Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that can treat many skin conditions. It’s capable of lightening scars, treating acne, and reducing many of the telltale signs of aging.
One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and looking youthful is by adding topical serums, creams, and oils into your daily skincare routine.
One ingredient that I have recently added to my regimen is Niacinamide (Vitamin B3). This product has been featured in many articles all over the internet as a great way to improve skin tone and texture.
So what exactly does niacinamide do and what do you need to know before jumping on the niacinamide bandwagon? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a water-soluble derivative of vitamin B3, also known as nicotinamide or nicotinic acid amide. It’s one of the most important vitamins for the health and beauty of your skin.
According to studies, niacinamide is an essential vitamin that is helpful for many skin conditions, from acne to sun damage. It can also make a big difference in the appearance of your skin, by reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
You can find niacinamide in several foods, including peanuts, tuna, chicken, turkey, beef liver, and many more. Besides being found in food, you can also take niacinamide as a supplement or apply it topically on your skin.
What Do Niacinamide Do for Your Skin
Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that has been found to have many benefits for the skin. Here are some benefits of including it in your skincare routine:
1. Tones and Fades Dark Spots
“Of all the skincare ingredients available, niacinamide is one of the most effective for lightening skin and reducing the appearance of dark spots,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New-York based dermatologist, says.
When added to a skincare routine, this vitamin can help improve even the most stubborn cases of hyperpigmentation. It works to lighten skin by inhibiting the production of melanin in your skin cells.
Additionally, niacinamide slows the natural darkening process that occurs when skin is exposed to sunlight. It also helps to restore the skin’s natural barrier to make it look more radiant.
2. Less Wrinkles, More Elasticity
One of the most obvious benefits of vitamin B3 is that it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These two form when collagen production decreases, which may cause your skin to lose elasticity and firmness.
Niacinamide works by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, two main skin proteins. Collagen and elastin help to increase skin elasticity and keep skin firm, thereby preventing wrinkles and fine lines.
In addition, studies have proven that niacinamide helps to increase cell turnover rates, which can help your skin look smoother by improving skin texture.
3. Fights Acne
Acne occurs when the skin’s sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, a skin lubricant and a natural defense for the skin. This excess sebum can be trapped between the skin’s epidermal layers, leading to clogging and infection.
To prevent this, niacinamide reduces sebum production while also fighting off acne-causing bacteria on your skin. This skin-clearing effect can also help to reduce the appearance of oily skin.
Vitamin B3 also helps the skin shed unwanted skin cells, thereby decreasing the number and severity of blemishes. That said, the acne-fighting properties of niacinamide are enhanced when used with topical benzoyl peroxide and azelaic acid.
4. It Protects Your Skin
Niacinamide is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that damage the skin, and they reduce the damage that these free radicals cause.
“Free radicals, as it happens, are a big cause of aging. They arise from environmental stresses like pollution and tobacco smoke, and metabolic processes inside your body,’ Zeichner says.
By neutralizing free radicals, this vitamin damage that environmental factors cause. Once absorbed, it also stimulates the skin cell turnover rate, which helps to shed dead and damaged skin cells.
5. Hydrates Skin
Niacinamide helps to hydrate the skin by stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin to retain moisture. Hyaluronic Acid acts by binding water molecules to the skin, and by trapping water under the skin.
Furthermore, this vitamin increases skin hydration by increasing ceramide and free fatty acids in the outermost layer of the skin. It also strengthens your skin’s natural barrier function, which prevents moisture from escaping your skin.
6. Reduces Pore Appearance
“Sebum, an oily secretion that is responsible for lubricating skin, is the main cause of enlarged pores. It also helps protect skin from dryness and infection,” Dr. Linda Woodson, a board-certified dermatologist, explains.
According to her, “this skin oil is important for your skin but its overproduction can cause your pores to appear bigger than they are. It can also result in blackheads or whiteheads, depending on your skin condition.”
“Niacinamide prevents this from happening by reducing the production of sebum on the outer layer of the skin, thereby making pores cleaner and visibly smaller. It also helps increase collagen formation, which fills out enlarged pores,” Woodson explains further.
7. Reduces Redness and Inflammations
In addition to its many benefits, niacinamide also helps to reduce the redness and inflammation caused by rosacea and other skin conditions. It works by reducing blood supply to the affected part of the skin.
“When taken as part of a supplement or applied topically, this form of vitamin B3 may also help inhibit the release of histamines. Histamines are chemicals released by cells, which cause redness, swelling, and irritations,” Zeichner says.
What Is the Difference Between Niacinamide and Niacin?
