What Does Niacinamide Do for Skin?

Reviewed on 3/5/2021

Niacinamide uses

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is a stable vitamin that offers a wide range of well-documented topical benefits. Niacinamide helps hydrate skin, treats hyperpigmentation, promotes skin elasticity, decreases redness and blotchiness and acts as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals.
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is a stable vitamin that offers a wide range of well-documented topical benefits. Niacinamide helps hydrate skin, treats hyperpigmentation, promotes skin elasticity, decreases redness and blotchiness and acts as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals.

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is a stable vitamin that offers a wide range of well-documented topical benefits. Usually, it is applied to the skin for treating acne, eczema and other skin conditions. Niacinamide is one of the best studied cosmeceuticals for anti-aging. It has a multitude of effects to help smoothen the skin texture. Niacinamide is particularly important to our body, as we cannot produce the vitamin on our own. The vitamin itself is water-soluble, which means that we must either eat it or apply it topically to reap its benefits. Niacinamide also goes by the names “vitamin B3” and “nicotinamide,” a nonacid form of B3. The benefits of vitamin B3 are as follows

  • Research has shown that niacinamide can help fade hyperpigmentation on the skin. While the specific way in which this occurs is yet to be fully understood, adding niacinamide into your skincare routine can literally help lighten the skin over weeks.
  • Because it promotes the production of ceramides and elastin, both vital components of the skin barrier, niacinamide helps strengthen the complexion’s natural protective shield. This results in more hydrated, healthy skin that can better defend itself against moisture loss and outside irritants.
  • Niacinamide may help regulate and stabilize oil production in the skin. This goes back to restoring the strength of the skin barrier and, more specifically, the sebaceous glands in the skin that produce oil. In helping to even out the amount of oil the skin produces, niacinamide can help tame and even prevent acne.
  • When applied topically, niacinamide converts into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which has potent free-radical fighting antioxidant properties. This is crucial to skin health, as DNA damage can occur invisibly in response to a number of everyday stressors, including environmental pollution and ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. In increasing the amount of NAD, niacinamide works to reduce oxidative cellular damage within skin cells.
  • Topical use of niacinamide has also been shown to decrease skin redness and blotchiness.
  • Using niacinamide has been shown to improve and prevent sallowness in the complexion without causing irritation, making it an ideal topical for restoring skin tone.
  • A 2015 scientific study shows that individuals with high risk for nonmelanoma skin cancers were able to prevent the disease with oral intake of niacinamide. However, studies are still going on to confirm the results. 
  • Niacinamide or vitamin B3 is safe for all skin types and all ages and even those who suffer from inflammatory conditions such as rosacea because of its calming properties.

Research suggests that niacinamide can start to improve acne and hyperpigmentation within two to three months, while oil production and skin barrier can start to see changes within a month. Niacinamide has lots of skincare benefits and, usually, no major side effects are documented. 

To summarize, the benefits of niacinamide for the skin are as follows

  • It retains moisture in the skin by reducing water loss from skin.
  • It increases the production of keratin, a protein that keeps the skin healthy and firm.
  • It stimulates the production of ceramide, a lipid that helps protect the skin barrier.
  • It reduces inflammation, therefore minimizing redness and blotchiness.
  • It minimizes pore appearance.
  • It regulates oil production.
  • It treats dark spots.
  • It protects against sun damage.
  • It minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It protects against environmental stresses, such as sunlight, pollution and toxins.
  • When taken orally, it is chemopreventive against skin cancer.

For best results, look for niacinamide in leave-in products such as serums, moisturizers and lotions. Here’s a sample beauty regime

  • Cleanse your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, pollutants and other skin irritants.
  • Pat dry your skin and apply a toner enriched with niacinamide.
  • Then apply a niacinamide serum or moisturizer before finishing your routine with sunscreen.

Niacinamide is generally safe for consumption and topical use. However, minor side effects are associated with taking niacinamide in supplement form. These include

Side effects of topical use of niacinamide creams include

It is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking niacinamide orally if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have diabetes, liver disease, gout or gallbladder issues. Using retinol serum along with niacinamide serum may increase the chances of skin irritation.

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References
Medscape Medical Reference

The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology


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