Niacinamide for Skin: Benefits, Usage, Side Effects, & More

Niacinamide for Skin: Benefits, Usage, Side Effects, & More

Who doesn't want glowing skin and healthy hair? We all do! 

But first, you must watch the intake of appropriate nutrients to achieve these health and beauty goals and to keep you there. Alongside other nutrients, Niacinamide is essential in making your skin and hair shine. Niacin, as it’s also known, is the amide form of Vitamin B3, a water-soluble vitamin used in cosmeceuticals. 

Niacinamide is a trending skincare ingredient for many strong reasons. Topical Niacinamide works as an anti-inflammatory ingredient. Not only that, it also potentially helps skin to reduce oil overproduction, hyperpigmentation, and skin damage from UV exposure.

This article explores Niacinamide's benefits, uses, and potential side effects on the skin. Let's find out!

First Things First - What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a type of vitamin B3 that is generally incorporated into skin and hair care products. You can also consume Niacinamide from natural food sources, such as milk, eggs, fish, cereals, nuts and seeds, green vegetables and beans, animal-based products like meat, some medications, and more. 

Niacinamide treats several things, including acne, enlarged pores, excess oil, and inflammation. It's a vitamin that boosts cellular energy, metabolism, and DNA repair. This unique ingredient also supports sebaceous functions when it comes to Niacinamide's application on your skin. It is essential for maintaining healthy moisture levels and barrier defense. 

Benefits of Using Niacinamide on Skin

Preventing Vitamin B3 (or Niacin) deficiency is vital as it can cause various skin, kidney, and brain disorders. However, there's much more to Niacinamide, particularly regarding overall skin health. The common benefits of Niacinamide can be summarized as follows:

  • Prevents acne
  • Can brighten skin
  • Repairs skin barrier
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Protects against sun damage.

What Does Niacinamide Do For Your Skin?

Niacinamide is a multitasking bioactive ingredient. It's known to be the powerhouse form of Vitamin B3. After its application, Niacinamide breaks down into the form of Vitamin B3 for our cells to use, the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. 

Note: This coenzyme is believed responsible for Niacinamide's benefits to the skin.

Niacinamide helps build proteins in the skin. It further locks in moisture to protect it from environmental effects. Some other benefits of Niacinamide on the skin include:

1. Boosts Immunity

Niacinamide builds keratin. It's a type of protein that keeps the skin firm and healthy. It functions like an immunity booster for your skin. 

2. Minimizes Enlarged Pores

Niacinamide is most famous for its pore-reducing magic. It keeps oil and debris from getting back up, which leads to clogs and rough, bumpy skin.

3. Builds The Lipid Barrier

This vitamin helps your skin grow a ceramide (lipid) barrier that retains moisture. It's effective for all skin types, even the skin having eczema.

4. Boosts Hydration

The tropical application of Niacinamide improves the hydrating ability of moisturizers. This property prevents moisture loss, recurrent dryness, and flaky texture. 

5. Reduces Redness 

Niacinamide minimizes the effect of redness from acne and eczema, blotchiness, and other inflammatory skin issues. 

6. Brightens Skin

Niacinamide prevents discolorations and uneven skin tone. It does not allow excess melanin (skin pigment) to appear on the surface of your skin. 

7. Sun Damage Protection

This multi-talented skincare wonder protects the skin against sun damage. It concurrently rebuilds healthy skin cells and protects them from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

8. Reduces Wrinkles and Fine Lines

Research shows that 5% concentration of Niacinamide can help reduce aging signs of skin damage, including age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines.

9. Cures Hyperpigmentation

Similarly, Niacinamide concentrations help in lightening dark spots. It boosts collagen production, and you can observe improvements after four weeks. 

10. Protects the Skin From Oxidative Stress

Niacinamide gives skin protection against oxidative stress. It builds skin cells while saving them from external environmental effects, including sunlight, pollution, and toxins in the air. 

How to Use Niacinamide?

You should use Niacinamide in concentrations of 5% or less than that. Anything above that can cause irritation. Higher concentrations are also limited to specific areas.

Furthermore, the skin is the largest and most exposed organ. We should also understand that it needs multiple healthy nutrients, not just one!

Just as our body needs more than one healthy food to maintain itself well, right? 

To address this requirement, taking a multi-ingredient approach to your skincare routine is always a good idea. Niacinamide works well with other potent ingredients such as:

  • Peptides
  • AHAs, BHA
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • All kinds of antioxidants

Good to know: Niacinamide works exceptionally well when combined with other brightening ingredients and antioxidants such as Vitamin C. That's why it's common to find products that contain both ingredients in their formulations.

Using Niacinamide in Your Skincare Routine

Topical forms of Niacinamide are readily available as: gels, lotions, creams, serums, cleanser, toner, and exfoliant.

If you have sensitive skin, then consider starting with a lower concentration. Niacinamide creams or gels can be used at night before bed. During the day, you can apply sunscreen that contains this powerful ingredient.

Note: While it's generally safe to use daily, use topical Niacinamide as your doctor directs. 

What should I look for when choosing a product?

The concentration of Niacinamide can vary between products, although most formulations are 5 percent or less, which is already recommended.

This concentration is effective in treating hyperpigmentation and damage caused by sun exposure. Formulas containing 2 percent Niacinamide may help alleviate symptoms of eczema and similar conditions.

Note: Niacinamide may be listed as "niacin" and "nicotinamide" on product labels.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Niacinamide on Skin?

Generally, topical Niacinamide is considered safe to use. But, like any other skin care product, it might also have several side effects for certain people. 

For instance, people with preexisting allergies may experience an allergic reaction. The reason can be that Niacinamide can cause your body to release histamines. 

Regardless of your skin type, prevent allergies and product sensitivity with the help of a patch test before using the product on your face. Use topical Niacinamide to address Vitamin B3 deficiencies only if medically prescribed.

Here's how you can do the patch test:

  1. Use a small-sized amount of product on your forearm. 
  2. Wait for 24 hours. 
  3. If you start to have redness, itching, or swelling, clean the area and stop using the product. 
  4. If you don't have any side effects, it should be safe to use in other areas.

Some other minor side effects are associated with taking Niacinamide in supplement form.  These include: diarrhea, dizziness, itchiness, flatulence, heartburn, and mild headaches. Side effects of using topical Niacinamide creams may include: redness, burning, and mild itching.

Using a retinol serum along with a niacinamide serum may cause skin irritation. It is always better to consult with your doctor before taking Niacinamide orally.

Who Should Avoid Using Niacinamide?

  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not use Niacinamide. 
  • People with gallbladder disease must avoid using Niacinamide. It might make gallbladder disease worse. 
  • Those who are going through kidney dialysis should not use Niacinamide. In people undergoing dialysis, taking Niacinamide appears to raise the risk of having low platelet levels.
  • People having stomach or intestinal ulcers should not add Niacinamide to their skincare tasks. It might worsen the ulcers.

Wrapping Up

When applied to your skin every day, Niacinamide may improve your skin health. 

The magic ingredient can help your skin decrease inflammation and hyperpigmentation. It evens out your skin texture and gives your skin a brighter, radiant appearance.

Niacinamide would come out as one of the leading contenders of all the miraculous ingredients in the skincare industry. The best part is that Niacinamide can benefit almost every skin problem and suits all skin types. 

Full of impact and high in demand, Niacinamide needs several weeks before you notice any significant improvement. So be patient and keep up with your skincare routine. Take care of your skin! 

Learn more:

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