Nicotinic acid for hair

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 07.06.2024

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No studies directly investigating the effects of nicotinic acid on hair have been found. However, nicotinic acid (vitamin PP or B3) is known for its broad skin health benefits and may indirectly affect hair health by improving blood microcirculation and strengthening capillaries. This, in turn, can help to better nourish hair follicles and stimulate hair growth.

Nicotinic acid is used in medicine to treat and prevent niacin deficiency and to improve blood lipid levels, indicating its positive effects on overall health, which can indirectly affect hair health as well.

In cosmetology, nicotinic acid in the form of topical preparations is sometimes used to stimulate hair growth, improve blood supply to the scalp and strengthen hair follicles. However, consultation with a dermatologist or trichologist is recommended to obtain specific results and avoid possible side effects.

Indications Of nicotinic acid for hair

No studies directly indicating the use of nicotinic acid (niacin) for the treatment of hair loss were found in the available literature. However, niacin plays an important role in maintaining skin health and may help improve blood circulation, which could theoretically have a positive effect on hair health.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, has many beneficial properties and is widely used in the treatment of hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease due to its ability to improve lipid profile and reduce lipoprotein(a) levels (Villines et al., 2012). [1] Studies have also noted that niacin may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, [2] improve endothelial function and reduce vascular inflammation, which may help improve blood flow, including to the scalp.

Although no direct studies confirming the effectiveness of niacin as a hair loss remedy have been found, its positive effect on the general condition of the body and blood circulation may indirectly contribute to the improvement of hair condition and stimulation of hair growth. It is important to note that the use of niacin should take place under the supervision of a doctor, taking into account possible side effects and contraindications.


Nicotinic acid, also known as vitamin B3 or niacin, has many positive effects on skin and hair due to its unique properties and mechanisms of action:

Skin Impact:

  1. Improved microcirculation: Nicotinic acid dilates small blood vessels and capillaries, which improves microcirculation in the skin, promoting better nourishment and oxygenation. This can help improve the complexion and reduce signs of fatigue.
  2. Strengthening the skin barrier function: Niacinamide (a form of nicotinic acid) strengthens the skin's protective barrier by increasing ceramide synthesis and reducing moisture loss. This makes the skin more resistant to external influences and prevents dryness.
  3. Acne-fighting: Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties, helping to regulate sebum production and reduce inflammatory elements in acne.
  4. Reducing hyperpigmentation: Nicotinic acid helps to reduce age spots and even out skin tone by inhibiting the transfer of melanosomes from melanocytes to keratinocytes.

Effects on hair:

  1. Hair Growth Stimulation: Improved microcirculation of blood in the scalp promotes better nourishment of hair follicles, which can stimulate hair growth and strengthen hair roots.
  2. Hair Strengthening: Increasing the overall health of the scalp and improving follicle nutrition can lead to a reduction in hair breakage and hair loss.

However, it is worth noting that although nicotinic acid and niacinamide have many positive properties, their use should be coordinated with a dermatologist or trichologist, especially if you have any skin conditions or use other active ingredients in your skin and hair care. In some cases, side effects such as skin redness or burning sensation may occur, especially with topical application of nicotinic acid.


The pharmacokinetics of nicotinic acid (niacin) includes several key aspects related to its absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. Importantly, nicotinic acid acts through specific receptors such as GPR109A, which provides its lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects, and is also associated with side effects such as flushing.


Nicotinic acid is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration. Maximum concentration in blood plasma is reached within 30-60 minutes after administration.


Once absorbed, nicotinic acid is widely distributed throughout the body, including the liver, where it exerts its primary action by decreasing triglyceride synthesis and increasing HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels.


Nicotinic acid is metabolized in the liver. The main route of metabolism is conjugation with glycine, resulting in the formation of nicotinurilglycine, which is then excreted by the kidneys.


Metabolites of nicotinic acid and a small amount of unchanged substance are excreted through the kidneys. The elimination half-life of nicotinic acid and its metabolites ranges from 20 minutes to several hours, depending on the dose and form of the drug.

Specific receptors and mechanisms of action

The action of nicotinic acid is mediated through activation of the GPR109A receptor, which is expressed in adipose tissue and immune cells. This leads to a decrease in lipolysis in adipose tissue and a decrease in the level of free fatty acids in plasma, which in turn reduces triglyceride synthesis in the liver and increases HDL levels.

