November 13, 2023 Longchang Chemical

Among the “whitening” ingredients, niacinamide is the cheapest, but not the most effective. In addition, niacinamide whitening access is relatively single, niacinamide alone to whiten, the effect is relatively poor. It’s not particularly surprising that it doesn’t work after a few months of use. And a single niacinamide, even if the whitening, after stopping the use of black. Whitening or have to start from multiple pathways, targeted sniper melanin. Of course, if sensitive skin is afraid of stimulation, you can choose some better results, gentle and not anti-black ingredients, such as the recent popular light glycyrrhizin.

Niacinamide: sealing melanin

Everyone should have played games or read martial arts novels. Often times, the big villains in them are demons that have been sealed up. The ancient powers worked together to seal him up, but couldn’t destroy him. Over time, the seal is weakened or broken, and the demon will still come out to plague the earth.

If we draw an analogy, melanin is the devil, and the principle of niacinamide whitening is to seal the devil, not to destroy it. The special molecular structure of niacinamide reduces the transfer of melanin from melanocytes to the epidermis. In this way, melanin stays at the base of the muscle and we don’t see it. But it’s always there, it doesn’t go away and it doesn’t diminish. Once you stop using it and the seal is gone, it will be released again, which is why niacinamide is anti-tanning.

The world’s most researched niacinamide is Procter & Gamble, after all, it is their home ingredient. Yet even they are upfront about the fact that niacinamide is anti-tanning in their study, which is titled “Niacinamide’s Inhibition of Melanin Transporter is Reversible”.

Cellular test for niacinamide anti-tanning
Processing Group Fluorescence intensity Inhibition of melanin transport (%) Anti-melanization (%)
Control group 1.19±0.1
Niacinamide
3 days of use 1.02±0.05 14
Discontinued for 1 day 1.01±0.06 14 0
Discontinued for 2 days 1.07±0.02 10 29
3 days of use 1.17±0.04 2 86

In the cellular experiments, it was clearly seen that two days after niacinamide was discontinued, the anti-tanning had already appeared. And by the third day, it was already essentially anti-blackening to what it was before the use of niacinamide.

If you think the cellular experiments don’t tell the story, then check out the long-term human tests. After eight weeks of continuous use, the skin of the test subjects did lighten. However, when we look at it in conjunction with the control group, we see that it wasn’t significant, and the absolute difference in whiteness wasn’t that much. Perhaps this is due to the strict sun protection that the test subjects were required to wear.

What’s more, after the niacinamide was discontinued, it also showed a significant anti-tanning in the human test. Within six months, the melanin sealed by niacinamide ran out a little bit. So the skin slowly darkened. Eventually it returned to about the same state as before use.

This study, the amount of niacinamide added also made a very detailed study, low concentration of niacinamide whitening effect is almost no. For example, the researchers tested the whitening effect of 2% niacinamide, and there was essentially no difference from the control group!

So with niacinamide, our conclusion is very clear:

1. the whitening effect of a single niacinamide is relatively limited
2. For a limited whitening effect, a high concentration of 5% or more is needed, and a low concentration has no effect.
5. niacinamide whitening will be anti-darkness
However, these are the brands will not tell you, perhaps they simply did not look closely at the relevant studies, or perhaps they are just pretending to be confused, just want to rub niacinamide as an ingredient of the traffic. And so there are many niacinamide traps on the market.

The first trap is to use a low concentration of niacinamide and just rub it in anyway. As for whether it works or not, there is no guarantee.

The second type of trap is a little more responsible than the first type of trap, and that is to use a high concentration of niacinamide. Isn’t the test concentration 5%? Then I will add 10%, not afraid that you have no effect. But according to cosmetic regulations, the safe concentration of niacinamide is 5%, any higher and there is a risk of irritation. And many brands do not choose high purity niacinamide, but according to the cost, choose one that is almost enough. So the residual niacin in it, added at a high concentration, can’t be ignored, posing another risk of irritation.

The final trap is to use a single niacinamide and deliberately avoid other ingredients. Because inhibiting melanin transport is only one part of the whitening pathway, multiple pathways are needed to maximize results. If you only want a single ingredient, then choose a versatile ingredient that can cover multiple whitening pathways.

The existence of these pitfalls is why many people have been using niacinamide for so long without any results at all.

Real whitening: multiple pathways to start

Melanin is produced in the following main steps:
1. Ultraviolet light strikes the skin to produce free oxygen
2. Free oxygen stimulates the production of cytokines
3. Cytokines activate melanocytes
4. Tyrosinase in melanocytes under oxidative stress produces melanin precursors, which are further turned into melanin in an oxidizing environment
5. Melanin is transported from melanocytes to the stratum corneum.

So in response to the above steps of melanin production, we also have the pathway to whitening

1. Sun protection
2. cytokine inhibition
3. anti-free oxygen
4. inhibit tyrosinase activity
5. Inhibit melanin transport
6. Promote cell renewal and melanin exfoliation

Among so many whitening pathways, niacinamide is only responsible for one of them, and the natural whitening effect is not obvious. Even at high concentrations, it causes skin intolerance and stimulates cytokine secretion, instead of becoming darker. So if you really want to whiten, you must cover multiple pathways. If your skin tolerance is not high, hoping to find a mild and effective ingredient, then this ingredient had better also be multi-faceted, can cover several pathways, such as light glycyrrhizin, is a good choice.

