Vitamin B3 in the form of nicotinamide or niacinamide is found in meat, fish, nuts and and mushrooms. Insufficient amounts of B3 can cause pellagra, nausea, lesions, anemia, headaches and tiredness. Not only is Vitamin B3 on the World Health Organisation's List of essential nutrients, it also has numerous proven skincare benefits.
Nicotinamide has been shown to be an effective acne treatment when taken orally or applied topically. The application of a cream with 2% nicotinamide for 2-4 weeks has helps reduce acne-causing sebum production.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin B3 help improve the appearance of large pores, redness and patchy skin tones. Inflammation which is the skin's reaction to pollution, diet or an imbalance in ther body causes oxidative damage to sebum and that results in hyperkeratinisation, clogged pores, p.acnes bacteria growth and acne.
There has been literature which suggests that niacinamide and Vitamin C shouldn't be used in the same formulation or applied at the same time. However those findings were shown to be based off a study performed in the 1960s using questionable raw materials that were unstabilised.
Moreover, in order for the acidicy of Vitamin C to convert Niacinamide to nicotinic acid, a form that can cause skin irritation, the formula would have to be exposed to extremely high heat for a long period of time. The usual environment under which most formulations are used, manufactured, stored and transported does not result in the conversion.
A high dosage of nicotinamide can help prevent up to a quarter of non-melanoma skin cancers according to recent research by the University of Sydney, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
Abnormally over stimulated melanoytes (cells that produce melanin) can cause redness and marks on the skin. A 5% topical application of Niacinamide reduces that activity and inhibits the transfer of melanin to surrounding skin cells by a significant percentage.
Studies have shown niacinamide to be effective in reducing pigmentation and age spots over a 4 week period. It can also help strengthen the skin's surface by increasing the biosynthesis of ceramides which are the fatty acids that form cell membranes.
On one hand ingredients that are effective in reducing scarring, spots and pigmentation are undoubtedly amazing but they also have the potential to cause photosensitivity so be more vigilant about using sun protection. Sunscreen application is essential and even more so when using formulations that contain 'active' ingredients such as B3.
Read labels carefully and ensure that the amide form of Vitamin B3 is used ie Nicotinamide or Niacinamide. The other forms of Vitamin B3 such as niacin or nicotinic acid have known side effects associated with them.
Skincare containing Vitamin B:
1) The Little Alchemist's Ultra C skin serum
2) People for Plants organic night cream
3) Blossoms organic facial oil