In many cases of stubborn acne, you need antibiotics to treat the infection underlying your skin condition. However, overuse of antibiotics is causing a growing rate of antibiotic resistance, in which the antibiotic medication loses effectiveness against the bacterial infection. For acne sufferers seeking an alternative, natural antibiotic, the supplement niacinamide might help.
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Acne, a normal skin condition in teens, results when too much skin oil clogs your pores, according to the website MayoClinic.com. But bacteria can turn a minor case of blackheads and whiteheads into a raging, inflamed pimple problem. Antibiotics fight bacterial infection in acne. They don't always resolve the skin condition entirely, but they can help to knock down the infection and reduce the risk of scarring.
Niacinamide, which sells in the United States as Nicomide-T, actually is niacin, or vitamin B-3, in gel form, according to the website Drugs.com. It's also known as nicotinamide. Preparations containing 4 percent niacinamide seem to work most effectively against acne. Potential side effects include skin irritation and dryness, and seem to be minor in most cases, although it's possible to have a rare allergic reaction to the medication.
As a natural antibiotic used against acne, niacinamide appears as effective as a commonly used topical antibiotic, clindamycin. In a study published in 1995 in the International Journal of Dermatology, researcher Dr. A.R. Shalita and colleagues compared treatment with niacinamide with clindamycin in a double-blind investigation. They found that both treatments produced similar improvements in the number of acne lesions and acne severity.
Reviewers on the website Acne.org reported good results with niacinamide for their acne. Although it may be possible for acne sufferers to create their own gel using ground niacin tablets, it would be difficult to get the percentage of active ingredient correct. Those who reported using niacinamide on Acne.org said they use a pre-prepared version of the gel, such as Nicomide-T.
Although niacinamide may work as well against the bacterial infection in acne as topical antibiotics, acne sufferers usually need to address other acne causes, including pores clogged from excess oil, in order to completely clear their skin, according to the website MayoClinic.com. If you use niacinamide, you may find you need a cleansing regimen that reduces oily skin, or perhaps a prescription for a retinoid topical medication, which can help clear out your pores.