Are you looking for an ingredient that can reverse most of your skin issues? The essential vitamin niacinamide might be your answer.
This superstar ingredient is now the talk of the town, owing to the innumerable skin benefits attributed to it. As a topical agent, it helps your skin retain essential moisture, prevent breakouts, increase collagen production etc. But it is important to use niacinamide in the right concentration as per your skin type for achieving desired results.
Read on to know niacinamide’s various skin benefits and which formulations are most suitable for your skin.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Says
“Supplementing with niacinamide helps increase the NADP and NADPH concentrations, for healthier skin.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide  is a type of Vitamin B3, a nutrient essential for your skin’s well being. With newer studies authenticating its efficacy in treating various skin issues, niacinamide has become a popular ingredient in the skin care industry.
Niacinamide plays a pivotal role in determining NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NAPD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) coenzyme levels in your skin.
Low levels of these coenzymes can greatly impair your skin’s wound healing, cell proliferation and cell repair abilities. Thus, including niacinamide in your skin routine can assure you soft, glowing, wrinkle-free, younger-looking skin in just a matter of weeks.
What Does Niacinamide Do For Your Skin?
Niacinamide, also referred to as nicotinamide, is often prescribed as a supplement in the treatment of pellagra (caused by Vitamin B3 deficiency), a condition which has significant skin manifestations. However, as a topical agent, niacinamide can improve skin lipid synthesis, reverse sun damage, improve skin tone and texture, treat acne conditions and prevent skin aging.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, “Niacinamide is an essential component of the Redox reactions (NADP/NADPH) that occur in the skin. Over time, the cellular concentrations of these two enzymes lowers. The Redox reaction for the regulation of skin also slows down with the lowered concentrations of NADP and NADPH leading to skin ageing.”
She further adds, “Supplementing with niacinamide helps increase the NADP and NADPH concentrations, for healthier skin.”
It was in 1945, after years of research, that niacin and niacinamide were regarded as the primary PP factors (Pellagra-Preventive).
Niacinamide Benefits For Skin
1. Improves Moisture Retention
Rapid moisture loss from your skin’s surface is a major cause of xerosis, a condition that causes acute dry skin. Topical application of niacinamide has shown to increase skin lipids and reduce transepidermal water loss. This improves your skin’s moisture content, keeping it soft and supple.
Niacinamide’s moisturizing properties are also the reason why it is added to various skin creams and moisturizers.
2. Strengthens Epidermal Barrier
Constant exposure to the elements, age and poor nutrition can all weaken your skin barrier. The skin barrier is your body’s first line of defense.
It is made of brick-like cells called corneocytes cemented together by ceramides and fatty acids. Epidermal barrier impairment can lead to various skin infections, allergic reactions and irritations.
Using niacinamide for skin care, repairs gaps in the epidermal barrier by increasing the production of ceramides (skin lipids) and accelerating the proliferation of keratinocytes. This improves skin barrier function and speeds up skin healing.
3. Treats Acne Vulgaris
Acne is a common skin problem that can start as one reaches puberty and continue for years. The cause of acne is a bacterial infection in a clogged skin pore. Topical use of niacinamide shows rapid reduction of inflammatory acne  such as papules, pustules and nodules due to its anti-inflammatory abilities.
Further, niacinamide helps regulate the secretion of sebum, thus preventing chances of pore-clogging and bacterial proliferation.
4. Prevents Skin Inflammatory Conditions
Niacinamide displays major anti-inflammatory activities when applied topically. Therefore it is used to treat various skin inflammatory conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
5. Helps Reverse Skin Aging
Wrinkles and fine lines are the first signs of aging skin. Depletion of skin lipids and collagen are often the main cause. With niacinamide’s ability to boost the production of collagen and increase your skin’s moisture content, your skin naturally begins to regain its youth in just a few weeks.
Various clinical trials  have revealed that topical application of niacinamide resulted in marked improvement in skin texture and skin tone in participants within a period of 4 to 12 weeks.
6. Heals Sun-Damaged Skin
Photodamage is one of the primary causes of premature skin aging and skin cancer. Localized application of niacinamide helps to protect your skin cells from free radical DNA damage caused by exposure to UV rays.
Furthermore, excess sun exposure can lead to the disablement of important immune responses in your skin. This is known as photoimmunosuppression  and the condition can present various clinical challenges. Niacinamide can be used to treat such harmful effects of the sun and boost your skin’s immune defense.
7. Prevents Skin Thinning
Age, UV exposure and use of medications such as corticosteroids can lead to depletion of the dermal layer of your skin. The dermis gives your skin its structure and forms a protective layer that cushions the inner layers and your organs.
Thin skin is fragile and more vulnerable to injuries and infections. Niacinamide prevents skin thinning by increasing the production of fibrous proteins such as collagen and elastin in the dermis.
8. Treats Oily Skin
Niacinamide is a great treatment for all your oily skin issues. Topical application of this vitamin reduces the production of sebaceous gland lipids such as triglycerides. This helps regulate sebum secretion on your skin and keeps it clean and oil-free.
9. Treat Pigmentation Disorders
Your skin owes its unique color to a pigment called melanin. Melanin is synthesized by specialized cells known as melanocytes. The pigment is transferred to the uppermost layer of your skin through melanosomes. However, sun exposure or certain medical conditions can stimulate excess melanogenesis, resulting in hyperpigmentation.
Studies show that niacinamide obstructs the transfer of melanosomes to the keratinocytes thereby preventing excess melanin accumulation in the epidermis. Thus, niacinamide can be effectively used to treat uneven skin tone, age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and other forms of pigmentation disorders in the skin.
