Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3. Niacinamide can be found in a variety of skincare products including serums, creams, and moisturizers. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to calm the skin.
Niacinamide is an effective seborrheic dermatitis treatment because it helps to control the overproduction of sebum, has strong anti-inflammmatory properties and helps improve the skin barrier. More research is needed but niacinamide is a safe and affordable treatment for seborrheic dermatitis.
Let’s take a deep dive:
What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3. Niacinamide can be found in food and used as a dietary supplement. It’s also famous in the beauty world and used in almost every skin care product.
Is niacinamide good for seborrheic dermatitis?
Niacinamide has been shown to be effective in reducing the inflammation and scaling associated with seborrheic dermatitis. This isn’t surprising as niacinamide has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help to restore the skin barrier and improve hydration.
In a small study 48 patients with facial seborrheic dermatitis, niacinamide 4% cream (once daily for 3 months) reduced the symptoms such as redness and scaling by 75%, compared to a 35% reduction with a placebo cream.
I love The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc. This way, I get the benefits of zinc to control SD as well:
You may be interested in the 9 Best Face Moisturizers For Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Does niacinamide have antifungal activity?
Niacinamide has been found to have antifungal activity against Candida, Aspergillus and a few other fungi. In fact, a lab study found that nicotinamide (another version of Vitamin B3 or niacimide) had significant anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans, including fluconazole-resistant colonies.
Unfortunately, I found no published studies on the effectiveness of niacinamide against Malassezia. It doesn’t mean niacinamide doesn’t kill Malassezia, it only means we don’t know if it does.
Skin benefits of niacinamide
Numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications have documented the effectiveness of niacinamide in treating a variety of skin conditions. That’s why niacinamide can be found in many over-the-counter skincare products including serums, creams, and moisturizers.
Niacinamide has many benefits for the skin including:
Niacinamide has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis. The ingredient also reduces inflammation induced by sodium lauryl sulfate, dimethyl sulfoxide and other irritants.
In a double-blind study, 80% of volunteers had improvement in their acne after 8 weeks of using niacimide. In a study on 75 people with rosacea, niacinamide reduced skin peeling by 75%. Another study found niacinamide 2% cream (twice daily for 2 months) reduced skin water loss and improved skin hydration in 28 patients with atopic dermatitis.
Brightens skin tone
Niacinamide can help reduce the appearance of dark spots, treat hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, and it may also help prevent future discoloration.
Helps build skin lipid barrier
Niacinamide increases free fatty acid and ceramide levels in the skin which improves barrier layer proteins such as involucrin, filaggrin and keratin. Filaggrin is critical in the formation of natural moisturizing factors.
Keeps skin moisturized and regulates sebum production
Niacinamide helps to keep skin moisturized and regulates sebum production, making it a good choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin. Niacinamide can also help those with dry, aging skin as it keeps your skin plump.
A small study found that using a 2% niacimide cream for four weeks significantly decreased sebum production in both oriental and Causasian populations.
Niacinamide is an anti-oxidant
Topical application of niacinamide increases reduced forms of NADPH, which have potent antioxidant properties and can help increase the antioxidative capacity of your skin.
Increased levels of antioxidants in skin can help protect against free radical damage and promote cell regeneration, leading to smoother and more youthful-looking skin
Improves fine lines and wrinkles
Niacinamide works by increasing collagen production, which helps to plump the skin and smooth out wrinkles. It also protects from sun damage and reduces other signs of oxidative aging.
Niacinamide is safe for the skin
Studies have shown that niacinamide is safe when used in low concentrations as part of a gentle skincare routine. Most experts recommend not using niacimide in more than 10% concentration.
Niacinamide has the unusual property of synergizing well with other skin actives to improve their performance.
Although not cheap, niacinamides are affordable compared to some other high-end cosmetic active ingredients available on the market today.
Niacinamide is anti-aging
Topical niacinamide increases free fatty acid and ceramide levels that play a role in keeping your skin hydrated. Moisturized skin looks younger and is less likely to develop wrinkles or other signs of aging.
A study showed niacinamide improved the appearance of aged skin, demonstrating a 21% improvement in fine lines along with a 14% improvement in skin tone clarity and 15% improvement in radiance over 12 weeks as compared to control sites.
5% topical niacinamide was found to be more effective than petrolatum for reducing skin water loss and increasing its hydration levels, with significant improvements versus control for reducing fine lines/wrinkles, hyperpigmentation spots, texture, red blotchiness as well as improving the yellowing (sallowness) versus control condition.
Additionally, a 5% niacinamide/2% N-acetyl glucosamine and SPF 15 formulation regimen was significantly more effective than the vehicle control formulation regimen in reducing the detectable area of facial spots and the appearance of pigmentation.
With its numerous skincare benefits, it’s easy to see why this cosmetic active is so popular.
Side effects of niacinamide
Niacinamide is generally considered safe and non-toxic, however some people may experience flaky skin when using products containing this ingredient. Niacinamide concentrations of 4-5% or less are unlikely to cause any adverse effects.
Which ingredients can you combine with niacinamide?
Niacinamide is one of those wonder skincare ingredients that you can safely combine with almost anything else without running into problems.
Some common combinations include:
- Niacinamide + Zinc
- Niacinamide + Ceramides
- Niacinamide + Retinol
- Niacinamide + Salicylic acid
- Niacinamide + Vitamin C
Just make sure you be careful with Vitamin C and retinol as they can irritate your skin and aggravate seborrheic dermatitis. For a comprehensive list of effective treatment for SD, check out The Ultimate Guide to Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment
To wrap up
In conclusion, niacinamide can be an effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis by reducing inflammation and improving the skin barrier. More research is needed to determine the long-term efficacy of niacinamide for seborrheic dermatitis. However, niacinamide is a safe and inexpensive option that may improve the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.