Photoprotective effects of nicotinamide
Sun protective measures can reduce numbers of both precancerous actinic keratoses and cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas within relatively short periods of time even in high-risk populations. Sunscreens, which tend to provide greater protection against shortwave UVB than against longer wavelength UVA radiation, can however provide only partial protection from the mutagenic and immune suppressive effects of sunlight. In large part, this reflects poor compliance with proper sunscreen application and reapplication. Skin cancer is by far the most common malignancy in Caucasian populations, and additional strategies to reduce the morbidity and economic burden of this disease are now urgently needed. Nicotinamide, the amide form of vitamin B3, is an inexpensive agent which is used for a variety of dermatological applications with little or no toxicity even at high doses. Nicotinamide has photoprotective effects against carcinogenesis and immune suppression in mice, and is photoimmunoprotective in humans when used as a lotion or orally. UV irradiation depletes keratinocytes of cellular energy and nicotinamide, which is a precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, may act at least in part by providing energy repletion to irradiated cells.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Topical and systemic photoprotection