We love niacinamide. Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is a skin-balancing antioxidant that helps regulate sebum production, fade the look of dark spots, improve skin texture, target the look of fine lines & wrinkles and enhance skin’s ability to retain moisture. The powerhouse ingredient really does it all and works wonders for all skin types. Let’s take a deeper dive into the ingredient and learn all the reasons why we love niacinamide.
Niacinamide or, nicotinamide, is the most common and well studied form of Vitamin B3, used in cosmetic products. It is a low molecular weight, water-soluble vitamin and precursor to important coenzymes, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD(H) and its phosphorylated derivative, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate or NADP(H). NAD(H) and NADP(H) are oxidation/reduction (redox) coenzymes, involved in over 40 biochemical reactions, crucial to the energy, repair, and homeostasis of cells.1 As we age, the levels of these crucial coenzymes decrease, resulting in increased oxidative stress and reduction in skin health. By replenishing these cofactors, niacinamide provides a therapeutic boost, resulting in a myriad of skin benefits. It is important to note that you do not need to be niacin deficient or low on NAD(H) to see the skin benefits of niacinamide. All skin types can profit from this multi-faceted beauty vitamin.
All skin types can profit from this multi-faceted beauty vitamin.
Topical niacinamide has been shown to reduce diglycerides, triglycerides, and fatty acid production, which translates to reduced sebum production and visually decreased pore size. Known for its brightening and lightening benefits, niacinamide reduces melanosome transfer and can effectively treat hyperpigmentation and melasma.2 NAD(H) is a potent antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and glycation and upregulation via niacinamide application clinically reduces skin sallowness, redness, and inflammation.3 Niacinamide also reduces protein carbonylation induced by blue light, as well as increases DNA excision and repair, following UV irradiation.4
Topical niacinamide reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing keratinocyte proliferation and stimulating collagen and epidermal protein synthesis. Another amazing feature of niacinamide is its ability to improve the skin barrier. By boosting ceramide and barrier lipid synthesis and therefore strengthening the integrity of the skin barrier, niacinamide increases moisture content in skin, protects the skin from environmental pollutants, reduces skin sensitivity to irritants, and helps the skin tolerate retinoids better. Given the plethora of skin benefits with little to no side effects, dermatologists have used this cosmeceutical active to treat rosacea, acne, melasma, and atopoic dermatitis.
Niacinamide has been proven safe and effective time and time again. It not only has a biological effect on numerous biochemical pathways, but also is extremely well tolerated at high doses. In fact, niacinamide reduces proinflammatory cytokines, therefore reducing redness and inflammation.5 Clinical testing indicates that niacinamide is not an irritant, sensitizer, or photosensitizer.6 There are rare cases of mild irritation, but most often the culprit is nicotinic acid, another form of Vitamin B3, commonly known as niacin. Niacinamide is the amide form of niacin, having an amine, or NH2 group, as opposed to a hydroxyl, or OH group. At low levels, niacin causes vasodilation (flushing) through prostaglandin release, which can be accompanied by itching.7 A grossly outdated and erroneously referenced study has made consumers concerned about the hydrolysis of niacinamide to niacin in low pH skin care products such as paired with alpha hydroxy acids. This study, published in 1962, records first order rate constants for the hydrolysis of niacinamide at 90℃ over a pH range of 0.4-11.3, showing minimal reaction between pH 4.0-6.0.8 It is significant to note that this reaction took several hours to occur when at 90℃. The majority of cosmetic products are manufactured at temperatures below 90℃ and storage and transportation conditions of the finished product will not reach this temperature. The authors of the study also used a very strong acid, hydrochloric acid, to observe this chemical reaction below pH 4.0. Acid strength, corresponding to a dissociation constant, is just as important as acid concentration. Hydrochloric acid is not used in skincare products and the acids in your skincare products do not have the same strength. Bottom line, niacinamide can be safely used in low pH products.
Niacinamide does not have any known chemical incompatibilities and pairs well with numerous other bioactives, for synergistic results. Pair niacinamide, which reduces melanosome transfer, with vitamin C, a tyrosinase inhibitor, and you have a very effective skin lightener. Pair niacinamide, which boosts ceramide producers and inhibits proinflammatory cytokines, with retinol, which increases cell renewal and collagen production, and you get an anti-aging treatment with minimal irritation. Pair niacinamide, which reduces fatty acid production while reducing proinflammatory cytokines, with Zinc PCA, an antimicrobial agent with moisturizing properties, and you get a blemish and sebum control treatment that won’t dry or disrupt the skin. Pair niacinamide, which stimulates ceramide and barrier lipid synthesis, with Hyaluronic Acid, a humectant and film former, and you get a hydrating treatment that moisturizes from within and on the surface of the skin. Naturium niacinamide formulas are perfect to pair and layer with any of your skin care products, to elevate and maximize your skin benefits.
Naturium’s niacinamide products function as skin supplements, replenishing important cofactors involved in maintaining skin health and overall appearance. This cosmeceutical active readily penetrates the stratum corneum, has a number of biological mechanisms of action in skin, and is backed by numerous clinical studies proving its efficacy. Naturium uses a high-purity grade, non-flushing niacinamide that ensures minimal levels of nicotinic acid. Our high potency products use clinically tested levels of niacinamide to improve skin tone and texture, and restore balance.