Why Niacinamide is good for skin?
Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as Vitamin B3 (niacin) which is an essential nutrient that is required for proper functioning of the body and skin. Did you know that Niacin was discovered as early as in 1937 by an American biochemist and it was used to treat dermatitis, amongst other deficiency diseases!
Have you been wondering if you have been using the right skincare, and why have you been seeing differences in your skin as you age and the big question mark, what can you do to further rescue your skin? In recent years, Niacinamide has taken the skincare industry by storm as the usage of the ingredient has skin brightening effects where it helps to reduce the appearance of hyper pigmentation and dark spot which can result in a brighter and more even complexion. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to calm redness and skin irritation which makes it a suitable choice for those with sensitive and acne-prone skin. The best part, Niacinamide is suitable for most skin types and can be incorporated in daily skincare routine. Niacinamide has become a staple for K-Beauty and Japanese skincare companies who focuses on consistency and achieving results over time, rather than dramatically and instantly, which has long-term adverse reaction to the skin.
As Asians, we live in a high humidity condition and Asian typically has thicker and more compact skin than Caucasians. The skin tends to present post inflammatory hyper pigmentation, lentigines (small pigmented spot on the skin with defined edges) and freckles, and melasma (tan or dark skin colouration mainly caused by sun exposure, excessive dry skin, hormonal changes, pregnant mummies and often people who are on hormone replacement therapy). Skin changes at different age group, some young people develop teenage acne and some develop adult acne. When I was a teenager and most of my adulthood till mid 30’s I had almost flawless skin. My skin took a turn when I reached my late 30’s, I started having adult acne and hormonal changes which contributed to uneven skin tone and bumpy skin, it was devastating. Despite being a religious user of sunscreen, which did help to keep my freckles away, it wasn’t good enough to tackle my other skin issues. I call Niacinamide, a Holy grail for problematic skin as i started introducing low concentration of Niacinamide in my skincare routine, and within as little as five weeks, I started seeing changes to my skin. Pigmentation around my cheeks started reducing and there were no new acne. It took a few months to see a complete skin transformation and of course this was coupled with healthy food intake, plenty of water consumption and exercise to accelerate the skin recovery.
Are Niacinamide and nicotinamide the same?
We keep hearing ingredients such as niacinamide and nicotinamide. Did you know that niacinamide is the supplement name and nicotinamide is the scientific name, so essentially both are similarly effective as a vitamin because they can be converted into each other within the organism. Niacinamide is a great option to reduce hyper pigmentation or improve the appearance of fine line and wrinkles. It is also a safe active-ingredient, where it ticks all boxes, yes you heard that right; to be pregnancy safe, antioxidants, addresses hyper pigmentation and premature ageing, targets acne unlike retinol, vitamin C, salicylic acid, or hyaluronic acid which gives only a few of these benefits.
Why Niacinamide is used?
We will narrow down the usage of Niacinamide in skincare only for this topic. Niacinamide is predominantly used to prevent Vitamin B3 deficiencies, and in the case of skin management, it is used to treat acne, blemishes, skin discolouration, dermatitis, and skin aging. But remember, don’t leave your house without applying sunscreen after using Niacinamide product on the skin. Having Niacinamide under sunscreen helps to build a healthy layer of skin barrier! Another skincare hack. If you are a fan of Vitamin C serum/ cream, you should not combine both, or use one right after the other. Their potency is significantly diminished if used together. You may space out the usage, at least ten minutes in between each serum/ cream so you can enjoy the full benefit.
Why Niacinamide stings?
If you have been using Niacinamide based skincare and its stings and cause irritation, this reaction is likely due to another ingredient in the product or a high concentration of Niacinamide. Bear in mind, in skincare, a higher percentage does not increase the effectiveness of the product on your skin. There is no reliable evidence which shows that higher percentage will work better for your skin. A lower concentration of 2%-5% Niacinamide can do major changes to your skin. For instance, a concentration of 2% Niacinamide can actually reduce sebum production! Isn’t this remarkable?? With the principle of less Niacinamide can be more, we released our Brightening Serum in October 2023 and it has become one of our best seller so far and the product contains less than 5% concentration, where efficacy is the priority. We have collated positive feedback from users of different age group, skin tones and skin problems and the glaring comments are the reduction in acne, pigmentation and addressing uneven skin tone.
