Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science) on 27th Jan 2021
Worried about acne marks and blemishes? Here's how Niacinamide can help you!
Acne marks and blemishes have been tormenting many teens and tweens since time immemorial. Our mothers and grandmothers have advised hundreds of home remedies that have been effective in treating acne marks, spots, and blemishes to some extent.
However, the skincare industry has come up with multiple active ingredients that have been very beneficial for treating acne marks and blemishes. One of the most popular among such active ingredients is Niacinamide! Please keep reading to find more about the ingredient and how it can reduce acne marks and blemishes.
Niacinamide: What is it?
Niacinamide is an active form of vitamin B-3 or Niacin. It is often marketed as Nicotinamide. However, Niacinamide and Nicotinamide are not the same. They are both different active forms of Niacinamide but with different functionality. Though an essential nutrient required by the body for its proper functioning, Niacinamide is not naturally produced in the body. It has been consumed externally through our diet.
Foods such as milk, fish, and green vegetables are rich sources of Vitamin B-3 and can provide the needed levels of niacinamide to our body. Lack of Vitamin B3 can cause skin disorders, kidney impairment, and even brain disorders. This happens when we grow older, mostly in our late twenties or early thirties.
With advancing age, our body fails to take up the required amount of niacin. This is where niacinamide supplements can help. They compensate for the Vitamin B3 deficiency in our body and bring with them a bunch of other benefits. Whether you are looking for an ingredient for reducing the spots on your skin or something which can give you glowing, radiant skin, niacinamide can be your go-to solution for everything.
Please keep reading to unravel the incredible benefits of niacinamide on the acne marks and blemishes on your skin and learn what research has to say about it.
How can Niacinamide help reduce acne marks and blemishes?
Niacinamide is an incredible organic ingredient with a small molecular size that can easily penetrate the skin's superficial epidermal layer and show its effect on the deeper skin cells. It is mild on the skin yet can shows surprising results.
Niacinamide has been seen to promote the generation of lipid barrier or the ceramide layer on the skin. This layer acts as a natural shield that helps in retaining the moisture in the skin. This keeps the skin well-hydrated and makes it soft and supple, eventually evoking blemishes on the skin.
A well-hydrated skin means it is healthier and has a strong immunity. It prevents foreign bacteria and other harmful microbes to attack the skin. This, in turn, prevents formation and acne and stops acne marks from appearing in the first place.
Niacinamide also helps in the synthesis of skin proteins such as keratin and collagen. Topical application of niacinamide serum increases keratin production in the skin, which helps the skin stay healthy, firm, and resilient. Regular use of Niacinamide can also improve cell turnover. As the older, dull cells shed, newer cells are revealed beneath them. This process gradually erases the spots, marks, and blemishes on the skin.
Niacinamide has also been proven as an effective anti-pigmenting agent. 5% pure niacinamide, when administered topically, has been clinically tested to treat hyperpigmentation. Regular use of the serum can dramatically reduce and lighten dark spots and blemishes on the skin and give you flawless, radiant skin.
Niacinamide also has a mild antimicrobial property that helps in keeping the acne-causing bacteria at bay. It even has anti-inflammatory properties, which help in soothing inflammations and reduces severe acne-like Acne Vulgaris. These properties of niacinamide prevent acne and also keep the acne marks in check.
Niacinamide can also regulate the sebaceous glands of the skin. It can dial down excessive sebum production in the skin and gives the skin a smooth, matte appearance. It also helps to minimize the opened, enlarged pores on the skin and prevents clogging of pores
Niacinamide as an Anti-pigmentation Agent: Niacinamide is often recommended by skin experts as a safer alternative to skin bleaching. It has a milder action on the skin and has no adverse effects. By decreasing melanin production and increasing collagen synthesis, Niacinamide can lighten the skin complexion and even out the skin tone. This causes acne marks and spots to disappear slowly from the skin layer.
What does science have to say about it?
