A Prescription Guide to Niacinamide
Niacinamide is a medication available in topical forms: serums, gels, or creams and tablets consumed orally. It is also referred to as nicotinic acid amide or nicotinamide. Niacinamide has an excellent reputation in the world of skincare. Its effects include increasing skin elasticity and brightness, combating the signs of aging and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps fight skin conditions such as eczema and acne, and studies suggest that it might prevent some skin cancers.
How does it work?
Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how niacinamide works. However, one of the major theories is that it can stop and repair damage to the skin caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules or atoms that have an uneven number of electrons. Electrons usually occur in pairs. Therefore, when a free radical emerges, it will steal an electron from another molecule or atom to even itself up.
The occurrence of excessive free radicals on the skin can lead to oxidative stress. This occurs when the free radicals start taking electrons from healthy skin cells to restore their balance. The result is damaged cells, which speed up the aging process significantly. Scientists suggest that one of the reasons why niacinamide is such an effective anti-aging component is because it is an anti-oxidant. It can donate an extra electron to free radicals without becoming one itself.
Additionally, niacinamide can boost collagen production, which helps to reduce wrinkles and fine lines and improve skin elasticity. It also increases the production of lipids and ceramides in the outermost protective layer of the skin. Niacinamide also helps to reduce hyperpigmentation, decrease sallowness of the skin and blotchiness, and reduce redness. It can also combat acne directly by helping to retain skin moisture and reduce sebum production and oiliness.
Who is niacinamide right for?
Niacinamide can be utilized by anyone with dull skin, acne, dry skin, aging skin, or oily skin. It has very few side effects in topical form and is an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin since irritation after use is rare. Another significant advantage of niacinamide is that it is highly compatible with various other skincare products, ingredients, and medications.
How is it used?
Apply topical niacinamide to the face in the same way you would any other lotion. Despite its numerous benefits, it is advisable to include niacinamide into your regular skincare routine rather than using it as the only step.
Start by washing your hands and then cleanse and tone your face. To reduce the chances of a negative reaction on your face, use oil-free and non-comedogenic products. After this, apply the right amount of niacinamide to your face as directed by your doctor or dermatologist. Lastly, apply your moisturizer and sunscreen with at least SPF30+ to your face.
What can I expect?
It takes about eight to twelve weeks to notice the full effect of niacinamide on your face, but you might start to see significant changes after the first or second week of treatment. Over time, you will notice a decrease in wrinkles and fine lines, pore shrinkage, decreased sebum or oil production, increased skin brightness, and reduced skin sallowness and redness.
If you want to achieve and maintain your skin goals, ensure that you use niacinamide regularly and watch your skin shine!
- DermNet NZ, Nicotinamide, <https://dermnetnz.org/topics/nicotinamide/>, accessed 14th June 2020.
- WebMD, Niacin and niacinamide (vitamin B3), <https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-924/niacin-and-niacinamide-vitamin-b3>, accessed 14th June 2020.
- Healthline, Niacinamide: benefits, uses, side effects, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/niacinamide>, accessed 14th June 2020.