What is Niacinamide & The Benefits of it in Your Skincare Routine

Nicotinamide, more commonly known as niacinamide, has held star status in the beauty community as an effective skin care ingredient. While beauty and skincare trends may come and go, we all love a multi-functional product in our routine. With multiple beneficial functions, niacinamide has emerged as a pretty trendy ingredient suitable for most skin types.

Nicotinamide is the active, water-soluble form of vitamin B3. An essential vitamin, nicotinamide is also crucial to the human body as it serves as a precursor to over 200 enzymatic reactions in the body. This includes the production of ATP (energy) and enhances cellular processes like DNA repair.

Where is nicotinamide found?

As with many cosmeceutical ingredients, niacinamide can be found in the body. The human body synthesizes nicotinamide from tryptophan in the liver. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in most protein. Tryptophan converts into niacin, which is then converted into nicotinamide. Both niacin and nicotinamide can be found in a wide variety of food sources, such as fish, pork, chicken, beef, nuts, grain, wheat products and yeast extract.

Nicotinamide and niacin: Are they the same?

Nicotinamide and niacin have different molecular arrangements, thus each form’s effects on the skin and body are not the same. Niacin can have lipid-lowering effects but causes vasodilation, while in nicotinamide it happens less often. The vasodilatory effect causes flushing, itching, hypotension and headaches, thus it limits the use of niacin.

On the other hand, nicotinamide has shown to have fewer side effects. Fatigue, blurred vision and gastrointestinal disturbances are nicotinamide’s side effects when consumed orally (which has been shown to reduce the progression of skin cancer), but are much rarer. These side effects are also expected to improve with continued use. On another note, nicotinamide has become a cosmeceutical skincare favourite – topical application has shown to improve many skin conditions. Nicotinamide can reduce pigmentation, sebum production, wrinkles, and sun damage.


Topical niacinamide has been shown to be useful in treating acne vulgaris with its anti-inflammatory, sebum reduction and healing properties. Oil production is one of the main factors for comedone production which is a precursor of acne. Nicotinamide can significantly reduce sebum excretion rates and facial shine as studies have shown, helping to lower the number of comedones and papules on the face.

Niacinamide also decreases interleukin 8 levels, a factor found in skin cells that is associated with the overgrowth of Propionibacterium acnes. P. acnes is a bacterium that feeds on sebum and is linked to the development of acne.

Furthermore, niacinamide has also shown to decrease transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This is a process where the skin loses water to the surrounding atmosphere, through diffusion and evaporation. Niacinamide improves the skin barrier function and decreases TEWL, increasing skin hydration that leads to reduction of sebum production, thus beneficial for patients with acne conditions.

Atopic Dermatitis

Also known as eczema, it is a common dermatological condition where the skin appears dry. Patients diagnosed with atopic dermatitis have lower levels of ceramide in their skin. Ceramide is a lipid found in the stratum corneum layer that provide for the skin’s barrier function. Niacinamide has shown to increase production of ceramide and other stratum corneum lipids, helping to decrease TEWL (loss of water to the surroundings)

Niacinamide also decreases the skin’s water permeability and water loss. Aquaporin 5 is a membrane protein that encompasses water-permeable channels across cellular structures that facilitate transport of water. By regulating and preventing excessive amounts of aquaporin 5, niacinamide helps to ensure that not too much water is lost to surroundings.

Skin Ageing

Niacinamide, as a metabolic precursor, replenish co-enzymes that participate in various cellular metabolic pathways and decrease with age, thereby improves skin appearance and elasticity. It helps in reducing fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, blotchiness and skin sallowness. By inhibiting the transfer of melanin producing cellular organelles to epidermal skin cells, niacinamide has also demonstrated in clinical studies to decrease hyperpigmentation and promote skin lightening.

UV radiation

UV radiation from the sun can suppress the skin’s immune repair function. Such suppression can increase rates of skin cancer. Exposure to UV radiation also damages DNA. By blocking the enzymes required for ATP (energy) production, UV cripples the body’s ability in DNA repair as it is a highly energy-dependent process.

Niacinamide has shown to reduce the impact of UV radiation on the body’s immune repair function. It also replenishes levels of cellular ATP (energy) and protects glycolysis (process whereby glucose breaks down to produce pyruvate, producing ATP molecules). A topical application of this star ingredient has shown to reduce the UV radiation’s effect on the immune repair function.

Niacinamide as a treatment

Niacinamide’s collective anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, regenerative and moisturizing properties have solidly grounded itself in scientific literature and have increasingly gained attraction as an effective cosmeceutical ingredient. Be sure to check your labels, you will want nicotinamide and not niacin (another name for niacin is nicotinic acid – you don’t want this either!)

Another reason for the ingredient’s increasing attraction would be its safety profile. It is suitable for many skin types as side effects via topical application are rare, being very well tolerated as a form of Vitamin B3.

Radiance Fluide™ Hydrating Emulsion and Elixir-V™ Eyes are cosmeceutical products currently imbued with Niacinamide as an active ingredient. Cosmeceuticals are skincare in which pharmaceutically active ingredients have a beneficial physiological effect on the skin barrier and overall skin health, as demonstrated in scientific literature.

Niacinamide is a frequently used cosmeceutical ingredient, backed with published, clinical trials registering significant improvements and results. With niacinamide as an active ingredient in Radiance Fluide™ Hydrating Emulsion, you can count on this lightweight moisturizerto deliver more than just hydration. With a hardworking multi-faceted ingredient like niacinamide, multiple skin improvements can be targeted simultaneously, like brightening, fine lines and wrinkle, skin roughness and skin ageing.

Also incorporated into Elixir-V™ Eyes, niacinamide helps to add brightening effects on the skin area around your eyes. This eye cream is specially formulated to provide total nourishment for the eyes in a single application.

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