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Niacinamide Skin Care Benefits, Uses, Side Effects
Life and Style Daily
July 26, 2021
6 min
  • Niacinamide helps strengthen the skin’s barriers to expel environmental pollutants.
  • It is a water-soluble compound that deeply penetrates the skin and traps moisture for a supple and smoother skin texture.
  • It is scientifically proven to be an effective skin brightener and dark spot remover.
  • It helps reduce sebum production and has anti-inflammatory effects that treat acne.
  • It is safe for use on any type of skin.

As we age, our body starts to decrease the production of certain skin defenses, accelerating the signs of skin aging. Suddenly, your skin lacks glow and plumpness even after regular exfoliation and following a proper skin care regimen.

To defy the signs of aging, we need to give our skin the support it needs by using certain anti-aging products.

Niacinamide is a Vitamin B3 derivative widely known for its anti-aging benefits. It has deep moisturizing properties, skin brightening effects, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight numerous skin problems related to photoaging. Niacinamide is natural and safe to be used together with other beauty ingredients.

Read on to learn more about niacinamide: What it is, its skincare benefits and uses, side effects, and more.

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide (also called nicotinamide) is an active compound and a form of vitamin B3. It is a water-soluble compound easily absorbed by the body, which moisturizes and smoothens the skin. It is highly penetrable; that’s why many beauty products use it as a moisturizing agent.

The body naturally produces niacinamide, but this is often not enough, especially as the body starts to age and the skin loses moisture. Taking supplements or using beauty products containing niacinamide can help boost skin health.

Niacin vs. Niacinamide

Niacin and niacinamide are forms of vitamin B3 and are entirely different compounds. They can be found naturally in fish, eggs, vegetables, meats, and grains.

Vitamin B3 is essential to prevent skin problems and kidney disease, among other things. When you consume niacin and the amount taken exceeds what the body needs, it converts to niacinamide.

Topical vs dietary uses

Niacinamide is a natural compound consumed as a supplement or as an ingredient in anti-aging products. Is it better to take a niacinamide supplement or to use a topical product? It depends on what you need it for, but the niacinamide benefits seem to be effective either way.

When used for dietary purposes, niacinamide is taken as a supplement together with other forms of B vitamins.

When used topically, studies have found that it is an effective skin brightener and tolerated by most skin types when combined with other anti-aging ingredients. The skin can absorb niacinamide easily because it is water-soluble, making it a popular moisturizing ingredient in creams, toners, and serums.

Niacinamide Skin Care Benefits

The two predominant benefits of niacinamide are: building up the skin’s proteins to protect against environmental pollutants and moisturizing the skin’s outer layer. Additionally, it has specific benefits such as:

Minimizes fine lines and wrinkles

The topical application of niacinamide reduces fine lines and wrinkles by preventing transepidermal water loss. It draws more moisture into the skin’s outer layer, improving texture. Studies show that topical application of 5% niacinamide can help reduce fine wrinkle lines.

Minimizes skin inflammation

Niacinamide has broad anti-inflammatory effects. It can help with certain skin inflammations such as rosacea, acne vulgaris, skin burns, and wounds. The effectiveness of niacinamide as an anti-inflammatory is due to its ability to inhibit enzymes such as PARP. Simply put, it stops damaged skin from worsening and helps speed up healing.

Treats hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation happens when certain parts of your skin get darker due to the overproduction of melanin. Niacinamide is known for treating skin pigmentation, helps reduce dark spots, and lightens skin.

To prove its efficacy, a study on 18 individuals with hyperpigmentation and 120 individuals with facial tanning was conducted. Those with hyperpigmentation used products containing 5% niacinamide, while those with facial tanning used 2% niacinamide. Results revealed that after four weeks, niacinamide was 35-68% effective in reducing hyperpigmentation and skin lightening.

Protects against oxidative stress

Our skin is the largest organ in the body and the most exposed to damage and pollutants such as UV radiation and chemical agents. As our body gets exposed to chemicals and pollutants, free radicals are created, which accelerates signs of aging and causes the body to develop various diseases.

Antioxidants are naturally produced by the body to fight free radicals, but as we age, the amount produced is sometimes not enough. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidant activity. The skin exceeds the range that our antioxidant defense system can handle, making it more prone to skin aging.