Why Niacinamide cause breakouts?
Have you tried using Niacinamide and you quickly tossed the serum/ cream away because it started to cause sudden breakouts? You are not alone in this! As we discussed before, more is not always good. High concentration of nicotine acid causes sudden acne and breakouts. If your product has combination of synthetic or natural derivatives such AHAs, BHAs, and Retinol, these ingredient can cause irritation too. Always remember that Niacinamide doesn’t cause purging hence it must be something else in your skincare that triggers these breakouts, so watch out your skincare ingredient list. Check for the comedogenicity of your skin care products. Comedogenic substances such as oleic acid and butyl stearate can trigger oil production and cause severe acne breakouts. Luckily, all our skincare range is non-comedogenic so if you are looking for a product with efficacy in mind, you may give our Brightening Serum a go!
If you came across some serums which are sold at higher price and some sold at very low price? This may confuse consumers to pick the right product as the market is flooded with many options. Always remember to do your homework, you should opt for high purity grade Niacinamide-based products. The correct formulated and tested Niacin-based products will provide excellent results. The results may take a few weeks to appear, hence always be consistent with your routine and be patient and your wait will be worth-it.
Why Niacinamide causes purging?
Niacinamide does not cause purging. Purging usually happens when Niacin is paired with other active ingredients. So the simple answer is no. Do check your skincare product ingredients to ensure your Niacinamide product is free from other triggering ingredients.
Below are some of the studies done on Niacinamide on actual people;
1) A double-blind, left-right randomized clinical trial was done by Navarrete-Solís, Josefina et al. “A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Niacinamide 4% versus Hydroquinone 4% in the Treatment of Melasma.” Dermatology research and practice vol. 2011 (2011): 379173. doi:10.1155/2011/379173 on 27 women who were at least 18 years old without any topical, systemic, laser, and surgical treatment on face during the previous year. The study found that upon using Niacinamide for as minimum of eight weeks, it showed an excellent decrease in pigmentation.
2) Hakozaki et al. (2014) performed two studies demonstrating the effect of niacinamide on skin hyperpigmentation. 120 female Japanese subjects with facial tanning were assigned to 2 of 3 treatments (SPF sunscreen moisturizer, niacinamide in SPF 15 sunscreen moisturizer). Results of image analysis showed a significant increase in skin lightness vs. the sunscreen moisturizer at the 4 and 6 week time points, accompanied by a significant increase in graded visible skin lightness at 4 weeks. These data appear to confirm, therefore, that the inhibitory role of niacinamide in melanosome does indeed translate to a significant effect on hyperpigmentation. Another study of 18 female Japanese subjects with hyperpigmented facial spots were treated for weeks with niacinamide. Pigmented spots were qualified and quantified via algorithmic analysis of high resolution digital images and subjective grading of images. Results of image analysis showed that niacinamide had induced a significant (reduction in spot area at the 4 and 8 week time-points , accompanied by a significant reduction in graded visible spot pigmentation at 8 weeks)
3) A clinical study in double-blind, placebo-controlled, Bissett et al. assessed the effect of nicotinamide on the appearance of aging facial skin. Moisturizer product with or without containing any nicotinamide was applied on the facial skin for 12 weeks. Nicotinamide was evaluated to be well tolerated by the skin and to improve a broad array of skin appearance (fine lines/wrinkles, texture, hyperpigmentation spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness), and elasticity.
4) In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face comparative study by Chiu et al. nicotinamide alone reduced pores and skin unevenness after 8 weeks and improved wrinkles after 12 weeks.
If you have been trying to find the right solution for your problematic skin; skin discolouration, hyper pigmentation, acne and blemishes, do try out products with Niacinamide to help regain your skin health. Good luck 🙂