Niacinamide which is an amide form of vitamin-B3 (niacin) can be applied topically to reduce the inflammation of acne lesions. The do-it-yourself topical niacinamide serum featured in this site works very well in reducing the redness and the size of an inflamed pimple. Topical niacinamide also works as mild peeling agent which encourages the shedding of dead skin cells and exposes a newer/younger skin layer. Benzoyl peroxide is simply a chemical which kills acne causing bacteria.
Why combine Topical Niacinamide and Benzoyl Peroxide?
Although topical niacinamide works very well as an anti-acne agent, the main drawback of topical niacinamide is that it does not kill acne causing bacteria. Niacinamide is only an anti-inflammatory agent which means that it can reduce the inflammation and redness of acne lesions. In this treatment regimen we added an antibacterial agent (Benzoyl peroxide) to an anti-inflammatory agent (Niacinamide) to enhance their effectiveness. One of the side effects caused by benzoyl peroxide is dryness of the skin. Topical niacinamide can counteract skin dryness because it acts as a mild moisturizer. Benzoyl peroxide also causes redness, irritation and mild burning sensation of the skin specially for first time users. Topical niacinamide also helps in alleviating the irritation and redness caused by Benzoyl peroxide.
These anti-acne products act synergistically and yield better result when used in combination. This treatment combo may clear acne faster than using Benzoyl Peroxide alone which is the usual standard treatment for acne.
What about dosage and administration?
The concentration of benzoyl peroxide that you should use is 2.5%. Concentrations greater than 2.5% does not give to much benefit on acne at all but it only increases the irritation caused by benzoyl peroxide application. For niacinamide, you can make your own topical niacinamide serums in concentrations of 2% to 10% check this link: Homemade-Topical-Niacinamide . Topical niacinamide with a concentration of 5% seems to be the commercial standard. Metazene™ is a 5% commercial over the counter topical niacinamide.
When combining two anti-acne products, it is always best to use them at separate application times. For example, apply the topical niacinamide serum or gel during the day and the benzoyl peroxide gel at night. This would ensure maximum penetration of each anti-acne product on the skin. Make sure that you wash your face first with soap and water to remove oil and dirt before applying any anti-acne product. You can expect this acne remedy combo to work better than benzoyl peroxide alone and it is less irritating too.
This acne treatment regimen does not induce bacterial resistance and can be used over long periods time.
The availability of a commercial topical niacinamide cream or gel is not as good as benzoyl peroxide. In some countries, topical niacinamide does not even exist or it is sold at very little concentration to have any effect on acne. If you can find a nearby health shop at your location, it would be best to just make your own topical niacinamide serum using oral niacinamide capsules or tablets.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a603021.html Benzoyl Peroxide( updated 10/01/2003)
Chiu A, Kimball AB. Topical vitamins, minerals and botanical ingredients as modulators of environmental and chronological skin damage. Br J Dermatology 2003; 149(4): 681-691.
Lupo MP. Antioxidants and vitamins in cosmetics. Clinics in Dermatology 2001; 19:467-473.
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