Niacin is sometimes prescribed as a supplement as a treatment for elevated cholesterol and to reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s as effective as some anti-cholesterol medications, although at doses high enough to lower cholesterol it can cause side effects such as itching.
What It Treats:
Niacinamide has the ability to treat some skin conditions including aging skin, acne, psoriasis and rosacea. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it effective for treating acne, psoriasis and rosacea especially, due to it reducing the clogging of dead skin cells with sebum. Studies show that 4% niacinamide gel can dramatically improve the symptoms of acne, but lower percents are advised if you are unsure of your skins tolerance, or it’s more the occasional breakout.
Niacinamide isn’t just beneficial for younger skin burdened by acne, it also has benefits for more mature skin. There’s some evidence that it stimulates cells in the dermis to produce more collagen, a protein that supports skin and gives it its youthful firmness. It’s also helpful for treating another problem that’s common with mature skin – excessive dryness. According to one study, niacinamide was more effective for preventing moisture loss and dryness than petrolatum, a moisturizing ingredient that creates a tight, occlusive barrier against loss of water. Although effective, petrolatum is a by-product of petroleum, and many people want to avoid petroleum products.
Niacinamide isn’t just beneficial for younger skin burdened by acne, it also has benefits for more mature skin.
There’s another way niacinamide improves dry skin. It increases the production of ceramides, lipids in the outer layer of the epidermis that shield skin against moisture loss and protect it from bacteria and the environment. Ceramides, along with other lipids like cholesterol and fatty acids, form a protective barrier against water loss, so replacing ceramides lost through aging and the use of harsh cleansing products helps to keep skin moist and supple.
First Aid Beauty are a brand who pack their hydrating products with this ingredient, like the two below to increase moisture and firmness.