Nicotinamide for Acne Skin Care
For teens and adults who want a natural, over-the-counter treatment for acne and its associated inflammation, a form of vitamin B offers a proven alternative. Nicotinamide, a component of the B vitamin niacin, can effectively treat acne regardless of whether you take it orally or spread the gel on your skin.
Pimples appear in nearly every teenager and in more than a few adults, as well, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Oily skin, plus too many dead skin cells and excess bacteria on the skin's surface, causes acne. If you have acne, you might just have a few blocked pores and one or two pimples at a time, or you might have a bad case with widespread inflammation and cysts.
Nicotinamide fights inflammation in acne, according to Drugs.com. Although medical science hasn't proven its exact mechanism, nicotinamide can effectively kill the bacteria that causes acne, thereby reducing inflammation and decreasing the number of active acne lesions. It comes in two forms: an oral form that you take once or twice a day, and a gel form that you spread on your acne-affected skin once or twice a day.
Oral nicotinamide, sold as a supplement, does carry a risk of some side effects when used in large doses, according to Drugs.com. Users report nausea, vomiting, flushing, dizziness and sometimes headaches when taking nicotinamide. In addition, the supplement can affect your liver. If your urine darkens while you're using oral nicotinamide, you should see your doctor. Topical nicotinamide doesn't carry the risk of as many side effects. Users mainly report some skin irritation and dryness from the topical product.
Medical research shows that nicotinamide in both its topical and oral formations can effectively treat acne. In a study conducted by Dr. N.M. Niren and published in Cutis in 2006, acne patients took oral nicotinamide for their acne, and four out of five said their appearance was "better" or "much better" after four months of treatment. In another study, led by Dr. A.R. Shalita and published in the International Journal of Dermatology in 1995, patients using the gel form of nicotinamide improved more than another group of patients using a topical form of the antibiotic clindamycin.
Both medical studies noted that nicotinamide shows promise in treating patients who fail to respond to common acne-fighting antibiotics, or patients who don't want to take antibiotics. Since many acne patients show signs of antibiotic resistance to commonly used prescription drugs, nicotinamide potentially can help dermatologists treat problem cases of acne, the studies said.
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