If you have a well-curated skin care regimen, chances are you've seen Vitamin B3 on the ingredient list. But what is it, exactly? And more importantly, what does Vitamin B3 do for skin?

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacinamide, has multiple skin care benefits, so it should be on your radar for the long term. Read on to discover what board-certified Dermatologist David Bank has to say about what this ingredient is and how to use Vitamin B3 for skin health.

What Is Vitamin B3?

Dr. Bank explains that Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms: niacin and Niacinamide. It plays an important role in the skin and the digestive and nervous systems.

Niacin helps turn the foods you eat into energy and supports cell development and function. According to Mayo Clinic, your body produces niacin naturally, but it can also be found in foods like milk, meat, and cereal grains.

What Does Vitamin B3 Do for Skin?

According to Dr. Bank, applying Niacinamide topically can reduce the appearance of pores and redness, fortify the skin barrier, and smooth out wrinkles and fine lines. It can also act as an antioxidant, protecting your skin from environmental aggressors, and help treat conditions like rosacea and eczema.

It's also a powerful ingredient in treating acne, Dr. Bank explains. Niacinamide can decrease oil production, reduce red bumps with its anti-inflammatory properties, and help treat discoloration, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. Overall, these benefits lead to a smoother, brighter complexion.

Vitamin B3 helps fortify the skin barrier and keep skin healthy.

How Can You Use Vitamin B3 for Skin Health?

When it comes to how to use vitamin B3 for skin health, Dr. Bank suggests using a sunscreen that includes this multipurpose vitamin, like EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, as part of your daily regimen. Whatever sunscreen you choose, make sure it offers broad-spectrum protection and has an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it to any skin that could be exposed to ultraviolet rays and reapply at least every two hours.

Should You Take an Oral Vitamin B3 Supplement?

Although it's common to find B3 in topical products, ingesting this vitamin orally can have benefits as well. As Dr. Bank explains, this nutrient has been observed to help prevent skin cancer when taken orally, though more studies are needed to make that claim. Dr. Bank also says that some studies show that taking Vitamin B3 orally might reduce inflammation seen with acne and rosacea.

Mayo Clinic notes that oral Vitamin B3 is sometimes prescribed for niacin deficiency and even as part of high cholesterol treatment. Although it's generally safe, side effects can include skin flushing, itching, and nausea. Most people get the right amount of B3 from their body and diet, so talk to your doctor before you start taking it for any of these reasons.

Supporting Your Skin with B3

With all that in mind, you can consider this key nutrient a must-have in your skin care routine. For B3 use beyond the skin barrier, always consult your general physician or Dermatologist for a professional opinion. Keeping yourself, your doctors, and your regimen in sync is the surest way to keep that healthy glow going. And if you're looking for more products to help incorporate B3 into your routine, you have plenty of options. Cheers to clear, bright, healthy skin!


  • Audrey Noble

    Audrey Noble is a New York City-based reporter specializing in features, celebrity profiles, and beauty topics. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Allure, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and more. She is a University of Southern California alumna with bachelor's degrees in print journalism and creative writing.

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