Niacinamide, an Ally of Skin Care
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide or vitamin B3, is present in many ingredients such as yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, vegetables, beans, and cereals. Most B vitamin complex supplements also contain it.
This substance can naturally form in the body through the dietary intake of niacin. Don’t mistake it for NADH, nicotinamide riboside, inositol nicotinate, or tryptophan though.
You may not be aware of it but this vitamin plays a key role in the development and function of body cells. It also helps transform food into energy. As if that wasn’t enough, studies reveal it’s also good for the skin. Continue reading to find out more!
The skincare properties of niacinamide
The oral intake of niacinamide through food and supplements is the most common. It helps prevent vitamin B3 deficiency and related conditions, such as pellagra. This disease is the result of the deficiency of certain vitamins. Furthermore, it leads to the appearance of skin spots and alterations in the nervous and digestive systems.
As a study published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery concludes, niacinamide, especially in topical form, significantly improves skin appearance.
The main health properties of niacinamide
It reduces hyperpigmentation and melasma
Niacinamide significantly decreases hyperpigmentation and increases skin luminosity. At least according to a study published in Dermatology Research and Practice. They say it’s due to the fact that niacinamide interferes with the interaction between keratinocytes and melanocytes that inhibits melanogenesis.
It decreases acne
There’s evidence of a significant reduction of acne in people using niacinamide topically. However, oral nicotinamide can also help overcome this condition.
These effects are due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to decrease sebum production, according to a review published in Dermatologic Therapy.
Check out these Five Natural Treatments for Facial Acne
It improves skin barrier function
Niacinamide can help improve the skin barrier because it increases the synthesis of ceramides, free fatty acids, and cholesterol. In turn, it decreases water loss in dry skin, which improves its moisture content.
Niacinamide mitigates erythema and improves skin tone
This substance can reduce both facial redness and yellowness due to its antioxidant properties. This is because they help inhibit oxidative processes that produce yellowish-brown compounds that accumulate in the skin as aging occurs.
It also tones down rosacea due to its ability to improve skin barrier function.
It decreases sebum production
Vitamin B3 helps reduce sebum production in about two to four weeks. Researchers believe it’s because it decreases the synthesis of triglycerides and fatty acids (two of the main lipid compounds in the sebaceous glands).
It minimizes large pores
Niacinamide can improve the appearance of pores by increasing skin elasticity. In addition, it can diminish imperfections associated with enlarged pores, such as blackheads, thanks to its sebum-regulating properties.
It has anti-aging benefits
Wrinkles, fine lines, and elasticity greatly improve with the regular use of topical niacinamide, as it increases the production of collagen and other types of proteins. It can even inhibit excess glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).
It’s an antioxidant
Niacinamide can protect skin cells from oxidative damage and, in turn, helps repair DNA damage by acting as an antioxidant. It works by inhibiting reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can cause the oxidation of lipids, proteins (such as collagen or elastin), and DNA.
Read about the Types of Antioxidants: Properties and Uses
It protects against the sun
Niacinamide has photo-immunoprotective effects when applied to the skin. Thus, it can repair UV-radiation-induced DNA damage by reducing solar lesions in keratinocytes and other skin cells. In addition, it’s easily absorbed and the chances of it causing irritation are low due to its neutral pH.
Always consult a dermatologist before using niacinamide
As you can see, niacinamide has compelling skincare benefits, all backed up by evidence. However, you must consult a dermatologist before using it — either orally or topically. This kind of professional should be able to establish the safe doses for your particular case and also give you other recommendations to keep your skin in optimal condition.