Niacinamide is a form of the B vitamin that’s responsible for keeping skin healthy and looking youthful. It’s been getting a lot of buzz lately due to its ability to treat acne and reverse the process of aging.
So what exactly does it do? Niacinamide has many benefits for the skin, which include preventing the formation of acne and blemishes, reducing redness and inflammation, and improving the appearance of aging skin.
This article will explore what niacinamide is, its benefits, side effects and how to use it to improve your skin health for a more youthful appearance.
What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a type of B-complex vitamin and is found in many foods such as green vegetables, animal products, and whole grains. It’s also available in many skincare products and as a dietary supplement.
The most common use for niacinamide is to repair skin issues, such as sun damage, acne, wrinkles, dryness, redness, dullness, fine lines, and dark spots. Niacinamide also can improve your skin’s elasticity while increasing hydration.
According to Dr. Heather Rogers, a board-certified dermatologist, these benefits can last for up to six months even after you stop using niacinamide. This vitamin, when taken orally, can also help to improve collagen levels and decrease the risk of skin cancer.
Here are some of the key benefits of using niacinamide:
1. Reduces Inflammation and Redness
When it comes to inflammations, there are a few major culprits. One is bacteria, but it can also come from irritation of the skin (from rubbing or picking), or your immune system (in response to an invasion or injury).
When applied topically, niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation and the appearance of redness on the skin. It also improves barrier function and can reduce skin sensitivity to environmental toxins and irritants.
2. Increases Skin Elasticity
“The skin sometimes loses its ability to repair itself due to the loss of collagen and elastin at the cellular level. Niacinamide is a potent ingredient that can make the skin more plump and firm by increasing skin elasticity,” Roger explains.
According to him, niacinamide induces the skin to produce more collagen and elastin, which helps boost the skin’s elasticity. It also works by increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface layers.
3. Reduces Hyperpigmentation and Blotchiness
One of the many benefits of using niacinamide is that it helps to improve skin tone by evening out blotchy and hyperpigmented areas on the skin. Hyperpigmentation results when melanin becomes overproduced in the skin’s cells.
This vitamin works to reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin production, which inhibits pigment from forming. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help reduce redness associated with broken capillaries under the skin.
4. Protects Skin from Free Radicals
Free radicals are harmful molecules produced by pollution, UV rays, and metabolic processes. When in the skin, these molecules can damage collagen and elastin—the proteins responsible for keeping your body firm and youthful.
That’s where niacinamide comes in. Studies have shown that this skincare ingredient can help to neutralize free radicals, preventing them from damaging skin cells and causing wrinkles and other aging signs.
5. Improves the Appearance of Aging Skin
Niacinamide can help to improve the appearance of wrinkles, as well as other signs of aging, such as blotchy skin or age spots. It does this by increasing collagen production (helps your skin stay firm) and increasing moisture content in the skin.
Additionally, niacinamide promotes the skin’s production of ceramides, which are lipids that keep the skin moisturized and plump. It also helps to even out skin tone, making it an excellent choice for anyone with aging or uneven skin.
6. Supports Barrier Function
The role of the skin barrier is to protect us from the world that surrounds us. It acts as a physical and chemical shield against bacteria, environmental irritants, allergens, and toxic substances.
“Niacinamide helps to support the barrier function of the skin by boosting the synthesis of ceramides in the outer layer of the skin,” Dr. Jessica Wu, a board dermatologist, explains.
Ceramides are important for barrier function, as they help prevent excessive loss of water from within the skin, and maintain skin hydration.
7. Reduces Appearance of Enlarged Pores
One of the best ways to reduce the appearance of pores is by using a niacinamide cream or serum with a high concentration. However, it is important to know that pores are not the problem and they’re certainly not the cause of acne.
“The culprit is sebum—the oily substance produced by your oil glands that give skin its healthy shine and also causes acne and overly oily skin,” Wu says.
Niacinamide can prevent this from happening by reducing the production of this oily substance and increasing the turnover rate of skin cells, which helps shrink pores.
8. Prevents Moisture Loss
Niacinamide has been shown to be effective in preventing moisture loss in the skin when applied topically. It helps to regulate the moisture levels in the skin and also to prevent dryness from returning.
Vitamin B3 also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help protect skin against oxidative stress and inflammation, which can contribute to dry skin and premature aging.
9. Evens Skin Tone
Vitamin B3 has been scientifically proven to improve skin texture and appearance by evening out blotchiness and dark spots on the skin. It does this by decreasing melanin and increasing the production of ceramides in the outer layer of the skin.
As mentioned earlier, ceramides are natural lipids that help keep moisture from escaping from the outer layer of your skin. In other words, ceramides help even skin tone by keeping your skin sufficiently hydrated.
