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Niacinamide is a nutrient that is found in some foods. This vitamin helps skin look firmer, brighter, and smoother. Unlike most skincare treatments, Niacinamide can prevent and treat a huge host of conditions. It’s often combined with retinol in skincare products and touted for its anti-aging properties.
Discover the benefits of niacinamide, where to find it, and how to use it.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a vitamin and nutrient that offers a huge host of health benefits. It’s found naturally in foods and is added to beauty products. This vitamin is often listed as the following ingredients:
B complex vitamin
Nicotinic acid amide
Conditions Treated by Niacinamide
Niacinamide treats so many medical and cosmetic conditions that it may seem like a miracle nutrient! The most common medical conditions doctors treat with niacinamide include:
The most common cosmetic skin conditions treated by niacinamide include:
Some doctors have seen positive results when giving their diabetic patients niacinamide. This nutrient may help prevent insulin loss in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Doctors prescribe niacinamide to some patients with reduced kidney function. This vitamin may actually lower phosphate levels.
Larynx Cancer and Skin Cancer
Researchers believe that niacinamide may be able to treat some types of cancers, including larynx and non-melanoma skin cancers when taken in conjunction with radiation therapy. It may also help prevent non-melanoma skin cancers.
Niacinamide is a known anti-inflammatory and may help reduce swelling in joints. It’s also known to reduce joint pain.
Cosmetic Skincare Conditions
Since many skincare conditions are caused by inflammation, niacinamide is also used to treat a huge host of issues, including acne, dehydration, large pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and crepey skin.
Benefits of Niacinamide
In addition to its medical benefits, niacinamide offers plenty of cosmetic benefits, too. This all-in-one vitamin can help prevent wrinkles, boost collagen, protect skin from the sun and free radicals, minimize pores, prevent breakouts, and treat inflammation.
When used with other anti-inflammation, collagen-production, and hydrating ingredients, it can provide dramatic results.
Blocks Free Radicals
Free radicals are particles that can damage collagen and prevent cell turnover. These particles come from pollution, heavy metals, and UV rays.
Essentially, free radicals are single-atom oxygen cells that ravage the body searching for electrons to survive. During this search, they can cause damage to cells, DNA, and proteins — including collagen.
In order to prevent collagen damage, you need to prevent free radicals from entering your body.
Niacinamide can block free radicals before they even hit the top layer of your dermis. This nutrient contains that extra electron that free radicals are searching for, meaning these atoms won’t cause havoc in your system searching for them.
Since free radicals attack collagen and niacinamide blocks free radical damage, we know that this nutrient can help protect collagen. But the extra good news is that niacinamide not only protects collagen but can also help promote new collagen growth.
Collagen is a protein that helps our skin look plump, firm, and elastic. Without it, the skin looks dry and dehydrated. Your skin also can’t ‘bounce back’ without collagen, so it looks saggy, crepey, and wrinkled as a result.
Niacinamide can help boost the production of fatty acids and protein. It can also prevent collagen cross-linking (a phenomenon that causes stiff collagen).
Breaks Up Pigment
Sometimes the skin creates pockets of pigment. This can happen for many reasons, including sun damage, hormonal imbalances, and scarring.
These common causes of hyperpigmentation can lead to brown spots on the skin. Yet, niacinamide can help break up these pockets of pigmentation by lightening dark spots.
Our skin needs hydration to look young, plump, and healthy. Without enough water, collagen will break down and skin will look flaky, wrinkled, and dry.
There are plenty of ways to hydrate skin from the inside out. The two main ways to hydrate include absorbing water through the body and moisturizing the skin on the dermis’ surface.
To hydrate the body from the inside, you simply need to eat plenty of foods with high water content and drink eight glasses of water a day.
To hydrate skin, you’ll want to get a good moisturizer. Niacinamide actually protects the skin from dehydration and moisture loss. Meaning you won’t lose too much hydration from your pores.
Minimizes Large Pores and Open Pores
Niacinamide is also known to minimize large pores and open pores. Pores can appear large when they are dry or dehydrated. We already know this vitamin can hydrate the skin — which in itself will make pores appear smaller.
Yet niacinamide can also tighten pores while regulating sebum (the oily, waxy substance found in pores to lubricate hair follicles) and oil production.
This vitamin not only repairs acne scarring but can also prevent future breakouts.
Breakouts are often caused by excess sebum and oil production, clogged pores, dirt and debris, and hormonal imbalances. Since niacinamide can regulate oil production and encourage skin cell turnover, it’s also known to prevent breakouts.
Niacinamide can also reduce redness and swelling as it’s a known anti-inflammatory.
Prevents and Treats Inflammation
Niacinamide is an anti-inflammatory, which means it may treat and prevent inflammation caused by acne, eczema, rosacea, and skin trauma.
Protects Skin From Harmful UV Rays
The harmful UV, UVA, and UVB rays of the sun can wreak havoc on skin texture and skin tone. They can cause hyperpigmentation, premature wrinkles, and large pores.
While niacinamide isn’t a sunscreen per se, it can help protect the skin from the sun’s rays.
You should always still wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (higher depending on your skin tone or type — or if you live in a sunny climate. Yet, using SPF products in conjunction with products that contain niacinamide can help protect skin even further.
