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By: Paolo Giacomoni, PhD. Posted: 08/05/2016
Since the mid-20th century, there have been great discoveries in the role vitamins play in skin health. Specifically, many vitamins can be used in topically applied products to improve the health and the appearance of skin.
Vitamin B3 (in its two forms nicotinamide or niacin) is just one of them. It’s vital to both the production of energy and DNA repair. In fact, vitamin B3 is used by the body’s cells to synthesize NAD, a molecule essential to energy production. Exposure of the human epidermis to ultraviolet (UV) radiation provokes DNA damage. In the process of DNA repair, NAD is used up. The loss of NAD in epidermal cells hinders energy production, with the consequent onset of an inflammatory process (i.e., after exposure to UV, skin reddens). This inflammatory process is known to be an early cause of accelerated skin aging.
The skin’s epidermal layer contains immune-competent cells called Langerhans cells, which enable the immune system to recognize foreign bodies. They, too, are impaired by solar radiation, depressing the immune response of the epidermis.
Fortunately, the topical application of vitamin B3 has been shown to restore the capability of producing energy, to boost the repair of DNA and to reactivate the skin’s immune response after UV exposure. The best time for applying vitamin B3 to the face is prior to bedtime, giving skin the time needed for this Vitamin B3 to repair and heal while you sleep—when you are free from harmful environmental factors such as sunlight and stress.