Does Niacinamide Help With Acne & Scarring?








Reference Lab

AUG 27, 2022



Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that offers many unique benefits, including the ability to strengthen the skin barrier, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and fight skin hyperpigmentation.1

Niacinamide is also a well-known skin care ingredient for its ability to fight acne and scarring. In fact, it's considered a healthier and more effective alternative to retinol. (Read more about using niacinamide vs retinol for skin!)

What causes acne?

To properly understand how niacinamide prevents acne, we first need to understand what causes acne.

Each pore in your skin contains a hair follicle and an oil gland. These oil glands maintain moisture in the skin by releasing sebum, a natural lubricating substance.

Hormone fluctuations, environmental conditions, and even stress can trigger the overproduction of sebum in these glands. This excess oil can clog your pores, trapping the hair follicle or deposits of dirt. This creates a bulge, or pimple, a primary symptom of acne. Occasionally, bacteria infects the clogged pore leading to inflammatory acne.2,3

Does inflammation make acne worse?

It definitely does. Cutibacterium acnes (i.e, p. acnes) is a bacterium that promotes acne in the skin. This form of bacteria thrives in low oxygen environments. Sebum, the substance released by our oil glands, typically has high oxygen levels, protecting our skin from this bacterium. 4

Unfortunately, inflammatory proteins oxidize our sebum, damaging it and lowering its oxygen levels. Low oxygen levels create the perfect environment for cutibacterium acnes, and other oxygen-resistant bacteria, to grow. This enables the bacterial acne to spread. 4

How does niacinamide communicate with the skin?

Niacinamide has a hand in several regulatory processes in the skin. The vitamin actively regulates sebum production in the pores to maintain a balance of moisture in the skin. It also regulates the production of anti-inflammatory proteins.1

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Does niacinamide help clear acne?

Niacinamide successfully tackles excess sebum production, a giant contributor to acne. By managing and reducing sebum levels, the vitamin prevents clogged pores and therefore, pimples.1

Inflammation is also addressed with niacinamide. Excess inflammation can promote the spread of bacterial acne, and is also responsible for acne-associated skin redness and swelling. Niacinamide stimulates anti-inflammatory pathways to prevent bacterial acne breakouts and inflammation-induced skin redness and swelling.1

Can niacinamide be used on acne-prone skin types?

acne-prone skin Absolutely! In fact, niacinamide is highly recommended for .

Niacinamide helps control acne in two primary ways:
  1. Regulating sebum production: Acne-prone skin often experiences excessive sebum production. 5 Niacinamide is known to regulate and reduce sebum production to prevent breakouts.
  2. Regulating inflammation: Acne-prone skin often experiences bacterial forms of acne and usually displays high levels of inflammation. 5 The anti-inflammatory properties of this vitamin are beneficial for containing bacterial acne breakouts. It also reduces inflammation-associated redness and swelling.

Is it better to consume or apply niacinamide to acne-prone skin?

Both oral consumption and topical application of niacinamide promote skin health, and reduce signs of skin aging. 6 However, applying topical skin care products, such as a peptide moisturizer or peptide body lotion containing niacinamide is a significantly more effective method of tackling acne and inflammation in the skin. When you orally consume niacinamide, it is first digested and then distributed throughout the body. But when it is topically applied, it is directly delivered and absorbed at the point of interest, the skin! 7

How much niacinamide do you need if you have acne-prone skin?

Concentrations for topical serums of niacinamide can be as high as 10%. However, most studies demonstrate success between 2 - 5% concentrations. Higher concentrations can also lead to skin irritation and allergies, which is not advisable for those with highly sensitive skin or acne-prone skin. It is advisable to use niacinamide products within the concentrations of 2 - 5%, conditional on the severity of the acne.8

How can you feed your skin niacinamide?

Although topical application is the most effective way to supplement the niacinamide in your skin, you can also consume niacinamide by eating a diet rich in wild-caught fish, whole grains and meats such as turkey and liver. 9

Does niacinamide have the potential to heal acne scars?

Acne scarring is primarily caused by inflammation.

Inflammation is like an SOS signal your body sends to stimulate repair mechanisms. For example, let’s say you get a cut. The damaged cells in the area will use inflammation to alert your body. Your body wants to heal the area and prevent infection. So, you form a scar with collagen fibers, to seal off the entrance and prevent infection.

In cases of bacterial acne, you have inflammation without a need for alarm. This leads to scarring without a real wound in an attempt to 'heal,’ your body forms an acne scar. 10

Niacinamide is able to prevent the formation of acne scars by curbing inflammation in the first place! On top of that, it assists the immune system with healing, so that existing scars fade faster. 11

Does niacinamide improve skin longevity while healing acne?

Niacinamide can stimulate the production of several important structural proteins in the skin, such as ceramide and keratin. 12 This contributes to the strength of the skin barrier, a key contributor to promoting skin span, the length of time your skin is healthy and functional.

A healthier skin barrier means younger skin and a lower risk of several skin conditions such as acne and eczema. A weaker skin barrier entertains more irritants, leading to inflammation and, subsequently, worse acne. 13

Are there any potential side effects to using niacinamide on acne-prone skin?

Topical niacinamide is generally considered safe to use. However, niacinamide can cause your body to release histamine, so, in rare cases, an individual may experience an allergic reaction. (1) High concentrations of niacinamide can also cause irritation. For optimal results, use niacinamide concentrations between 2 - 5%. 8

Both our OS-01 FACE Topical Supplement and OS-01 BODY Topical Supplement use safe concentrations of niacinamide in their formulations to battle acne and lighten acne scarring. Niacinamide not only tackles acne in acne-prone skin but also improves skin longevity as a whole by strengthening the skin barrier!

Key Takeaways

  • Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that offers many unique skin benefits, including the ability to strengthen the skin barrier, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and fight skin hyperpigmentation.
  • Niacinamide is also well-known for its ability to fight acne and scarring.
  • Niacinamide has the ability to regulate sebum production and reduce inflammation in the skin. This helps avoid breakouts, bacterial acne and scarring.
  • It is advisable to use niacinamide within the concentrations of 2 - 5%, conditional on the severity of the acne.
  • Niacinamide can stimulate the production of several important structural proteins in the skin, such as ceramide and keratin, strengthening the skin barrier.
Sources:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/niacinamide
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/acne-prone-skin#prevention
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/comedonal-acne
  4. https://cincinnati.chillcryo.net/new-research-acne-is-caused-by-inflammation/
  5. https://oneskin.co/blogs/reference-lab/acne-prone-skin
  6. https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/anti-aging-effects-niacinamide
  7. https://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-beauty/niacinamide
  8. https://ro.co/health-guide/niacinamide-for-acne/
  9. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-niacin
  10. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/jun/will-acne-scars-fade-over-time
  11. https://dermcollective.com/niacinamide-for-acne/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17147561/
  13. https://banish.com/blogs/article/skin-barrier-acne

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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