One of the most important vitamins for skin well-being is niacin. We do get plenty of niacin from healthy and diversified diets. Niacin has also been used as an active ingredient in many cosmetic products. It has a positive effect on the condition of the skin when used externally. I will tell you in this article how niacin affects the skin. I will also tell you how you can add natural niacin to your own cosmetic products.
What is Niacin?
Niacin is a vitamin B3. There are two different forms of niacin; nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Many cosmetic products contain nicotinamide as an active ingredient. It is gentler on the skin than nicotinic acid. Nicotinic acid and nicotinamide work in the same way on the skin. Animal products contain plenty of both nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. They are also found in beans, grains and seeds. In plants, nicotinamide and nicotinic acid are usually present together. Therefore, in this article, I refer to these two substances collectively as niacin.
Niacin treats the skin both internally and externally
A healthy diet usually contains enough niacin. Omnivores, persons eating both plants and meat, do get it from meat, salmon and tuna. Vegetarians get niacin from legumes as well as whole grains. Niacin deficiency causes sickness, headaches, and damage to the skin and mucous membranes.
Niacin is also beneficial when applied to the skin. Niacin works on the skin in many ways. It is used as a supportive treatment even for severe skin conditions.
Niacin strengthens the stratum corneum of the skin
Niacin makes skin’s surface to retain moisture better. The stratum corneum, or protective layer on the surface of the skin, is made up of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. Nasin increases the production of all of these. An improved, stronger stratum corneum helps the skin retain moisture better. As the skin ages, the stratum corneum weakens and the skin dries more easily. Also, in skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema, the stratum corneum of the skin is weak. Nicotinic acid is a good remedy for these problems.
Niacin soothes the skin and reduces small lines on the skin
Niacin has the ability to boost the production of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids in the stratum corneum of the skin. This makes the skin surface smoother and remove the roughness. Because the skin is now able to store moisture better it also looks more elastic. Small lines disappear and the skin gets a new, youthful glow.
Niacin has anti-inflammatory effects on the skin
Niacin reduces inflammation on the skin. This property can be useful when treating acne and rosacea. More information is provided in this article. https://www.dermatologytimes.com/dermatology/anti-aging-effects-niacinamide
How safe is niacin?
Niacin, or vitamin B3, is a very popular nutrient supplement. However, there are some concerns when used internally. When taking high doses, niacin causes so-called. “Flush” reaction. This only applies to nicotinic acid. Nicotinamide does not have such an effect.
In a flush reaction, the skin of the whole body begins to turn strongly red, the pulse gets accelerated and you are not feeling well. It means that over-dose is causing some kind of poisoning. The reaction is harmless but really unpleasant. It will quickly pass. Everyone will not get the flush reaction, just some individuals. We do not know the reason. It is safest to get the niacin your body needs from food. Dietary niacin has not been found to cause problems.
When used externally, nicotinamide is completely safe.
Please note that nicotinic acid can cause redness on the skin in high doses. Personally, I prefer niacin-rich natural ingredients in skin care. They contain both nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. Such ingredients are safe to use. Of course, you can get a nicotinamide product and use it in skin care. However, they are synthetic products made in factories. Natural niacin made from seeds is always a safer choice. They contain just a reasonable amount of niacin. The other ingredients of the seeds also treat the skin.
Which raw materials in homemade cosmetics contain niacin?
There are plenty of niacin-containing ingredients to choose from to your product. So many raw materials contain niacin. Niacin is water soluble and that is why no oil contain it. I have prepared a list of raw materials containing niacin that you can use in cosmetics. There are certainly much more raw materials containing niacin that just these I’ve listed.
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Wheat; bran and grain
- Egg yolk
These seeds are rich in niacin. Always use unpeeled wheat grains, sesame seeds, almonds and peanuts. Peeled almonds, finished almond powder or almond chips are not suitable for this. Niacin is especially present just under the seed skin. In peeled seeds, the niacin level is considerably lower. Sunflower seeds and hemp seeds must, of course, be peeled as they have a very hard and thick skin.
How do I make cosmetics using seeds?
In addition to niacin, seeds contain many other ingredients that are useful for the skin. Therefore, the seeds should be used in the products as whole as possible. Seeds contain a huge amount of minerals and vitamins. Niacin is one of the most important vitamins in all seeds. Seeds contain also fat-soluble, skin-beneficial vitamin E.
All seeds are rich in minerals. The skin is also able to absorb minerals externally. The most common minerals in seeds are magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, potassium and calcium.
I have soaked the seeds overnight in water. Soaking makes the seeds softer and brings them to life. Peanuts and hemp seeds should not be soaked at all.
If the seeds start to germinate a little, it’s just good. Germination removes an antinutrient called phytate from the seeds. Phytate prevents the absorption of minerals into the skin.
Wheat contains an antinutrient called gliadin which is part of the wheat protein, gluten. It cannot be deleted. If you are sensitive to gluten, you may also be sensitive to wheat that is used externally. Therefore, you should always test the suitability of the raw material on your own skin first.
I have often been asked about sources. For this I do not have any source. I’ve taken care of my eczema by removing antinutrients from my diet. Therefore, I am familiar with the handling of beans and seeds. I always try to remove antinutrients from them as accurately as possible.
Now the niacin-containing seeds are pre-treated and you can use them in your products.
I have added couple of recipes to Recipes tab, please take a look and test. Cosmetics made from seeds are worth a try. A small seed is dense stuff. It’s like a natural multivitamin tablet for the skin. The seeds contain a large selection of nutrients your skin needs. When you make fresh cosmetics from seeds by yourself, valuable nutrients do not have time to oxidize and get spoiled in the product.
Have you tried nicotinamide in skin care?