10. Prevents Skin Cancer
Skin cancer occurs when abnormal cells appear on the skin, which can lead to a tumor that invades nearby tissues and organs. It is very hard to treat and cure once it has spread, so prevention is key.
A 2015 study by American Health and Drug Benefits found that oral niacinamide can reduce the risk of developing squamous and basal skin cancers by 23% after 1 year of consistent use.
11. Treats Acne and Acne Scars
When applied topically, niacinamide can help to prevent the formation of new acne, while also reducing the size of existing ones. It works by inhibiting the excess production of skin oil and reducing the size of pores.
This B vitamin also has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help reduce the redness and irritation often caused by acne. And according to research, people who use niacinamide have fewer acne breakouts than those who don’t use it.
12. Improves the Appearance of Oily Skin
One of the most popular treatments for reducing the amount of oil on the skin is niacinamide. This vitamin works by decreasing the amount of oil produced by the oil glands in your skin.
Besides effectively reducing oil production, it also helps to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and improve the overall look and feel of oily skin. The result is smaller-looking pores, fewer breakouts, and greater radiance.
13. Prevents Sun Damage
Niacinamide is an active ingredient in many skincare products because it’s able to protect skin cells against UV rays and prevent wrinkles, photoaging, age spots, and other effects of chronic sunlight exposure.
By preventing the above, your skin will be left healthier, smoother, and more even in tone. Niacinamide also functions as an effective anti-inflammatory agent that can help soothe sunburns and inflammations.
When used with a proper sun protection routine, niacinamide can help restore healthy skin while shielding it from the sun’s harmful rays.
Side Effects of Niacinamide
Niacinamide is an ideal solution for your skin, but it may also cause side effects, which you need to be aware of before using it.
“The most common side effect of niacinamide is skin flushing,” Roger explains. “A patient’s skin will redden, and the area around the cheeks may be swollen. Some people experience itching, and in extreme cases, the skin may blister.”
These side effects are rare, but it’s very important to do a patch test and see a dermatologist before starting niacinamide treatment.
A dermatologist will be able to examine your skin and recommend the best approach for your skin needs. It’s also important to see a dermatologist before starting niacinamide treatment if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
What Kind of Niacinamide Products Is Best For You?
Niacinamide has been shown to be effective in treating many skin conditions. However, there are several types of niacinamide products from which to choose.
You can find this vitamin in many products, such as moisturizing creams, anti-aging serums, masks, and sunscreen. Niacinamide is also available in powder and gel forms.
In order to pick the best niacinamide products for your needs, you need to figure out what type of product will work best for your specific skincare concerns. It is also important to check with a dermatologist to recommend the best one for you.
How Do You Add Niacinamide to Your Skincare Routine?
Niacinamide is a must-have for any skincare routine. Trust me; it’s one of the very few keys to getting clear beautiful skin with little to no effort at all.
Here are some steps to apply niacinamide to your skin:
- The first step is to cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser and warm water.
- Apply a toner to your face. You want to make sure you get rid of any impurities that can interfere with your product.
- Squeeze out 1 or 2 pumps of the niacinamide product and apply it to your face.
- It is important that you apply the product evenly so that it doesn’t cause any buildup or clumps.
- Massage the niacinamide into your face and then wait for at least 10 minutes before layering other products (such as moisturizer or sunscreen).
Can niacinamide brighten skin?
Yes, it can. Niacinamide works by slowing down the production of melanin in the skin, which gives your complexion a more even appearance and makes it appear brighter.
In addition, niacinamide protects the uppermost layer of your skin from free radical damage. It also helps reduce the appearance of acne, wrinkles, and other skin conditions to give your skin a smoother look.
How long does it take niacinamide to work?
4–6 weeks. The benefits of niacinamide are progressive so it can take up to six weeks for your desired results to show.
It might take longer in some cases, but it’s recommended that you use niacinamide for at least six months before deciding if it’s working for you or not. Moreover, its effects are more permanent than with other treatments like salicylic acid.
Can you mix niacinamide with retinol?
Yes, you can. Mixing niacinamide with retinol is a great way to reap the anti-aging benefits of both ingredients.
When combined, these key ingredients help to keep the skin looking young and healthy by stimulating collagen production, fading dark spots, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Niacinamide is a type of vitamin B3 that occurs naturally. You can also find it in a range of different food sources, vitamin supplements, and skincare products.
This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant, so it’s no surprise that it can help your skin look younger and healthier. As discussed in this article, the benefits are numerous.
From reducing signs of aging, such as wrinkles and dark spots to protecting skin from sun damage, niacinamide has proven itself to be a must-have in all skincare routines.
However, as with any skincare product, it is important to do a patch test or consult your doctor before using niacinamide.
Thanks for reading.
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