April 8, 2011

Ingredient Update: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

Latest Ingredient: Niacinamide Vitamin B3

You may have heard it referred to as Vitamin B3, Niacin or Nicotinic Acid.  Niacinamide is one of the newest antioxidants gaining popularity today.  We are seeing it more in popular skin and beauty magazines as well as the latest skin treatments.

How does it work Anti-Aging?

The application of topical Niacinamide has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels, prevent skin from losing water content and stimulate microcirculation in the skin. This helps strengthen the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin). Niacinamide is an active form of Vitamin B3 that increases the rate of skin exfoliation and moisture barrier repair. Studies show Niacinamide stimulates collagen synthesis and helps to improve hyperpigmentation also. Niacinamide inhibits the melanosome transfer in the skin which interrupts the hyperpigmentation process. This will help to even out the skin tone and minimize dark spots on the skin.

A small study shows that 2% Niacinamide works at increasing hydration levels and keeping moisture locked in better than petrolatum (Vaseline). It is an ingredient that does not irritate the skin very easy is great for reducing inflammation.

Proctor and Gamble published a double blind study on 50 women using Niacinamide at a 5% concentration for 12 weeks. These women had an improvement in the appearance of wrinkles, decreased skin discoloration, less redness, reduction in sallowness and improved elasticity.

How does it work on acne prone skin?

Niacinamide provides a anti-inflammatory action which reduces the redness, dryness and irritation caused by the bacteria in the clogged pores.  There is a study that shows Niacinamide reduces the sebum excretion rate to reduce the formation of clogged pores.  Keeping the skin hydrasted is also important by acting as a light moisturizer.  Increasing cell turnover also helps prevent pore blockage. 4% Niacinamide has been shown to improve popular and pustular acne in the gel form.  It has also been shown to improve the appearance of pores.

Using a good product that has Niacinamide can help your skin become more even in tone, increase hydration and minimize mild acne breakouts.  This ingredient is gentle enough and does not irritate the skin.

Products that contain Niacinamide:


  • British Journal of Dermatology, September 2000
  • Hakozaki T, Minwalla L, Zhuang J, et al. (July 2002). “The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer”. Br. J. Dermatol.
  • American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. Draelos
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2004, page 88
  • International Journal of Dermatology, March 2005
  • Dermatologic Surgery, July 2005, pages 860–865

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