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Why Dermatologists Recommend Niacinamide Skincare

From regulating digestion to improving skin, Vitamin B3/Niacinamide is a must.

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Q&A: Why Dermatologists Recommend Niacinamide

Niacinamide is one of few highlighted key ingredients dermatologists recommend for skin when it comes to general skin health. This popular, tried-and-true ingredient is popping up in formulations from creams to serums more and more. As a dermatology-inspired brand, we stand by this ingredient’s major role in skincare. Here, we cover everything from what this ingredient is, to what it does for your skin—and why dermatologists and brands alike are abuzz about it. 

What even are niacinamides?

Niacinamide is also called Nicotinamide. This ingredient is one of two forms of vitamin B3, AKA niacin, that’s found in supplements. Niacinamide is known to help with acne, rosacea, pigmentation and wrinkles, and minimizing the appearance of pores.

What is the role of niacinamides? Why are they an ingredient in the new + improved REDEFINE Regimen?

Here, we tapped into Dr. Sumita Butani, SVP, Innovation at Rodan + Fields for her input. They note that Niacinamide has been around for a long time, both as an oral supplement and certainly as a topical agent in all aspects of skin, particularly because it is anti-inflammatory. That means that it stops swelling, redness and inflammation. Inflammation leads to aging of skin. “So, everything we can do to encourage anti-inflammatory in the body during its natural breakdown system is helpful,” Dr. Butani says. Niacinamide fills this particular, important area of inflammation. If you can stop inflammation, you get a lot less of the oxidants (think of why we consume and apply antioxidants) from being released. We limit the oxidant molecules that are damaging. You also have less breakdown of Peptide and less destruction of the collagen in skin itself. Niacinamide also has brightening effects for skin. “It’s helpful for acne, it’s helpful for rosacea, and it’s helpful for inflammation, making it helpful for anti-aging overall,” she says. “When we talk about slowing aging, it is comprehensive.”

What does better in skincare: Niacinamides or Vitamin C? Which specific skin concerns do each better target?

Dr. Butani says that there isn’t one that is better than the other. The answer goes back to Rodan + Fields’ Multi-Med Therapy approach to skin concerns. You cannot lean on one molecule to be this miracle that is going to save you from a condition, they say. So, it is the best molecule that is active in a formula, that really gets to its target, that makes change. For example, if you have Vitamin C, but it is neutralized (this is when the formula has turned brown—it’s oxidized, dead and no longer active), it won’t be able to effectively work. If you have Vitamin C in a formula where the pH is not right, same thing. You no longer have an active molecule.

“Getting into the hard science, when we say Multi-Med Therapy, it’s optimizing each molecule with the correct pH with the correct formulations that actually are active in doing the hard lifting,” says Dr. Butani. “And again, we don’t believe it is just Vitamin C or that Vitamin C is better than Niacinamide because why not have both when they can both give you benefits.”

What is the difference between niacinamide used topically in skincare products versus niacinamide used in supplements and food?

Vitamin B3 is found in eggs, cereals, green vegetables, beans, milk and fish. These dietary nutrients, however, do not have an impact on skin health. To be sure that niacinamide is targeting your skin concerns, it must be used topically. Skincare to the rescue.

An anti-inflammatory diet is very important, Dr. Butani says. “So, all those sugars that we love to have are very bad.” Dr. Butani says that if you want to age better, you want to stick to a carbohydrate-free, sugar-free diet. It’s very helpful for aging and inflammation in the body. “It’s logical to make the big effort for diet and the same goes for exercise,” she says. “However, too much exercise can lead to inflammation and breakdown, but by exercising effectively, you make your mitochondria stronger.” When mitochondria are stronger, you get better optimization of enzymatic reactions in the cell itself – cell-to-cell. 

What role does Vitamin B3 play in our body?

  • It regulates digestion.
  • It treats pellagra.
  • Improves skin.
  • It reduces arthritis symptoms.
  • It prevents the risk of heart disease.
  • It has a positive effect on mental health.
  • It helps with diabetes.

What do niacinamides do for your skin?

When it comes to benefits, Niacinamide does a lot for the health of your skin. This ingredient helps with skin cancer prevention. For a 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, results showed that during the study year, there were 23% fewer new cases of skin cancer in the group that received niacinamide (336 cancers) compared to those who got the placebo (463 cancers).

  • Niacinamide helps build keratin in the skin, which helps keep your skin healthy and firm.
  • Niacinamide helps skin retain moisture, which is especially beneficial for mature, dry skin or those with sensitive skin.
  • Niacinamide reduces inflammation, helping with acne, eczema and other inflammatory skin issues.
  • Niacnamide minimizes pore appearance.
  • Niacinamide helps with keeping skin smooth and moisturized and may contribute to a reduction in pore size over time.
  • Niacinamide regulates oil production of the skin.
  • Niacinamide protects against sun damage.
  • Niacinamide helps target hyperpigmentation — specifically by visibly lightening dark spots.
  • Niacinamide minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Niacinamide helps reduce visible redness.

Niacinamide products typically come in the form of serums. Niacinamide also makes an appearance in some cleansers and creams, as well as face masks.

What skin type is Niacinamide best for?

Mostly recommended by dermatologists to address visible dark spots on the skin, Niacinamide works well for any skin type at every age. 

What are the side effects?

Topical niacinamide is generally safe to use. If you have allergies, you may be prone to experience an allergic reaction to it, as Niacinamide can cause your body to release histamine. A simple patch test will help you avoid a reaction.

Does it lighten the skin?

Because Niacinamide helps visibly fade age spots and dark spots, it does lighten the appearance of skin and is effective at managing discoloration.

How long does it take for products with niacinamides to work? 

Dr. Butani emphasizes the importance of formulation as opposed to a sole ingredient. The key here is consistency, as it is with any skincare routine. Using the full REDEFINE Regimen, you can expect to see the first visible results after 4 weeks and then more impact after 8 weeks. The clinicals for the REDEFINE Regimen speak for themselves (please keep in mind that these results are from participants using the entire Regimen, as recommended). After 8 weeks, 94% of participants had softer, more supple skin. 94% had smoother skin, and 91% noticed firmer skin. 85% had improved overall appearance/healthy glow*.

Bottom line – niacinamide is a tried-and-true ingredient that performs an important role in a skincare routine. For example, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) can be found in REDEFINE Pore Refining Toner, which works to visibly even the appearance of skin tone for a youthful glow. Using this toner, along with the other steps of the Regimen, helps address all major signs of aging However, we you know, there are no “miracle” ingredients or singular products. It’s important to stick to a skincare Regimen to see long-term visibly transformative results.

*Based on an 8-week U.S. clinical and consumer study. Results may vary depending on multiple factors: age, gender, skin type and condition, concomitant products used, health history, location, lifestyle and diet.