Niacinamide is a relatively new member of the skincare industry that has recently come under the spotlight due to its incredible benefits. Scientists have been studying its benefits and have found good results. Let us take a good look at what science says about niacinamide and its effects in treating acne marks and blemishes.
A double-blinded, randomized clinical study was done in 2011, where 27 patients with melasma were randomly divided into two groups. Simultaneously, one group of patients was administered with 4% Hydroquinone (a popular skin bleaching agent), while the other group was treated with 4% Niacinamide. The study concluded that 4% Niacinamide could work at par with 4% Hydroquinone.
The patients were kept under keen observation for eight weeks while Hydroquinone and Niacinamide administration was continued. It was found that about 44% of patients, who were administered Niacinamide, showed good to moderate results compared to the 55% of patients who had been using Hydroquinone.
Niacinamide has many other benefits on the skin:
Niacinamide can strengthen the natural immunity of the skin. It has been seen to protect the acid mantle's integrity (the protective layer formed on the skin when sebum intermingles with sweat). It has a pH similar to the skin's pH, which allows it to blend smoothly with its barrier layer.
The increase in collagen synthesis due to topical application of Niacinamide also makes it a potent anti-aging ingredient. It also hydrates the skin to make it plumper and resilient. All of these properties together help in reducing the fine lines and wrinkles and give you youthful-looking skin.
Niacinamide is also effective in reducing the effects of sun damage. It also has antioxidant properties, which help in neutralizing oxidative stresses on the skin. On regular use, it can visibly reduce breakouts on the skin.
Using Niacinamide serum in your skincare regime: how should you do it?
Niacinamide is beneficial for all skin types at different concentrations and can be used in your daily skincare regime without the risk of any adverse reaction. In case you have oily skin, it is suggested to use at least 10% concentration of niacinamide serum to get flawless, radiant skin with a smooth, matte look. However, it has been found in a study that even a 2% concentration of Niacinamide can help in lowering the sebum production in the skin cells in only four weeks.
A 5% concentration of niacinamide is recommended to people searching for a remedy to treat hyperpigmentation. It penetrates deeper layers of the skin cells and reduces melanin production. 5% Concentrated niacinamide also helps hydrate the skin and retain moisture, which is very beneficial for people with dry skin.
You can use niacinamide in both morning and night skincare routine. Hydration is a must before applying niacinamide. Thus, it is recommended to cleanse and hydrate the skin, preferably with Hyaluronic acid. Niacinamide serums are also available with hyaluronic acid as a booster agent, helping moisturize the skin better.
Apply a few drops of niacinamide serum on the skin with a dropper and gently rub it to spread the serum all over the skin. Please wait for a few minutes to enable the serum to get absorbed into the skin; its goodness should reach the deepest layers of the skin.
You can layer the serum with other active ingredients too. But it has to be as per the consistency of the products. The lightest one must be applied first and then gradually increasing to the heaviest one.
Niacinamide can bring newer skin cells to the surface, which are more prone to sun damage. To prevent UV rays from affecting the skin cells, it is recommended to wear ample amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen before you step out of the house.
Does Niacinamide have any potential side effects?
No, Niacinamide does not usually show any adverse reactions when topically applied at recommended concentrations. However, it is best practice to begin using Niacinamide in lower concentration and then slowly increase its concentration so that your skin gets sufficient time to get accustomed to the product.
A few rare cases of hypersensitive reactions to Niacinamide have also been reported in the last few years. Thus, dermatologists recommend a mandatory patch test at least 24-48 hours before you begin using niacinamide serum.
Purging is not a usual side effect of niacinamide. However, if you have been mixing niacinamide with other facial acids, there might be some purging incidence, which usually gets better within a month.
Acne marks and blemishes have always been a reason for concern in adolescents and young adults. The stubborn marks on the face can make us feel undesirable and lower our self-esteem. Niacinamide can be a boon in disguise for people facing such trouble.
With great properties to die for, Niacinamide is a try-worthy ingredient in the skincare world. So, waste no time adopting this great remedy in your skincare regime! You'll be amazed by its prowess.