Niacinamide, also called vitamin PP or niacin, is widely used in cosmetology and aesthetic medicine. Due to its soothing and moisturizing properties, it is tolerated even by very sensitive skin, strengthening its protective barrier, reducing erythema and redness, and also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide, or vitamin PP (the term comes from the word "anti-allergic" (Pellagra-Preventing), due to the fact that its deficiency can lead to the development of a disease manifested by inflammation of the skin, weakness, apathy, diarrhea, insomnia, aggression and coordination disorders – pellagra) is a derivative of vitamin B3. Considering it in the chemical aspect, it is a combination of two compounds: nicotinic acid and its amide, which have a beneficial effect on the human body. Unlike other B vitamins, niacin is produced in the body using the essential amino acid tryptophan. However, it should be remembered that these are negligible amounts, so supplementation or a diet supplementing vitamin deficiencies is so important.
What foods can we find vitamin B3 in? The most is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, yeast, whole grain products, nuts, green leafy vegetables. It plays an extremely important role in our body - it takes part in the synthesis of carbohydrates, amino acids and fatty acids, but also sex hormones. In addition, it has antibacterial properties, participates in the production of red blood cells, reduces cholesterol levels, regulates the nervous system, is a precursor of coenzymes in the energy transformation of cells and the synthesis of skin building components, e.g. ceramides, which are responsible for the proper functioning of the skin's hydrolipid barrier. The World Health Organization has added niacinamide to its list of essential medicines.
Niacinamide in cosmetology
Niacinamide is an active substance that can be found more and more often in the composition of cosmetics. These cosmetics are often dedicated to various skin needs, which proves the wide range of applications and multifunctionality of vitamin PP. Its action depends largely on the concentration, but also on the formula of the preparation.
- Lightening of existing discolorations and preventing the formation of new ones - due to the effect of inhibiting the synthesis of melanin, which is responsible for the formation of pigment spots. It also has a positive effect on post-acne changes.
- Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect - niacin has the ability to inhibit the development of inflammation, which is especially suitable for acne complexions. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria, which are directly responsible for the multiplication of inflammation and inflammation of acne lesions and blemishes.
- Moisturizing effect - the effect on maintaining the correct hydrolipid balance helps to maintain the skin in the best degree of hydration, even in the deepest layers of the skin.
- Regulating the work of the sebaceous glands - niacinamide directly affects the work of the sebaceous glands, which prevents excessive sebum production, the formation of blemishes, and excessive oily skin.
- Narrowing the pores - regular use of products with niacin significantly affects the narrowing of the pores, thus evening out the skin, preventing the penetration of bacteria into the deeper layers of the skin and the formation of blemishes.
- Anti-aging effect - vitamin PP slows down the aging process of the skin, protects against free radicals, has antioxidant properties. It affects the stimulation of collagen and elastin, which makes the skin visibly smoothed, firm and elastic.
- Rebuilding the hydrolipid barrier - due to the fact that vitamin B3 is actively involved in the synthesis of lipids and ceramides, the functioning of the hydrolipid layer, which is the protective layer of the skin, improves.
How best to use cosmetics with vitamin B3?
Due to its wide application and properties, niacinamide is very well tolerated even by sensitive skin with high concentrations. However, before you start using cosmetics with vitamin B3, it is worth getting acquainted with a few rules:
It is worth starting the use of cosmetic preparations with vitamin B3 from the lowest concentrations of 3-5% in order to get the skin used to it as best as possible and prevent allergic reactions and redness. After a few days of using low concentrations, you can switch to higher ones.
You can also supplement the care with cosmetics with niacin, initially every other day or at intervals of several days, so that the skin has time to get used to it before it is introduced in daily care.
The maximum concentration of 10% is dedicated to people with thick, seborrheic, problematic, acne and discolored skin.
It is important to use only one preparation with niacin in daily care.
Creams with vitamin B3 can be used both day and night, regardless of the type of skin.
Due to its protective, antioxidant and anti-aging properties, it is often an active ingredient in sunscreens and UV filters.
In difficult periods for the skin, e.g. after winter or after the holiday season, when the skin requires much more care to regenerate, it is worth using a serum with vitamin B3 under the cream as a form of treatment.
Niacin can also be found in the composition of toning preparations and face wash gels, but also in hair preparations - due to its strengthening effect.
Vitamin B3 perfectly combines with retinol, because it soothes its drying and irritating effects.
What skin types is niacinamide dedicated to?
There are no restrictions in this case. However, it is especially recommended for people with skin:
- Dry or very dry, dehydrated,
- After the holiday period, when the skin was exposed to sunlight and with clear signs of photoaging,
- With visible discoloration, redness, sun spots,
- Sensitive, atopic, easily irritated by adverse external factors,
- Acne, seborrheic, with visible acne scars,
- With blackheads and enlarged pores,
- With signs of skin aging, wrinkles,
- requiring improvement of firmness,
- Exposed to excessive external factors, smog, cigarette smoke,
- Dull, gray, tired,
- After aesthetic medicine treatments or mechanically irritated.
In what form can we find preparations with vitamin B3?
The extensive use of vitamin B3 as an active ingredient, as well as its universal properties, mean that we will find it in many products and preparations for facial skin or hair care. We can find it in moisturizing, regenerating, anti-wrinkle, brightening and soothing cosmetics. We can find them in the form of serums, face wash gels, spot preparations and creams.
Is it worth combining vitamin B3 with?
Niacinamide combines very well with hyaluronic acid, thanks to its moisturizing properties.
It also works well with zinc. Zinc supports skin regeneration and wound healing. In addition, this combination is very effective in the fight against acne.
The combination with retinol prevents irritation and its side effects, and stimulates the production of lipids, ceramides, collagen and elastin.
However, niacinamide should not be combined with acids, e.g. AHA and BHA, due to differences in pH, and thus reduce its effectiveness. Similarly with vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. As a result of this combination, nicotinic acid can be formed, which irritates the skin and gives the opposite effect to the desired one. However, you can easily use vitamin C derivatives that will nourish and brighten the skin.
What cosmetics contain niacinamide?