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What Is Niacinamide Cream?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 21, 2024
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Niacinamide cream is a type of topical treatment cream formulated to treat frequent acne blemishes. This cream is often reported to clear patches of acne relatively quickly with few side effects, such as skin dryness, irritation, or prominent post-inflammatory scars. The regular use of topical niacinamide has also been shown to help support the skin's natural immunities to the harmful bacteria responsible for causing these types of blemishes. Many adult acne sufferers use niacinamide cream as an effective and gentler alternative to other anti-acne medications containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Vitamin B3 is another term for niacinamide, as well as for other forms of niacin. This nutrient combined with another active ingredient called nictotinamide can often treat persistent types of acne as effectively as antibiotics. Niacinamide cream applied to cystic acne blemishes can act as an anti-inflammatory medicine that reduces swelling and absorbs the associated sebum secretions. It can also help lower the chance of further bacterial infection as these types of acne lesions go through the healing process. As with other topical acne medications, most skin-care experts recommend only applying this type of cream after consulting with a knowledgeable dermatologist.

The typical acne treatment cream containing niacinamide has about 4% of this ingredient and is often only available with a dermatologist's prescription. Some over-the-counter versions of niacinamide cream have lower concentrations of around 2%. These are sometimes used as part of anti-acne treatment designed for more sensitive skin.

Acne breakouts can occur in some adults, and their skin often requires special treatment to prevent side effects such as excessive oil absorption from the skin. Stronger topical acne treatment creams can create the common problem of sebum over-compensation that can actually increase the original number of acne blemishes. Application of niacinamide cream often maintains this balance of skin oil and allows existing acne to clear without too much dryness.

Using niacinamide cream sometimes has additional skin benefits besides fewer acne lesions. Once blemishes have healed, small amounts of this cream can lighten remaining blemish scars that have been allowed to heal with as little irritation as possible. Its regular use can also make minor skin wrinkles less noticeable and lighten the excess pink skin color that comes with conditions such as rosacea. Milder concentrations of niacinamide can even sometimes maintain the skin's natural elastic properties in some patients.

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Discussion Comments

By literally45 — On Jan 23, 2014

@turquoise-- I think that niacinamide gel or cream is a hit or miss. It works for some people but doesn't work for others. It could also be the specific product you tried. I suggest trying a niacinamide cream with good reviews, you might get better results.

If niacinamide cream isn't working for you, there are other options for acne. One is zinc oxide cream. It can also dry up and prevent pimples and fade blemishes.

By turquoise — On Jan 23, 2014

I used niacinamide cream a while ago for acne but it didn't work for me. I don't know why. My cousin is using it as a natural cure for rosacea and she says it helps. Maybe I should give it a try again.

By fBoyle — On Jan 22, 2014

I use niacinamide cream. I have acne prone skin and I found out about this cream by chance and decided to give it a try. It took about a week to start seeing results, but it has been effective for me. My acne spots have dried up and my blemishes are slowly fading.

The best part about it is that it doesn't over-dry my skin and cause tightness like other treatments for acne. My skin feels hydrated and soft but I'm not getting pimples. I'm going to continue to use this cream, I'm very happy about it. I recommend it to others.

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