Let’s take a closer look at the ingredient you’re probably forgetting but should definitely remember the next time you re-up on your skincare products — niacinamide, or B3.
What is vitamin B3?
Vitamin B3 actually comes in two forms — niacinamide and nicotinic — but for today’s purposes (and your skin’s), we’re talking about niacinamide only, which is the active form of niacin, a water-soluble vitamin.
It’s an antioxidant your body needs, one you typically get from foods that are high in niacin (like liver, salmon, peanuts, mushrooms and avocados), which boosts the metabolism of your cells, giving them energy to do their thing. While you are what you eat when it comes to skin health, niacinamide also readily penetrates skin, so if you don’t want to rely on food alone to get the good stuff, go ahead and slather it on instead.
Why should I care?
The real question here is: why don’t you already care? Here’s the lowdown on what vitamin B3 can do for skin: it brightens, it lightens, it plumps (bye, wrinkles), it improves elasticity by supporting collagen production, it keeps water locked in to reduce moisture loss and dehydration, it calms angry patches, it leads the acne-fighting charge. Oh, and it’s also a natural moisturizer that deposits antioxidants deep into the skin.
Is there anything this stuff can’t do for your skin? (I mean, sure, it can’t apply concealer or tweeze a stray eyebrow but I bet if vitamin B3 had opposable thumbs it’d be a damn fine makeup-artist-slash-brow-tamer.) Basically it’s the key to healthy, youthful, glowing skin. You’re welcome.
How do I use vitamin B3?
The good news is that niacinamide plays nicely with all skin types, from dry to oily to reactive to normal. It also works well with other vitamins and is one of the most stable ingredients found in skincare products (it has a near-neutral pH, so it’s not acidic or irritating), which means you may already be using it without knowing it.
That sleeping mask you’re so fond of because it has you waking up looking like you just got back from a month-long yoga retreat? Check. The serum that plumps and smooths your skin every morning? Check. The blemish treatment you reach for whenever something unwelcome pops up because it works literal magical? Check. The CC cream that evens tone and keeps skin healthy at the same time? Check.