Smoothing Your Skin With Science: Why You’ll Want Vitamin B3 In Your Skincare

by Judit Banhegyi February 28, 2023

Smoothing Your Skin With Science: Why You’ll Want Vitamin B3 In Your Skincare

Chemicals can be scary. It’s completely understandable for a health-conscious person like you and me to be wary of cosmetic ingredients like phthalates, parabens, and phenols. They’re known to bring a host of side effects such as skin irritation, hormonal disruption, even the risk of cancer!

Now how do you feel about the word “niacinamide”? It may sound like another suspicious lab-made chemical, but quite the opposite – it’s a name for the naturally occurring vitamin B3! As I learned in Glowing Orchid’s early days, niacinamide is a fantastic ingredient for smooth, supple skin.

How does this vitamin work, and how do you make it work for your skin? Let’s first take a minute to talk about “cosmeceuticals,” which allow us to reap the benefits of B-vitamins for our skin. Don’t worry, it’s not nerve-racking like high school Chemistry! Learning about cosmeceuticals can honestly be life-changing, plus I have tips for you further below on using vitamin B3 for beautiful skin.

Cosmeceuticals: The Science of Beauty

In the world of beauty and wellness, the term “cosmetics” refers to products that change only your appearance, like makeup and illuminating creams. Meanwhile, there’s another category called “pharmaceuticals” or “drugs,” which are products that change some structure of the body – for instance, by repairing or replenishing your skin cells.

As you may have guessed, “cosmeceuticals” combine cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, using a level of chemistry to improve one’s appearance. Cosmeceutical skincare products are research-backed formulations aimed to heal, rejuvenate, smoothen, or lighten the skin. Thanks to this science, we now get products like vitamin-infused facial toners and body creams with botanical extracts.

For years, I’ve been looking into cosmeceuticals because as I’ve mentioned, I’m cautious of the ingredients I put on my skin. There’s such a wide variety of chemicals that are formulated into cosmeceutical products, from synthetics like retinol to natural compounds like protein peptides. And you know what? A top favourite cosmeceutical ingredient just happens to be one of the most natural: niacinamide!

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3 that’s important for cell function and cell repair. It’s a naturally occurring and abundant vitamin, especially found in foods like grains and legumes.

In recent years, niacinamide has also become a popular ingredient in skincare products, for many great reasons we’ll discuss below. Cosmeceutical labs typically derive niacinamide from certain cereals and chemically infuse it into creams, toners, lotions, and serums.

How Does Niacinamide Work?

Let me introduce you to two molecules: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+). They’re both a mouthful, so let’s just use their acronyms here. 😁

NAD+ and NADP+ both power our cells to function well, repair damage, and reproduce. To make these two super-important molecules, our cells need niacinamide. Scientists suggest that by nourishing your body with niacinamide, you’re allowing your cells to repair themselves and proliferate. They’re also able to fight off free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage our cells.

In short, with niacinamide, you get more NAD+ and NADP+, which translates to a greater number of healthy, resilient cells. Now imagine that for your skin: when your skin cells are damage-resistant and able to heal themselves, a smooth, radiant complexion is within reach.

What are the Benefits of Niacinamide for the Skin?

Niacinamide calms acne and oily skin.

The anti-inflammatory power of niacinamide can tame those angry-looking acne spots. One study found that participants’ acne significantly improved after they applied a topical treatment containing 4 percent niacinamide twice daily.

But that’s not all. This form of vitamin B3 can also control sebum or skin-secreted oil which is a factor in acne formation. This study showed that a topical treatment of 2 percent niacinamide reduced sebum levels for participants.

Niacinamide evens skin tone.

Uneven coloration is one thing that makes our complexion look rough. You may have noticed those dark splotches like sun spots, age spots, or pimple scars. These are collectively called hyperpigmentation, or excessive production of the skin pigment melanin. Thankfully, melanin production can be reduced with the help of niacinamide.

In one study, a 5 percent niacinamide moisturiser made “significant improvements” to hyperpigmentation spots in 12 weeks. Another test found that a 2 percent niacinamide sunscreen “significantly decreased hyperpigmentation” in as little as four weeks! Take note, this isn’t just about preventing dark spots but actually reversing them!

Niacinamide may be anti-aging.

Fine lines, wrinkles, dull skin – these are classic signs of skin aging that scientists have long battled. Over time, our skin naturally loses its protein building blocks called collagen, resulting in stiff, saggy skin with less suppleness or ‘bounce.’