10.Prevents Skin Cancer
When used as an anti-cancer treatment , niacinamide can reduce the risk of developing various forms of skin cancers, especially of the basal and squamous cells. It also prevents the occurrence of actinic keratosis, a rough, scaly lesion caused by excess sun exposure, which often leads to malignancies.
Vedix Tip: Apart from topical application of niacinamide, you can also consume foods rich in the vitamin, such as eggs, meat, fish, dairy products and green vegetables for healthy skin.
How To Use Niacinamide For Skin?
Niacinamide can be found in a wide range of skin care products which includes serums, toners, creams, gels and moisturizers. An effective product is likely to have a concentration between 2% to 10%. Products that address specific skin issues such as acne, may also have other ingredients such as zinc or retinol in combination with niacinamide.
Here’s a brief guide to selecting the right concentration and combination for your skin type and issues.
1. For Dry Skin
Serums and moisturizers that contain 2% to 5% niacinamide are considered effective for dry skin. However, for the treatment of eczema, xerosis and other inflammatory and dry skin issues, you can look for combinations with zinc.
Before applying the products, cleanse your skin. Niacinamide serums can be applied on mildly damp skin for better absorption. Both serums and moisturizers can be safely included in your morning and night skincare routines.
2. For Oily Skin
Niacinamide toners can work magic for your oily skin. A 4% concentration of the vitamin can reduce excess oil secretions, keeping your skin dry all day. You can also use non-comedogenic moisturizers and clay masks with 4% - 5% niacinamide for your oily skin.
A combination of niacinamide and salicylic acid helps prevent clogging of your pores and keeps acne trouble at bay. It is safe to use niacinamide twice daily on oily skin as part of your skin routine.
3. For Acne-Prone Skin
Using a niacinamide toner or/and moisturizer with 4% to 10% concentrations works well to reduce acne conditions. Decide on the vitamin concentration according to the severity of your acne. You can also look for niacinamide combinations with retinol which helps to unclog blocked pores by increasing your cell turnover rate.
Zinc and niacinamide combinations are effective for inflammatory acne lesions such as papules and pustules. Niacinamide products for acne-prone skin can be used twice a day after cleansing with a mild cleanser.
4. For Skin Aging
To prevent premature skin aging, opt for skincare products that contain 5% concentration of niacinamide. You can also go for niacinamide combinations with hyaluronic acid or ceramides to repair your skin and reverse skin aging.
You are likely to see a visible reduction of wrinkles and fine lines within a period of 4 to 12 weeks with regular usage.
5. For Sensitive Skin
Mild concentrations of niacinamide, preferably 2% in moisturizers and serums, are best suited for sensitive skin. Do a patch test to see how your skin adapts to the product before including it in your daily skin care routine.
6. For Hyperpigmentation
To treat uneven skin tone, dark spots and sun tan, niacinamide products with 4% concentration are helpful. You can also opt for a sunscreen with 2% niacinamide to prevent sun damage. A niacinamide combination with Vitamin C can prove to be more effective in treating skin hyperpigmentation.
With regular usage of niacinamide, your skin tone is likely to improve within 8-12 weeks.
Each niacinamide product is customized to deal with different skin issues. Always read the instructions mentioned on the label carefully before use.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Niacinamide?
While niacinamide concentrations between 2% to 10% are generally safe for most skin types, mild side effects cannot be ruled out. First time users may experience some skin irritation which is likely to go away as your skin adapts to the products. Niacinamide is also considered safe for teenage skin, however, it is good to start with a low concentration.
Below listed are a few niacinamide side effects that you should keep in mind before opting to use the ingredient.
- Mild itching
- Mild breakouts/ allergic reactions (in allergy-prone skin)
Frequently Asked Questions About Niacinamide
1. Can I Use Niacinamide Every Day?
Yes, niacinamide is quite safe for everyday use. However, it is recommended that you do a patch test to check your skin’s reaction to the ingredient. Using a 2% to 5% concentration of niacinamide every day is greatly beneficial for your skin.
2. How Much Niacinamide Is Too Much For Your Skin?
Generally, most skin care products in this range contain 2% to 10% niacinamide. 5% niacinamide is considered a safe concentration for regular use. Beyond 10% may not be well tolerated by certain skin types. So it is advisable to consult your doctor before using a higher concentration of niacinamide to treat specific skin issues.
3. Can You Use Niacinamide With Retinol?
Niacinamide and retinol can be used together. If it is not combined in one product, use niacinamide first. Wait for 5 minutes and then apply retinol for best effects.
4. What Is The Difference Between Niacin And Niacinamide?
Though niacin and niacinamide are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Both are forms of Vitamin B3 and have similar effects on the body. Niacinamide or nicotinamide is the active form of niacin  or nicotinic acid. Niacin can be converted into niacinamide within the human body.
The Last Word
With verified skin benefits, there is an increasing demand for skincare products containing niacinamide. While the ingredient alone is a holistic healer of various skin issues, you can also use it in combination with other active ingredients to accelerate healing.
Lastly, whatever the skin concern you wish to address, it is advisable to have a fair idea of your skin type and Prakriti (body constitution). This will help you choose the right concentration of niacinamide and plan your skin care routine for healthy, beautiful skin.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Niacinamide, 2020 September
2. A Review Of Nicotinamide: Treatment Of Skin Diseases And Potential Side Effects, 2014 December
3. Niacinamide: A B Vitamin That Improves Aging Facial Skin, 2005 July
4. Photoimmunosuppression: A Brief Overview, 2013 April
5. Oral Nicotinamide Prevents Common Skin Cancers In High-Risk Patients, Reduces Costs, 2015 August
6. Nicotinic Acid/ Niacinamide And The Skin, 2004 April
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