This is very detailed but great info about Niacinamide and your skin. I use a ceramide cream for my skin for aging and rosacea. Read on.
Today is all about Niacinamide, one of the most evidence-based and clinically validated molecules for skin and skin health, with myriad pharmacological benefits from a single active substance.
What is Niacinamide? Niacinamide, otherwise known as Vitamin B3, is an essential nutrient in the human body and is the amide form of Niacin, which, from a chemistry perspective, means it has an amide functional group attached to the nitrogen atom on the molecule. Niacin is a carboxylic acid (nicotinic acid) that can have undesirable reactions (flushing), so adding an amide functional group to the molecule mitigates this, turning the acid into an amide. Niacinamide will reduce down to Niacin in-vivo, leading to the desired biological effects.
The most well understood pharmacological role that Vitamin B3 plays in the human body is its ability to convert into its metabolically active forms, which are the coenzymes known as Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD), and Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate (NADP). These coenzymes are involved in over 400 biochemical reactions in the human body! One critically important role they are involved in is the energy cycle within cells, known as the Krebs cycle, and the ability to convert macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) into Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), or the energy “currency” of your cells. NAD also plays a role in cellular communication, regulation of gene expression and integrity, and acts as a “bodyguard”, preventing DNA-based gene mutations and other aging mechanisms.
Clearly, its role and importance in the human body are vitally important to our health! So, outside of this established list of cellular benefits, how does this essential nutrient benefit the skin? Oh, let me count the ways…
1) First off, let me say that this single-molecule has the MOST evidence behind its cutaneous usage, even surpassing that of Vitamin A (retinoic acid). It also has the ability to penetrate the skin with ease, without the need for a delivery system. The percutaneous absorption of Niacinamide is high, and gene expression data shows a significant increase in skin NAD levels after topical application.
2) It is a potent antioxidant! The reduced NADP form plays a critical role in cellular antioxidant functions, protecting cells from reactive oxygen species and other free radicals from attacking and creating metabolic disaster, effectively inhibiting UV-induced photocarcinogenesis.
3) It supports the barrier of your skin! The B3 coenzymes play a direct role in the stratum corneum fatty acid, lipid, and ceramide synthesis, leading to a decrease in transepidermal water loss (TEWL). In addition, it promotes a healthier, more regulated differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes, predominantly by the expression of the K1 keratin, filaggrin, and involucrin proteins This essentially creates a more compact and robust stratum corneum, with normalization of cellular turnover. Both of these properties lead to skin barrier strengthening and an increase in hydration of the stratum corneum.
4) It reduces red and irritated skin! The mechanisms behind this phenomenon are not fully defined, with the theory that the healthier skin barrier is what reduces the erythema and blotchiness in the skin.
5) It is anti-inflammatory! Niacinamide is a known inhibitor of PARP-1, an enzyme that, through its enhancement of NFKb (a gene regulating innate and adaptive immune responses), plays a pivotal role in the expression of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and other inflammatory mediators. It reduces Nitric Oxide synthase, and regulates immune responses triggered by antigen (foreign) lymphocyte activation, with data showing it is these control mechanisms that highlight the role Niacinamide can play in therapeutic intervention against atopic dermatitis (AD). Controlling inflammation is vital to skin health and anti-aging.
6) It increases matrix protein and GAG synthesis! This is the “holy grail” of antiaging – the increase in collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycan production, leading to fewer wrinkles. Niacinamide was shown to regulate dermal GAG synthesis (data shows an excess of GAG’s can be detrimental) and stimulates aged fibroblasts to produce more collagen (54% increase) and increases their proliferation. Dermal matrix protein production is key to any anti-aging strategy.
7) It is anti-acne! Data shows that Niacinamide regulates the overproduction of sebum from sebocytes. In addition, comparison studies showed that topical niacinamide outperformed clindamycin when treating acne. While not an antimicrobial, the proposed action is likely due to the Sebo-regulating and anti-inflammatory properties of the molecule.
8) It helps with hyperpigmentation! Numerous studies have proven the anti-pigment effect of Niacinamide. It does not directly work on any of the pathways involved in melanin synthesis, such as the Tyrosinase and/or DOPA pathways, but works by regulation of melanin transfer, slowly down the ability of melanocytes to transfer their pigment granules to keratinocytes, via dendritic mediated phagocytosis. Stopping the excess transfer of melanin is one of the crucial pathways that need to be controlled when treating hyperpigmentation.
9) And to top it all off, Niacinamide also plays a key role in skin health and protection from a SYSTEMIC perspective as well. Research shows that the daily, oral consumption of Niacinamide (500mg BID) can suppress the formation of UV-induced cutaneous DNA mutations which can lead to the induction of certain epithelial cancers. (Personally, I have taken this daily for over a decade)
actually, there is data showing benefit on rosacea skin, due to its barrier repair and anti-inflammatory properties!