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What Is Niacinamide? Health Benefits, Usage, Supplements, Side Effects, and More



What Is Niacinamide? Health Benefits, Usage, Supplements, Side Effects, and More

It can be difficult to stay on top of the latest key skincare ingredients, but it’s worth taking the time to learn about niacin amide. While this ingredient doesn’t get the same attention as other anti-aging ingredients like retinoids or glycolic acid, you may have seen it scrolling through the Instagram feed or TikTok for You page.

Wondering if this ingredient has a place in your skincare regimen?

What is niacin amide?

When it comes to skin care, niacin amide is a topical version of vitamin B3, says Rachel Nazorean, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with the Schwinger Dermatology Group in New York City. You can also find vitamin B3 (in the form of niacin) in supplement form and in some foods, including meats, legumes, nuts and seeds, according to T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Arrow up

Niacin amide may be one of the active ingredients in some topical anti-aging products, especially serums, adds Lucy Chen, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at River chase Dermatology in Miami. In general, “people can expect smoother, hydrated skin” when they include niacin amide in their skincare routine, says Dr. chin.

Topical niacin amide vs. niacin amide supplements

Topical products containing niacin amide have immediate skin benefits, Chen says. Both he and Dr. Nazarian notes that niacin amide is most effective when applied topically.


However, taking B3 by mouth can be healthy for the skin, adds Nefarian. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that B3 can be found in foods such as chicken and turkey breast, salmon, tuna, brown rice and fortified breakfast cereals.

“Although niacin amide is water-soluble and you could theoretically pass out if you take too much of it, there is still a risk of hepatotoxicity when taken by mouth,” explains Nefarian. If you want to take a niacin amide supplement, don’t take more than one multivitamin unless your doctor tells you to, he says.

Benefits of Niacin amide

One of the benefits of niacin amide is its versatility as a skin care ingredient.

It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, so it’s great for soothing irritated and sensitive skin,” says Nefarian .

In one study, nicotinamide (another name for niacin amide) was found to be a better skin moisturizer than petroleum jelly.


Meanwhile, in a review published in February 2019 in the journal Experimental Dermatology, niacin amide can improve the skin’s protective function (the barrier not only keeps the skin moist, but also keeps out potential irritants), making the ingredient suitable for the treatment of the skin. such as rosacea. or right arrow acne

Plus, niacin amide helps prevent premature signs of skin aging, including increased collagen production, which smoothest wrinkles and reduces discoloration, says Nefarian. Recommend the ingredient to people with dry, sensitive, aging or acne-prone skin.

In addition, a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial suggested that topical 2% niacin amide may be effective in regulating sebum (oil) production in the skin. which nicotinamide was used to treat acne. The researchers found that six of them concluded that the topical preparations were effective in reducing acne, but the authors note that more research is needed to determine the build-up of nicotinamide compared to conventional acne treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoid. arrow up

Niacin amide Dosage

When choosing a niacin amide product, Nefarian and Chen recommend using a product that contains no more than 5% niacin amide to minimize the risk of irritation. For most people, this amount should be bearable; However, some niacin amide serums contain twice as much, so always read the label.

How to decide which niacin amide product to try?

Niacin amide is found in a variety of skin care products, including sunscreen, moisturizer, night cream, and serum. But there’s not enough evidence that short-term skin contact, such as with face washes or cleansers, leads to significant skin differences, so Nefarian recommends sticking to products that stay on the skin (and therefore absorb), like moisturizers. or serum.


Also check what other active ingredients the niacin amide preparation contains. Chen explains that you can often find niacin amide in combination with alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs). “AHAs exfoliate dead skin cells by facilitating effective penetration of niacin amide,” she says.

Nefarian recommends that other excellent compounds for niacin amide include hyaluronic acid (both ingredients relieve dryness) and salicylic acid. Salicylic acid treats acne and keeps pores clean, while niacin amide can regulate the skin’s oil production and reduce inflammation.

Adding niacin amide to your skin care routine?

Niacin amide is a perfect addition to any skin care routine as it offers a wide range of benefits to the skin. Not only does it help increase collagen production, but the mild, anti-inflammatory nature of the ingredient can potentially reduce the risk of irritation from other active ingredients you’re using, including retinols and AHAs like glycolic acid, Nefarian says.

Niacin amide products can be applied in the morning or evening. Nefarian favors repeated use of niacin amide. You can use it, for example, in sunscreens, moisturizers and night creams.

Once you’ve chosen a skin care product that contains niacin amide, it’s a good idea to do a sample test to see if your skin is compatible with this ingredient. Apply a small amount of the product to a small area of ​​the skin and watch for possible side effects. Do this with any new product, especially if you have sensitive skin and are therefore more prone to an allergic reaction, she advises.


Side effects of niacin amide

Taking too much niacin amide orally can lead to gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as reddening of the skin, Nefarian says, according to the NIH. he adds.

Follow the directions on the label of the topical skin care product you are using and stop using if you experience any side effects such as redness or irritation. (Note that reactions are not necessarily caused by niacin amide, but by some other ingredient in the product.)

Niacin amide is versatile and generally works well with most ingredients, which is why you can often find it in combination with several other active ingredients that fight premature skin aging.

Summary of Niacin amide

Niacin amide, a form of vitamin B3, is a well-tolerated ingredient that can be found in many skin care products for moisturizing, brightening, and acne-fighting purposes. If you want to add it to your skin care routine, choose a concentration below 5 percent and look for a product that stays on the skin for maximum absorption (like a moisturizer or serum).

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