Acne is a common, chronic skin condition that has likely plagued us all at some point in our lives (ahem, puberty anyone?). But for those individuals who find that their acne lasts well beyond their teens, extending into their 20’s, 30’s, and even 40’s, it can be significantly bothersome. It not only affects your appearance, but can be rather embarrassing and disfiguring, which can ultimately affect your confidence. And we want you to give your best self to the world!
The approach to treating acne is often multifaceted. Try as we might, there is no one ‘magic treatment’ and often we have to use combinations of topical regimens, pills, and office procedures to get things clear. Traditional acne treatments consist of modalities targeting oil production, reducing bacteria, reducing inflammation, and exfoliation to remove dead skin cells. While all of these treatments are well-intended and effective, they often have predictable side effects including dryness, redness, peeling, irritation, and skin sensitivity. Hence the Dermatology community has turned to more natural treatments to accompany our traditional treatments in an effort to increase efficacy and tolerability.
Enter niacinamide. Niacinamide is a naturally occurring vitamin, Vitamin B3 to be exact, which you may also see labeled as Nicotinamide. This vitamin is an essential component of your overall health and has been noted to be important in the function of your brain, digestive tract, skin, and nervous system. But several studies have shown great benefit for those with acne.
Benefits of Niacinamide:
- Niacinamide increases the ceramides within the skin, allowing for a normalized moisture balance. The ceramides in the skin keep the lipid layer and epidermal barrier intact which ensures that we retain moisture and suppleness within the skin. This can be an important component for acne as many of the topical treatments can result in dryness and moisture imbalance.
- Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties. Since acne is an inflammatory condition, that inflammation often leads to numerous pimples with delayed healing and acne scarring. Niacinamide can reduce the overall inflammatory response, resulting in fewer pimples.
- It lowers sebum (oil) production. Dysregulation of sebum can result in excessively oily skin and subsequently more acne lesions. Having a good balance of oil and moisture within acne-prone skin is an important component for controlling the acne.
- Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is the bacteria implicated in exacerbating acne. While this is a naturally occurring bacteria, it is a major contributor in acne flares. Niacinamide can reduce the activity of P. acnes bacteria on the skin, thereby improving acne.
- Niacinamide can stabilize the melanosome activity within the cells, which can improve residual hyperpigmentation from acne scars as well as those who suffer from melasma.