What is nicotinamide?

23 Nov 2022 • 2 min read

It may sound a bit daunting, but nicotinamide is quite simply Vitamin B3. An essential nutrient for your skin.

Nicotinamide, also commonly known as niacinamide or nicotinic acid amide, is one of two forms of vitamin B3.

The other is niacin, which your body naturally creates and is converted into nicotinamide when it is taken in larger amounts than the body needs.

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Is nicotinamide and niacin the same thing?

Despite the very similar sounding names, nicotinamide and niacin are not the same thing. They’re actually two different types of vitamin B3.

Nicotinamide is created when there’s an excessive amount of niacin in the body.

But this is no bad thing!

Nicotinamide can be found in many vitamin-rich foods and can help take care of the body from the inside, as well hydrate the skin and protect it from environmental damage on the outside. It’s generally a great allrounder, and pretty clever with it too.

Nicotinamide can be found in:

  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Green vegetables, such as beans and kale
  • Almonds


  • Nicotinamide is one of two forms of vitamin B3 and is an essential nutrient for the skin.
  • The other is niacin, which your body naturally creates. When your body creates too much niacin it turns into niacinamide which can help maintain healthy skin cells.
  • Nicotinamide goes under a number of names including; nicotinamide riboside, niacinamide or nicotinic acid imide.
  • It’s found in vitamin-rich foods such as fish, eggs and green veg.

How does nicotinamide work?   

Nicotinamide is a great multitasker. It’s known to support hydration, protect the skin from environmental damage and help renew your complexion from within.

Nicotinamide vitamin B3 supplements are widely available. It can be found either by itself or alongside other vitamins or minerals in doses ranging from 14 to 1,000 mg per serving.

The nicotinamide vitamin can be found in supplements such as:

  • TRU niagen
  • NAD supplements
  • NAD+ supplements
  • NMN supplement
  • NR supplements

Nicotinamide supports the proper function of fats and sugars in the body and helps maintain healthy skin cells. Unlike niacin, nicotinamide has no beneficial effects on fats and should not be used to treat high cholesterol or high-fat levels in the blood.

Benefits of niacinamide include:

  • Skin support – nicotinamide helps build a type of protein called keratin, which keeps the skin firm and healthy.
  • Protects against oxidative stress – nicotinamide helps build cells in the skin while also protecting them from environmental stresses, such as sunlight, pollution and toxins.
  • Regulates oil – nicotinamide can help regulate oil in the sebaceous glands and prevent your glands from going into overdrive.


  • Nicotinamide is great for hydrating, protecting and enhancing skin cells.
  • If you’re in the market for a niacinamide supplement, there is a number of them available. It can be found on its own or alongside other vitamins and minerals – ordinarily, servings will range from 14 to 1,000 mg per serving.
  • Nicotinamide is not the same as niacin and should not be used to control cholesterol or high-fat levels in the blood.
  • There are many niacinamide skin benefits – including the building of protein and skin cells, and the regulation of natural oils.

What does nicotinamide do for skin?

Nicotinamide is found in many skincare products. Versatile by nature, it’s been a common feature in cosmetics and dermatology for many years. But if you don’t know what it is, then you’re not alone.

Nicotinamide can help build skin protein and helps keep the skin hydrated against environmental damage by locking in moisture.

But it doesn’t stop there. There’s a number of ways that this hidden secret can do for your skin.

What are the top three benefits of nicotinamide?

  1. Helps build skin protein

Nicotinamide can help build the skins immunity by supporting the production of keratin, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. 1

  1. Locking in moisture

Nicotinamide is known for strengthening your skins moisture barrier and improve its ability to hold moisture.2 It makes the skin less likely dry and helps it stay hydrated for longer. It helps reduce the size of pores, which locks in the moisture and improves skin texture.

  1. Manages oily skin

Its ability to provide your skin with moisture also allows skin cells to rejuvenate properly. If you have oily skin.


  • Nicotinamide is known for strengthening your skins ability to hold moisture
  • It’s ability to provide your skin with moisture helps rejuvenate skin cells

How long does nicotinamide take to work?

It’s worth keeping in mind that ordinarily, nicotinamide makes up only five percent or less of formulations that contain the niacinamide vitamin.

Like many new skin products, it’s unlikely that you will see any immediate results. However, you may see smoother, toned and hydrated skin after around eight weeks of use but there is no specific timeline.

When it comes to general skin health, the best way to get micronutrients is from the foods you eat. However, nicotinamide is often used as part of a skincare routine that includes other active ingredients.

Many nicotinamide supplements work well alongside copper, zinc and folic acid to get better results.

What vitamin B nutrients can I use?

B vitamins are a group of vitamins that help convert our food into fuel and offer a range of benefits for the nervous system and cell function. 

  • Thiamin, or vitamin B1 he is found in peas, eggs and wholegrain bread and helps break down food. Men require 1mg per day, and women need 0.8mg per day.
  • Riboflavin, or vitamin B12 helps the skin, eyes and nervous system and is found in rice, eggs and fortified cereals. Men need 1.3mg per day and women need 1.1mg per day.
  • Niacin, or vitamin B3 supports the skin and helps energy growth. Wheat flour and eggs are good sources, and men need 16.5mg per day, require women need 13.2mg per day.
  • Vitamin B6 supports your blood to carry oxygen around the body. Many different foods are rich in this vitamin, including most vegetables and wholegrain products. Men should get 1.4mg per day, and women 1.2mg.
  • Vitamin B12 helps you produce blood cells and release energy from your food. Good sources include eggs and cheese, and men and women both need 1.5mg per day.


  • Nicotinamide usually makes up around five percent of formulas that contain the vitamin
  • When using face products that contain nicotinamide, its unlikely that you’ll see immediate results and it may take some time before you see developments.
  • A good way of getting micronutrients like nicotinamide is by a well-balanced diet, although there are a number of supplements available.

What are the side effects of nicotinamide?

In appropriate doses, nicotinamide is generally considered safe with few side effects. Usually, supplements or skincare products are used and applied twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening.4

When taken orally, nicotinamide is generally well-tolerated as large amounts are passed through urine. Its advised that adults should not have doses greater than 35mg per day.

When this dosage is exceeded, minor side effects can include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Gas
  • Dizziness
  • Rash or itching

People with pre-existing skin allergies may experience a reaction that could cause redness, itching, or tingling of the skin.

There is a low risk of side effects with nicotinamide supplements, however, you can reduce the risk of such reactions by following these steps before applying products containing nicotinamide:

  1. Apply a small amount, around the size of a pound coin to your forearm
  2. Wait 24 hours
  3. If you experience redness, itching or swelling then wash the area and do not continue to use.
  4. If you don’t have any side effects, then you should be fine to apply elsewhere.

If you have any concerns about using nicotinamide you should speak to a dermatologist or healthcare professional before application.


  • Nicotinamide is generally well tolerated when doses are kept at 35mg or lower per day.
  • Exceeding this dosage can have minor side effects such as an upset stomach, dizziness or redness.
  • If you are susceptible to skin allergies should follow precautions or discuss with a dermatologist or skin professional.

Now you know nicotinamide

So now you know that nicotinamide, or niacinamide as can be known, is simply Vitamin B3 you can hopefully see why its so well respected in the world of skincare.

Its versatility means that it can help strengthen your skins structure, as well as keep it hydrated from the inside and out.

Last updated: 28 April 2021

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