The latest skin rejuvenation agent: NAD+

Posted by Den Yi Ann on 22nd Oct 2021

The latest skin rejuvenation agent: NAD+

The one you wear on the outside, the skin is the largest organ and as you age, the loss of cellular function, accumulation of toxins, and increasing DNA damage leads to loss of strength, elasticity and fragile skin resulting in dark spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. Moreover, the rate of cell turnover declines, so your body doesn’t shed dead skin cells as it did in your younger years, resulting in a duller, rougher complexion.

Though aging is a natural process, it can affect your confidence and self-esteem. Research shows nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) can reverse visible signs of aging apart from improving your overall health.

The crucial role of NAD+

NAD+ has quickly become one of the most progressive anti-aging and cellular repair agents available and is becoming a celebrity wellness mainstay.

But what is NAD+? NAD+ is a helper molecule, coenzyme which can be found in every cell in our body that plays a vital role in all metabolic processes and for the sirtuin family (longevity genes).

NAD+ helps the powerhouses of the cell (mitochondria) to generate energy for the body to carry out all biochemical reactions including metabolism, DNA damage repair, aging, cell death and gene expression.

NAD+ is highly effective in protecting cell membranes from harmful free radical scavengers compared to widely known vitamins such as C and E owing to its powerful antioxidant benefits preventing free radicals that cause damage to cells and lead to inflammatory skin diseases such as rosacea, contact dermatitis and eczema.

It is essential to maintain an optimal ratio of NAD+ for mitochondrial function which is responsible for producing cellular energy (ATP) and acts as a precursor for NADPH which is crucial for synthesis of various lipids including ceramides needed in skin regeneration and maintain healthy barrier function. They enhance the effectiveness of the skin’s natural barrier against external factors that affect the aging process. Studies have shown that cellular NAD+ levels decline as we grow older. Thus, topical application of NAD+ is crucial to regulate and maintain skin homeostasis.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is the primary precursor of NAD+. It was initially used to prevent pellagra, an infectious disease with severe cutaneous lesions and was originally named vitamin PP for pellagra-preventive. The deficiency of vitamin B3 could affect the function of NAD+ and enzymes that are involved in cellular processes as well as transcription, calcium homeostasis, DNA repair, skin cell death and neoplastic transformation. Depletion of NAD+ levels in the human body leads to solar sensitivity of the skin and increases the chances of cellular senescence and development of skin cancer.

Benefits of NAD in skin rejuvenation

Cell aging process can be delayed by replenishing cellular NAD+ levels which help to stimulate our longevity gene and allow it to carry out cell repair even after repeated exposure to oxidative stress. The importance of cellular NAD+ for a healthy body's metabolic process has been extensively studied since it is known to be such a significant factor in regulating energy metabolism, longevity genes, stress response and its antioxidative properties. Moreover, adequate NAD+ levels in skin enhance the epidermal differentiation and restore skin barrier functions while reducing skin redness.

Skin renewal requires a significant amount of cellular energy to help in the desquamation process where new skin cells are created, shedded, and replaced on the outermost layer of the skin. In clinical studies, results have shown that topical application of NAD+ precursor can improve the appearance of aging skin such as reducing skin roughness, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, skin yellowing, pore size, erythema and sebum excretion and is well tolerated by the skin. Meanwhile, strengthening of skin barrier functions and increases elasticity and hydration.

NAD therapy can help improve various skin concerns such as:

  • Sagging skin
  • Wrinkles and fine lines
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Dull skin
  • Rough skin texture
  • Dark spots
  • Loss of skin volume

Enhancing skin NAD+ concentrations is a promising approach to skin rejuvenation.

About the Author

Den Yi Ann

Ms. Ann is MScRes in transdermal drug delivery from School of Pharmacy at University of Reading. Ann also obtained her BSc (Hons) in Cosmetic Science from the University of the Arts London, and a Diploma in Beauty Therapy. She is passionate about skincare and has experience in product formulation, color cosmetics, beauty treatments, and skin analysis.


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