Niacinamide: Achieve a More Youthful and Healthy Looking Skin

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The skin is constantly exposed to various external factors such as pollution, ultraviolet rays, and different weather conditions, all of which can harm it dramatically. As such, it is essential to establish a consistent skincare regime. Doing so protects your skin from these elements while reducing the appearance of acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.

A good skincare regimen must include effective products that can cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and protect your skin from stresses and external factors. Among many active ingredients in skincare products, niacinamide is one that you should incorporate into your skincare routine. This skincare ingredient can improve the skin's barrier function, reduce the appearance of dark spots, and enhance skin elasticity.

If you plan to establish or change your current skincare routine, this blog will help you learn about niacinamide, its benefits, and its effects on different skin types. But first, what is niacinamide?


What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of Vitamin B3 you can commonly find in skincare products such as serums, moisturizers, toners, sunscreens, and face masks. You can also find this naturally occurring substance in many foods, including meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and whole grains.

Some products call niacinamide as “niacin.” While they are similar in name, they are actually different forms of Vitamin B3. However, niacin can turn into niacinamide when applied or taken excessively.

Almost all skin types can tolerate niacinamide since it is a gentle ingredient. Typical formulations contain 5% or less concentration, just enough to treat hyperpigmentation and sun exposure-related damage. However, the concentration of this ingredient still varies across products.


Topical vs. Oral Niacinamide: Which Works Better?

Niacinamide comes in topical and oral forms. While both produce the same effects, topical products with this ingredient can have more direct benefits for the skin. Additionally, the small intestine does not fully absorb Vitamin B3. So, dermatologists recommend taking topical niacinamide-containing products over oral ones.

But you can still take it orally. One thing to note if you do is to take niacinamide supplements at doses lower than 35 mg daily. Alternatively, you can eat B3-rich food such as chicken breast, salmon, brown rice, and breakfast cereal to get your dose of niacinamide orally.


9 Benefits of Niacinamide

If you plan to use niacinamide, here are some benefits you may enjoy.


1. Improves skin barrier function

Niacinamide strengthens the skin's barrier function, helping it retain moisture and protecting it from damage.


2. Brightens skin tone

This skincare component can prevent melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes. Doing so can effectively help reduce the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. As a result, this ingredient is capable of brightening your skin tone.


3. Reduces the appearance of fine lines

Experts often commend niacinamide as an excellent anti-aging skincare ingredient because it improves skin elasticity. This effect can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Ultimately, niacinamide is one of the best ingredients to give you a more youthful-looking complexion.


4. Treats Acne

Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a valuable component for treating acne, rosacea, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions.


5. Reduces skin redness

On top of youthful skin, niacinamide products can help reduce redness and soothe irritated skin. As such, sensitive skin types can rest easy when incorporating this skincare ingredient into their routines.


6. Minimizes the appearance of pores

Since niacinamide moisturizes and smoothens skin, it can subsequently reduce the size of pores over time.


7. Regulates oil

Niacinamide can regulate the skin's oil production. Due to this, it's well-known to unclog pores, prevent blemishes from forming, and treat inflammation and acne.


8. Protects skin from environmental stress

Environmental factors such as sunlight, pollution, and toxins can harm the skin. However, niacinamide is an effective ingredient in protecting the skin from oxidative stress due to strengthening the skin barrier's functions.


9. Builds skin immunity

Apart from strengthening the skin barrier function, niacinamide can restore its cellular energy and repair damaged DNA. It also builds keratin, which makes the skin firm and healthy. These other effects can make it a viable ingredient for preserving the skin's health and hydration.


How to Use Niacinamide

If you are using niacinamide for the first time, it's best to use it twice or thrice a week. You can gradually change the frequency once your skin becomes acclimated to it. Experts also recommend using skincare products with 2% niacinamide if you have sensitive skin, but normal skin types can increase the concentration to 10%.

When incorporating into your skincare routine, use niacinamide before serums or moisturizers and after cleansers and toners. Following this order can guarantee the effectiveness of the ingredient. The key is checking the directions on your niacinamide-containing products before using them on your face to prevent any harmful side effects.

You can pair niacinamide with other useful skincare products to achieve better results. For instance, consider pairing topical niacinamide with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Doing so can reduce inflammation and strengthen your skin barrier. Additionally, combining niacinamide with hyaluronic acid can hydrate dry skin. Aside from both being water-based, hyaluronic acid can help increase product absorption.

For acne treatment, pairing niacinamide and retinol is one of the best combinations to do so as it can improve your skin texture. You can also combine oral niacinamide supplements with zinc, folic acid, and copper to achieve the same result.


How Long Will Niacinamide Take Effect?

Like all skincare products or ingredients, niacinamide cannot produce results overnight. Some niacinamide-containing products take effect within two weeks, but most will show initial benefits between four and eight weeks.

However, consult a dermatologist if you do not see any results within a few weeks or months. They may advise you on your skincare routine, lifestyle, and diet, which can help boost the skincare ingredient's positive effects. Moreover, they can identify which products will better suit your needs and current situation.


Does Niacinamide Have Side Effects?

Niacinamide is generally safe, regardless if you take it topically or orally. However, it's best to remember to take it moderately or as your dermatologist or physician has instructed. If not, you may deal with an upset stomach, gas, and headache.

If you have pre-existing allergies, you may experience an allergic reaction when using niacinamide because it stimulates the body to release histamine. But you can prevent this issue by doing a patch test.

Apply a dime-sized amount of niacinamide on your forearm and observe it for 24 hours. If you experience redness, itching, or swelling, wash the area and stop using the product. Otherwise, you can continue using niacinamide.


Safety Precautions When Using Niacinamide

Not everyone will have the same reaction to niacinamide. People have different skin types and underlying conditions which may not be compatible with the skincare ingredient. Here are some safety precautions when using this niacinamide in your skincare routine.


For pregnant and breastfeeding people

If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, experts recommend taking a maximum of 30mg of niacinamide for those under 18. But those who are over 18 can take a maximum of 35mg.


For children and teenagers

Children and teenagers have more sensitive skin than adults. For this reason, niacinamide can help strengthen their skin barrier. Giving them small doses is vital to prevent rashes, irritation, and other harmful side effects. Experts advise those 1-3 years old to take 10mg of the ingredient, 15mg for 4-8-year-olds, 20mg for 9-13-year-olds, and 30mg for 14-18 year-olds.


For people with underlying medical conditions

When taken orally, niacinamide may trigger harmful effects on the body for people with specific medical conditions. For instance, it may increase blood sugar, which can be detrimental for diabetic people. Oral niacinamide supplements may also make gallbladder disease and ulcers worse. As such, it's best to consult your doctor before taking niacinamide orally.


Start Taking Care of Your Skin Today

A consistent skincare routine is essential for maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin. Beyond that, incorporating helpful ingredients such as niacinamide into your skincare routine can help you achieve smoother and brighter skin. Consider the points above to treat and protect your skin and achieve an outer glow that you can flaunt.

Remember that following a skincare routine takes time and patience. Results do not come overnight. With diligence and consistency, your skin may improve as time passes. More than that, understanding your skin type, using the appropriate products, and enhancing your lifestyle and diet can help you achieve the best results. By taking a holistic approach to skincare, you can always look and feel beautiful.

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