Niacinamide contains antioxidants scientifically proven to protect skin cells from oxidative stress. It helps strengthen skin barrier functions and fights the effects of free radicals. Niacinamide is considered one of the best skin antioxidants along with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Reservatorl, and Retinol.

Treats acne

Niacinamide, when applied topically, can help reduce sebum overproduction, which is often the cause of acne breakouts. A topical solution of 2% niacinamide has been established to be effective in regulating facial oil production, which consequently decreases acne.

Other benefits

Niacinamide has a range of other health and skin benefits. For one, it is a preferred treatment for niacin deficiency called Pellagra. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves niacinamide supplements instead of niacin because it has fewer side effects.

For the skin, it can help prevent the formation of nonmelanoma skin cancer, minimizes inflammation caused by eczema, minimizes pores, and treats sun damage.

For the body, niacinamide supplements can be beneficial to those who have diabetes, osteoarthritis, and kidney disease.

Niacinamide Products

The properties of niacinamide are ideal for supporting aging skin. It is a popular ingredient in many anti-aging products, with 2%-10% being an effective dose, depending on the skin’s need.

Supplements

Niacinamide supplement is a more preferred form of Vitamin B supplement because it does not have niacin flush side effects. It usually comes in capsule or tablet form and is consumed once daily or as directed by a physician.

Serums

Serums are like the ‘espresso’ for your skin, delivering a more potent and concentrated formulation compared to gels and creams. It is lightweight and thinner than a moisturizer and comes in different formulations such as oil, gel, light creams, and water-based. Niacinamide in serums provides a rich dose of antioxidants making it a very potent anti-aging solution.

Toners

Toners are best for making the skin smooth and minimizing pores. With the added benefits of niacinamide, it helps improve the skin’s barriers, lighten dark spots, and fight free radicals.

Creams

Niacinamide is a popular ingredient for anti-aging cream-based products such as eye creams, lotions, night creams, and other types of moisturizing creams.

Powder

The powdered format of niacinamide allows the personalization of use. You can mix it with any existing water-based treatment product or for DIY beauty products.

DIY uses

Those who choose to make DIY niacinamide solutions want to get the full benefits of niacinamide without it being mixed with commercial chemical ingredients that irritate their skin.

To do this, they purchase niacinamide in powdered form. It can be dissolved in water and turned into toner or facial spray. Since it is water-soluble, it cannot be mixed with any oil-base or essential oil. It needs a specific concentration in order for it to be effective without irritating the skin. Others mix it with natural ingredients such as witch hazel. To form a lotion, it needs a thicker base, such as aloe.

How to Use Niacinamide in Your Skincare Routine

If you are already using a set of skincare products, it is safe to incorporate niacinamide in your skincare routine.

  • Serums - Apply serums after cleansing when the face is clear of all other products. Niacinamide serums are water-based. The skin should absorb the serum first before applying all the other oil and cream-based beauty products.

  • Creams - These are best applied after cleansing and after water-based toners and serums.

The last and most important product to use is sunscreen. When using brightening agents such as niacinamide, the skin will be very vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Sunscreen will prevent skin damage and further pigmentation. A broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen is recommended.

What skincare ingredients work best with niacinamide?

There are a lot of researches on the efficacy of niacinamide. However, one study shows that the combination of niacinamide, 0.5% retinol, resveratrol, and hexylresorcinol is a very effective brightening and anti-aging formulation.

This combination is also mild enough to be tolerated by different skin types. According to the said study, this mixture is very effective when paired with a good cleansing routine and at least an SPF 30 sunscreen.

Potential Side-Effects of Niacinamide

Niacinamide supplements are generally safe, provided you follow the recommended dosage. The recommended dosage for an adult is 35mcg daily. Anything in excess can cause minor side effects such as upset stomach, dizziness, rashes, and bloating.

Niacinamide overdosing can have very damaging health effects, including loss of vision, irregular heartbeat, gout, liver problems, and ulcer.

Takeaway

Niacinamide is scientifically proven to be an effective anti-aging solution, with concentrations on skin brightening and deep moisturizing. However, you won’t get its full effects without following the recommended skincare regimen, including cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and most importantly, putting on sunscreen.

While there are still insufficient studies on its other health benefits, niacinamide seems to have promising effects on lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, preventing cataracts, reducing phosphate levels in the blood, and preventing high blood pressure. Niacinamide still has a lot of potentials, not just for skincare but for medicinal purposes.


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