Vitamins and minerals are essential substances our bodies need to develop and function properly.
The known vitamins include A, C, D, E and K; plus, the B vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxal (B6), cobalamin (B12), biotin and folate/folic acid.
Niacinamide and niacin are the two forms of vitamin B3. Niacinamide is found in foods such as yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans and cereal grains. It also can be created in the body from dietary niacin.
Vitamin B3 plays a key role in converting fats and sugars in food into usable energy so that cells can carry out vital life functions. Since it is water-soluble, the body does not store this vitamin. As such, it typically is orally ingested and may be supplemented to prevent vitamin B3 deficiency, which can lead to the pellagra. B3 supplementation also helps treat Alzheimer’s, depression, acne, eczema, rosacea, arthritis, circulation issues, cataracts and more.
Mechanisms in Skin
Niacinamide is a component of important coenzymes involved in skin maintenance; specifically, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD/NADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP/NADPH). Niacinamide readily penetrates the skin and has been shown to increase the levels of NAD/NADH found in cutaneous tissues. Furthermore, NADPH is a cofactor for the synthesis of fatty acids and lipids such as ceramides, which explains why the topical application enhances skin barrier lipids.
Aging, Inflammation and Pigmentation
In aging skin, topical niacinamide has been shown to smooth wrinkles by increasing collagen and glycosaminoglycan production, along with the described dermal matrix components. It also inhibits photocarcinogenesis and imparts anti-inflammatory benefits in acne, rosacea and synthetically induced irritation. Indeed, niacinamide is suggested for many disorders relating to epidermal barrier functioning, aging skin, acne-prone skin and even to improve hyperpigmentation and melasma.
Niacinamide also has been indicated for improving redness or sallowness. Researchers reported the topical application of niacinamide reduces yellowing and red blotchiness, as well as wrinkling and hyperpigmented spots in aging facial skin. This study compared the results of two creams, one with 5% niacinamide on 50 Caucasian female subjects aged 40-60 years. Niacinamide was well-tolerated by the skin and provided significant improvements in fine lines/wrinkles, hyperpigmentation spots, texture, red blotchiness and skin yellowing (sallowness), compared with the control.