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Niacinamide in skincare: key benefits and the latest news

Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — is one of the most thoroughly educated founder-formulators we know; he has not only a pharmacy degree, but also a PhD in Natural Product Formulation, a subject that he also teaches at the University of Siena. He is constantly evaluating new raw materials and is particularly excited about niacinamide; so are we. Read on for his guest post on the subject.

Pedro Catala of TWELVE at Ayla

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Niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3 or vitamin PP, is an old-time favorite ingredient in the green beauty industry. It is naturally derived from nicotinic acid, found in brewer’s yeast and many cereals. Its properties and high tolerability — even on sensitive skin — have made it a star vitamin, widely used in skincare.

While it is a traditional ingredient that natural beauty formulators have studied for decades, I had always been opposed to including it in my TWELVE range. Niacinamide typically contains high amounts of residual nicotinic acid; this residue can cause skin flushing, especially when you use high doses of it. Recently, however, a raw-materials manufacturer introduced a version of niacinamide with the smallest amount of nicotinic acid residue I’d come across, and I knew the time had come for me to use this ingredient.

Niacinamide has demonstrated skin-lightening properties — more effective than hydroquinone without the side effects — but its efficacy goes beyond this. To me, the key function is the fact that it contributes to skin homeostasis, which is essential to keep skin cells functioning more effectively. Because of this, it is an ingredient that suits every skin type from dry to oily, including the most sensitive skin conditions.

As a formulator, I think it is always important for a customer to perceive an immediate effect as well as a long term benefit.  In the case of niacinamide, an improvement in skin’s elasticity is the first thing that users notice. Then, a long list of other rewards follows:

-       It helps to repair UV-induced skin cell damage (helpful especially in the summer months).
-       It rebalances the skin tone, as it helps to prevent hyperpigmentation.
-       It is an excellent antioxidant, effectively protecting the skin against free radicals.
-       It increases the amount of ceramides, collagen, filaggrin and involucrin in the skin barrier, which helps to strengthen it.
-       And finally, it has an interesting effect on sebum reduction as well as a soothing effect: this combination reduces acne severity and minimizes the risk of potential lesions.

Modern skincare is about efficacy and safety, and niacinamide embodies both. I do hope you enjoy it in the new Ultra Revitalising Elixir as much as I do.

- Pedro

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Guess who's also excited about niacinamide these days? Marie Veronique. B3 is where it's at.

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