Now, we know that niacinamide improves our cells’ function, and one lovely result of that is that our skin cells can synthesize or produce collagen better. This collagen boost equals fuller, more elastic skin that’s resistant to wrinkling. In one clinical test, participants applied a 5-percent niacinamide moisturiser to half of their face for 12 weeks. That half showed a substantial reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, leading to smoother skin texture!

Niacinamide promotes hydrated skin.

An essential factor that keeps your skin looking radiant is hydration. Our skin naturally contains moisture, but that moisture dissipates in harsh environments and with the use of skin-drying soaps. This is why moisturisation is crucial in anyone’s skincare routine. Moisturisers aim to seal hydration within the skin by coating it with fatty compounds that act as barriers.

Nicotinamide does that in a deeper way. This vitamin has been found to promote the production of ceramides, which are the actual lipids or fats that ‘glue’ our skin cells together. This means niacinamide doesn’t just superficially coat the skin, it improves the skin’s natural barrier to keep moisture in. Moisturising from the outside is definitely a massive part of proper skin care but don’t neglect the foundation of moisturisation and remember to always hydrate from the inside first! For more about internal ways to maximize your glow, check out my previous write-up here.

There’s practically zero irritation with niacinamide.

Virtually every study you’ll find about niacinamide will tell you that users of this vitamin experienced no side effects. . This is what I love most about this form of vitamin B3: it offers so many skincare benefits, works quite as well as other chemicals, but is so gentle to the skin that I don’t have to worry about any potential nasty aftereffects.

Which is Better: Taking Niacinamide or
Topically Applying It?

A quick search for niacinamide will give you tons of options including oral supplements and topical products. So which form of niacinamide works better for your skin: oral or topical? Skincare experts say topical application of niacinamide is the way to go. It’s a water-soluble vitamin, so our skin can absorb it easily.

How to Use Niacinamide for Optimum Skincare

The multifunctional niacinamide works well on its own, but even better when combined with other cosmeceutical ingredients to target the skin issue you want to address. Let’s take a quick look at specific skin goals and the vitamin B3 products that’ll help you achieve them:

Facial Crème - Helichrysum & Frankincense (30 ml) Glowing Orchid Organics

For youthful, radiant skin, use a facial cream formulated with B3 and natural oils. Our Helichrysum & Frankincense Face Creme is loaded with various essential oils on top of vitamins B3 and B5 (vitamin B5 or panthenol is another superpower skincare ingredient!). They’re collagen-boosting and wrinkle-fighting, helping you preserve that smooth, youthful glow.

Revitalizing Facial Toner with Biofermented Sea Kelp Hyaluronic Acide & Green Tea Extract ALL Skin Types (100 ml) Front Glowing Orchid Organics

To prevent acne breakouts, apply a toner with niacinamide. Toning means priming your face before applying other products like a moisturiser, serum, sunscreen, or makeup. Try our leave-on Facial Toner enriched with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Our customers swear it prevents acne flare-ups!

Facial Crème - Helichrysum & Frankincense (30 ml) Glowing Orchid Organics

To prevent puffy, wrinkly skin around eyes, apply an eye cream with vitamin B3 every night before going to bed. Remember how niacinamide reduces wrinkles and skin damage? Our Eye Creme makes it even better with nourishing and calming essential oils of Chamomile and Frankincense.

Revitalizing Facial Toner with Biofermented Sea Kelp Hyaluronic Acide & Green Tea Extract ALL Skin Types (100 ml) Front Glowing Orchid Organics

To detoxify oily skin or inflammation-prone skin, slather on a B3-infused face mask. We have this special Pink Clay & Rose Face Mask which tightens the skin and regulates contaminants. Or you can try our Charcoal & Turmeric Face Mask to remove dead skin cells and pore clogs while revitalizing the younger skin within.

Knowing all this about niacinamide and actually experiencing vitamin B3 products, I’m entirely convinced that this nutrient is a skincare must-have which is why it’s included in so many of our formulations. To me, this is way better than dumping synthetic chemicals on my skin. Besides, other active ingredients like retinol for instance aren’t pregnancy-safe like B3 is.

Slowly but steadily, I’ve witnessed customers and friends shift their skincare regimen to a more natural one using products from the Glowing Orchid shop. It gives me peace of mind to know that I’m helping them take care of their skin in a gentle, mindful way. I invite you to do the same!

xx Judit

Additional References and Further Reading
Cosmeceutical” on US Food & Drug Administration
Cosmeceuticals” on the Australasian College of Dermatology
Niacinamide: A Multi-functional Cosmeceutical Ingredient” on Practical Dermatology

Judit Banhegyi
Judit Banhegyi


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