Regulates Sebum Production
Niacinamide can also help regulate sebum production. Sebum is the oily, waxy substance that lubricates hair follicles as they grow out of the pores. While we need sebum, too much of this substance can lead to skin problems.
The most common conditions related to too much sebum production include acne, blackheads, and skin irritation, and inflammation. Sebum can get trapped in the pores and lead to all these conditions.
It’s always best to use niacinamide to regulate sebum production in conjunction with a good cleanser (that contains ingredients to soothe skin and prevent irritation).
Smooths Wrinkles, Fine Lines, and Crepey Skin
It can also prevent future wrinkles, too. If fine lines and wrinkles run in your family, you may want to chat with a dermatologist about using topical niacinamide to prevent premature aging.
Niacinamide Side Effects
It’s always important to talk to a doctor before taking supplements. Too much niacinamide can lead to some adverse side effects, including:
It’s also important to chat with a licensed dermatologist before using topical niacinamide. A dermatologist will prescribe just the right amount of each active ingredient, so you won’t need to worry about side effects from taking too much.
How to Increase Niacinamide
You can take niacinamide supplements, eat foods high in this vitamin, or use it topically. Depending on the condition you’re treating, your doctor may recommend one type of this supplement or all three.
The most common way to treat skin conditions with niacinamide is to use it in its topical form.
Eat Foods High in Niacinamide
Some foods are just naturally high in niacinamide. This nutrient is essentially B-3, so any foods with high amounts of that nutrient should also be high in niacinamide. Such foods include:
If you’re concerned you’re not absorbing enough niacinamide, you may want to consider taking a B-3 supplement. Yet, most doctors don’t recommend taking supplements if you haven’t been tested for a vitamin deficiency.
At-home testing companies, like EverlyWell and Vessel Health, can send test kits directly to your home for you to test your vitamin levels; a doctor will review your results and advise you on which supplements you should be taking.
Use Topical Niacinamide
If your conditions are cosmetic, you may want to simply use topical niacinamide. This type of treatment comes in the form of a moisturizer, cleanser, or spot treatment.
Niacinamide can be found in over-the-counter products found in drugstores, department stores, and big-box skincare stores. Yet, the levels of active ingredients are often low as these products are formulated for pretty much every skin type.
Most products that contain niacinamide are prescription strength and need to prescribed by a dermatologist.
Best Topical Niacinamide Products
If you need a little extra niacinamide to spot-treat trouble areas or break up hyperpigmentation, there are plenty of topical products that contain niacinamide. While some of these products are available over the counter, they’re most commonly offered by prescription only in the United States.
Musely’s Skincare Regeneration Set
If you suffer from all-over face issues, including wrinkles, fine lines, acne, scarring, and hyperpigmentation, a skincare kit may be your best bet in treating your skincare conditions.
One of the biggest benefits of skincare sets is that they often contain products that counteract any side effects of the niacinamide you may experience.
Musely’s skincare regeneration set comes with a cleanser, day cream, and night cream.
The only product with niacinamide is the night cream, which increases cell turnover, balances sebum production, and hydrates skin while you sleep.
The cleanser balances the niacinamide and other active ingredients of the night cream while reducing irritation and inflammation. The day cream protects your skin from any further sun and free radical damage.
The Night Cream
This tretinoin prescription cream has been formulated by dermatologists to treat visible signs of aging. It includes Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide to help brighten and hydrate the skin.
Rory’s Nightly Defense Cream
Rory’s Nightly Defense Cream works similarly to Musely’s Night Cream. The biggest difference is that this night cream contains all the active ingredients needed to calm skin and reverser the appearance of wrinkles — right in one nighttime formula.
It also contains tretinoin to unclog pores and smooth wrinkles, azelaic acid to break up pigmentation, ceramides to hydrate the skin, tranexamic acid to brighten and lighten skin, and hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture.
Musely’s Spot Treatment
Spot treatments target dark spots and wrinkles, breaking up the pigment and smoothing skin.
Musely’s Spot treatment contains niacinamide to hydrate the skin, shrink pores, and brighten skin. Yet, it also contains other ingredients that work in conjunction with this nutrient, including:
This skin bleaching agent breaks down the melanosomes in your pigment and breaks up dark spots.
This cooking agent prevents skin irritation that is sometimes caused by niacinamide and hydroquinone.
Azelaic acid is used to break up melanosomes in pigment of people that suffer from sensitive skin.
If you suffer from sensitive skin, your dermatologist may prescribe higher levels of azelaic acid and lower levels of hydroquinone.
Musely’s Neck and Chest Cream
Musely’s neck and chest cream contains niacinamide to break up pockets of pigment on the chest and neck while smoothing crepey skin and moisturizing each layer of the dermis. It’s specially formulated to be used on the delicate skin of the neck and chest.
Other active ingredients in this neck and chest cream include:
Tretinoin encourages skin cell turnover and also helps to boost collagen production.
Hydroquinone aids in breaking down melanosomes in pigment to banish dark spots.
Hyaluronic Acid smooths fine lines and wrinkles while hydrating skin.
The list of dermatology benefits of niacinamide is pretty long. If you suffer from dark spots, wrinkles, fine lines, or rosacea, we recommend contacting a dermatologist to see if a niacinamide prescription can reverse your signs of aging.