Rapid Exfoliating Serum
Whenever we see a product claiming it contains plant-based exfoliants we’re skeptical. All of the research-proven exfoliants (think AHA ingredients such as glycolic acid or BHA, which is salicylic acid) don’t involve plant extracts, and there’s no real research proving any plant comes close to what a well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliant does.
Beyond the form of niacinamide in this NIA 24 product, there isn’t much else worth the cost of this pricey moisturizer. In fact, it contains more alcohol than beneficial ingredients (well, except for the niacinamide, but you can get that from plenty of other less expensive products), and none of them, not a one, will exfoliate your skin.
The willow bark extract, often seen in natural products, is claimed to be a viable alternative to salicylic acid (BHA), but it isn’t. The skin cannot convert willow bark into salicylic acid, so it is incapable of exfoliating, although it is a good anti-inflammatory ingredient. Prickly pear extract cannot exfoliate skin, either. In the end, Rapid Exfoliating Serum is a poor choice over any of the AHA or BHA products recommended on Beautypedia’s Best Products list.
By the way, alcohol causes free-radical damage, dryness, and irritation, which is damaging for all skin types!
Plant-based exfoliants increase and supplement skins natural exfoliation enzymes to loosen the interlocking of cells, while Pro-Niacin works within to generate healthier skin and improve overall cell turnover. Reduces rough, dry patches that clog pores and dull skins appearance. Improves texture, tone, and sun damage.
Strengths: Good cleanser and scrub; some very well-formulated moisturizers for use on face or body; company provides complete product ingredient lists on their Web site; there is legitimacy behind most of their claims for nicotinic acid (a derivative of niacinamide).
Weaknesses: Expensive; very small line of products, which limits its appeal; no AHA or BHA exfoliants; no anti-acne products; sole sunscreen contains irritating fragrance chemicals; some jar packaging.
As you may have guessed from this line's name, Nia24 is all about the B vitamin niacinamide.We have written about niacinamide extensively in the past, and without question it is one of many valuable ingredients for skin. Topical application of niacinamide has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis (Sources: British Journal of Dermatology, September 2000, pages 524531; and Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2004, page 88).
Niacinamide also has been shown, in studies from Procter & Gamble (whose Olay brand sells several niacinamide-rich products), to be an effective option for lightening sun-induced skin discolorations, both on its own and when combined with acetyl glucosamine (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2007, pages 2026; and British Journal of Dermatology, July 2002, pages 2031).
Nia24 is working hard to position itself as the superior, doctor-designed choice for those seeking niacinamide. To that end, the two physicians behind this brand (Dr. Myron Jacobson and Dr. Elaine Jacobson) tout their years of research on niacinamide and how this led to their development of a patented niacin molecule, which they have termed Pro-Niacin. Both of the Jacobsons have published some of their research on the Pro-Niacin ingredient, which is listed as myristyl nicotinate, but as it turns out, how it performs on skin isn't fundamentally different from how "regular" niacinamide functions.
Myristyl nicotinate is a derivative of nicotinic acid, a component of vitamin B3 (niacin). It isn't the same ingredient as niacinamide, but functions in nearly the same manner (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). Just like niacinamide, there is research on myristyl nicotinate's ability to improve skin barrier function, mitigate signs of sun damage, and reduce the incidence of atopic dermatitis, commonly known as dry skin. Niacinamide and myristyl nicotinate are both compatible with several prescription drugs used to treat various skin conditions and are believed to enhance their efficacy and/or minimize the negative side effects. Myristyl nicotinate is stabilized to prevent the release of, or quick conversion to, nicotinic acid, which can cause facial flushing, particularly in those dealing with rosacea (Sources: Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, February 2007, pages 893899; Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, November 2007, pages 11761182; and Experimental Dermatology, November 2007, pages 927935, and June 2007, pages 490499).
So why should consumers choose Nia24's patented version of niacinamide over other products (particularly those from Olay)? Well, according to the company, their version of niacinamide penetrates skin better than other forms. It stands to reason that getting niacinamide further into the skin means the benefits it provides will be that much greater. Of course, these allegedly enhanced benefits come with enhanced price tags. This isn't an affordable line by any stretch of the imagination, though at least most of the formulas are good.
We would love to see published, peer-reviewed research that compares the Pro-Niacin molecule with other forms of niacinamide, such as what Olay or the Estee Lauder companies use. Because such comparative research doesn't exist, you're left to take Nia24's word that their form of this B vitamin is the one to beat.We wouldn't bank on that, but on the other hand, the research on niacinamide in general is strong enough to support its use for a variety of skin concerns and conditions. Bottom line: Nia24 isn't the only game in town when it comes to niacinamide and its derivatives, and their claims of superiority aren't supported in peer-reviewed,published studies. You'll very likely see your skin improve from using Nia24 products, especially if you're dealing with an impaired skin barrier, dryness, and discolorations. However, you're just as likely to see the same benefits from using less expensive products that contain efficacious amounts of niacinamide. Although Nia24 deserves credit for not resting solely on niacinamide, the Nia24 products are also further proof that expensive products don't necessarily mean better or more effective products.
For more information about Nia24, call (866) 642-3963 or visit www.nia24.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.