To Vitamin B or Not To Vitamin B? Your Complete Skincare Guide

In the next instalment of our New Year, New Skin series, where we are exploring the best ingredients to help you achieve your best skin ever, we take a look at the skincare powerhouse, vitamin B. 


Vitamin B is an essential vitamin that plays a crucial role in keeping your body healthy and strong. In food, it’s found in many green vegetables, fortified cereals, chickpeas, kidney beans and liver. Its important for skin health, as well as the health of your hair and nails. But what exactly is vitamin B, what does it do for your skin, when should you use it, and which products are best? Let’s take a look. 

What is vitamin B in skincare?
Vitamin B is a powerful protective antioxidant that combats free radicals in the skin. It helps with collagen production, which is the protein that keeps our skin firm and plump. Vitamin B has anti-inflammatory properties, which are especially useful in preventing eczema, acne or other forms of skin irritation. Vitamin B also protects cells from free radical damage, which helps to reduce fine lines and prevent and repair sun damage. 

What are the different types of vitamin B?
There are actually eight different versions of vitamin B, but the three that we most often see in skincare are B3, B5 and B7. All eight together are known as “B complex”, which is essential for our health, but they also each have specific roles when it comes to skincare. A vitamin B complex is balanced with each vitamin to ensure that you get all the hydrating, anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory benefits, and is found in ingestible supplements rather than topical skincare. 


Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Aids wound healing and calms breakouts. 

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Improves skin tone, luminosity and hydration. 

Vitamin B3 (niacinamide): A skin-conditioning hero for pretty much all skin concerns (acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage). 

Vitamin B5 (panthenol): Best for hydration as it acts as a humectant to attract and retain moisture in the skin. Especially effective when combined with hyaluronic acid, another humectant, like in the super skin-quenching Avant Ultimate Hyaluronic Acid Resurfacing Duo Moisturiser and Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Masque. 

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Fights hormonal acne, inflammation and redness. 

Vitamin B7 (biotin): Revitalises dull and brittle skin, hair and nails. This is most often seen in ingestible supplements to promote healthy growth. 

Vitamin B9 (folic acid): Improves firmess, fights sun damage and promotes cell turnover. 

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): Reduces inflammation, dryness and acne.



Why is niacinamide so popular and how can it protect the skin?
Niacinamide is versatile, suitable for all skin types and can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including acne, rosacea and pigmentation problems. It also minimises enlarged pores, improves skin tone, softens fine lines and restores radiance. Since it helps to improve skin hydration and strengthen the skin barrier, it improves the skin’s defences against environmental stressors.

Will my skin show if I have a Vitamin B deficiency?
Vitamin B deficiency can cause hyperpigmentation, which is an increase in the amount of melanin produced by your skin cells. This can leave you with unwanted dark spots and uneven skin tone. The condition also causes dryness, sensitivity and redness, which can all lead to premature ageing and wrinkles over time. Supplementing with a vitamin B complex in addition to using a topical skincare formula is an effective way of supporting healthy, balanced skin from the inside and outside, while a vitamin B complex supplement also supports mental health, cognitive function and energy levels. 

Can vitamin B be absorbed through the skin?
Vitamin B is a water-soluble vitamin and since your skin is made of over 60% water, it’s one of the most effective ingredients for effective delivery to the skin. Vitamin B does not get stored in the body, so consistent use is recommended for best effects. 

What skin types is vitamin B good for?
Vitamin B is great for all skin types, although specific concerns can be addressed by choosing a formula more suitable for you: for example if you have dry skin, you’ll probably want to opt for a vitamin B5 serum like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 or Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum. Whether dry, oily, sensitive or acne-prone, vitamin B is essential in supporting healthy, happy skin. Available in a variety of formulas, it’s easy to introduce into your skincare routine to get the benefits, whether with a gel cleanser, micellar water, serum or moisturiser to hydrate, calm and comfort winter skin and restore balance for the year ahead.