Do you have oily skin? If so, you’re not alone. Lots of people do, and it can be such a pain to deal with. The oil can block your pores and lead to acne breakouts, so it’s important to do something about the problem.
One affordable solution that many people turn to is niacinamide. Niacinamide is an effective treatment for oily skin. It can help reduce oil production by regulating the balance between sebum and moisture on the skin’s surface.
This article discusses some benefits and side effects of niacinamide – as well as what to know before using it for your oily skin.
Okay, But What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3 or nicotinamide, is one of the eight B vitamins found in our diet. It plays an essential role in many bodily functions, including maintaining healthy skin texture and tone.
You can find this form of vitamin B naturally in foods like pork, beef, salmon, sunflower oil, peanuts, yeast, wheat bran, and green peas. You can also take it as a dietary supplement or apply it topically as skincare products like serums and creams.
“Niacinamide can help control oil production, improve acne, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Although it’s rarely talked about, niacinamide is one of the most important vitamins for the skin.” Dr. Sam Bunting, a board dermatologist, says.
Niacinamide Benefits for Oily Skin
1. Reduces Sebum Production
Sebum is the natural oil that lubricates our skin, but the excessive production of this important oil is what causes oily skin. To prevent this, niacinamide inhibits sebum production by decreasing the activity of the enzyme involved in its production.
“It also removes excess oils that have been broken down by bacteria on the surface of your skin. When it does this, it prevents them from being released into your pores and causing pores to get clogged,” Bunting says.
2. Treats Acne
Excessive sebum collects deep within the pores and causes acne lesions, blackheads, whiteheads, and even cysts. Since niacinamide reduces sebum production, it helps control acne and prevent new ones from forming.
This ingredient also improves the overall appearance of existing acne by reducing redness and inflammation. You can use it in combination with other treatments, including benzoyl peroxide, retinoic acid, salicylic acid, and antibiotics.
3. Increases Hydration
Niacinamide works by increasing the synthesis of ceramides and improving the barrier function of the upper layers of the skin.
“With a stronger barrier function in place, moisture stays locked inside your skin, which helps decrease water loss and hydrate your skin from within, ” board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Shari Marchbein explains.
This process can help prevent or lessen dryness and flakiness caused by environmental factors, and irritation from retinoids or exfoliation products.
4. Lowers Bacteria Activity
Studies have found that niacinamide can help to reduce the activity of certain types of bacteria. Specifically, it can be very effective in helping to clear skin by preventing the growth of P. acnes bacteria.
This type of bacteria naturally occurs on the skin and can cause acne breakouts if it grows in excess. Niacinamide can inhibit the growth of this bacteria, thereby preventing any oily skin conditions it might cause.
5. Reduces Pore Appearance
Niacinamide can penetrate the skin and increase the production of ceramides, which are critical to the structure of the outermost layer of skin. It also boosts the production of collagen and elastin, which helps the skin maintain its elasticity.
“While there is no research specifically on how niacinamide works for pores, it’s likely this vitamin helps with pore appearance by increasing the production of both collagen and ceramides in the outer layers of the skin,” Marchbein says.
6. Fights Hyperpigmentation
Studies have shown that niacinamide can decrease hyperpigmentation, such as acne spots, by inhibiting tyrosine production in melanin cells. It also helps to block the formation of melanosomes (the cells that transport melanin).
A study published in 2002 by the British Journal of Dermatology showed that niacinamide significantly reduced skin pigmentation by inhibiting 35-68% melanosome transfer.
7. Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles
As we age, our skin gradually loses its elasticity and firmness. It is a natural process that makes us look older and more tired than we are. Wrinkles and fine lines in particular appear when the collagen in our skin breaks down.
Niacinamide works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by inhibiting enzymes that break down collagen and elastin fibers. This prevents the destruction of these fibers, which keeps skin looking young and healthy.
8. Brightens Skin
Niacinamide can help to brighten the overall tone in oily skin by reducing the activity of melanin and increasing the rate of skin cell turnover. It’s also an antioxidant, which means it can help to prevent skin darkening caused by free radicals.
A study published in 2016 by a group of researchers at the University of Nantes, found that 2% niacinamide was effective at lightening skin color in a group of women after 4 weeks of regular use.
9. Improves Skin Cell Turnover
Another benefit of niacinamide is its ability to increase the production rate of new skin cells. Increasing collagen and elastin fibers, it helps your skin make new cells. The more new cells you have in your skin, the more youthful you look.
10. Sun Protection
When we spend time in direct sunlight, melanin production goes up to protect our skin from the sun’s damaging rays. However, when melanin production is high, it can lead to an increase in dark spots on the skin.
