Although the slow appearance of wrinkles as the years pass is natural, lifestyle and environmental factors can play a big role in the development of your premature wrinkles. The number one cause of wrinkling and skin damage is excessive exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays. A growing body of studies shows that niacin can be an effect treatment for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Niacin is one of the eight B vitamins. These vitamins are responsible for converting carbohydrates into glucose, or energy, in your body. B vitamins are water-soluble, so they cannot be stored in the body. These vitamins are vitally important for healthy hair, skin and liver function, however. B vitamin deficiency is rare, and the vitamins can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin B-3 is niacin, or in its amide form, niacinamide. The University of Maryland notes that B-3 is an important component in the development of stress- and sex-related hormones in the adrenal glands. It also plays a role in the circulatory system and reduces the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Niacin is used in the cosmetics industry to make moisturizers and anti-aging products.
A 2010 study in the "British Journal of Dermatology" measured the effectiveness of niacinamide against the proven vitamin A wrinkle reducer tretinoin. The eight-week study involved 196 women with aging skin who were divided into two groups. Half used a combination of niacinamide and SPF lotions, while the other half used tretinoin and SPF lotions. Niacinamide was just as effective as tretinoin and produced less side effects.
A full understanding of how niacin improves wrinkles it not yet known. Reputable sources like the University of Maryland and MayoClinic.com list anti-aging as a possible benefit of topical niacin application, but warn that this is still speculative and more research needs to be done. Over-the-counter anti-aging cosmetic products are not regulated by the FDA, so their claims of effectiveness are not proven.
According to the University of Maryland, the only topical treatment effective at reducing premature wrinkles is prescription tretinoin, known commercially as Retin-A. Tretinoin can reduce the appearance of wrinkles by stimulating collagen production to develop new skin cells. It can take two to six months of applying this topical medicine at least twice a week for positive results to appear. Consult your doctor for further information.
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