The role of nicotinamide in acne treatment

Dermatol Ther. 2017 Sep;30(5). doi: 10.1111/dth.12481. Epub 2017 Feb 21.


Safe and effective treatment options for acne vulgaris are needed to address side effects and increasing rates of antibiotic resistance from current treatments. Nicotinamide is a vitamin with potent anti-inflammatory properties that could offer a potential treatment option. We aim to summarize the relevant literature on the role of nicotinamide in acne vulgaris and discuss the next steps necessary to move this approach into clinical practice. We searched PubMed for clinical studies using nicotinamide for treatment of acne vulgaris. We summarized the 10 studies that met our search criteria. Six of eight studies using topical nicotinamide led to a significant reduction in acne compared with the patient's baseline or performed similarly to another standard-of-care acne treatment. Both studies using an oral supplement containing nicotinamide resulted in a significant reduction in acne compared with baseline. No major adverse side effects were noted. Our review suggests that topical and oral nicotinamide has an unclear effect on acne vulgaris due to the limited nature of the available literature. Additional studies are needed comparing nicotinamide to other first-line acne treatments and evaluating the efficacy and side effect profile of nicotinamide over an extended period of time.

Keywords: acne vulgaris; antibiotic resistance; inflammatory acne; niacinamide; nicotinamide; vitamin B3.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Niacinamide / administration & dosage*
  • Niacinamide / adverse effects
  • Niacinamide / pharmacology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Niacinamide