Today we’re talking about the scientifically proven (yes, scientifically proven!) skin benefits of topical vitamin B3 for acne and why this particular antioxidant may even be more effective than prescriptions like benzoyl peroxide when treating acne.
what are the skin benefits of topical vitamin b3 for acne?
Topical vitamin B3, or niacinamide, provide a number of different benefits for the skin including increasing elasticity, strengthening the skin barrier, evening skin tone and reducing inflammation.
More and more clinical studies are reporting the benefits of topical vitamin B3 for acne healing and skin regeneration. In fact, some studies claim that topical vitamin B3 could even be more effective than more established prescribed solutions such as antibiotics, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid! This is because topical vitamin B3 is highly effective, but unlike topical medications, it is very well tolerated by all skin types meaning there’s no side effects such as increased skin sensitivity, dryness, redness or irritation. Plus, topical vitamin B3 does not lead to bacterial resistance like many other antibiotic-based acne treatments because it doesn’t target the bacteria overgrowth. Instead, it targets the very first stage of acne (sebum oxidisation) and prevents pimples from developing in the first place.
Ever been frustrated because your latest prescription of antibiotics isn’t working? This is because Propionibacterium acnes, the acne-causing bacterium, is becoming increasingly resistant to many topical and oral antibiotics.
topical vitamin b3 reduces inflammation
Vitamin B3 has been proven to reduce inflammation in various scientific studies. In fact, one 8 week study discovered that a 4% B3 lotion reduced acne by 60% compared to just a 43% improvement in the subjects who used a 1% antibiotic gel (clindamycin). Pretty impressive huh?! If simply adding a 4% topical vitamin B3 lotion to your skin could potentially reduce anti-inflammatory acne by 60%, imagine what you could achieve if you teamed it with an anti-inflammatory diet and healthier lifestyle?!
Inflammation can happen for many different reasons, from diet to air pollution, and is widely believed to be the match that starts the fire when it comes to acne. To cut a long story short, inflammation causes oxidative damage to sebum which sets the wheels in motion for hyperkeratinisation, clogged pores, p.acnes bacteria overgrowth and eventually an inflamed pimple.
To fully understand the role that inflammation plays in the formation of acne, check out this post here
topical vitamin b3 lightens pigmentation and evens skin tone
The red marks that you get after a breakout are the result of abnormally high levels or over stimulated melanocytes, which produce melanin – the substance that gives our skin its colour. One 8 week study showed that 5% topical vitamin B3, or niacinamide, actually inhibited the transfer of melanin to the surrounding skin cells and epidermis by up to 68% – this basically means that topical vitamin B3 blocked the build up of melanin in the surface of the skin. This clinical trial showed that pigment marks and age spots on the face were significantly reduced after 8 weeks of using topical vitamin B3.
where to buy topical vitamin b3 for acne prone skin
I couldn’t write all this amazing stuff about topical vitamin B3 for acne and not include some skin friendly recommendations could I!? Like with any topical acne treatment, the recommendations below are not a replacement for an acne friendly diet and a healthy lifestyle. An anti-inflammatory diet, regular exercise and stress management are the foundations to clear skin as topical solutions will never be able to treat the root cause of your acne.
Topical vitamin B3 can make huge improvements to your skin by reducing inflammation and hyper pigmentation but your skin will only ever be as healthy as your insides, so don’t think you can switch to a topical vitamin B3 and start eating all the crap, because unfortunately it doesn’t work like that!
Key ingredients: Green Tea, Vitamin B3/Niacinimide, Vitamin C
This antioxidant-rich toning mist will give your skin a well-deserved boost while simultaneously fighting off blemishes and minimising the occurrence of clogged pores and inflammation. This mist has my 3 favourite acne-fighting ingredients and the vitamin C will help fight clogged pores and congestion while Green Tea and Niacinamide will help reduce sebum production!
This simple blend of ingredients only contains non-comedogenic base oils that rate 0-1 such as Hemp and Castor, along with Rosehip seed oil which is rich in vitamin A to help boost cell regeneration and fade scars. Along with all these super skin friendly base oils, it also contains the key vitamin B3 too support skin renewal, soothe inflammation and help to bring down redness within your skin. Lightly scented with Tea Tree to fight bacteria and Frankincense which is another ingredient that is fantastic at preventing and smoothing out acne scars.
This mist is a perfect addition to your routine as you simply mist it over your face to enjoy the impressive science-baked formula that is literally bursting with acne-fighting ingredients! Alongside niacinamide (B3) this treatment mist also contains B5 which can also lighten scarring and hyper-pigmentation, liquorice root extract which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and it lightens skin and hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin production. If that wasn’t enough, it also contains N-Acetyl Glucosamine which helps boost the efficiency of niacinamide (B3) PLUS the ever popular green tea extract and ECGC which controls sebum production and inhibits bacterial growth.
This serum contains a whole host of acne clearing ingredients along with vitamin B3 including Willow Bark Extract (a natural source of Salicylic Acid), a potent acne fighter which exfoliates your skin and keeps your pores clear and retinol (vitamin A) which further helps clear pores and prevent acne from forming.
*NOTE* It seems to have recently repackaged and is now called Clear Skin Pore Refiner on the US website.
This is definitely the cheapest option and unlike trying to make your own DIY vitamin C serum, vitamin B3 is apparently pretty stable so would be much safer to create your own and use on your skin. According to many of the websites I’ve researched whilst hunting for vitamin B3 powder, niacinamide is water soluble so it’s really easy to blend with water based products (check your ingredients list and see if it contains “Aqua” or “Aloe Vera” near the top). You can purchase vitamin B3 powder/niacinamide from many online retailers including UK based natural cosmetic supplier Aromantic.
The best way to accurately measure 5% vitamin B3 powder/niacinamide is to convert everything into grams so you will need an accurate set of precision scales (or “drug dealer scales” as my boyfriend likes to call it!). Simply blend the following grams of powdered vitamin B3 with the following grams of your favourite facial mist to add a 5% concentration of vitamin B3. I recommend making up smaller quantities more regularly – this is because when you add an ingredient to an already existing formula, you run the risk of altering the efficiency of the preservative system. I prefer mixing up 50ml for use on just the face and 100ml if you’re spritzing your face and body!
For 100ml of product: weigh 5g of vitamin B3 and 95g of facial mist (best for body)
For 50ml of product: weigh 2.5g of vitamin B3 and 47.5g of facial mist (best for face)
Alternatively, head over to this post here to learn how to make your own MSM & Green Tea Toner to clear acne, banish oilyness and fade scars/hyperpigmentation!
Remember, it takes a while for your skin to fully benefits from the acne healing qualities of vitamin B3 so be patient and give it at least 4-8 weeks!
Have you ever tried topical vitamin B3 for acne clearing? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin