What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide is one of the two major forms of water-soluble vitamin B-3, and the other form is niacin. The ingredient is common in skincare products and can be applied topically to help manage different skin concerns, such as acne, eczema, rosacea, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
It is versatile for all skin types, especially sensitive skin, due to its comparatively less irritative properties.
How does niacinamide work on skin?
In general, niacinamide is well known for its abilities to build protein, boost hydration and reduce inflammation in the skin.
Repair and prevent damage, e.g. wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, rough skin, sun damage
Niacinamide is essential to help your skin to carry out the chemical reactions that repair damage and to stay firm. Applying niacinamide on your skin promotes the production of keratin, protein that keeps the skin firm and healthy; as well as increase ceramides, the lipids that help create a protective barrier on your skin that defends against irritants, allergens, and microbes. The stronger the lipid barrier, the higher the skin’s ability to retain moisture. It also stimulates collagen secretion in the dermis, to plump and replenish the skin.
As a result, topical application of niacinamide helps reduces the signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, rough and dull complexion, and hyperpigmentation. With the boosting of collagen and elastin level, niacinamide also makes pores to shrink visibly by boosting skin’s elasticity.
Ease inflammatory skin conditions, e.g. acne, eczema, rosacea
Niacinamide reduces the production of a variety of inflammatory cells, and thus is effective in easing inflammation such as eczema, acne (especially papules and pustules) and rosacea, as well as fighting redness and blotchiness caused by these inflammatory skin conditions.
Besides, it can reduce sebum secretion and prevent pores from getting clogged by the buildup of excess sebum and dirt, which would in turn lead to acne, blackheads and whiteheads.
How to get started with niacinamide?
Most major studies used topical application containing 2%-10% of niacinamide, so look for skincare products that fall within the range. If you have sensitive skin, it would be a great idea to start with the lowest concentration.
For oil control, use 2% topical niacinamide products. And for treating hyperpigmentation, use 5% concentration and expect to see dark spots lightened after 4-8 weeks of use.