Niacinamide for Acne
Around 85 percent of teens and young adults sport a few pimples every year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research, and acne sufferers continually search for treatments that can help them clear their skin. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B, might reduce pimples if you apply it to your skin, but not if you take it by mouth.
Pimples appear when oil and debris clogs your pores, allowing bacteria to infect those pores, according to the website MayoClinic.com. Teenagers get acne as their skin matures and their oil glands begin to produce more oil, but they're hardly the only acne sufferers. Adults also suffer from acne, and the skin condition can be tougher to treat in adults.
The supplement niacinamide treats low levels of niacin, which is vitamin B3, according to the website Drugs.com. Most people use it as an oral supplement, which doesn't seem to work for acne. In its gel form, which may work to treat acne, it's sold under the brand name Nicomide-T. The most common side effect of niacinamide gel is dry skin, although very rare allergic reactions also can occur.
Niacinamide appears to attack the infection and inflammation in acne, which reduces the severity of the skin condition, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, it's not clear how well topical niacinamide gel really works to treat acne, since few medical studies have been performed to analyze the treatment.
In the main clinical study looking at niacinamide as an acne treatment, Dr. A.R. Shalita and colleagues compared acne treatment with 4 percent niacinamide gel to treatment with the antibiotic clindamycin in 76 patients overall. After eight weeks, both treatments produced good results: 82 percent of the niacinamide patients had improved, compared with 68 percent of those treated with clindamycin. The study was published in the June 1995 edition of the "International Journal of Dermatology."
Niacinamide might offer a treatment for acne that can address infection and inflammation without using antibiotics, according to the 1995 study. However, more research is needed to duplicate that study's findings and determine if niacinamide works as well or better than accepted topical prescription treatments, including topical antibiotics, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
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