Part 1

Olay scientists discovers the power of niacinamide for skin care

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Olay scientists discovers the power of niacinamide for skin care
With its mantra “passionate about making a difference”, Olay strives to continue its pledge by demonstrating through its scientific findings that skin care ingredient niacinamide supports anti-ageing.

Skin care name, Olay, has conducted three scientific studies demonstrating how niacinamide leads to the improvement in skin function and appearance.

Following Olay scientists’ collaboration with Newcastle University in the UK and Agency for Science, Technology & Research’s (A*STAR) Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) in Singapore, these results were presented at the International Investigative Dermatology annual meeting on 16th-19th May and will soon be submitted to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Research findings

1. Niacinamide enhances mitochondrial function in human skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes

Professor Mark-Birch Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University, and Dr John Oblong, Principal Scientist at P&G made the finding after growing dermal skin cells as part of their research study.

Cellular energy is a fundamental element of cell regeneration, Olay noted. In addition, it also helps to main the skin’s youthful, supple, smooth and plumped appearance.

 - Energy production in cells

Mitochondria in cells generate 90% of cells’ energy production. This occurs through ATP synthesis and are considered key to the ageing process.

These dermal skin cells were developed from the primary tissue of 8-10 donors. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, was added to cells for either two, five or seven days. This was then substituted on a daily basis.

Mitochondrial respiratory activity chain complexes I, II, and IV were measured after a period of two-seven days of niacinamide incubation. Spectrophotometry was used to assess this mitochondria activity.

 - The role of mitochondria

The study’s results indicate that niacinamide increases mitochondrial function in cells (specifically complexes I and IV activity) from both young and old donors by approximately 21% in skin cells, after seven days of treatment.

Exploring the relationship between niacinamide and ageing, Professor Mark Birch-Machin explained: “As our skin ages there is a decline in bioenergy as our batteries run down, resulting in tired looking skin. Previous studies which we have conducted have shown that this is associated by a decline in essential enzyme activity housed within mitochondria, the (actual or biophysical) batteries of the skin cell.”

“Our recent results show that prolonged treatment of human skin cells with niacinamide for up to seven days causes an increase in several of these essential enzyme activities as well as improved efficiency,”​ added Birch-Machin.

Commenting on how this impact the skin’s visibility, Birch-Machin went on to say: “These changes lead to an overall boosting of mitochondrial function which means greater bioenergy in the skin cells to counter the effects of tired skin.”

2. Niacinamide helps to fight the effects of oxidative stress on human skin keratinocytes

Olay scientists, led by Dr. John Oblong, along with the team of Dr. Sophie Bellanger, Principal Investigator in IMB Singapore, explored the impact that niacinamide has on photoaged skin and oxidative stress-related skin.

 - UV exposure and oxidative stress

Repeated exposure to ultra-violet (UV) radiations and/or other oxidative stress inducers such as pollution and cigarette smoke can cause premature skin ageing.  

This second research study engaged in isolating human primary keratinocytes from the skin of healthy donors, which were then exposed to UV radiations. Following a small period of time after exposure to UV, the keratinocytes indicated higher differentiation.

In a similar fashion, keratinocytes that were exposed to chemical oxidative stress indicated considerably faster differentiation along with significant cellular ageing, known as senescence.

The study’s results show a positive correlation between the presence of niacinamide and combatting enhanced differentiation and premature skin ageing caused by oxidative stress and/or UV exposure. These also indicated how niacinamide-led treatment can also prevent premature differentiation and cellular ageing.

3. Niacinamide can balance the key properties of human skin keratinocytes, including differentiation, proliferation, senescence and stem cell properties

In an effort to further understand how niacinamide can impact the skin’s ageing and efforts to reduce its ageing visibility, Olay and IMB scientists analysed the various cellular pathways that impact niacinamide’s anti-ageing activity on human skin.

Keratinocytes separated from the skin of healthy donors were also used to assess stemness and proliferation, differentiation and/or senescence in non-stress conditions.

 - Energy pathways

The scientists also examined two main energy-producing pathways: glucose metabolism and mitochondrial function.

As we age, NAD levels lower, Olay indicated. Endorsing the results found by Professor Mark Birch-Machin in skin fibroblasts, increasing the NAD pool indicates the improved maintenance of glucose metabolism and mitochondrial function in cultured keratinocytes.

 - Cell renewal, loss and ageing

By comparing the metabolism maintenance with niacinamide’s capabilities, it is possible to improve keratinocytes stem cell renewal by focusing on proliferation over differentiation.

During ageing in vitro, niacinamide also prevents epidermal stem cell loss, which is likely to stem from the maintenance of metabolism over time.

The second part of this article, which looks at the power of niacinamide in an exclusive interview with Dr John Oblong, Principal Scientist at P&G will be published on Wednesday 18th July 2018.

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