Dark spots from sun damage, often referred to incorrectly as “age spots” or “liver spots”, is one of the most visible signs of aging. After years of repeated sun exposure without adequate protection pile up, a person can begin to look older than they should. Fortunately, Niacin (vitamin B3) has now shown to be a simple, cost effective treatment for repairing sun-damaged skin.
Niacin is applied topically to the skin as a cream or sunscreen. Sound exciting or revolutionary? Maybe not yet, but did you know that niacin is actually able to promote healthy DNA repair, increase the rate of cellular reproduction, and reduce healing time? Now that I have your attention, let’s look at how Niacin actually delivers on these lofty claims.
Sun Damage: What is Actually Happening to Your Skin
When the skin endures ultraviolet ray exposure from the sun, burning and cell damage occurs. The skin attempts repair by releasing melanin, the chemical that produces skin bronzing. Skin cells undergo DNA repair, but depending on the severity of the sun damage, new cells may have alterations in coloration or texture. Irreparable DNA damage may lead to the abnormal cell reproduction commonly associated with skin cancer.
Niacin (Vitamin B3): The Science of Repairing Damaged Skin
Laboratory studies indicate that Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, niacinamide or nicotinic acid, stimulates and ensures healthy DNA repair while increasing the rate of cellular reproduction. The vitamin also decreases the amount of healing time, interferes with melanin production and release. The result of applying B3 containing products includes the development of healthier, younger looking skin.
Scientists found that these regenerative properties do not only aid in the healing of sun damaged skin. By directly encouraging skin cell reproduction, Vitamin B3 deters the effects that accompany the natural aging process because cellular reproduction decreases with age.
The vitamin also enhances general skin appearance by encouraging lipid production, which acts as a protective barrier that retains moisture beneath the skin. Besides providing a better general appearance, properly hydrated skin becomes less susceptible to damage or irritation. Further investigation of Vitamin B3 also suggests that the vitamin acts as a natural exfoliant by encouraging the removal of accumulated dead skin cells that affect skin color and texture.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using topical skin care products containing Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid. Vitamin B5 shares similar properties concerning healthy skin growth and sustenance. By incorporating cost effective products boasting B vitamins as ingredients, individuals decrease the risk of skin damage and aging. Healthier skin means minimizing the need for expensive medical interventions.