There is no doubt niacinamide is the star of the show when it comes to skincare, but is it all hype?
When we dive deep into the research, it appears Niacinamide has everything going for it.
Enhance barrier function
Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide plays an important role in soothing and helping to restore the skin barrier.
It is a precursor for co-factors NAD(H)and NADP(H) that are important in a variety of cellular pathways that affect skin physiology. In their reduced forms, NADH and NADPH act as powerful antioxidants and enhance barrier function.
NADPH is a cofactor for the synthesis of fatty acids and lipids, such as ceramides, that are crucial for epidermal barrier function. Studies have demonstrated that topical application of niacinamide reduces skin sensitivity to irritating surfactants such as sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) and can be used to improve the tolerability of retinoids. Some cosmeceuticals will combine niacinamide and retinol for this reason.
Both oral and topical forms of niacinamide have been used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and rosacea.
Clinically, it has also demonstrated to reduce pore size, improve skin texture and reduce the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. A 12-week clinical study of a topical 5% niacinamide emulsion demonstrated a 21% improvement in fine lines along with a 14% skin tone clarity and 15% radiance improvement.
Niacinamide has also demonstrated remarkable skin lightening properties by acting as both a tyrosinase inhibitor and preventing the transfer of melanosomes to keratinocytes, a property seen at higher concentrations. A study on 120 Japanese women found that those who used SPF15 with 2% niacinamide over 12 weeks showed noticeable skin lightening benefits compared to those who used SPF15 only.
As a skincare ingredient, it is easy to formulate with, it readily penetrates the stratum corneum and is well tolerated with a very low irritation profile.
The benefits of niacinamide is enhanced when it is combined with other anti-aging ingredients such as prescription retinoids, vitamin c and sunscreen. If you are seeking a niacinamide and retinol combination, check out Retinamide CE Regénerist.
- Farris, P. The Anti-aging effects of Niacinamide. Dermatology Times (2015).
- Bissett, D et al. Niacinamide: AB vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance. Journal of Dermatologic Surgery. 2005 Jul;31:860-5