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PAR-2 inhibition, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiaging, photoprotective

Important Chemical Components:

Also known as nicotinamide (and 3-pyridinecarboxamide), molecular formula is C6H6N2O

Origin Classification:

Natural vitamin constituent of various foods but the cosmetic ingredient is laboratory made

Personal Care Category:

Depigmenting, exfoliant

Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:

Is a superior choice for dry, sensitive and wrinkle-prone skin types. Best for DRNT, DRNW, DRPT, DRPW, DSNT, DSNW, DSPT, DSPW, ORPT, ORPW, OSPT, OSPW, OSNT, and OSNW.


Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is the biologically active amide of niacin (vitamin B3). This form of the vitamin is found naturally in a wide variety of foods, particularly root vegetables, mushrooms, yeasts, some fruits, peanuts, and seeds.1,2 Significantly, the effects of niacinamide on pigmentation have been shown to be reversible (Table 44-1).3

TABLE 44-1Pros and Cons of Niacinamide


Research on and the use of oral niacinamide dates back to the 1930s, but the data on the use of topical niacinamide are relatively new. The first use of topical niacinamide to ameliorate skin barrier function in individuals with pellagra, which is characterized by pronounced cutaneous sensitivity to sunlight, was reported in 1976.4–6 For over 40 years, niacinamide has been used in dermatology for a broad array of disorders including acne, atopic dermatitis, autoimmune bullous dermatoses, excess sebum, as well as rosacea, and more recently to treat hyperpigmentation and to prevent photoaging and photoimmunosuppression.7,8


Niacinamide is an important part of the niacin coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+), and their respective reduced forms the antioxidants NADH and NADPH. These compounds contribute to cellular oxidation and reduction reactions as well as DNA synthesis and repair, are involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions, and may play a role in providing cosmetic benefits.2,9–11 Surjana and Damian suggest that niacinamide is able to confer clinical effects because of its role as a cellular energy precursor, a modulator of inflammatory cytokines, and a suppressor of the nuclear enzyme poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase-1.7 It has also been shown to increase intercellular lipid production.3,12

Niacinamide has been demonstrated to suppress melanosome transfer to epidermal keratinocytes, by up to 68 percent in an in vitro model, and to render improvement in undesired facial pigmentation.9 This inhibition of melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes is considered the primary method by ...

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