Let’s start out by saying that we are certainly not suggesting that we can bake in the sun and then whip out a magical potion later that will undo all the sun damage while we still bask in our golden tan. However, for those moments we let slip or were out of our control, some skincare ingredients can do some seriously good work.
When we subject ourselves to ultraviolet ray exposure, we damage and burn our skin cells. Yes, a tan is when we let ourselves get a little too toasty — aka medium well. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Our skin attempts to repair — and protect — itself by releasing melanin, the compound responsible for our skin color. The more melanin that is present, the darker our skin.
Skin cells are programmed to repair their own DNA, but that doesn’t mean they can successfully do this at a quick and easy rate all of the time. Depending on the severity of the sun damage (the years rack up, ladies and gents), new cells may have a unique color and texture that we, ahem, did not ask for. These abnormal cells, at best, don’t look pretty. And at worst, they can lead to skin cancer.
Cue: niacinamide. A derivative of vitamin B3 (hello niacin, or nicotinic acid), niacinamide is a super potent agent. It can help fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation, but not in the same way that exfoliating acids like AHAs and BHAs do — and niacinamide helps with those abnormal cells, too.
Because UV rays cause damage and oxidation, we need an antioxidant. Niacinamide acts as a powerful antioxidant, stimulating healthy DNA repair and increasing cellular turnover without over-exfoliating the skin. It decreases the amount of healing time, and can prevent melanin production and release, meaning it can heal dark spots as well as prevent them from forming.
Because it’s not just sun that gives us dark spots and hyperpigmentation (thank you, Father Time), cellular regeneration can help with other age-related spotting, as well as sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles. This B3 derivative ingredient also encourages lipid production, which is our natural oil barrier that keeps us looking plump and healthy, by retaining moisture below the skin’s surface.
Better hydrated skin is stronger, more resilient skin that can better protect itself against sun damage. Niacinamide is a hero ingredient on the Amé list this summer for its abilities to improve our barrier function, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, decrease redness or blotchy and uneven tone, improve elasticity, and reduce and prevent hyperpigmentation. Shop some of our favorites below: (insert shop widget here with products in RS folder “Niacinamide”)