Eczema and Niacinamide

Eczema is common skin concern that can affect people of all ages. It is characterized by red, itchy patches that flare up and cause discomfort. Eczema can be exacerbated by cold weather, dry skin or irritants that cause the skin to react. Typical treatments for eczema are topical steroids or antihistamines that can be purchased over-the-counter. For more severe cases, prescription strength topical steroids may be necessary. These topical creams can be effective, but can have unwanted side effects. However, new studies are proving that niacinamide, or vitamin B3, is a new option available that both treats and helps to prevent eczema. Cloud Vitamin Cream’s Vitamin B3 Barrier Repair offers niacinamide in a highly absorbable topical treatment cream that soothes eczema flare-ups and enables the skin to rebuild.

The Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) defines eczema as “a type of inflammation of the skin. Inflamed or eczematous skin is red, itchy and swollen sometimes with fluid-filled bumps that ooze and crust.” Eczema is also known as dermatitis. The CDA goes on to outline the causes of eczema, stating that, “Common causes of eczema include an allergic reaction to something touching the skin such as poison ivy or nickel and contact with chemicals that damage the outer skin such as strong soaps.” It can also be caused by things that “dry or irritate the skin.” Eczema is not contagious. However, it is uncomfortable and can be embarrassing if it is on skin that is easily visible.

Eczema can be triggered by both internal and external factors. Some external triggers are 
cold weather, hot weather, low humidity, very cold or very hot water, harsh detergents, perfumes, wool next to the skin and synthetic fabrics. Stress can be a major internal trigger. Managing these triggers can help to reduce occurrences of eczema. Many of the triggers can lead to dry skin. One of the most important things a person can do to prevent eczema is to keep the skin hydrated. Maintaining the moisture in the skin helps to improve the barrier function. Skin that is overly dry can form fissures or cracks, which is a breakdown of the skin’s ability to act as a barrier. An impaired barrier function allows irritants into the skin and can lead to an eczema flare-up.

Some common over-the-counter treatments for eczema are antihistamines and topical steroids, like cortisone. Antihistamines help to reduce itching by countering the body’s histamine reaction. Topical steroids help to reduce swelling, redness and itching. Prescription strength topical steroid creams may be needed for more severe occurrences of eczema.  Unfortunately, consistent use of topical steroids can cause thinning of the skin, fragility of the skin and premature aging.
Fortunately, exciting new studies are showing that niacinamide is a wonderful alternative for the treatment of eczema. An article from the “International Journal of Cosmetic Science” titled, “Nicotinamide – biologic actions of an emerging cosmetic ingredient” asserts that, “Besides numerous other anti-inflammatory effects, nicotinomide is capable of stabilizing mast cells and leukocyctes, exerting considerable histamine-release blocking activity.” The article adds that, “Nicotinomide should be capable of stabilizing the epidermal barrier homeostasis by increasing the level of ceramides and free fatty acids in the stratum corneum and thus decreasing transepidermal water loss.” This is important because it illustrates that niacinamide is responsible for the skin’s increased ability to maintain hydration, it has the ability to reduce inflammation and can also block histamine release, which are all components necessary to calm eczema. In addition, the article showed that niacinamide is able to increase the synthesis of ceramides, which are a component in the waxy layer of the epidermis. This also bolsters the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Eczema, or dermatitis, is an extremely common skin concern. Reducing internal and external triggers can help to reduce eczema flare-ups. Topical steroids and antihistamines are typically used to control eczema, but can often have unwanted side effects. Luckily, recent studies have investigated alternatives for eczema treatment. The use of Vitamin B3, or niacinamide has been proven to be an effective treatment for eczema that is well tolerated by the skin. Niacinamide is able to reduce the itching, redness and inflammation commonly associated with eczema. Cloud Vitamin Cream’s Vitamin B3 Barrier Repair features niacinamide in a highly absorbable topical cream that calms eczema and supports the skin’s barrier function.


International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2005, 27, 255-261, “Nicotinamide – biologic actions of an emerging cosmetic ingredient” by N. Otte, C. Borelli and H. C. Korting
March 20, 2014 by Cathy Mohr
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