Niacinamide and niacin are two forms of vitamin B3 that play an important role in maintaining your skin’s health.
Experts often consider niacinamide a safer form of niacin because it has less potential for side effects. For instance, very high doses of niacin can cause headaches and flushing, which can make you feel worse before you feel better.
However, the difference between the two is minimal and they will both give you similar benefits. So whether or not to use one form or another is really up to personal preference.
Can You Mix Niacinamide With Retinol?
Niacinamide and retinol (Vitamin A) are two of the most important ingredients in anti-aging products. They can address hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, dry skin, and enlarged pores. When combined, they activate each other’s effects.
Retinol is an antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and surface cell turnover. It’s most effective for reducing telltale signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, dry skin, and uneven skin tone.
Some products combine the same proportions of niacinamide with retinol. Others have retinol in high concentrations and niacinamide in lower concentrations. Some products combine them with other skin ingredients, such as kojic acid.
Studies suggest that combining retinol and niacinamide with other ingredients may improve results. However, retinol can irritate your skin when exposed to the sun, so be sure to use sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
Side Effects of Niacinamide
Given that niacinamide is such a versatile nutrient, you’d expect to find several risks and side effects. Fortunately, there aren’t too many.
For most of the known side effects, such as itchiness, redness, dryness, and scaling of the skin, there is a simple explanation: these are due to a pre-existing condition or an overdose of niacinamide.
Although these are very rare side effects, it is important to be aware of them before starting this type of treatment. It’s also important to talk to your doctor and do a patch test before taking any niacinamide supplements.
How to Use Niacinamide
The importance of using vitamin B3 cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to achieving beautiful skin. Here are some easy steps to ensure you get great results from your niacinamide every time you use it:
- Start by cleansing your skin with a mild cleanser suitable for your skin type.
- Apply toner to ensure your skin is free from all makeup and impurities.
- Take a small amount of the product and dab it into your hands.
- Apply to the face in gentle circular motions, concentrating on dry areas such as the cheekbones and forehead.
- If you are using a cream, rub it evenly over your skin with your fingertips.
- If you are using a serum, apply it by tapping it onto your skin in an upward motion.
- Wait 10 minutes before applying any other products to allow for absorption and then apply moisturizer and/or sunscreen over the niacinamide.
For best results, apply a thin layer of niacinamide cream, serum, or powder on your skin before you go out in the morning and at night before bedtime.
Is niacinamide safe for all skin types?
Yes, it is. Niacinamide has an excellent safety profile and can be used even by people with sensitive skin. It’s also water-soluble, which means it won’t accumulate in your body.
However, taking too much of the vitamin can be harmful, so it’s important to follow the directions on your product’s label carefully. It’s also important to see a dermatologist if there’s any part you do not understand. Take niacinamide exactly as directed.
How does niacinamide stop oily skin?
Niacinamide is absorbed into the skin through pores. It contains nutrients that dissolve skin oils, allowing them to drain more easily from pores.
It can also improve the appearance of oily skin by reducing the production of oil in the skin, shrinking enlarged pores, and balancing moisture levels in the skin.
When is the best time to use niacinamide?
The best time to use niacinamide is at night, right before you go to bed. Applying it before bedtime will help seal in the product and allow your skin to enjoy all its benefits.
In the process of sleeping, your skin replenishes its own natural moisture. Sleeping also helps your skin heal, and that process can be accelerated by niacinamide.
Is niacinamide good for your skin?
Yes, it is. Niacinamide is helpful for many skin conditions, from acne to sun damage. It can also improve the appearance of your skin, by reducing hyperpigmentation.
In addition to these benefits, niacinamide helps to boost the synthesis of collagen in the skin, which in turn reduces the appearance of spider webs, wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging.
Can you use niacinamide to treat acne?
Yes, you can. Niacinamide works by decreasing the amount of oil your skin produces. This helps prevent the appearance of acne and other blemishes by keeping your pores unclogged.
Moreover, it contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and inflammation associated with acne. It also improves the health of your skin’s natural protective barrier, which can help keep acne-causing bacteria from entering your pores.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and is found naturally in the body. It is also referred to as nicotinamide. And it is naturally present in many foods, including tuna, meat, and eggs.
As explained above, there are many benefits to using niacinamide on your skin. Some of the best uses for this ingredient include reducing acne, improving skin elasticity, and brightening an uneven complexion.
The best thing about niacinamide is that it has little to no side effects. However, as with any new supplement or medication, it’s important to do a patch test and consult with your doctor before starting use.
Thanks for reading.
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