Niacinamide, also called nicotinamide, is one of two forms of Vitamin B3. It is essential for many bodily functions involving kidneys and skin… but what does it do exactly and how can it help us? Let’s look through it together.
What is it exactly?
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is a water-soluble vitamin which helps convert the food you eat into energy. Due to it being soluble in water, the body cannot store it, meaning you have to supply it daily for a correct functioning of different bodily processes. Niacin is also produced in the body from tryptophan, which is found in protein-containing food, where 60mg of tryptophan can be converted into 10mg of Vitamin B3.
The recommended daily amount for adults is 16 mg/day for men and 14 mg/day of for women.
Where is it found?
It can be found primarily in animal-based products such as liver, meat and poultry, and as nicotinic acid in plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, green vegetables, beans, mushrooms, whole wheat, unpolished rice, enriched flours.
What are its benefits?
Vitamin B3 of which Niacinamide is part, has been a subject of different studies. Some of these include its use in treating osteoporosis, cancer, ADHD, chronic kidney disease, arthritis, alcoholism, motion sickness and many more. Not all, unfortunately, have proven sufficient evidence to support the findings; however, when it comes to treating the ailments of the skin, the situation changes. Niacinamide has been proven to help with:
- Improving the skin barrier function by helping build Keratin, a protein you might have heard of used in topical treatments and food supplements for you to have healthy skin, hair, and nails.
- Treating photodamage (UV damage) as it prevents immunosuppression and accelerates the regression of solar keratoses, a precancerous area of thick, scaly, or crusty skin
- Minimising the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
- Minimising the appearance of hyperpigmentation
- Skin resurfacing: it reduces skin roughness
- Sebum regulation
- Reducing inflammation
- Acne and seborrheic dermatitis treatment
- Minimising pore appearance
- Grow a ceramide (lipid) barrier, which can, in turn, help retain moisture
- Protect against oxidative stress
- Minimising sallowness (yellowness)
- Improving skin elasticity
- Improving synthesis of healthy fats (key for glowing skin)
- Treatment of eczema, psoriasis and atopic dry skin in general
- Wound healing
Some visual examples from Berson, D., Osborne, R., Oblong, J., Hakozaki, T., Johnson, M.B., & Bissett, D. (2013). CHAPTER 10 Niacinamide : A Topical Vitamin with Wide-Ranging Skin Appearance Benefits include:
Who can use it
Given its anti-inflammatory properties, even the most sensitive of skins can safely use Niacinamide.
Whoever has sensitive or reactive skin which flushes, reddens or turns blotchy, can try out this little miracle worker to help reduce these issues. Even eczema, rosacea and psoriasis find solace in the use of Niacinamide.
Those with acne prone skin can use Niacinamide to help reduce the size and inflammation of pustules, alongside keeping the sebum production at bay. This is something that those with oily skin might also want to test out.
Niacinamide will also aid those with combination skin by not only regulating sebum production but also help the dry areas of the face thanks to its moisturising nature.
For those with more mature skin in search for products with anti-aging characteristics, Niacinamide is the perfect choice to help reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Lastly, for those hoping to reduce signs of hyperpigmentation, Niacinamide could be a good product to add to any skincare routine.
Products containing it
Niacinamide can be found as an ingredient part of products at different stages of the Korean skincare routine. A few examples are:
Holika Holika Skin and Good Cera Toner 180ml: this Ceramide-based toner soothes sensitive skin whilst eliminating dead skin cells and increasing the skin’s basic moisture level. You can find that HERE
RNW Niacinamide Plus 30ml: a highly concentrated, multi-functional brightening ampoule for radiant and glowing skin. Formulated with 5% Niacinamide (the most stable concentration), it helps to renew and restore skin’s natural barrier, protecting against moisture loss and dehydration while also repairing signs of damage. You can find that HERE
Pureheals Centella 90 Ampoule 30ml: The ampoule contains Centella Asiatica extract and Ceramide-3 that help strengthen the skin moisture barrier and help shield it from the external agents. It is renowned for its soothing properties and it is rich in antioxidants. You can find that HERE
SNP Black Pearl Black Ampoule Mask (Rejuvenating): anti-aging mask with the extract of real black pearls and 20 amino acids strengthens tired, dry skin and balances the moisture-oil balance. Without parabens, mineral oil, artificial colors and silicones. You can find it HERE
- Berson, D., Osborne, R., Oblong, J., Hakozaki, T., Johnson, M.B., & Bissett, D. (2013). CHAPTER 10 Niacinamide : A Topical Vitamin with Wide-Ranging Skin Appearance Benefits.
- Draelos, Z., Ertel, K., & Berge, C. (2005). Niacinamide-containing facial moisturizer improves skin barrier and benefits subjects with rosacea. Cutis, 76 2, 135-41 .
- Mohammed D., Crowther J.M., Matts P.J., Hadgraft J., Lane M.E. (2013), Influence of niacinamide containing formulations on the molecular and biophysical properties of the stratum corneum, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Volume 441, Issues 1–2, (2013) Pages 192-201, ISSN 0378-5173, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.11.043.
- Bissett, D., Miyamoto, K., Sun, P., Li, J., & Berge, C.A. (2004). Topical niacinamide reduces yellowing, wrinkling, red blotchiness, and hyperpigmented spots in aging facial skin 1. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 26.
- Bissett, D., Oblong, J., & Berge, C.A. (2005). Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance. Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.], 31 7 Pt 2, 860-5; discussion 865 .
- Draelos, Z., Matsubara, A., & Smiles, K. (2006). The effect of 2% niacinamide on facial sebum production. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 8, 101 – 96.
- Esfahani, S.A., Khoshneviszadeh, M., Namazi, M., Noorafshan, A., Geramizadeh, B., Nadimi, E., & Razavipour, S.T. (2015). Topical Nicotinamide Improves Tissue Regeneration in Excisional Full-Thickness Skin Wounds: A Stereological and Pathological Study. Trauma Monthly, 20.
- Shahmoradi, Z., Iraji, F., Siadat, A., & Ghorbaini, A. (2013). Comparison of topical 5% nicotinamid gel versus 2% clindamycin gel in the treatment of the mild-moderate acne vulgaris: A double-blinded randomized clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 18, 115 – 117.
- Moloney, F., Vestergaard, M., Radojković, B., & Damian, D. (2010). Randomized, double‐blinded, placebo controlled study to assess the effect of topical 1% nicotinamide on actinic keratoses. British Journal of Dermatology, 162.
- Damian, D., Patterson, C.R., Stapelberg, M., Park, J., Barnetson, R.S., & Halliday, G. (2008). UV radiation-induced immunosuppression is greater in men and prevented by topical nicotinamide. The Journal of investigative dermatology, 128 2, 447-54 .
- Soma, Y., Kashima, M., Imaizumi, A., Takahama, H., Kawakami, T., & Mizoguchi, M. (2005). Moisturizing effects of topical nicotinamide on atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology, 44.