Everything You Need to Know About Niacinamide and Acne
What can’t niacinamide do?
What can’t niacinamide do?
Acne is a common skin condition that can occur on all skin types no matter the age — from prepubescent acne to adult acne. Unless you have perfect skin (which isn’t possible) you’ve probably experienced a symptom of acne at least once in your life. These symptoms are well-known as pimples, whiteheads, excessive oil production, acne scarring and acne marks, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Since it’s so common, skin care formulations are being made daily to target these concerns with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin A and benzoyl peroxide (to name a few). However, niacinamide is a well-known ingredient that is often left out of the discussion when trying to help acne-prone skin. Below, discover the answers to the questions you have about niacinamide and acne (including how does niacinamide help with acne) from Michelle Henry, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant. Learn more about this acne-fighting ingredient and why you should use niacinamide if you have acne.
Niacinamide is a super popular skin care ingredient that you probably already have in your current regimen. It’s commonly found in skin care for its various benefits — when used topically — like soothing inflamed skin, fading post-acne marks and helping unclog pores per the Cleveland Clinic. You can find niacinamide formulated in face washes, serums, face masks, moisturizers and other forms of skin care — it’s just that popular. It’s an effective ingredient for all skin types but is particularly useful for oily skin and acne-prone skin that has trouble with excessive sebum and dark spots.
When used topically, niacinamide helps reduce the appearance of acne and symptoms of acne like pimples and excessive oil production, according to Dr. Henry. “You see [niacinamide] in acne products because it can reduce the activity of the oil glands or sebum production,” she shares. “It can also help improve the texture of the skin and reduce the appearance of the pores.” Dr. Henry shares with L’Oréal Paris that these benefits are what make niacinamide ideal for acne-fighting skin care as well as skin care products to reduce the signs of aging.
It’s important to keep in mind that a 2017 study published in Dermatologic Therapy found that more research is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of niacinamide and acne, especially in comparison to other acne-fighting ingredients. However, niacinamide has been proven to help with acne and dermatologists like Dr. Henry are on board with this ingredient to minimize acne.
There is limited research on whether or not niacinamide causes acne breakouts, however, it is possible to experience skin purging when using this ingredient. You may notice more pimples appearing after using niacinamide, and that’s normal. This is a result of skin purging that sometimes makes skin look worse before it can look better. Skin purging is common when using skin care ingredients (like niacinamide) to help acne since the skin is already so sensitive. Changes in texture, pimple production and redness are expected according to the Mayo Clinic.
To answer this question properly it’s important to note that acne scars are not the same thing as acne marks. The Cleveland Clinic confirms that acne scars are indentation marks left on the skin from inflamed blemishes that swell and create the craters you can see and feel on the face. This makes it very difficult to “fade” acne scars with skin care alone. You’ll need to speak with a dermatologist to discuss expert-applied treatments like lasering and chemical peels, per the Mayo Clinic.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in the skin care realm, you can wear sunscreen to limit the contrast between acne scars and unscarred skin. Use the L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion to protect your skin from further scarring by shielding it from UV rays, which may inflame acne and cause acne marks to darken. This sunscreen absorbs quickly into the skin with a lightweight texture that won’t clog pores.
If you’re struggling with acne and aren’t seeing the results you’d like, try adding niacinamide to your routine to help with many of the concerns listed above. Not only may niacinamide help curb oiliness that could lead to more acne, but it’s also a gentle ingredient that works well with other skin care actives like retinol and other exfoliants, and it can soothe skin from irritation — all good things that sensitive, acne-prone skin can benefit from.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier