Can niacinamide help with skin breakouts?

Niacinamide serum for skin breakouts

Must read before choosing a niacinamide skin product

Have you experienced any skin breakouts? According to NHS, 95% of people in the age group 11-30 experience some form of skin breakout. You are more likely to be in this 95% than the rest 5%.

Acne-prone skin- A problem of youth

Why does a skin breakout or acne develop? As you enter the youth, the changes in hormones, lifestyle and nutrition turn your skin acne-prone.

As your skin pores open, the dead skin cells, debris, oil/sebum and bacteria on the skin surface enter these pores. This resulting infection will lead to the development of blackheads, whiteheads and other manifestations of acne. So what can you do to handle this skin crisis? Let me introduce you to a perfect option.

Topical niacinamide- an emerging acne treatment

Have you noticed niacinamide among the ingredients of your beauty products? If so, you must want to know what it is. What are its functions? How does it help your skin? Let's understand all.


What is niacinamide? How is it important?

Niacinamide is actually a form of niacin (vitamin B3). Vitamin B3 is an essential nutrient for you and has several functions in the body. When you apply a topical niacinamide cream or serum, it will quickly absorb into your blood. Depending upon the skin texture, its following skin benefits are well known;

  • It is antipruritic means; it controls skin itching

  • Its antimicrobial effects help you in skin infections

  • Its photo-protective products protect you from light-induced ageing.

  • It is sebostatic means it lowers the sebum production from sebaceous glands

  • Its vasoactive products improve skin tone by increasing the blood flow towards it.

Its deficiency can lead to problems in the skin, kidneys and brain. You get this critical nutrient from grains, fruits, nuts, fish, poultry, leafy green vegetables etc...

How niacinamide works?

Let's understand how niacinamide works. First, it works by influencing the chemical reactions occurring in your skin.

It is a precursor to NAD and NADP?

It acts as a precursor to producing two very important molecules inside your body;

  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)

  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP).

Both of these molecules are essential for different chemical reactions inside your cells. They are especially involved in the production of new cells and the repair of damaged cells. So, if you are deficient in nicotinamide, many of these reactions will not occur because there is no NAD/NADP.

It protects the sensitive skin cells from free radical damage

The NAD and NADP also deactivate various free radicals formed in the body. What are free radicals? Free radicals are the unstable molecules present in the body. They react with the cells leading to cell damage. It also repairs the damage caused by these free radicals.

It produces skin-protective ceramides.

There is also evidence that topical niacinamide helps to produce ceramides. What are these ceramides? These are the lipid molecules which form a protective cover on your skin. Losing it can lead to facial lines and wrinkles. So, nicotinamide is also added to the anti-wrinkles skin treatments. These ceramides also keep your skin moist. The nicotinamide deficiency can lead to severe dryness of the skin.

It has anti-inflammatory properties.

If you have skin inflammations, nicotinamide can help you because it has anti-inflammatory properties. It is a good treatment for acne lesions developed in acne breakouts.

An earlier study has shown that its efficacy (4% solution) against skin infection is comparable to 1% Clindamycin cream, which is used for different inflammatory skin conditions. It also helps because Clindamycin can cause antibiotic resistance.

A 2012 study has found that its oral supplements are very effective in treating the inflammation caused by acne. Nicotinamide also helps if you have skin pigmentation or fine lines on your skin. However, more studies on this topic are needed.

It improves skin immunity.

Besides being a part of different acne treatments, it also improves the immunity of your skin, reducing the chances of infections. Nicotinamide is very good for restoring the integrity of your skin. A lot of problems in the cells arise due to the damage to the DNA due to radiation and other causes.

The nicotinamide comes to your help as it restores the damage to your DNA. It is also very effective against different stress factors that reduce the immunity of the skin and cause premature ageing. It also prevents the aggregation of skin pigments, thus reducing the brown spots. It also preserves the hydration status of the skin.

It works against skin cancer.

Skin cancer is very dangerous irrespective of the skin type. Niacinamide alleviates your skin concerns by reducing the chances of skin cancers.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nicotinamide is very effective and safe for skin cancer. Adding it to the skincare routine resulted in a 23% reduction in skin cancer development. However, more studies on this topic are needed. If you have a history of non-melanoma skin cancers, consult your dermatologist to add nicotinamide supplements to your diet.

Suggestions about the safe use

Here are some useful suggestions for safe use.

  • For the treatment of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, it is recommended to use it in combination with other ingredients, e.g., salicylic acid and vitamin c. Kojic acid is a very good option. Salicylic acid removes the oil and dirt from the skin, while vitamin c enhances its immune-boosting functions.


  • In the oral form, using the nicotinamide supplements having copper, folic acid, and zinc will be a better formula for your skin.

  • Hyaluronic acid also increases its absorption, so it could be a very good combination.


Nicotinamide is a vitamin having a host of useful functions. It is very good for your skin. If you have skin problems, e.g., pigmentation issues, acne, wrinkles, brown spots and lines, the niacinamide serums, creams, lotions and oral supplements can be extremely beneficial. The combination products can be more useful. If you are feeling no improvement with topical products, consult your dermatologist to use oral nicotinamide supplements.

Remember that it is not a remedy for skin diseases. Consult your dermatologist if you develop any skin disease.

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