Niacinamide, a vitamin found in food is gaining popularity as a skin lightening agent. Read on to see how it works

Woman applying cream by looking into the mirror

Risks of tanning:

According to skin experts, there’s always some element of risk associated with a sun tan. Unprotected exposure to the sun causes an increase in the skin pigment melanin, which causes a colour change to the skin. Prolonged exposure could result in skin damage.

This happens because when the skin is exposed to UV radiation, it increases the production of melanin in an attempt to protect the skin from further damage which causes the skin tone to darken over the next 48 hours.

In order to protect and restore the skin, lightening cosmetics are always in great demand in summer, which led the quest for fairness to identify many novel skin-lightening agents. Niacinamide also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid is a water-soluble component of vitamin B complex group that is used for cosmetic skin concerns.

Various studies demonstrated that Niacinamide offers multiple skin benefits such as fading age spots, lightening and whitening of skin. It can be either applied topically or used orally to achieve beneficial effects to the skin. In a research conducted by Procter & Gamble (P&G), topical Niacinamide application was proved to be an excellent skin lightening agent which works by down regulating the transfer of pigment from the melanocytes to the skin. The working mechanism of Niacinamide is unique and more effective than the popular lightening agent, hydroquinone.

Additionally, it also reduces the wrinkles by increasing collagen production and also restores the skin barrier functions by acting as an antioxidant and increasing the cell turnover rate. Using Niacinamide for 12 weeks was found to delay signs of skin aging including skin elasticity, pigmentation, redness, lines and wrinkles in over 80% of the participants. Besides this, Niacinamide retains its effectiveness and potency even in the presence of heat and light making it an excellent ingredient in many formulations (Gruber and Holtz, 2013).

Natural sources of Niacinamide:

Generally, vitamin B3 comes from natural sources such as meat and fish but in skin care it is derived from synthetic sources. In addition to these benefits, Niacinamide also helps in: • Conversion of food into energy • To maintain blood circulation • To keep the skin, hair and eyes healthy and • To suppresses inflammation.