Ingredient: Vitamin B3

INCI: Niacinamide

Sources: Proteins, Grains, Vegetables and Legumes

Our rating: GOOD

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide belongs to the vitamin B family and is also known as vitamin B3. It was initially used to prevent pellegra, an infectious disease with severe cutaneous lesions and was originally named vitamin PP for pellegra-preventive. During the 1970s, various clinical trials highlighted the good skin penetration of niacinamide.

Benefits of Niacinamide:

NADH and NADPH are important enzymes that promote the production of cellular energy and lipids needed for skin regeneration. They also enhance the effectiveness of the skin’s natural barrier against external factors that affect the aging process. NADH and NADPH levels decline as we age and studies show that vitamin B3 helps to reduce their rate of decline.

Skin hydration is essential to maintain the epidermis’ functions as a shield against environment stresses and preserver of skin youth and plumpness. The strength of the barrier function is assessed by measuring the transepidermal water loss (TEWL). A 2000 study showed that just 2% of niacinamide reduced the TEWL by 24% in 4 weeks as well as increased the natural moisturizing factors such as fatty acids and ceramides by 67% and 34% respectively.

The aging process causes the skin to lose its structural integrity and elasticity, and the appearance of wrinkles. The decline of collagen and elastin is due to the low synthesis in fibroblasts. Studies with human fibroblasts showed that niacinamide stimulates new fibroblasts by 20% and collagen secretion by 54%. This helps to maintain high levels of elastin and collagen and preserve the skin’s firmness and elasticity.

Prolonged exposure to the sun causes hyperpigmentation. Melanocytes in the epidermis layers produce melanin to protect the skin against UV damage. The pigmented keratinocytes move upwards to the upper epidermis and tan the skin. Niacinamide does not inhibit the production of melanin but inhibits the transfer of the melanosomes to the surrounding keratinocytes by up to 68%. This was demonstrated in a clinical study where participants had to use a cream with 5% niacinamide for 8 weeks. They reported skin lightening activity and reduced age spots around the eyes and cheeks.

Side Effects & Toxicity:

An extremely safe ingredient, niacinamide has no known toxicity in general use and is shown to be non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.

Editor’s Note:

There is a misconception that niacinamide should not be used together with vitamin C, either in a single formulation or separate applications. Research shows that the two can work together simultaneously to fight against the aging process.