What the Heck is Niacinamide?

Question and Answer logoQuestion:  What is  niacinamide and what can it do for  my skin?   I bought a moisturizer that promised to lighten dark patches.  Then I  read about another product that claimed niacinamide improves acne AND  smooths  fine lines.  Can niacinamide do all of these things?  None of them?

Answer:  Niacinamide  aka nicotinic acid is a form of vitamin B3 (aka niacin).  This vitamin is  essential for healthy skin, nerves and digestion.  Lack of niacin can lead to skin inflammation and nerve damage and over time severe lack of nacin  will lead to pellegra.

On the surface of the skin, niacinamide has a wide range of benefits.  There are   good clinical studies that show nicinamide can reduce inflammation of acne.  In fact a  study  showed that a 4-5% niacinamide gel is as effective as clindamycin in reducing acne– and without the concern  of developing bacterial resistance. Nice.

But wait there is more. Niacinamide also inhibits melanin production. Over time, is can effectively reduce splotches of melasma and sun damage.Niacinamide also does indeed promote cell growth and repair that leads to firmer, smoother skin.

And I have saved the best for last– niacinamide stimulates the production of both ceramides and  hyaluronic acid.  These two super natural moisturizes decline as we get older– a  major cause of increased dryness.  Net result?  Niacinamide can certainly claim  to be a great moisturizer.

Niacinamide– THe Big “But”

On paper, niacinamide seems like your skin’s new best friend.  But there is a problem.  You need a 4-5% formulation and  at that level  it can be irritating and turn your skin quite red.   Many commercial  products avoid the issue by using only a very small amount of  niacinamide– which unfortunately  produces very small results.

One brand, Nia24 has modified the niacinamide molecule to reduce irritation yet maintain benefits.   Nia 24  products have 4-5% niacinamide and provide both  impressive clinical studies to back up their claims  and  before and after photos.   Nia24 is  available online and is often sold by dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

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