Vitamin B ~ Part 1
Topical Vitamin B
Our skin is the largest organ of our body. Often when conditions are present internally, such as hormonal imbalances, or disease it often manifests in the skin. Our skin’s health is important as it acts as a barrier to keep anything harmful from penetrating our body.
Vitamins play an important role in our health and should be taken internally via our food and/or daily with supplements per daily recommended dosages. We often do not get the sufficient supply of vitamins through food, either because of the lifestyle we live, and/or the lack of quality of the food we consume. My family has preferred a vegan lifestyle, and also therefore require extra Vitamin B12. For more on vitamin supplements see Part 2 of my blog on Vitamin B.
Vitamins applied topically also play an important role. Even with a healthy lifestyle, and a sufficient amount of vitamins taken internally, the aging process or past environmental damage creates the need for topical Vitamins. In my prior blog, found on my website, I have addressed the role of Vitamin A.
The skin barrier is important to human life. Physically, it protects from external threats such as infectious agents, chemicals, systemic toxicity and allergens. Internally, the skin helps to maintain homeostasis and protects from enhanced loss of water from the body.
Topical Vitamin B and why it is so Beneficial:
Vitamin B3 has been used for many years for wound treatment. In the last decade Niacinamide has been recognized for a wide range of cosmeceutical benefits such as:
- Skin Immunity
- Fine lines
It increases our skin’s ability to fight foreign invaders.
Niacinamide is able to boost our own immune system. A 2017 study concluded that niacinamide boosts the production of natural peptides in our skin and protects us from bacterial infection. Vitamin B3 prevents immunosuppression caused by UV light by boosting the skin’s natural immune response. There has been recent discussion on incorporating B3 in chemotherapy for skin cancer treatment.
It reduces uneven skin tone and pigmentation.
It does this in a totally different way from vitamin A. This is why vitamin A and vitamin B3 are the soul mates of cosmeceuticals: they totally complement each other. When the dark melanin pigment is transferred from the melanocytes to the epidermal cells, vitamin D3 acts as a gate keeper. It can block this step if the melanin is clumping and forming dark hyperpigmented spots. Niacinamide inhibits the transfer of melanin (dark pigment) from the cells that produce melanin (the melanocyte) to the skin cells in the outer layer (keratinocyte). Because transfer is inhibited, it signals the melanocyte to stop producing melanin to reduce skin pigmentation.
It makes the skin look luminous
Niacinamide increases the levels of a natural oil in our epidermis called ceramides. Ceramides help keep the moisture levels in our skin high so we look dewy. Pregnant women usually have that “glow” in the first trimester which is directly correlated to the increased ceramide production which makes their skin more hydrated.
B3 reduces water loss (trans-epidermal water loss/TEWL) through the outer layer of the skin and therefore improves the barrier function of the skin. Skin treated with Niacinamide is more hydrated and less prone to redness and damage from environmental irritants. This is due to the fact that B3 increases the production of skin lipids (ceramides) as well as skin barrier proteins such as keratin, involucrin and filaggrin.
It reduces skin redness and irritation
Vitamin B is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is great news for sufferers of redness, rosacea, eczema and irritated skin. Since all skin conditions are based on inflammation, b3 can be used to treat virtually all skin conditions.
It helps reduce oily skin and is great for acne.
Vitamin B is a champion for acne sufferers. It can reduce the oil production in the skin, and it may be a viable alternative to antibiotic creams for acne. In certain countries antibiotics are heavily prescribed. Overuse of antibacterial drugs breeds resistant bacteria, which means that when we really need them to work for us, they are often useless. We become immune to them! Dr Drealos, MD discovered that topical Niacinamide reduced excess sebum production in acne and the added reduction in inflammation by B3 further help acne sufferers control their condition.
It increases collagen production for reducing wrinkles and increasing firmness.
Vitamin B3 is an essential part of the pathway to collagen production in cells, and B3 in skincare is a great way to deliver it directly to the cells that need it. Topical Niacinamide reduces the appearance of wrinkles by increasing collagen production and reducing excess GAG (glycosaminoglycan) compounds in the deeper skin dermis. Interestingly excess GAGs on Shar Pei dogs results in the wrinkled appearance of their skin.
Reduced yellowing of skin
Ageing skin often exhibits a shallow complexion. This is due to the sugar in our skin, linking to skin protein. This process is called ‘Glycation ageing’ and results in a shallow (yellow-brown) tone to skin. Glycation also stiffens collagen and increases the production of wrinkles.
This wide range of positive effects on skin is why Terri Vinson refers to her own formulation of the Vitamin B serum the essential skin ‘multi-tasker’.
Niacinamide is also known as Vitamin B3 and nicotinamide. B3 is vital to cell metabolism as it acts as a precursor to production of skin compounds such as collagen, involucrin, filaggrin and keratin. B3 formulated correctly has evolved into one of the most effective topicals.