Every few years, and occasionally what seems like several times in a single year, a new “must have” skin care ingredient makes its way to the top. In no time at all, nearly every leading brand in the industry is laying claim to its virtues. No judgment. That’s just the way it is.
But knowing that today’s newest trend could easily be tomorrow’s distant memory does little to deter consumer interest in new skincare products made with compelling ingredients. If you’ve been browsing your options, you’ve likely seen a lot of serums, creams, and lotions made with niacinamide. Could niacinamide be the solution to your skin concerns?
It might. Knowing the possible benefits and potential downfalls could help you decide if you’re ready to add niacinamide to your skincare routine.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B-3. Like other B vitamins, your body does not make this essential nutrient on its own. Your entire system is dependent on the B vitamins obtained through your diet. This particular B vitamin is so essential to your overall health and wellbeing that B-3 deficiencies can cause a considerable number of troubling disorders affecting your kidneys, your brain, and your skin. But as crucial as the nutrient is, niacinamide supplements should only be taken under the direct supervision of the physician prescribing them.1
But niacinamide-infused skincare products are an entirely different matter. When applied topically, niacinamide is generally considered safe for most people. While topical niacinamide is unlikely to provide significant benefit for anyone clinically deficient, vitamin B-3 shows considerable skin-rejuvenating potential.2
How Might Niacinamide Benefit My Skin?
Niacinamide appears to have considerable anti-inflammatory potential. According to some companies that make niacinamide-infused skincare products, the vitamin also delivers a wide range of skin benefits. While the scope of the research is limited, some of the preliminary reports (dating as far back as 2004) are pretty impressive.2 If you’ve been wondering if you should add niacinamide to your skincare routine, you might find it helpful to consider some of the many reasons others are using some of the industry’s latest niacinamide-infused products.
Reducing the Visible Signs of Skin Aging
In several small-scale studies, niacinamide shows considerable promise for improving the signs of skin aging. According to a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, participants in a 12-week half-face study did show improvement in hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and fine lines compared to the control side. Similar studies also show improvement in skin texture and an increase in collagen production.3
Helps Boost Ceramide Production
Ceramides are one of the three main components in your skin’s lipid barrier, the protective coating easily disrupted by environmental contaminants, cleansers, and cosmetics. Without that lipid barrier, the moisture in your body would simply evaporate. Current investigations suggest that niacinamide is important to the production of ceramide. That means niacinamide could (indirectly) help skin retain essential moisture.4
Fighting Free Radical Damage
Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that have either gained or lost a crucial electron. To compensate, they steal electrons from otherwise healthy cells. The cellular damage they create contributes to numerous health concerns and visible skin aging. Research shows that niacinamide (and niacin) contribute an electron to unpaired free radicals. Scientists also suspect niacinamide is involved in skin function, skin cell formation, and repair processes.5
Controlling Bumps and Blemishes
A 2017 Scientific review shows that niacinamide could be particularly beneficial for skin conditions characterized or marked by inflammations, including acne. Similarly, an article published in the International Journal of Dermatology reports that a 4% niacinamide solution applied topically two times daily for eight weeks was just as effective as antibiotic (clindamycin) treatments for acne. Other reports suggest that applying a 2% niacinamide solution topically inhibits oil production.2
Niacinamide May Not Be Right for Everyone — Points to Consider
Of all the niacinamide products available, serums are one of the most popular. That’s no surprise. Serums are much thinner and lighter than creams and lotions. They’re also much easier for skin to absorb.6 But using a niacinamide serum may not be right for everyone. Before purchasing anything made with niacinamide, consider your skin type and the products currently in your skincare routine. The following observations are among the most noteworthy.
Niacinamide Can Dry Your Skin
Many people start using niacinamide products because of their potential benefits for barrier function. But while trying to correct one cause of dryness, niacinamide can also contribute to another. One of the benefits of niacinamide for blemish-prone skin is its reported ability to decrease oil production. If you have moderate to severely dry skin, that effect may not be well-tolerated.
Vitamin B-3 Can Interact with Vitamin C
If you are currently using serums or moisturizers featuring high concentrations of vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid), it’s important to know that the vitamins are more competitive than cooperative. Mixing niacinamide with vitamin C turns it into niacin, a B vitamin that causes irritation and redness (flushing). If you have an inflammatory skin condition, like acne, the combination could also cause tingling.7
Niacin Can Interact with Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) help loosen the bonds holding old skin cells in place. While effectively boosting skin cell turnover, AHAs can also cause dryness, flaking, and sun sensitivity. Combining AHAs with niacinamide raises the pH of the acid. The higher the pH, the less absorbent your skin. Like the interaction with vitamin C, there’s also an increased risk of redness and flushing.
Niacinamide Can Irritate Sensitive Skin
While some manufacturers consider niacinamide the “gold standard” skin soother, not everyone agrees. While browsing reviews and testimonials, you’ll find countless stories from niacinamide users complaining of redness, irritation, uncomfortable tingling, and clusters of painful blemishes. If you’re interested in vitamin B-3 but have reactive skin, test a small amount of niacinamide over several days before applying the product to a large area.8,9
The Natural Appeal of Skin-Friendly Vitamins
Using vitamins to help maintain skin health and appearance is nothing new. For decades, we’ve been soothing dry skin with vitamin E, fighting sun damage and uneven pigmentation with vitamin C, and improving skin tone and texture with vitamin A (retinol). Now, it’s clear that vitamin B-3 also has a loyal following.
If you’re intrigued by the possibility of caring for your skin with essential nutrients but concerned about how your skin might react to niacinamide, consider investigating the many potential benefits of skincare products infused with full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD oil.
What Could CBD Do for My Skin?
Full-spectrum CBD gives you all the cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, and minerals in the same ratios as the original plant source. That list of skin-friendly nutrients includes essential fats and proteins, all 20 amino acids, zinc, plus healthy vitamins like A, C, E, and the B-complex vitamins. Could plant-powered CBD skincare products address the same skin issues as topical niacinamide? Maybe.
Plant-powered skin care products with B vitamins can be just as effective (if not more effective) as cosmeceuticals produced in a lab. In BOTA™ plant-powered CBD skincare products, you’ll also find plant oils, extracts, and other wholesome ingredients that are kind to your skin. To learn more about the many potential benefits of CBD and plant-powered skincare, visit BOTA™ Hemp to read The Complete Guide to Natural Skincare or browse our BOTA™ Blog. Then, check out our products. All BOTA™ CBD skincare products are third-party tested, cruelty-free, and made with botanicals selected for specific skin concerns.
- Medical News Today. Z Cochrane. (2019 February 21) Why Do We Need Vitamin B-3 or Niacin?
- Self. A Newton. (2019 May 08) Here’s What Niacinamide Can-and Can’t Do for Your Skin.
- The Derm Review. (2021 August 03) Niacinamide: Six Reasons You Should Bring Niacinamide into Your Skincare Routine.
- Healthline. K Cherney. (2018 August 29) Everything You Should Know About Niacinamide.
- Westlake Dermatology. K Reed. (2021 May 10) Skin Care Ingredient Focus: Niacinamide.
- Radiance. S Levitt. (2012 October 12) The Truth About Facial Serums.
- Honesty. C Woodman. (2021) Skincare Ingredients You Should Never Mix
- Be. E Ang. (2018 July 26) Um, Can Niacinamide Actually Irritate Your Skin?
- Allure. M MacKenzie. (2018 July 22) Can Using Niacinamide In Your Skin Care Routine Cause Redness?
- Molecules. (2019 March) Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the “C(ut)annabinoid” System.