Niacinamide: What Can it ACTUALLY do for your skin?

heathermorrisheathermorris
Jun. 18
Niacinamide is one of the two major forms of vitamin B3 found in supplements, and no, it’s not the same thing as niacin, but it can prevent vitamin D3 deficiency. This ingredient has been in the cosmetic industry for years, but recently it’s popped up more frequently and in a variety of different products. Niacinamide is the new skincare buzzword, but it does have some benefits for your skin. Let’s talk about them. 
With any new hot ingredient, it can be overwhelming to figure out if it should be in your skincare routine or not. Every new skincare ingredient is promoted as perfect for most skin types, acne, and anti-aging, but what does niacinamide really do?
  • Prevents skin cancer. Preventing skin cancer is a pretty big deal, and in a 2015 study, researchers gave 386 patience 500mg of niacinamide or a placebo twice daily for a whole year. All of the participants had already had at least two non-melanoma skin cancers within the previous five years, so they were at a high risk of having skin cancer again. The study showed that over the year, there were 23% fewer cases of skin cancer in the group that received the niacinamide compared to the ones who received the placebo. If you haven’t experienced skin cancer, then this may not have a big benefit to you. Still, if you have had multiple non-melanoma skin cancers in your life, then it could be beneficial to look into oral doses of niacinamide.
  • Reducing acne, rosacea, and inflammation. There’s always the potential for a product with anti-inflammatory properties to be an appealing treatment for people suffering from acne, rosacea, or other inflammatory skin conditions. Research has suggested that a 2% dosage of topical niacinamide can inhibit the production of oil, which then could benefit people that deal with chronic acne. Niacinamide is also non-irritating, which makes it ideal for people who have dry or sensitive skin.
  • Reducing hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and signs of aging. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of clinical studies on the effects of niacinamide for fine lines and wrinkles. The most detailed review was a study done in 2014 by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. This study had fifty women apply a moisturizer containing 5% of niacinamide to one half of their face and a placebo moisturizer to the other half for three months. The results were that the side of their face that received the niacinamide showed improvements with hyperpigmentation spots, wrinkles, and fine lines compared to the other side. While niacinamide may help with your hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles, it may not be the best product for this task. However, if you suffer from sensitive skin, then looking into the use of niacinamide for this purpose may be helpful.
How to Use Niacinamide
Adding niacinamide to your skincare routine is very easy to do. All you have to do is purchase a product that has niacinamide as one of the ingredients and then apply it as recommended. You may experience mild irritation when you start using this product in your skincare routine, but with repeated use, it should go away. If the irritation doesn’t go away, then you should consult your dermatologist.
When seeking out a product with niacinamide, look for a product that has between 2% and 10% of this ingredient because most of the studies done on this ingredient were in that range. Right now, there is no prescription version of topical niacinamide, but this doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if all you want is a pure version of niacinamide. You can visit your dermatologist, and they can develop a prescription for you through a process called compounding. Compounding is where a pharmacist creates a new combination of medicine for a specific purpose. It can sometimes be cheaper than buying generic products, but the actual cost depends on your insurance and the available pharmacies in your area. 
Niacinamide is a generally harmless ingredient, but it also can’t perform miracles. It has plenty of benefits, but the benefits aren’t exclusive. There are plenty of ingredients that can give you the benefits of niacinamide as well, such as vitamin C and retinol, but if you are suffering from sensitive skin, then niacinamide may be a good option for you. It’s also important to remember that while niacinamide excels in reducing inflammation, not every red spot on your face will be acne or rosacea. Before you institute this product into your skincare routine, you may want to visit a dermatologist to make sure it’s the best recommendation for your skin.
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