Moisturizing (humectant),Antioxidant,Anti-wrinkle,Anti-acne,Soothing,Barrier repair,Anti-pigmentation,Anti-seborrheic
Niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide) is a derivative of nicotinic acid, or vitamin B3.
It is a true superstar ingredient, and deservedly so! It offers such a wide range of amazing benefits that it would be impossible to choose between them. Let us have a look at each in more detail.
Moisturizing and barrier-supporting. Numerous studies have testified to the moisturizing and barrier-supporting benefits of niacinamide.
A study using a 2% niacinamide cream reported improved skin hydration and reduced transepidermal water loss of dry atopic skin. This suggests that niacinamide has moisturizing benefits and that it allows dry skin to recover by its own means.
This is supported by another study that showed that niacinamide can improve the skin’s lipid barrier by stimulating ceramide synthesis. Yet another study reported on the sebum-reducing effects of a 2% niacinamide cream after only 4 weeks.
It seems safe to say that no matter what skin type you have, including niacinamide in your skincare routine will only change your skin for the better!
Antioxidant. Niacinamide is an active ingredient that is thought to be able to reduce UV-induced skin damage and UV- induced inflammation. It is also thought to be able to start the repair processes in skin cells after harmful UV exposure. This aids skin health in the long term because it may prevent the sun damage that leads to premature aging.
Although niacinamide is such a powerful ingredient, you’ll be glad to hear that it is not associated with any kind of photosensitivity.
Anti-acne. Several studies have reported on the benefits of niacinamide for acne-prone skin. Aside from the above-mentioned regulation of moisture and sebum, the application of 4% niacinamide also resulted in a reduced number of acne spots. It even performed better than the standard anti-acne antibiotics clindamycin and erythromycin!
As far as we can tell, niacinamide does not kill the acne bacteria, but helps the skin to deal with the inflammation that comes along with the acne. Anti-aging. Several studies have also testified to the anti-aging benefits of niacinamide. The application of a 4% niacinamide cream significantly improved the appearance of wrinkles and skin texture. Similarly, a 5% cream showed an improvement in skin elasticity and a reduction of fine lines after only 12 weeks.
The current theory is that niacinamide increases the production of collagen in the skin, although this has only been shown in test-tubes so far.
Anti-pigment. One study compared the effects of a 4% niacinamide treatment to a 4% hydroquinone treatment, the golden standard for anti-pigment ingredients in the market. Remarkably, after a period of 8 weeks, both treatments resulted in significant improvements in facial melasma, although niacinamide caused far fewer side effects.
In another study, a 4% niacinamide treatment reduced the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation after only 10 weeks of use. It is thought to be able to do this by slowing down the transport of skin pigment from pigment cells to the surrounding tissue.
But, alas, not everything about this ingredient is sunshine and roses. Skin reactions to niacinamide are not uncommon, especially when applied in the form of a high-concentration serum. Stinging, burning, and flushed skin have all been reported, even at 2% concentrations. These effects, however, do seem to disappear after continued use.
Make sure to always patch-test a new product before using it all over your face.
You, like many others in the skincare community, may be wondering how you could possibly combine all of your active ingredients into one skincare routine. The great thing about niacinamide is that it works well with almost all other ingredients.
It is often used in conjunction with other anti-aging and anti-pigment ingredients such as kojic acid, tranexamic acid, peptides, and retinoids (yes – we’re amazed too). If properly formulated, it can even be combined with fairly acidic ingredients such as AHAs, or the very temperamental vitamin C.