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Niacinamide Benefits for Skin

by
author image Jared Paventi
Jared Paventi is the communications director for a disease-related nonprofit in the Northeast. He holds a master's degree from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication and a bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure University. He also writes a food appreciation blog: Al Dente.
Niacinamide Benefits for Skin
Niacinamide is an amino acid used in rosacea treatment. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Overview

When vitamin B3, or niacin, combines with amino acids of another molecule, the chemical reaction produces niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide or nicomide. Most people receive a daily recommended allowance of vitamin B3 through the consumption of nuts, fish, fortified breads and cereals, and multivitamins, but according to the Pharmacy Mix blog, it is most effective in the treatment of skin conditions when used topically.

Reverses Signs of Aging

Millions of dollars are spent each year on cosmetics, medications and procedures to get rid of wrinkles and fine lines on the face, the most evident sign of aging skin. A team of Japanese dermatologists studied niacinamide's effectiveness on 30 women who had wrinkles in the eye area. Subjects received a 4 percent niacinamide cream on one side of their face and a topical with no nutrients on the other. In 64 percent of test participants, wrinkles in the eye area were reduced. The study, published in a 2008 edition of the "Journal of Dermatology," showed that only one person had a problem with the niacinamide cream, reporting "minimal irritation." The study concluded that the niacinamide cream was "well tolerated and may be an optional preparation" for wrinkle treatment.

Rosacea Relief

Rosacea is a chronic, cyclical skin condition with no cure, according to the Mayo Clinic. The main symptom of rosacea is red skin tone and the cyclical flareups bring red bumps and pustules to the surface. Niacinamide has been cited in two different studies as a well-tolerated treatment. Wake Forest University scientists tested 50 subjects with rosacea. Their study, which was published in the August 2005 issue of "Cutis," found that applying a niacinamide-based moisturizer to the face and forearm twice daily for four weeks alleviated symptoms of the condition. The University of Pittsburgh's Nicomide Improvement in Clinical Outcomes Study, or NICOS, showed similar results. Most study participants reported improved halfway through the eight-week study--79 percent reported their appearance to be either moderately or much better, while 55 percent showed a moderate to substantial reduction in rosacea lesions.

Acne Treatment

Strengthening the outer layer of skin is a major property of niacinamide. Vitamin B3 provides a fuel which strengthens cellular bonds and tightens skin. As a result of this tightening, acne has a tougher time taking root. A 2004 study in the "Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology" confirms this statement. The German researchers found the stabilization of the skin's outer layer has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can prevent acne breakouts. The aforementioned NICOS report takes this a step further, as acne patients realized similar benefits as those with rosacea.

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