Niacinamide - mechanisms of action and its topical use in dermatology

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(6):311-5. doi: 10.1159/000359974. Epub 2014 Jun 27.


Niacinamide, an amide of vitamin B3 (niacin), is a hydrophilic endogenous substance. Its effects after epicutaneous application have long been described in the literature. Given a sufficient bioavailability, niacinamide has antipruritic, antimicrobial, vasoactive, photo-protective, sebostatic and lightening effects depending on its concentration. Within a complex metabolic system niacinamide controls the NFκB-mediated transcription of signalling molecules by inhibiting the nuclear poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1). Niacinamide is a well-tolerated and safe substance often used in cosmetics. Clinical data for its therapeutic use in various dermatoses can increasingly be found in the literature. Although the existing data are not sufficient for a scientifically founded evaluation, it can be stated that the use of niacinamide in galenic preparations for epicutaneous application offers most interesting prospects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Dermatology
  • Humans
  • Niacinamide* / pharmacology
  • Niacinamide* / therapeutic use
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy
  • Vitamin B Complex* / pharmacology
  • Vitamin B Complex* / therapeutic use


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Niacinamide