In 2020, niacinamide was constantly talked about by communities of skin care experts and enthusiasts. Although this effective and research-based ingredient has been used in cosmetics for a long time, it is only in recent years that it has finally received the attention it deserves. Unsurprisingly, niacinamide is not only able to uniquely balance the secretion of skin oil and protect it from dehydration, but also reduces pores, soothes irritations, fights eczema, redness and signs of aging. This versatile ingredient seems to have something to offer everyone.
What is niacinamide and how does it work?
Niacinamide, or nicotinamide, is one of the major forms of vitamin B3. According to research, niacinamide has such efficacy because it is a precursor to two very important biochemical cofactors (a chemical compound that reacts to produce another chemical compound). These compounds are nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD + / MADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP +).
These intricate-sounding molecules are critical to the chemical reactions that take place in our cells (and, of course, in skin cells) and fight damage, free radicals, and ensure optimal cell function. Most of these reactions would not be possible without NAD +, which cells would not produce without niacinamide. Thus, its importance would be difficult to overestimate.
Unlike many substances necessary for the optimal functioning of the skin and other organs, vitamin B3 is not produced by our body itself, so we need to get it from the outside. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, their stocks need to be replenished daily. Fortunately, niacinamide is effective both when we get it from food, both as a dietary supplement and as an external cosmetic.
Skin benefits of niacinamide:
1) Niacinamide strengthens the skin’s immunity by maintaining and strengthening its protective barrier and thus helping the skin to protect against damage caused by external factors. This is because it stimulates the production of ceramides (lipids that help maintain optimal skin barrier function). Generally speaking, ceramides are like cement, keeping our skin cells in a strong optimal position and preventing the formation of micro or macro cracks. Also, ceramides help the skin keep inside what is most important to it, such as water. Thus, they protect against transepidermal moisture loss. Given the importance of ceramides, the involvement of niacinamide in their production is a crucial property.
2) Niacinamide reduces redness by inhibiting inflammatory processes. This is one of the reasons why it works so well for those who fight acne (as well as mask – pimples caused by wearing protective masks), rosacea, eczema.
3) Niacinamide regulates the secretion of skin fat.
4) Niacinamide evens out skin color and helps fight hyperpigmentation.
5) Niacinamide smooths wrinkles.
6) Niacinamide helps to restore keratin reserves, which are constantly declining over time.
7) Niacinamide helps to neutralize the damage caused by sunlight by participating in the restoration of healthy skin cells.
How much and how to use?
Concentrations of 2-10% niacinamide are usually chosen in skin care products. True, in the case of this ingredient, more is definitely not better. According to the highest quality research data, the 4% niacinamide solution used twice daily was as effective as topical antibiotics, and the 2% niacinamide solution was able to optimally reduce skin oil secretion. In general, the predominant proposed niacinamide content in topical cosmetics is 5%. Higher amounts can cause skin irritation, so we can see that products with higher niacinamide concentrations use additional anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help neutralize skin reactions. However, why suppress reactions when they can be avoided?
Used properly, niacinamide does not usually cause any skin side effects. However, its use in combination with vitamin C should be avoided, as the niacin formed can irritate the skin and cause intense redness. Meanwhile, for those who want to enjoy the benefits of retinol, for example, but their skin has a hard time tolerating retinol, niacinamide can serve as an ingredient that facilitates the absorption of retinol and slightly reduces skin sensitivity to it.
While niacinamide has many skin beneficial properties, it also requires patience. Studies show that the most pronounced results of niacinamide use become noticeable after four weeks, but its initial effect can often be felt more quickly. In one case or another, niacinamide is an ingredient that is definitely worth giving a chance to become part of your skin care routine.