Representative of multi-pathway whitening ingredient: Licorice

Licorice is a well-known whitening ingredient, in which dipotassium glycyrrhizinate has some cytokine inhibiting effects, thus reducing melanin activity.

Glycyrrhiza glabra is a kind of licorice, and compared with other licorice, there is a special ingredient in Glycyrrhiza glabra – Glycyrrhiza glabra. According to research, it has been confirmed that it has good whitening effect. Only the current price of photoglycyrrhizidine is very expensive, which hinders its use.

Because the molecular structure of glycyrrhizin is relatively complex, it can only be extracted from licorice. And photoglycyrrhizidine only exists in the rhizome of photoglycyrrhiza glabra, which only accounts for one thousandth of the dry weight [3]. This means that only 1g of glycyrrhizin can be extracted from one kilogram of dried Glycyrrhiza glabra, so it is no wonder that this ingredient is so expensive.

Aside from being expensive, there’s really no downside to licorice-ding in whitening. Because it can from inhibit cytokines, anti-free oxygen, inhibit tyrosinase activity.

Light Glycyrrhizin effectively inhibits the release of cytokines, thus preventing the activation of melanocytes and suppressing melanin production from the source.

In the test [4], it can be seen that under external stimulation, cells secrete cytokines such as interleukins, which are responsible for the activation of melanocytes. However with the use of photoglycodine, the secretion of all these cytokines was inhibited. So not only does light glycyrrhizin whiten the skin, but it also reduces pigmentation caused by cytokine reactions [5], most typically black acne marks, as well as dullness of the skin and anti-blackness caused by intolerance to certain mammoth ingredients.

From this perspective, photoglycodine is an ideal whitening ingredient for sensitive skin, as it is mild and non-irritating, and is effective in relieving the stinging and redness associated with cytokines.

Photoglycodine also inhibits tyrosinase activity.

In melanocytes, tyrosinase grabs one tyrosine molecule and turns it into a precursor of melanin, which is then further converted into melanin. In this process, tyrosinase is like a key that keeps unlocking the lock of tyrosine into melanin precursors. Photoglycoside, on the other hand, has a certain similarity to tyrosine in its chemical structure, and when the lock, tyrosinase, is inserted into photoglycoside, it is firmly welded shut. The number of tyrosinase enzymes that can react with tyrosine is then greatly reduced, and melanin production becomes much less [6].

Among a host of whitening ingredients, light glycopyrrolate’s ability to inhibit tyrosinase is considered quite strong [7], which is 138 times more potent than niacinamide and about 20 times more potent than ethyl Vitamin C. It is often used as a tyrosinase inhibitor. It is 138 times more powerful than niacinamide and 20 times more powerful than ethyl viologen. Tretinoin, which is often used as a benchmark for tyrosinase inhibition, is only 1% as powerful as glycyrrhizin.

In addition to this, glycyrrhizin has an anti-free oxygen effect. Free oxygen plays an important role in the stimulation of cytokines, the production of melanin precursors, and ultimately the production of melanin. This is why quite a few antioxidant ingredients, such as vitamin C and astaxanthin, have a whitening effect. In in vitro tests [8], it was found that photoglycoside has a strong scavenging effect on free oxygen. This quenches the free oxygen needed in the melanin production process, which further reduces melanin synthesis.

As a single ingredient, Mitigandrin is able to achieve the multiple whitening pathways of cytokine inhibition, tyrosinase activity inhibition, and anti-free oxygen. Therefore, light glycyrrhizin alone has a good whitening effect. In human testing, the whiteness of the skin was significantly improved after seven days of continuous use of Photoglycyrrhizine, and the skin became significantly whiter after eight weeks of continuous use (only representative of the test results, the actual effect varies from person to person).

In addition, the inhibition of cytokine secretion by Glycyrrhizin also has a significant effect on redness, and after 28 days, consumers using Glycyrrhizin showed a significant improvement in redness (test results only, actual results may vary from person to person).

Although niacinamide is a popular ingredient, it only has one whitening pathway – inhibiting melanin transporter – so the effect is not considered the best among the bunch of whitening ingredients. Plus, it can only inhibit melanin transit and does not address the root cause of melanin, but only seals melanin at the base of the muscle, so after discontinuing its use, it will go back to black.

For the matter of whitening, it is still necessary to cover a variety of mechanisms to achieve better results. Of course, if your skin is sensitive or if you only want to use a single ingredient, then you can try Photoglycoside. It covers the multiple whitening pathways of anti-free oxygen, cytokine inhibition, and tyrosinase activity inhibition. What’s even more valuable is that it is not only gentle and non-irritating, but also repairs redness brought on by skin sensitivity, and there is no need to build up tolerance, so it can be said to be the whitening ingredient of choice for sensitive skin.

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