Formulating Cosmetics with Niacinamide: A Guide

Formulating Cosmetics with Niacinamide: A Guide
August 6, 2019 Aidee Erhime
salicylic acid

Niacinamide is the active form of vitamin B3. It serves multi-purpose benefits in skincare including as a potent conditioning ingredient in hair and skin products. It is effective in anti-aging treatments, reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and melasma.

This ingredient has a mechanism of action that is similar to other skin brightening ingredients like hydroquinone and kojic acid. It helps in regulating sebum production while also working to keep the skin moisturized. Little wonder why it is a sought-after ingredient amongst consumers of skincare products.

Ingredient chemistry

Molecular formula

C6H6N2O

Molecular Weight

122.1

Physical properties

It is sold as a white crystalline solid

It is relatively odorless

Read the guide on formulating with Salicylic Acid

Niacinamide in formulation

This ingredient functions at an overall pH of 6-7.5.

In formulation, it can be used in concentrations of up to 10%. Typical concentrations in body lotions, face creams and hand creams is 3-4%.

3% Niacinamide can be added to the water phase of the formulation. It can also be added directly to the finished product.

This ingredient is pH sensitive and breaks down in extreme high and low pH environments so the pH should be confirmed to be accurate in order to ensure product stability.

Note that the hydrolysis of niacinamide leads to the formation of niacin. Niacin has been known to cause flushing, itching and/or redness in some consumers.

Reports on Niacinamide

A report has shown that 4% niacinamide may be effective in treating Melasma.

Both Niacinamide and Niacin are not potentially dangerous to the skin and are not significant skin irritants.

Label warnings

If the intention is to sell the niacinamide-containing product commercially, warnings should be indicated for the consumer. An example of the warnings to be indicated is:

  • Store product at room temperature
  • Product could be a potential irritant

Further resources.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16596767

Effect of Niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. Br. J Dermatol. (July 2002), 147 (1): 20-31.

https://www.in-cosmetics.com/__novadocuments/45323?v=635271279589170000

Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/Niacinamide and the skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2004) 3 (2), 88–93.

https://jpharmsci.org/article/S0022-3549(15)33604-2/pdf

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022354915336042

Bissett, D. L.; Miyamoto, K.; Sun, P.; Li, J.; Berge, C. A. Topical Niacinamide reduces yellowing, wrinkling, red blotchiness, and hyper pigmented spots in aging facial skin. Int. J. Cosmet. Sci., Vol. 26, Number 5, Oct. 2004, 231-238.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14764170600717704

 

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