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20th April 2021

The benefits of Vitamin B3 (niacinamide)

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is an essential nutrient in the body. Its active form, niacinamide, is an important precursor to the molecules NADH and NADPH, which make up the fundamental energy ‘currency’ units used within the cells, and drive metabolism.[1] A dietary deficiency of Vitamin B3 can cause pellagra, a potentially debilitating condition that causes an array of symptoms throughout the body.

Niacinamide is also commonly added to skincare products, where it has been shown to deliver a range of benefits when used on the skin.

Helps improve skin tone and texture

Researchers have studied the effect of niacinamide on mature or sun-damaged facial skin in several clinical trials.[1] Participants applied a cream containing 5% niacinamide to one side of their face, and a placebo cream with no niacinamide to the other, without knowing which was which. By comparing high-resolution photographs throughout the 12 and 8-week studies, skin texture and roughness could be judged at various time points. The researchers found that the cream containing niacinamide produced a significant improvement in skin texture appearance, compared to the placebo cream.

Boosts the effectiveness of moisturisers

While niacinamide has been found to help reduce water loss from the skin in its own right,[2] it can also boost the effectiveness of other moisturisers, making it a valuable addition to moisturising creams and sunscreens for the face. When researchers studied the effect of combining niacinamide with glycerin, a common moisturising ingredient, they found it was more effective at relieving dry skin than glycerin alone.[3] It also resulted in a greater improvement than other combinations of moisturisers without niacinamide.

Helps support the skin barrier

Niacinamide has been shown to help support the natural formation of skin barrier components, like ceramides and keratin, which are important for normal skin barrier function.[4] As a result, skin appears healthier, feels more elastic,[4] and is more resilient against moisture loss.[3]

Antioxidant properties

Exposure to UV radiation can create reactive oxygen species and free radicals, which are responsible for some forms of skin damage. Niacinamide possesses antioxidant properties, which may help to reduce the harmful effects of UV-radiation, although how this works is still unknown.[5]

SunSense Daily Face SPF 50+ is a facial sunscreen ideal for daily use all year round. As well as providing UVA and UVB protection, SunSense Daily Face SPF 50+ contains niacinamide for a range of additional skin benefits.



  1. Matts PJ, Oblong JE, Bissett DL. A review of the range of effects of niacinamide in human skin. IFSCC 2002;5(4):285–9.
  2. Yokota T, Matsumoto M, Sakamaki T, Hikima R, Hayashi S, Yanagisawa M, et al. Classification of sensitive skin and development of a treatment system appropriate for each group. Int Fed Soc Cosmet Chem 2003;6(4):303–7.
  3. Christman JC, Fix DK, Lucus SC, Watson D, Desmier E, Wilkerson RJJ, et al. Two randomized, controlled, comparative studies of the stratum corneum integrity benefits of two cosmetic niacinamide/glycerin body moisturizers vs. conventional body moisturizers. J Drugs Dermatol JDD 2012;11(1):22–9.
  4. Berson DS, Osborne R, Oblong JE, Hakozaki T, Johnson MB, Bissett DL. Niacinamide: a topical vitamin with wide-ranging skin appearance benefits. In: Farris PK, editor. Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Practice. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2014. page 103–12.
  5. Gensler HL. Prevention of photoimmunosuppression and photocarcinogenesis by topical nicotinamide. Nutr Cancer 1997;29(2):157–62.

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