Vitamin B3 can help protect your skin from the sun and reduce its damaging effects. As an antioxidant, it works by fighting the free radicals released by the sun’s UV rays.
11. Prevents Free Radicals Damage
When free radicals are not neutralized by antioxidants, they cause damage to the skin’s connective tissue, collagen, and elastin. This damage causes fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, rough texture, and enlarged pores.
Niacinamide prevents this damage by helping the skin to fight off free radicals through several processes. The result of these processes is smoother, plumper, and firmer-looking skin with fewer wrinkles and age spots.
Side Effects of Using Niacinamide
Niacinamide has just a few potential side effects, which are mainly due to its ability to enhance blood flow throughout the body.
These include a flushed or warm feeling on the skin and a burning sensation. In very rare cases, it can also cause stomach upset, dizziness, headache, and diarrhea.
Niacinamide does not cause side effects in most people, but it’s important to see a dermatologist or a doctor before starting a niacinamide treatment. You should also do a patch test before applying topical niacinamide to your skin.
Risks and Cautions
Niacinamide can interact with certain types of medications. For instance, if you take niacin or prescription medications such as anticoagulants (blood thinners), consult your doctor before taking niacinamide.
“Before using oral niacinamide, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, are allergic to any medications, or have liver disease, diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol,” Marchbein says.
When Is the Best Time to Use Topical Niacinamide?
The best time to use niacinamide as part of your skincare routine is to apply it after cleansing and toning in the morning and evening, but before applying your other skincare products such as moisturizers, sunscreens, and makeup.
The reason for this is that it takes a few minutes for the niacinamide to absorb into the skin, so the moisturizer and sunscreen will provide an added layer of protection.
However, if you have sensitive skin, avoid using niacinamide during the day. This is because exposing your skin to the sun can cause increased sensitivity and reactions to niacinamide.
How to Use Niacinamide on Skin
The right way to use niacinamide is by following these steps:
- Lather your face with a cleanser and then rinse it off with water.
- Apply a toner to your face to remove any dirt or residue.
- Get your niacinamide cream or serum and squeeze 1 or 2 drops on your fingers.
- Gently rub the product all over your face, avoiding the eye area.
- Let it dry for 10 minutes before applying any other skincare products like sunscreen.
Niacinamide works best when used consistently, so make sure to use it every day. This means avoiding the common trap of trying out new products every day with the hope of finding something better.
How Else Can You Control Oily Skin?
There are many tips to help control oily skin. Some people find that making adjustments to their diet and lifestyle can help. Others use prescription medications and other treatments like salicylic acid.
Here are some tips for oily skin:
- Wash your face about three times a day, using a gentle cleanser and warm water.
- Use skincare products that are specifically designed for oily skin and use gentle motions when washing the skin.
- Avoid greasy foods and drinks, such as french fries or soda.
- Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.
- Sleep on a pillowcase that has been sewn shut to prevent oil from getting onto your sheets.
- Remember not to overwash your skin or use too many products, as this can cause an increase in oil production.
Is niacinamide good for wrinkles?
Yes, it is. Niacinamide is an active form of vitamin B3 that can help to improve the appearance of wrinkles, as well as other signs of aging, such as blotchy skin or age spots.
Niacinamide works by increasing collagen production and the turnover of skin cells. This helps to clear your pores of dead skin, improve fine lines and wrinkles, and generally make you look younger.
How do you know if niacinamide is not working?
The best way to know if niacinamide is or is not working is to have a skin consultation with your dermatologist. A dermatologist can also advise you on how much of it to use, how often to apply it, and what other products would be helpful.
Moreover, if your skin feels “tight” or as though it’s burning or stinging when you use niacinamide, discontinue use and consult with a dermatologist as soon as possible because these are signs that niacinamide is not working for you.
Is niacinamide good for acne?
Yes, it is. Niacinamide can help to control oil production, which will prevent clogged pores and acne from forming.
It also works as an anti-inflammatory agent by calming down acne inflammation on the skin. In addition, niacinamide can help to increase skin hydration, which will make your skin less prone to acne and other skin conditions.
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide or vitamin B3, is a vitamin that can help to improve the appearance of oily skin. You can get this nutrient in foods, dietary supplements, and as an ingredient in serums, creams, lotions, or gels.
There are many benefits to using this vitamin. It has been shown to reduce oil production, increase hydration and improve pore appearance, making it a good option for oily skin.
Niacinamide is considered very safe, with low side effects. After using it for about two months, you should notice that your skin produces less oil and feels smoother.
Thanks for reading.
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