Topical vitamin B3/niacinamide

Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) applied to the skin is an effective and inexpensive treatment to reduce signs of sun damage, e.g. pigmentation and wrinkles.

Also known as

SolarCare B3, niacinamide, nicotinamide

Conditions treated

Usual dosage

Route of administration:

topical

Dosage:

Apply
N/A
cream
once daily

How to take

Apply twice daily to sun-damaged or dry skin

Warnings

Pregnancy

This drug has been taken by many pregnant women and women of childbearing age without an increase in the frequency of malformations or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the foetus having been observed.

Breastfeeding

It's safe to take this drug while breastfeeding

Food

Not applicable.

Alcohol

Drug interactions

More information

Download information

Patient information handout (PDF)
Topical vitamin B3 (i.e. applied directly to the skin as a cream) has been shown to reduce many of the visible signs of sun damage and ageing as well as enhancing wound healing. It is inexpensive and readily available in moisturisers and as a stand-alone product.

Skin health benefits of topical vitamin B3

Repair of sun-damaged and ageing skin

Vitamin B3 cream or serum, also known as niacinamide or nicotinamide, is one of the most effective topical cosmetic products. It has been shown in multiple trials to improve visible signs of sun-damaged and ageing skin in many ways:

  • pigmentation (Kimball 2010)
  • lentigines, also called "age spots" (Bissett 2006)
  • wrinkles (Fu 2010, Spada 2019)
  • red blotchiness (Bissett 2006)
  • yellowing (Bissett 2006)
  • elasticity (Bissett 2006, Spada 2019)
  • Increased production of keratin, strengthening of the skin's lipid barrier, reduction of dry skin (Spada 2019, Farris 2015)

Enhanced wound healing

Topical vitamin B3 has been shown in an experimental setting to improve skin healing after excision procedures (Esfahani 2015).

Other benefits

Topical vitamin B3 is sometimes used in the treatment of dermatitis and acne.

Using topical vitamin B3

Topical vitamin B3 is easily absorbed into the skin and unlike some other topical skin repair treatments, it rarely causes any side effects or skin irritation. (Farris 2015)

It should be applied to the skin daily and can be used in combination with other ski treatments, moisturiser and sunscreen.

Results will take several months to become apparent.

Availability

Nicotinamide for topical use is available in many skin preparations, including Solarcare vitamin B3 mostiuriser (available for purchase at Spot Check Clinic). For people with sun-damaged skin and a history of BCC, SCC or solar keratoses, we recommend Propaira SPF50+  sunscreen, which contains nicotinamide.

References

Kimball A, Kacsvinsky J, Robinson L et al
Reduction in the appearance of facial hyperpigmentation after use of moisturizers with a combination of topical niacinamide and N‐acetyl glucosamine: results of a randomized, double‐blind, vehicle‐controlled trial
British Journal of Dermatology. [Online] 13 January 2010
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09477.x
Date accessed:
May 9, 2021
.
Bissett D L, Oblong J E, Berge, C A
Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance.
Dermatologic Surgery. [Online] 21 March 2006
Date accessed:
May 9, 2021
.
Fu J, Hillebrand P, Raleigh P et al
A randomized, controlled comparative study of the wrinkle reduction benefits of a cosmetic niacinamide/peptide/retinyl propionate product regimen vs. a prescription 0·02% tretinoin product regimen
British Journal of Dermatology. [Online] 15 February 2010
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09436.x
Date accessed:
May 9, 2021
.
Spada F, Lui A, Barnes T
Use of formulations for sensitive skin improves the visible signs of aging, including wrinkle size and elasticity
Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, volume 12, pages 415-425
https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S212240
Date accessed:
Aug 1, 2021
.
Farris P
The anti-aging effects of niacinamide
DermatologyTimes wesbite
https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/anti-aging-effects-niacinamide
Date accessed:
Aug 1, 2021
.