Niacin is synonymous to nicotinic acid. It is a component of the vitamin B complex. It is a kind of coenzymes that are essential for metabolic processes in each cell of the body. Deficiency in Niacin can reduce cellular functions in the body. Niacin can be found in liver, milk, yeast, cheese and cereals.
Niacin can function as a vasodilator. It is suggested that Niacin can help to widen dilation of blood vessels. Some suggest that Niacin may be a natural substitute for the drug minoxidil (Rogain) because of its function as a vasodilator. Topical application of niacin may be beneficial to hair growth since it enhances blood circulation of the scalp and stimulates the metabolism of hair follicles.
Niacin has been combined with polysorbate 80 and vitamin B6 and marketed under the name Helsinki Formulaź in the 80s. It was major news in hair loss treatment at the time. Unfortunately, the Helsinki Formula turned out to be more of a hype than a real cure for hair loss and gradually lost its appeal in the hair loss treatment industry. However, this hasn't stopped companies from including Niacin in their topical formulas for hair loss. Nowadays, there are many topical lotions that are formulated with Niacin as one of the key ingredients. However, Niacin's significance in promoting hair growth remains unproven as of today. There are very few clinical studies that confirmed Niacin's role in hair growth.
Some of the side effects from using Niacin topically include itchiness and redness of the scalp.
Products that contain Niacin are available from:
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