What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide or Vitamin B3 has been used in skincare formulations for a long time now, but how does it really work?
Niacin or Vitamin B3 is a water soluble vitamin. Niacin (vitamin B3) has two potential forms that can be used in cosmeceuticals: Niacinamide (Nicotinamide) and nicotinic acid. Although Nicotinic acid might be slightly more active on skin, but the disadvantage of using nicotinic acid as a topical cosmeceutical is its unpleasant side effect of vasodilation that results in skin flushing. In contrast to nicotinic acid, Niacinamide does not cause skin flushing nor does it cause changes in blood pressure, pulse, or body temperature and therefore is more commonly used as a topical cosmeceutical agent.
Benefits and mechanism of action of Niacinamide
Niacinamide imparts it’s magic on the skin by two important cofactors niacinamide adenosine dinucleotide (NAD) and its phosphate derivative, niacinamide adenosine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). These cofactors and their reduced forms (NADH and NADPH) has the potential to exert multiple beneficial effects on skin.
Improves skin hydration and skin barrier
Niacinamide improves the skin barrier and overall skin’s hydration by two mechanisms : by enhancing the production of skin strengthening ceramides and increasing overall skin turnover by stimulating keratinocyte differentiation. Overall effect is reduced transepidermal water loss, increased skin’s moisture content and improved skin’s barrier function.
Niacinamide increases the antioxidant capacity of skin by increasing the reduced forms (NADPH), which have potent antioxidant properties.
Reduces redness, acne and blotchiness
Reduction in redness is because of it’s capacity to improve skin’s barrier and improved hydration status. Topical niacinamide has shown to reduce redness in Rosacea sufferers. Niacinamide has shown to reduce oil production and normalise the pore lining which helps to reduce clogged pores and acne breakouts.
Topical Niacinamid reduces melanosome transfer from melanocytes to surrounding keratinocytes which in turn reduces epidermal hyperpigmentation and also reduces age related pigmented spots.
Reduces Fine lines and wrinkles
Niacinamide improves fine lines and wrinkles by it’s anti-oxidative action and possibly also by increasing dermal collagen and protein synthesis.
Improving Yellowness of skin
Yellowing of skin happens with ageing due to the oxidative damage and glycation of protiens in the skin. Niacinamide reduces skin yellowing by inhibiting oxidative processes, such as protein oxidation & glycation.
Niacinamide is one of the best studied cosmeceutical ingredients for anti-aging. Data confirms a variety of effects related to improvements in skin appearance such as reductions in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, redness, breaskouts, skin sallowness, and overall improvement in skin elasticity. Further research is ongoing to uncover the specific mechanisms of niacinamide in the skin and to optimize the concentration of niacinamide in cosmeceutical formulations.
How to best use Niacinamide?
For best results, use leave-on Niacinamide serums and creams and apply them to cleansed skin twice daily. Niacinamide can be combined in your moisturiser or Daytime sunscreen to give a radiant skin. A 10% Niacinamide Booster can be used on its own (like a serum) or mixed into your favorite moisturizer, based on personal preference.
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