If you look at the list of ingredients in Apostrophe’s topical prescription formulations, you may notice that many of our creams and gels contain niacinamide. It’s a common skincare ingredient that you can find in drugstore products, medical-grade treatments, high-end luxury brands, and everything in between. Doing a quick Google search brings up claims that it can help treat acne and rosacea, address concerns about skin texture, balance sebum production, calm hyperpigmentation, and more. Is it possible that niacinamide is the miracle cure for all your skin woes? Well, no, BUT it may be the closest thing out there! We’re here to break down what niacinamide can really do for your skin and why we at Apostrophe are such big fans!
What is it?
Niacinamide (sometimes referred to as nicotinamide) is a water-soluble, active form of vitamin B3. Consuming vitamin B3 is essential for overall health and well-being, and applying this form of the vitamin topically provides a number of different benefits to the skin. There is even from a 2015 study that suggests ingesting niacinamide orally can help prevent the recurrence of skin cancer in people who have previously experienced non-melanoma skin cancers. There is no conclusive evidence about how helpful oral niacinamide may be for the general public, but being able to take a vitamin that may prevent the recurrence of cancer is a big deal! If ingesting niacinamide can convey a benefit like that, what might applying it topically accomplish?
Acne, rosacea, and inflammation… oh my!
Like many of the antibiotics dermatologists use to treat acne, one of the main ways niacinamide works is by targeting inflammation. Both oral and topical forms of niacinamide have been repeatedly shown to be effective in including acne and rosacea, without the detrimental side effects seen with long term steroid or antibiotic use. In one study looking at the effect of on sebum production, one group of subjects using the experimental preparation saw a significant decrease in their sebum levels. Less sebum means decreased shine and possibly fewer breakouts!
Additionally, in two studies published in the International Journal of Dermatology, a treated moderate acne as well as a (a topical antibiotic commonly used to treat acne). This is especially important for people with sensitive skin who may not be able to tolerate harsh acne treatments that tend to be drying and/or irritating.
But wait, there’s more… hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles
Treatment for acne, rosacea, and inflammation is big, but that’s not all niacinamide can do. It also helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles and decrease the appearance of hyperpigmentation. One of white women between the ages of 40 and 60 saw a reduction in wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, texture, and redness when they used a 5% niacinamide moisturizer versus a moisturizer without niacinamide. Niacinamide can even (the gold standard of melasma treatment) in treating melasma, with one study noting a “good to excellent” improvement in 44% of patients treated with niacinamide versus 55% of patients treated with hydroquinone.
All of these benefits with very few side effects means that niacinamide is a great ingredient to use alongside other acne treatments and skin actives! That’s why we’ve included it in almost all of Apostrophe’s topical medications. It works in conjunction with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to heal your skin from acne and rosacea more quickly, while also soothing the skin from the irritating side effects of some of those treatments. Plus, incorporating niacinamide into your routine is easy: simply find a moisturizer with niacinamide and apply as directed! This writer can personally recommend CeraVe’s PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (my dermatologist recommended it to me in high school and I’ve never looked back!). While there is no such thing as a skincare miracle, niacinamide sure comes close!