A review of nicotinamide: treatment of skin diseases and potential side effects

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2014 Dec;13(4):324-8. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12119.


Nicotinamide, also known as niacinamide, is the amide form of vitamin B3. It is a precursor of essential coenzymes for numerous reactions in the body including adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. Nicotinic acid, also known as niacin, is converted into nicotinamide in the body. The use of topical nicotinamide in the treatment of acne vulgaris; melasma; atopic dermatitis; rosacea; and oral nicotinamide in preventing nonmelanoma skin cancer is discussed. The possible side effects and consequences of excessive nicotinamide exposure are reviewed, including suggestions nicotinamide might have a role in the development of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and liver damage.

Keywords: acne vulgaris; dermatitis; melasma; niacinamide; nicotinamide; rosacea; skin cancer; vitamin B3.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Melanosis / drug therapy
  • Niacinamide / adverse effects*
  • Niacinamide / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / chemically induced
  • Pregnancy
  • Rosacea / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Vitamin B Complex / adverse effects*
  • Vitamin B Complex / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Niacinamide