The benefits of niacinamide and vitamin B12 in skincare
B vitamins are fantastic for treating an array of skin issues. We dive into the world of B3 and B12 – and explain why you should be adding them to your treatment kit
Why the hype around vitamin B3 for skin?
"Vitamin B3 helps to improve the skin’s barrier function, helping to maintain moisture, reduce hyperpigmentation and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. When topically applied, grapeseed and hemp seed oil have numerous benefits for the skin" shares Reg Cole, founder of Yanga Natural.
What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide is the water-soluble form of vitamin B3 and is used in skincare because it improves the skin’s barrier function, preventing environmental damage, and minimising sensitivity and transepidermal water loss. “This ingredient’s ability to increase cellular energy ensures improved cell turnover, microcirculation, and antioxidant protection, having a beneficial effect on many cell processes,” explains leading facialist Kate Kerr.
“It also improves skin congestion and acne breakout with its antibiotic effect and sebum-regulating benefits; helps prevent and treat hyperpigmentation by slowing the transport of melanin to the skin’s surface; and slows skin ageing by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin.”
How does niacinamide work on the skin?
It’s effective in skincare because “it’s a precursor to two super-important co-enzymes within the cells – nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+/NADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+),” says Martine Jarman, founder of SkinGenius Clinic in Warrington.
“These co-enzymes play an essential role in cell metabolism, meaning they give our cells the energy to carry out important functions such as DNA repair, reproduction and cell turnover.” Niacinamide is suitable for most skin types and works best when used with other supporting ingredients such as retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, and BHAs.
“Its anti-inflammatory property makes it a popular ingredient for skin conditions marked by inflammation, such as acne, rosacea and those with a compromised barrier,” adds Jarman.
Why the hype around vitamin B12 for skin?
Vitamin B12 is extremely beneficial for skin health for several reasons – it is necessary for cell production, reducing inflammation and dryness, and for overall heathy hair, skin, and nails.
“A deficiency in vitamin B12 levels can cause various dermatologic symptoms, including nail discolouration, hyperpigmentation, hair changes, vitiligo, and angular stomatitis (inflamed and cracked mouth corners),” explains Jarman.
It is also a key factor when aiming for skin radiance as it minimises the look of dark spots and uneven skin tone, making it an ideal go-to for mature clients. “It boosts the fibroblast to increase collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production, improving texture, elasticity, and hydration,” adds Kerr.
“Vitamin B12 has also been shown in studies to help minimise erythema and improve inflammation.”
Cole agrees that the vitamin is ideal for older clients, as it "enhances the radiance of a dull and mature skin. It also helps in skin tone and helps diminish the look of dark spots."
What does vitamin B12 do for skin?
“Cyanocobalamin is the form used in skincare and it is produced via the fermentation of selected microorganisms. It is quite an uncommon ingredient in the skincare world, but it does herald some impressive results,” explains Kerr. “It’s a very stable and gentle vitamin, so it can be used daily, and it increases cellular energy to boost multiple cell processes – in particular regeneration and repair.”
It can also be applied topically to reduce dryness, inflammation, and acne, and can be helpful when treating issues like eczema and dermatitis. “However, applying B12 to the skin alone isn’t as beneficial as consuming the ingredient,” advises Jarman. “I recommend including a vitamin B complex into customers’ daily diet for more inflammatory and severe skin concerns.”
Want to know more about vitamins? Check out our guide to Vitamin F here.
Click here to discover everything you need to know about Vitamin E in skincare.
Here is our Vitamin C skincare lowdown: benefits and how to use it topically.
And have you read our feature on the truth about vitamin A skincare?