Niacinamide in the Treatment of Melasma
Last week I was completely focused on the book that I am writing about skincare. During my ‘solitary confinement’ I was delving deep into literature searching for the latest news… Not so strange, as after this week I am unable to change any of the text! Of course, I came across a load of interesting things for my blog; such as a recently published study where the effectiveness of Niacinamide, for the treatment of melasma, is compared to that of Hydroquinone…
Melasma: one of the three most common forms of pigmentation
Melasma, also known as “pregnancy mask” is very common and can be very distressing. If you don’t suffer with it yourself you definitely know women who do! They are irregularly shaped discolourations that gradually blend into the normal skin colour. This is in contrast to age spots which are more round and defined. Melasma arises due to a combination of genetic make-up, sunlight and hormones. Heat can also sometimes play a part. It is most common in women (90%) with a light brown skin and usually arise during the child bearing years. They often flare up during pregnancy (pregnancy mask).
Melasma which lie on the surface of the skin are often brown in colour and relatively easy to treat. Deeper lying pigmentation is recognisable by its greyish blue colour are somewhat more stubborn. Even though laser treatment can work wonders for UV damage or old age spots, melasma is more difficult to treat…
But there is hope!
The most widely used treatment for melasma is the application of a hydroquinone salve, which I have written about in an earlier blog. Unfortunately hydroquinone does have a number of drawbacks, such as the fact that you can only use it for a short period and it can cause severe irritation to the skin. That is why I was pleased to see the outcome of this scientific study where (double blind and randomized) it was demonstrated that 4% niacinamide was as effective as 4% hydroquinone. The graph shows the results after 8 weeks of use; the effect from the cream containing Niacinamide gave a ‘good to excellent’ result in 44% of the women as opposed to 55% with the use of the cream containing hydroquinone. Measured with special measuring apparatus, the difference in effectiveness between Niacinamide and Hydroquinone was not statistically significant; that is to say that Niacinamide works just as well as Hydroquinone. So good news; you don’t need to go to the Doctor or Dermatologist for a prescription, you are free to use it for longer and without skin irritation.
Before and after
If you are not completely convinced, then these photos show the effects. Below left are photos showing the effects before and after using Niacinamide, and below right are photos showing the effects before and after using Hydroquinone.
Niacinamide has even more positive effects on the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and there is also evidence that it helps against acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Alongside this Niacinamide protects your skin against UV rays (photoprotection). There’s even more, and that is Niacinamide repairs the barrier function; this is especially important for damaged skin or skin with eczema. So in my opinion a super ingredient! If you want to read more about this, see the blog that I wrote earlier.
(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
The Moisturizers by Dr. Jetske Ultee contain 4% Niacinamide.
You can also read:
‘Melasma: Vitamin C Versus Hydroquinone‘,
‘Skin Ageing Due to Pigmentation’,
‘An Exfoliant as Part of the Step-By-Step Plan’,
‘Ingredient Choice for Pigment Spots’,
‘An SPF in Your Make-Up; Is It Worth It?‘,
‘Older Behind Glass‘ and the blog
‘A Good Sun Cream?‘