With more and more beauty products coming through and the ease of being able to buy whatever product you like the sound of with a click of a button, I think it’s important we all got savvy with our skincare.
As I’m growing older I’m becoming more invested in finding out what I’m putting on my face in the hopes of finding something that will help me age gracefully and keep my skin looking as healthy as possible.
I’m also seeing a lot of ingredient names being thrown about (hyaluronic acid, glycolic, retinol) all of which promise to stop the aging process that we all dread. Most of these ingredients are great, really they are, but are you using them because everyone says you should? Or because it’s actually what your skin needs?
Personally I think there are better products and ingredients that we need to be talking about.
Niacin, also referred to as vitamin B3, is well recognised as an essential nutrient when it comes to a well-functioning and healthy body. Your digestive system, nervous system and brain function are all dependent on Niacin (Vitamin B3). Mostly you’ll get your daily supply from red meat, chicken and fish like salmon and tuna; as well as green leafy vegetables and like it or not, many packaged foods are fortified with Niacin, so most of us are not likely to be deficient.
But what about your skin?
As essential as it is for your body, it may be time to view topical Niacinamide as a permanent ‘must have’ in your beauty regimen. I’ve got eight reasons that will have you questioning your entire skincare routine!
1. Your skin’s self defence is improved
There are cells in your skin known as Langerhans cells. They are responsible for the protection and repair mechanisms of your skin. They are shy little guys, and when you expose your skin to the sun (especially when you’re sun burnt) they temporarily retreat. This means that your skin is left without its natural immunity against invading microbes or the safeguards against the activity of precancerous lesions. Honestly, it’s scary stuff.
2. Improves epidermal barrier performance
The what now? The epidermal barrier is the outer layer of your skin that has three main functions. To keep out any bad microbes and other external agents, to prevent water loss to keep you nice and hydrated and to protect against UV rays. Everything about your skin is better when the epidermal lipid barrier is functioning at its peak. Niacinamide increases the production of ceramides (an essential component of your lipid barrier), keeping the skin strong and preventing Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL). Basically you need it for beautiful hydrated skin.
3. Hydration is improved
This follows on from the point above but with the skin’s natural moisture being kept it, there is of course a huge improvement of the skin physically. Skin softness, suppleness and skin hydration are related to the barrier properties of the horny layer (yes that’s what it’s called). It’s very well known that several lipids such as fatty acids and ceramides are critical for the structural and functional integrity of the stratum corneum. The skin’s barrier function can be assessed by transepidermal water loss (TEWL) measurements.
A study conducted in 2000 showed that 2% niacinamide reduced the amount of water lost (TEWL) by 24% in 4 weeks. At the same time, fatty acids and ceramides were boosted by 67% and 34%, respectively.
Dull and sallow skin will definitely be a thing of the past!
4. Say goodbye to oily faces
When your skin retains its natural moisture with a well-functioning lipid barrier, the natural oil flow of the skin becomes controlled. So if you have oily skin, rather than using drying agents to wash it away, applying Niacinamide topically can be an essential factor in getting any excessive oil flow under control.
5. Pigmentation problems solved
South Asians rate pigmentation high on their list of skin concerns. You’ll be glad to know that Niacinamide helps to reduce uneven pigmentation by slowing down the transfer of melanin to your skin’s outer layer (epidermis). Including this smart ingredient into any hyper-pigmentation treatment plan is a must.
I’ve had some scepticism around this and have been asked whether this is actually proven and I am happy to say yes it is!
A clinical study with volunteers in 202 confirmed the skin lightening activity. They had applied a skin cream with 5% niacinamide for 8 weeks. Age spots around the eye and cheek were significantly reduced. Niacinamide does not inhibit the production of melanin but instead it inhibits the transfer of the melanosomes (pigment) to the surrounding keratinocytes (skin cells) by up to 68%.
6. Fine line and wrinkles are minimised
Niacinamide boosts collagen production. Along with the improvement of the skin’s lipid barrier comes an increase in cell differentiation which contributes to better synthesis and formation of collagen and elastin. Once again, a very bold claim and yes it has been supported with evidence. Studies with human fibroblasts showed that niacinamide stimulates new fibroblasts by 20% and collagen secretion by 54%.
There you have it, 6 solid reasons to invest in better skincare products that will give real results. I will be doing a follow up post on this with products that I recommend which have Niacin in them. Can you guess which tops my list?
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