How the skincare ingredient niacinamide can help improve acne

How the skincare ingredient niacinamide can help improve acne

In recent years, the water-soluble B vitamin known as niacinamide has been increasingly used in skincare products for people with dry skin, a tendency to develop spots, and to minimise the signs of aging[1]. However, can one ingredient really possess such a wealth of effective properties?

Where can I find niacinamide?

Naturally occurring in foods such as green vegetables, beans, whole wheat, barley, fish, eggs, and meat, this nutrient is a form of the B vitamin niacin, yet it is believed to have fewer side effects when present in significant amounts.

Niacinamide and acne-prone skin

A study by Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr Draelos in 2006[2] found that niacinamide actively reduced sebum production, so that the skin became less oily and therefore less likely to suffer impurities caused by clogged pores.

At 2015's conference of the American Association of Dermatologists, renowned skin specialist Dr Sarah Kasprowicz[3] discussed the effectiveness of niacinamide in treating spot-prone skins and concluded that certain alternative treatment ingredients “have been shown to have a positive effect.” This has been further shown by a clinical trial carried out in 2013[4] comparing a gel product containing 5% niacinamide favourably with standard medicinal creams.

Dr Kasprowicz singled out niacinamide for use both in oral medication form and when included in specialist care products for problem skins, stating that studies have found it as effective for this purpose as certain clinically prescribed medications, as “it has been shown to be anti-inflammatory.”

Since the inflammation that often happens with the formation of pimples makes the blemish far more noticeable, it is no surprise that many users of creams containing niacinamide report that their skins were effectively clearer as a result – but without dehydrating effects.

However, although many researchers[5] have found it to be safer than other ingredients, be sure to select a niacinamide cream that has been developed in consultation with dermatologists and on initial application, keep an eye out for adverse reactions. Pregnant women should consult their doctor before considering the use of any product containing niacinamide.