I remember my grandmother, who lived in New York City and didn’t see me frequently, commenting on my “pretty pink cheeks” when I was a teenager. Neither she nor I realized they were a precursor to rosacea! I did not even know what rosacea was until my...
Crazy sounding ingredients… why are they in my lotion-potions?
My aesthetician told me about a product that would be beneficial for hyperpigmentation, a product with a certain ingredient called Niacinamide…NIACINA…WHAT?? Does it have cinnamon?
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a derivative of niacin, also known as Vitamin B3. Niacinamide is the active form of Vitamin B3. Niacin is found in all cells of the skin where it aids in cellular energy production.
Niacinamide is a powerhouse ingredient. It helps firm and reduce signs of aging, reduces hyperpigmentation for a more even complexion, prevents moisture loss and makes the skin become more resistant to external irritants.
Basically Niacinamide interferes with the transfer of melanin (yes, the dark brown stuff) into the keratinocyte (skin cell) resulting in decreased pigmentation. Often Niacinamide is combined with another ingredient called Arbutin which is a Hydroquinone derivative (another ingredient that inhibits melanin production) isolated from the leaves of the bearberry shrub, cranberry, blueberry, some mushrooms, and most types of pears. The combination of these two ingredients increases effectiveness treating hyperpigmentation.
For hydration, aging and redness:
Niacinamide 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. It is an occlusive ingredient meaning it holds on to water in the skin, preventing moisture loss. Niacinamide helps stimulate cell metabolism and secretion of collagen, a protein that supports skin and gives it its youthful firmness, improving aging skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and skin sensitivity.
Dr. Forney weighs in on Niacinamide:
Niacinamide as chemoprevention from skin cancer: blog addendum The Spring 2016 edition of The Melanoma Letter, published by the Skin Cancer Foundation, was entirely focused on the role of niacinamide (B3) in preventing skin cancer. They looked at both oral and topical niacinamide. Since this blog is related to topical niacinamide, you may be interested in what they reported. Your skin has an elaborate immune system designed to catch and suppress outside agents that can cause infection and cancer. These agents can include free radicals from UV radiation, bacteria, yeast, fungus and viruses. Sun is a known immune system suppresser in the skin. That is why it can help conditions related to an overactive immune system such as psoriasis or eczema. According to The Melanoma Letter, topical niacinamide reduces the sun’s ability to suppress the immune system. Whether it is applied before or after UV exposure, niacinamide is immune protective in the skin. The study was done on volunteers who got mild sun exposure, NOT SUNBURNS. This study did not look at its effect in sunburned skin. Note – niacinamide does not act like a sunscreen. It will not enable you to get more sun without getting tanned or burned. What it will do is enhance your skin’s immune system to fight DNA changes from sun exposure that lead to skin cancer.
Products at Dermatology Affiliates with Niacinamide: PCA Pigment Bar, Lytera, Total Defense + Repair SPF 50, SkinMedica Retinol Complex, Elta Clear SPF 46, Smart Moisturiche Cream
Written by Claire Bourgeois, Licensed Aesthetician Addendum by Rutledge Forney, MD