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What Is It: Niacin and the NIA24 range

April 14, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 9 Comments

I saw an advertisement for NIA24, a range of anti-aging skin care based on niacin and decided it merited poking around to find out more for two reasons. I have always thought that niacin, which is vitamin B3 and is better known as an oral supplement, is not easily absorbed topically and therefore not a good ingredient for creams or hair restoring lotions. However, when I went to the NIA24 web site, it was hard not to be impressed by the pedigrees of the the founders: the Drs Jacobson (Mike and Elaine) have track records in chemistry and cancer research.

The problem with niacin and its effectiveness as a topical anti-ager is that it is hard to come by research  that wasn't conducted by the indefatigable Jacobsons. Their web site cites 20 studies and they were involved in all of them. That isn't to say that these clinical trials weren't impeccable, but I would still like to see some research by someone who isn't also selling me a cream.

Still these studies demonstrate that a niacin derivative, nicotinamide, can improve the ability of the epidermis to retain moisture and rebuild DNA. Niacinamide, another derivative, has also been shown to be an effective skin lightening agent, especially for skin conditions where hyperpigmention may occur on the face or other visible parts of the body, and to have anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a potential treatment for acne, rosacea and any blistering-type disease. The studies also noted that niacin and its derivatives have chemopreventative effects. When applied to mouse skin, topical nicotinamide produced a 70 per cent decrease in ultraviolet-induced skin cancer.

So what of NIA24's products? I took a look at the ingredients in Skin Strengthening Complex with a 5% concentration of Pro-Niacin.

Pro-Niacin is a trademarked version of niacin and since the Jacobson's describe this as having a "unique micronutrient delivery system" I assume that they believe that they have overcome the problems of getting niacin to penetrate effectively. They seem like a nice couple and its a gorgeous sunny morning here in NYC so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. What else is in NIA24 Skin Strengthening Complex?

Curiously, there are a few risky items: Polyacrylamide is shown in one study that it can degrade under normal environmental conditions, releasing acrylamide, a known nerve toxin; pentadecalactone was toxic to rabbit skins in one study and the MSDS says it is highly hazardous for the environment (although the MSDS always refer to a 100% concentration); BHT, a preservative banned in food in Europe; diazolidinyl urea, an irritant for a statistically significant one in 1,000 people; iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, an allergen.

The rest of the product uses the usual silicones and things that make cream a cream. There are also some nice moisturizers and anti-oxidants: olive oil, squalane, aloe, retinyl palmitate, ceramide and soy.

  • August 10, 2011

    by Marta

    Feel free to send us a review - you post your comments here, or submit it to

  • August 10, 2011

    by NoeyD77

    Heya Marta! I just recently purchased several of the reformulated Strivectin products that contain different amounts Nia-114. This form piqued my interest as I was speaking to a rep at skinstore and he commented that Nia24 had purchased Strivectin hence their heavy emphasis on the addition of nia-114, which according to them is their patented form of niacinimide. I'm not certain about the accuracy about Nia24 buying out Strivecton, but the reformulated Strivectin products contain 8% niacinamide in their SD product and 5% in their brand new tightening serum. Which are either equal or higher than that of Nia24. I've been intrigued by niacinamide for a while now and would love to submit a review on these products. Thoughts????

  • August 10, 2011

    by Marta

    Julie, that would be great. Looking forward to your verdict.

  • August 10, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    Marta: I have a brand new, in the box, NIA24 Eye Repair Complex I bought a few months back and hadn't gotten around to using. I'll begin applying it tonight- plan on receiving a review in six weeks or so. ~jk

  • August 9, 2011

    by Marta

    Thanks Jennifer, I'll take a look

  • August 9, 2011

    by Jennifer

    I wonder if it would be worth reevaluating this line. It looks as though the Skin Strengthening Complex has been reformulated without ANY of the above mentioned nasties.

  • January 16, 2009

    by sheila

    Hi G:

    If I had to guess, I would say that your itchy & blotchy skin was most likely a reaction to niacin. Because niacin works to increase circulation, it often causes a blushing/warm sensation/redness/itchiness with first time users. This very common side effect, often referred to as the "first blush," is sometimes accompanied with breakouts and dryness- but it usually subsides within a week.

    I actually had a similar reaction to yours when I first started using the line. I suffered through a few days of itchy, red skin before I saw any improvements. However, I will say that now (a few months later) it's one of my favorite products for which I can sometimes even see immediate results. Ironically, I actually use the Skin Strengthening Complex to calm down my skin whenever it becomes inflamed or irritated. That's because the two ingredients niacin and green tea extract (both in SS complex) work as anti-inflammatory agents, and studies have shown them to effectively decrease redness and excessive sebum production.

    I say you give it another shot, seeing how niacinamide's benefits are some of the most well documented. You'll just have to suffer through the bad part before you get to the good (like with many other powerful anti-agers like Retin A). But don't worry, there are lots of measures you can take to lessen the initial side effects. You can read more about what to expect and how to treat an adverse reaction on the Common Side Effects for NIA24 page on the company's website. Hope this helps!

  • January 10, 2009

    by marta

    Poor you! I'm glad you have recovered. Looking at the ingredients, there a few potential culprits: pentadecalactone was toxic to rabbit skins in one study; diazolidinyl urea, an irritant for a statistically significant one in 1,000 people; iodopropynyl butylcarbamate can also cause allergic reactions; as can Dodecahydro 3a,6,6,9atetramethylnaphtho( 2,1-b)furan, a fragance.

    Water (Aqua), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Myristyl Nicotinate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cyclomethicone, Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetyl Alcohol Glycerin, Polyacrylamide, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Seed Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Pentadecalactone, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Dodecahydro-3a,6,6,9atetramethylnaphtho( 2,1-b)furan, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Kernel Extract, Maltol, Ceramide 3,Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate), Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 2, PEG-8, Phospholipids, Tribehenin, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3,BHT, Laureth-7, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Polysorbate 60, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate,Methylparaben,Propylparaben

  • January 10, 2009

    by G

    I was given NIA24 by my dermatologist for sun damage repair, the sun damage prevention 100% mineral sunscreen. I used it yesterday and this morning my entire face is an itchy, red blotched mess. So I cleansed my face and now have it covered with hydrocortisone, which is a relief. The redness is going away along with the itch. What's in this product???

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