The Science and Research Behind Nicotinamide

Skin Cancers & Cosmetic Tattooing

Understanding the skin is essential for every cosmetic tattooist. It is the canvas for your best possible brows, lips or eyeliner, and it can also display a number of potential contraindications and complications for cosmetic tattooing. If you do the Diploma of Cosmetic Tattooing (SHB50321) you will learn a great deal about these.

Skin cancers are an absolute contraindication in the treatment area, and the diploma content helps you recognise potential problems. Of course, cosmetic tattooists are usually not qualified medical practitioners, so if you suspect something isn’t right, you should advise your client to see their doctor or dermatologist.

The most common type of skin cancer is a basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are also quite common. Once you’ve had one (usually identified in your annual skin check) then chances are there will be more. But maybe there is something you can do about it. Or your clients can. Or both.

Image courtesy of Everyday Health Group (USA)

The Skin, Skin Cancers & Vitamin B3

There have been several studies. One conducted by the University of NSW showed that taking vitamin B3, called nicotinamide (also referred to as niacinamide)** can significantly reduce the risk of further BCCs and SCCs.

In a study for one year, people who had previously had a non-melanoma skin cancer (typically a BCC or SCC) that took 500mg of nicotinamide twice a day, or a placebo (tablet with no active ingredient). In that one year, there was a 20% reduction in BCCs and 30% reduction in SCCs in the people taking nicotinamide.

Other studies indicate that solar keratoses (pre-cancerous scaly spots) are significantly reduced, and there is reason to believe that melanomas may be reduced, but there are not the studies to prove that yet.

NAM: Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) in pills alongside vitamin b3 rich foods 

In Australia we enjoy loads of sunshine, but it can be brutal. Queensland, in particular, is often referred to as the “Skin Cancer Capital of The World”. If you can reduce the risk by simply taking vitamin B3 every day, why wouldn’t you?

Why isn’t this promoted more? Good question!

Finally, Cosmetic Tattoo & Vitamin B3!

Nicotinamide and Niacinamide (NAM): Oral supplements of Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide or niacinamide) are found to have great skin health benefits and are not a contraindication. Topical product usage however, should generally be avoided in the lead up to a cosmetic tattoo appointment, and avoided in the area following treatment.

Niacin (NA): Best to avoid taking Niacin (orally, or using topically) in the days leading up to a cosmetic tattoo appointment.


**  Note - Nicotinamide (NAM), niacinamide (NAM) and niacin (NA) are all forms of vitamin B3. Niacin however, has a different molecular structure and has different benefits, and some risks.

The research discussed is related to Nicotinamide (NAM), not Niacin (NA).

March 06, 2024 — THink Aesthetics


Chalatice Moody said:

Amazing read with some very interesting information! Thank you <3

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

What is a 'tech talk'?

THink Tech Talks is our informative blog series that discusses technical industry news, training advise and more! Written in partnership with THink Aesthetics, an industry-leading training school that specialises in all things cosmetic tattooing.