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  5. Niacinamide And The Skin - Topical And Oral Forms, Uses And Benefits

If all the magic ingredients of the skincare industry were pitted against each other in a race, niacinamide would definitely emerge as one of the top contenders. Wondering why?

Present in most of the effective skincare products, Niacinamide has gained so much popularity because it can be used to treat almost every skin issue and is suitable for all skin types. However, it is important to know how to use it and at what concentrations.

1. What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3, which enriches your body with two important molecules: NAD+ and NADP+. These molecules are vital to help your cells carry out their functions properly, ensuring good skin health.

Vitamin B3 is not stored in your body naturally. Thus, consuming it in the form of dietary sources and topical use for better skin health is essential.

The Natural Food Sources of Vitamin B3 Are:
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Animal-based products like meat
  • Some medications

2. Why Is Niacinamide Important For Your Skin?

Niacinamide is a powerhouse in itself. This wonder ingredient works in treating almost any skin issue. Long-term usage increases the pace of cell turnover and paves the way for new skin cells. This makes your skin look brighter and healthier.

It also aids in fighting certain skin conditions. Let’s take a look at what these are:

A. Signs of Aging

Research suggests that topical niacinamide can be used to treat signs of aging. It also improves skin elasticity. (1)

B. Acne

Niacinamide has proved to be effective in treating non-inflammatory acne (2). Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a suitable topical option in the treatment of pimples.

C. Hyperpigmentation

Niacinamide is also used in various skin lightening creams and serums. Studies suggest that niacinamide when used in 5% concentrations, can lighten dark spots and treat hyperpigmentation by blocking the transfer of melanocytes (pigment-forming cells) to the skin surface. (3)

D. Improves Skin Barrier Function

Your skin has a protective barrier that prevents water loss and external aggressors from entering. Sometimes, this barrier can break, courtesy alkaline-based products, harsh chemicals, dry climates and other factors. This results in premature skin aging.

Topical niacinamide repairs the broken barrier and prevents moisture loss, keeping the skin soft and hydrated. (4)

E. Improves Skin Texture

Niacinamide boosts cellular turnover to expose new skin cells on the surface of your skin. This helps maintain an even texture and reduces roughness.

F. Minimizes Redness

Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the redness caused by acne, eczema and other skin disorders (5).

G. Free Radical Scavenger

Free radicals are molecules that have either lost or gained an electron. These electrons scavenge through your body, damaging your DNA and other important components. Niacinamide sends out an extra electron to these molecules, preventing them from creating havoc in your body.

3. How Can You Add Niacinamide To Your Daily Skincare Routine?

It is recommended to use niacinamide in concentrations of 5% or less. Anything more than that may cause skin irritation and should be used in targeted areas only.

Topical forms of niacinamide are available as creams, gels, lotions and serums. If you have sensitive skin, start with a lower concentration.

Niacinamide creams or gels can be used at night before you sleep. During the day, you can apply a sunscreen that contains this power ingredient.

Although it is usually safe to use it every day, apply topical niacinamide as recommended by your doctor.

Note: No matter what your skin type is, it is always better to conduct a patch test before applying the product to your face. Use topical niacinamide to address deficiencies only if it is medically prescribed to you.

4. How Long Does It Take For Niacinamide To Show Results?

You may notice some changes instantly. However, it usually takes 8-12 weeks for niacinamide to show results.

5. Does Niacinamide Have Any Side-Effects?

Topical niacinamide in high concentrations can result in skin irritation and redness. Look for products containing 5 percent or lower concentrations of niacinamide, which is usually considered to be safe unless you have any pre-existing allergies.

For individual skin issues, apply niacinamide cream/lotion in concentrations recommended by your doctor.

6. Niacinamide As A Supplement

Niacinamide capsules and supplements can help you in the following ways:

A. Prevents Skin Cancer

Oral niacinamide supplements are shown to reduce the risk of melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer, by enhancing DNA repair. (6) (7)

B. Reduces Inflammation

Oral forms of niacinamide have been shown to reduce redness and inflammation caused by certain skin conditions like acne and rosacea. (8) (9)

7. Can Niacinamide Be Combined With Vitamin C?

Niacinamide and Vitamin C have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that work well to lighten your skin and address a variety of other skin issues.

It is a common fear that these two ingredients used together can cancel each other’s chemical functions out. People also tend to believe that niacinamide when combined with Vitamin C, can hydrolyze into niacin, a component that can cause facial flushing.

The Truth: Studies suggest that niacinamide, combined with any acid, can partially convert into niacin only under high temperatures. This means that all you’ve got to do is store niacinamide in a cooler environment! (10).

Vitamin C is naturally present in the skin in abundance. If it didn’t go well with niacinamide, we wouldn’t have had so many studies highlighting its benefits. Niacinamide and Vitamin C work well together to lighten pigmentation spots, treat inflammation and reduce dryness.

8. Niacinamide And Retinol

Retinol is essential to maintain your overall health. However, it comes with its share of side effects that include skin irritation and dryness. Niacinamide helps to improve skin barrier functions and trap moisture that can reduce the skin irritation caused by retinol.

9. What Is The Difference Between Niacinamide And Niacin?

Niacin is another form of Vitamin B3. It is found in foods like yeast, fish, milk, eggs, grains and vegetables. It is also naturally produced in the body.

Niacin tends to convert into niacinamide when an excess amount of it is present in the body.

Niacin can be used to treat heart diseases or high cholesterol levels, where as niacinamide may play no role in treating these conditions. Niacinamide is used to treat a host of other issues related to your body and skin.

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