by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Niacinamide has become quite a hot topic in the skincare world, as there have been many viral TikTok videos popping up. Niacinamide is available in products such as moisturizers and cleansers and can improve your skin health in more ways than one.
According to a dermatologist, niacinamide is one of those ingredients that can be found in various skin care products to brighten up your skin, treat conditions such as acne or eczema, and prevent signs of aging. Niacinamide has been around for a long time, but it has only recently been recognized and given its deserved recognition.
In this article, we will dive deeper into what niacinamide is and what benefits you can experience.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor or dermatologist before changing your nutrition regimen or adding any supplements to your plan to help improve skin health.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3. Dr. Annie Gonzalez, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, highlights the significance of niacin as “an essential nutrient for the development and proper functioning of our body’s cells.”
This vitamin is naturally found in foods such as chicken breast, marinara sauce, salmon, and brown rice, and its consumption aids the conversion of food into energy within our bodies.
However, the advantages extend beyond internal nourishment when applying this vitamin to your skin. Dr. Gonzalez explains that just as B3 improves cellular functions within the body, the skin benefits from its presence as well. By applying niacinamide topically, the skin can optimize various processes, including repairing damaged DNA, regenerating cellular energy, and mitigating the adverse effects of UV rays from the sun.
5 Health Benefits of Niacinamide
Niacinamide provides various benefits, skin health seems to be the most noteworthy. Below are some of the benefits:
Niacinamide helps strengthen a protective layer made of water and oil that keeps your skin safe. This reinforcement keeps moisture locked in, making your skin well-hydrated. Also, the stronger barrier keeps away dirt and potential irritants, making your skin less sensitive. Adding niacinamide to your skincare routine can give you healthier, well-moisturized, and more resilient skin with a natural glow.
2. Improves hyperpigmentation
Certain studies have revealed that using niacinamide concentrations of 5% can be beneficial in reducing the appearance of dark spots on the skin. These positive effects were observed after four weeks of consistent use but did not show further improvement beyond two months. The lightening of dark spots may be attributed to niacinamide’s ability to stimulate collagen production, promoting skin repair and a more even complexion.
3. Skin cancer prevention
When asked about the best benefits of niacinamide, many dermatologists would likely mention its potential in “skin cancer prevention” as a notable advantage.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015 involved 386 patients who were given either 500 mg of oral niacinamide or a placebo twice daily for one year. All participants had a history of at least two non-melanoma skin cancers within the previous five years, putting them at high risk for developing additional skin cancers.
The study results demonstrated that the group receiving niacinamide experienced 23% fewer new cases of skin cancer (336 cancers) compared to the placebo group (463 cancers) during the study. This finding indicates the potential of niacinamide in reducing the risk of developing skin cancer, making it a significant consideration for dermatologists when discussing skin health and prevention strategies.
4. It enhances skin tone and prevents dark spots
If you are troubled by dark patches, sun damage, or age spots, niacinamide might just be your solution. Dr. Gonzalez explains that niacinamide, when used in specific concentrations, is believed to inhibit the enzyme responsible for producing pigmentation (melanin), leading to an improvement in skin tone.
A study conducted in 2016 and published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology investigated the effects of a product containing a blend of skin brighteners, including retinol, the antioxidant resveratrol, and niacinamide. The researchers found that after four weeks of using this product, there was a noticeable reduction in hyperpigmentation, an improvement in skin clarity, and a more even skin tone.
5. Helps inflammatory skin conditions like acne
The anti-inflammatory properties of niacinamide make it a promising remedy for skin conditions characterized by inflammation, such as acne.
A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology in 2013 demonstrated the efficacy of a topical preparation containing 4% niacinamide. When applied twice daily for eight weeks, this formulation significantly improved moderate acne.
Also, research from 2006 published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy indicates that topical application of 2% niacinamide may have the potential to inhibit oil production, which can be beneficial for individuals dealing with acne. The study included participants of both Japanese and Caucasian backgrounds, suggesting its potential effectiveness across different ethnicities.