niacinamide for acne and agingIf you’ve been following along with my DIY adventures, you may have seen that one of the ingredients I’ve added to my DIY moisturizer is niacinamide powder (aka Vitamin B3).

Let me tell you about why that is.

Why Niacinamide?

Well, the question is not so much why as why not?

It’s a totally natural ingredient without harmful side effects. The powder is pretty darn cheap. It’s very easy to add into the moisturizer you’re already using.

And studies say that using it topically does nothing but good things for healing acne and keeping the skin young.

In fact, niacinamide has so much going for it, I wouldn’t surprised if it becomes a serious staple for treating acne in the future.

Studies Say… Niacinamide for the Win!

There was a study that compared topical 4% niacinamide (called nicotinamide in the study, same thing) to the topical antibiotic clindamycin, for those suffering with inflamed acne.

It found that both worked pretty well but niacinamide worked even better without the side effects or antibiotic resistance of clindamycin.

Niacinamide decreased acne severity in 52% of patients, with a decrease of 60% of acne lesions. Nothing to sneeze at!

A 2005 study had 50 women with signs of aging apply a 5% niacinamide solution to one half of the face, and the placebo to the other half.

Analyses of the data revealed a variety of significant skin appearance improvement effects for topical niacinamide compared to the placebo: reductions in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing). In addition, elasticity (as measured via cutometry) was improved.

There have actually been quite a lot of studies on niacinamide beyond the two I just mentioned, all with positives results that indicate it is:

  • An antioxidant – protects the skin from oxidative damage, which can lead to acne, aging, and more
  • Anti-inflammatory – reduces the red nastiness that fuels acne
  • Reduces excess sebum output
  • Improves skin barrier function
  • Heals red marks and evens out skin tone
  • Stimulates collagen in the skin, which is what keeps your skin looking firm

Niacinamide Prevents Sebum Oxidation

I actually wrote about niacinamide once before because there is a theory that when the skin’s natural oil oxidizes (goes “off”) due to things like poor diet, sun burn, pollution, or other lifestyle factors, then that’s when it becomes comedogenic and starts to clog your pores.

Add hormones and other inflammation in there, and hello acne.

So if you use topical antioxidants in your skin care, it goes a long way to preventing that oxidation and stopping acne before it starts.

Niacinamide, of course, isn’t the only topical antioxidant that can do the trick, but it’s an easy one with strong evidence that it works for acne.

How to Use Topical Niacinamide in Your Skin Care

You can just buy the powder online, and then add a bit straight into your moisturizer and mix or shake it up. Or make your own moisturizer and add it (recommended).

The only thing is that niacinamide is water soluble, so your moisturizer does have to have a water based component. If you are just using straight oil to moisturize, it won’t dissolve.

That’s why I like to combine oil and aloe (which is water based) together, so then I can add all sorts of neat ingredients like this one!

How much niacinamide to add?

You’ll want to add it so that it’s at a concentration of about 5%. I found that for me using more than that made my skin feel kind of dry and almost itchy.

So if your moisturizer is 1 ounce of liquid, you would add a little over 1/4 of a teaspoon.

And which powder to buy?

Well, I wanted to buy this one from Bulk Supplements, but ended up having to buy this one because Bulk Supplements won’t ship to Canada.  Seems to be working out just fine anyway.

What About Niacin Flush?

Just a last note – the vitamin niacin, when taken internally at higher doses, or when applied externally, has a reputation for causing something called the “niacin flush”. Which means it harmlessly makes your face flush red.

If you’ve heard of this, you might be feeling not so keen on niacin right now…

However, niacin when it’s in the niacinamide form doesn’t cause this. So not to worry!

Although some people actually get disappointed that niacinamide doesn’t cause it because they think that the flushing is what brings the anti-acne benefits. It doesn’t.

Have you used niacinamide in your skin care before? If so, what was your experience?