both every skin type, and many a skin concern. I might even go to say it’s more versatile.
Niacinamide itself is one third of Vitamin B3, which, because we can’t make it ourselves, is an essential vitamin for healthy bodily function, including your metabolism. Of course, this is where your diet comes in to help out. Or perhaps your medication, as it is listed on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, most commonly for acne. Topically applied Niacinamide (otherwise known as nicotinamide) is involved with DNA repair, fixing strand breaks, which can make a huge difference to those who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation, or those with UVA and UVB damage. There is also some research to suggest that psoriasis and rosacea sufferers will benefit from this treatment as well. Amazing, isn’t it?
But let’s focus in on our skin-specific benefits, in your daily routine… With a little something called ceramides. They’re a type of lipid (a fat) which are very present in the top layers of our skin, helping to form the natural barrier which helps retain moisture, and repel irritants and pollution. Pretty important, right? Without enough ceramides in our skin, we’re at risk of dry and irritated skin. Niacinamide increases the production of ceramides improving our overall barrier function. Not to forget keratin! Although we more commonly associate this protein with hair or nail health, keratin is responsible for keeping your skin tight, and protecting from infection and pollutants.
Niacinamide also has a reputation as a ‘cell communicating ingredient’, which essentially means it has the ability to chemically speak to all sorts of skin cells, so they know to make more new, healthy cells. It also likes to carry around electrons, which as we know from the blog on antioxidants, are exactly what’s needed to stop free radicals from causing oxidative stress.
Yes, there’s more. Hard working Niacinamide has a particular ability to interrupt the transfer of melanosomes (which synthesise, store and transport melanin, which in excess causes hyperpigmentation) to keratinocytes (the structure keratin helps to create). You might see age spots, sun spots and melasma (a darker area of skin pigmentation), fade with regular use. Even skin tone, yes please!
And it would be a crime not to speak more on arguably Niacinamide’s largest claim to fame, improving acne and blemishes. It is an anti-inflammatory ingredient, helping to reduce severity and discomfort associated with the condition, as well as inhibiting production of sebum. For those with the combination of acne or spots and dry skin, not to worry, compared to many other ingredients, this one is gentle and non-drying. With your skin’s elasticity improving, your pores will minimise, and with improved barrier function, less dirt, oil and other bits will have the chance to clog them.
But down to the less miraculous side of the argument… Niacinamide is a great ingredient for all these things, but we’re not currently overwhelmed with research and trials in a specifically cosmetic setting. So whilst your skin health is going to improve, it’s best not to put all your hopes in one product. Introducing a product like our Niacinamide Daily Toner is the perfect way to boost your overall skin health, strength and manage blemishes, especially as we include super-hydrator hyaluronic acid, and soothing aloe vera, for a calming and cooling experience.
Now, we’ve had quite a few inquiries about the percentage of Niacinamide in our toner, usually accompanied with a concern about prior use that left their skin red or in discomfort. You can indeed have too much of a good thing, and if you have some skin sensitivity it’s best to keep your dosage low to properly enjoy the benefits of Niacinamide. This is one of the reasons we don’t advertise our percentage on the product, or the information page.. We’d hate for someone to pick a ‘stronger’ alternative, and end up hating the ingredient. You start to receive the benefits at only 0.2% inclusion, so at 5% in our toner (within recommended level of this active in a leave on product) you can be confident you’re not over, or under, doing it.
If you’ve tried a different Niacinamide product in past, disliked it and thought ‘what’s with the hype around Niacinamide?’ hopefully this answers your question, and is an encouragement not to write it off so quickly! And for those who just didn’t understand the hype, well, I hope you’re ready to give your skin some extra glow with our versatile Niacinamide Daily Toner.
Til' next time,
Amy @ Team Q+A
Online community coordinator at Q+A