Jul 8, 2021

What Does Niacinamide Do for Skin?

If you have not yet heard of niacinamide for skin care, it is time to learn more about it. Slightly lesser known than more popular skin care ingredients like vitamin C and retinol, niacinamide is just as effective when it comes to providing benefits to the skin. Niacinamide has recently become more popular as a skin care ingredient because it targets skin concerns such as redness and discoloration and brightens the skin, while still being gentle. It is also effective at hydrating the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and providing a barrier to lock in moisture.

What is Niacinamide?

There are eight different B vitamins that affect cellular function. Niacinamide, or nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3, which is important for healthy skin growth. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antioxidant, and healing benefits.

Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin, so it is not stored in the body. It can be replenished through the food we eat such as tuna, salmon, leafy greens, eggs, and beets, but can also be found in skin care products. The restorative properties of this vitamin can be utilized through regular use of it. Those with mature skin or compromised skin will benefit from consistent use.

What Does Niacinamide do for the Skin?

Niacinamide is a skin care ingredient that targets multiple skin issues. It works with the skin’s natural chemistry to improve overall appearance. The use of vitamin B3 can restore cellular energy and repair damaged DNA, as well as fight off internal and external stressors that lead to the deterioration of the skin.  Because of vitamin B3’s anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used by those with sensitive skin.

Benefits of Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a skin care ingredient that targets multiple skin issues. It works with the skin’s natural chemistry to improve the overall appearance. Users will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Brightening: Niacinamide is best known for brightening the appearance of skin.  Vitamin B3 improves fat synthesis to result in glowing skin.
  • Boosts Hydration: This skin care ingredient prevents transepidermal water loss and increases the ability of other moisturizing ingredients to do so as well. It builds proteins in the skin and helps the skin grow a lipid barrier to help retain moisture.  This is beneficial for all skin types, especially those with mature skin.
  • Regulates Oil Production: Those with oily skin or acne will benefit from the use of this vitamin derivative as well because it can regulate the amount of the oil the sebaceous glands make.
  • Increases Collagen: Niacinamide increases collagen which helps to decrease fine lines and wrinkles. Skin is smoother and has a more youthful appearance.
  • Acts as an Antioxidant: It prevents UV damage and inflammation while rebuilding healthy cells. It can undo some of signs of aging due to sun damage, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Strengthens Skin Barrier: Niacinamide helps to protect the skin. Because niacinamide helps to strengthen the skin barrier, it can make other ingredients it is paired with easier to tolerate.
  • Minimizes Redness: The anti-inflammatory properties of this vitamin ease redness from skin conditions like acne and eczema. As a result, skin tone gets better over time. 
  • Improves Hyperpigmentation: Many people suffer from hyperpigmentation of the skin, especially as they get older. Research indicates that niacinamide concentrations of 5 percent can lighten dark spots. Its brightening effects are often why users choose to implement it in their skin care routine.
  • Accelerated Cell Turnover: When the skin does not shed its dead cells properly, the result is acne or dull looking skin with poor texture.  Niacinamide may help increase the rate at which skin cells turnover meaning new skin cells are at the surface faster. The result is better skin texture and tone.

Niacinamide has a long list of benefits, but one of the main reasons users like it is because it works well with their own skin and other ingredients. It is ideal for topical applications because unlike other forms of vitamin B, it does not cause the skin to flush when applied. It does not cause sensitivity or irritation as some other skin care ingredients do.

Niacinamide for Acne

Since niacinamide has sebum-reducing and exfoliating properties, it can help prevent and treat acne that is caused by excess oil production and the skin’s inability to shed dead cells. Breakouts will be less apparent because of reduced redness and swelling. It can also help post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by slowing the transfer of the melanin (skin pigment) to the surface of the skin.

Niacinamide used to treat mild to moderate acne will keep breakouts to a minimum. Results are evident after 4-8 weeks. When used with other acne-fighting ingredients, results may happen faster.

How to Use Niacinamide

Niacinamide can be found in creams, toners, oils, serums, cleansers, and even foundations.  But which is the best skin care product for receiving the many benefits of this ingredient? Serums have been found to be a highly effective vehicle for the delivery of niacinamide.  Because they deliver a high concentration of the active ingredients directly to the skin, niacinamide serum may be more effective than other products at targeting different skin care concerns. Since niacinamide is water-soluble, it is absorbed into the skin more readily via a water-based serum. The benefits of niacinamide will be effective in other types of products as well.

The goals of the user may also affect which type of product to choose.  For example, a niacinamide serum may be preferred for brightening effects while a cream might be a better choice for hydration benefits. Results with consistent use will be evident regardless of the format but it should be applied topically in a form that stays in contact with the skin. Since it is readily absorbed the skin should have time to absorb it.

As for the concentration, a higher percentage of the active ingredient is not necessarily better. Skin care products can vary widely in concentrations between 2 percent to 10 percent of niacinamide.  Skin care products with concentrations of niacinamide of less than 5 percent are usually well-tolerated, even by those with sensitive skin or skin issues. It is recommended that new users of vitamin B3 with sensitive skin should start off with a 1%-2% concentration.

The concentration may also dictate how this powerful ingredient treats skin issues. Formulas with a 5 percent concentration treat hyperpigmentation and sun-related damage.  Formulas with 2 percent can help with acne and eczema.

Niacinamide is very stable as compared to some other skin care ingredients.  It is not affected by moisture or light so it will not break down or become ineffective or irritate the skin.  This makes it a very easy skin care product to use.

Who Can Use Niacinamide?  

Not only does niacinamide serum benefit the skin in many ways, but it works for numerous skin types, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin. It is relatively well tolerated, even for those with sensitive skin. For those with acne or rosacea, it is gentle enough to not cause any unwanted side effects. Irritation or redness from the use of niacinamide is less common than with other traditional acne or brightening ingredients, like retinol or benzoyl peroxide. Those who do have sensitive skin can start with a lower concentration and work up to a higher one, or use the product only a few times a week and work up from there.

Since there are many methods in which to use niacinamide for skin care, it depends on the results the user is looking for. Usually, topical formulations should be applied either in the morning or at night after cleansing. It works well with most other skin care ingredients including alpha-hydroxy acids and retinol. It works exceptionally well with alpha-hydroxy acids to exfoliate dead skin cells that might be hard to penetrate alone. It can also be used in conjunction with peptides, ceramides and hyaluronic acid to build the barrier for the skin.

The only exception is vitamin C because it can reduce the effectiveness of this vitamin. These ingredients can be used separately though, once in the morning and once at night. Niacinamide is not known to produce an increased UV risk, so it is safe to use during the day.

What are the Expected Results

As with other skin care products, results will not be evident for several weeks.  Noticeable improvements will most likely be evident after four weeks of regular use. After eight weeks, the skin will be smoother, more hydrated, and fine lines and wrinkles will diminish.

When used consistently, niacinamide serum can have a positive impact on overall skin health by reducing inflammation and hyperpigmentation for brighter, more youthful skin. The hydration benefits result in fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and better skin tone.  Evora can assist in creating a product that includes niacinamide.

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