Side effects such as hot flashes are associated with activation of the GPR109A receptor in the skin, which leads to the release of prostaglandins and causes blood vessels to dilate.

These aspects of pharmacokinetics and mechanisms of action of nicotinic acid emphasize its uniqueness as a means for correction of lipid metabolism and prevention of atherosclerosis, as well as the need to consider side effects in its use.

Dosing and administration

Nicotinic acid (niacin) in the form of topical application can be used to improve scalp health and stimulate hair growth due to its ability to improve blood microcirculation. Here's how you can apply nicotinic acid to your scalp:

1. Selection of the form of nicotinic acid

Nicotinic acid for topical application is usually available as a solution or ampoules. Choose the form that is most convenient for you.

2. Preparation

  • Make sure the scalp is clean and dry before application. Ideal time after washing your scalp.
  • Open the ampoule of nicotinic acid according to the instructions on the package.

3. Application

  • Gently apply the nicotinic acid solution to the scalp, especially the problem areas.
  • Gently massage the scalp with your fingers for better absorption of the solution and stimulation of blood circulation.

4. Exposure time

  • Do not rinse off the solution immediately after application. Allow time for complete absorption and action.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding exposure time, if any.

5. Frequency of application

  • Generally, nicotinic acid is recommended to be used daily for a course, the duration of which may vary depending on the individual and the manufacturer's or doctor's recommendations.

Important points:

  • Before using nicotinic acid solution, it is recommended to perform a sensitivity test by applying a small amount of the solution to a small area of the skin and wait 24 hours.
  • Nicotinic acid may cause a burning sensation or redness of the scalp, which is a normal reaction and usually goes away after a short time after application.
  • In case of severe irritation or other adverse reactions, discontinue use and consult a physician.

Please note that results may vary depending on individual body characteristics and the condition of the hair and scalp. For advice and recommendations on the use of nicotinic acid for hair and scalp care, please consult a specialist.

The use of nicotinic acid (vitamin B3 or niacin) to stimulate hair growth is based on its ability to improve blood circulation in the scalp, which can theoretically contribute to more active nourishment of hair follicles and stimulation of hair growth. Niacin is often included in hair cosmetics in the form of special solutions, lotions or masks. However, it is important to note that any use of niacin for hair should be coordinated with a dermatologist or trichologist, especially when used independently at home.

How to dilute nicotinic acid for hair:

  1. Acquiring nicotinic acid: Nicotinic acid for use on hair is most often available in pharmacies in the form of ampoules with a solution for injection. This solution is usually already suitable for external use and does not require additional dilution.
  2. Direct application: The ampoule is carefully opened and the contents are applied directly to the scalp, gently rubbing in massage lines with the fingers. Use may vary from daily to 2-3 times a week, depending on individual tolerance and specialist recommendations.
  3. Use in hair masks: For homemade masks, nicotinic acid can be mixed with base oils (e.g. Castor, turpentine or coconut oil) or added to ready-made conditioners and hair masks. In such cases, one ampoule is mixed with the required amount of the other ingredient, usually in an amount sufficient for a single application.

Important points:

  • SensitivityTest: Before using niacin for the first time, it is recommended to perform a sensitivity test by applying a small amount of the solution to the inside of the wrist and waiting 24 hours for a possible reaction.
  • Avoiding dandruff and irritation: Some people may experience redness, itching or flaking of the scalp from the use of niacin. In such cases, discontinue use and consult a physician.
  • Consult aspecialist: Despite the availability of niacin and its potential benefits for hair, consulting with a dermatologist or trichologist can help determine if this product is right for you and how best to use it in your particular case.

Please note that the effectiveness of nicotinic acid for hair growth and its safety may vary depending on individual body characteristics and health conditions.

Homemade hair masks with nicotinic acid, recipes

Nicotinic acid (niacin) can be used at home to improve hair health and stimulate hair growth. Here are some recipes for hair masks with nicotinic acid:

1. Hair growth stimulation mask


  • 1 ampoule of nicotinic acid
  • 1 tablespoon of castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil

Preparation and application:

  • Mix together castor oil and jojoba oil.
  • Add the contents of the nicotinic acid ampoule to the oil mixture and mix well.
  • Apply the mask to the hair roots and scalp with light massage movements.
  • Leave it on for 1 hour, then rinse thoroughly with warm water and shampoo.

2. Moisturizing mask with nicotinic acid


  • 1 ampoule of nicotinic acid
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Preparation and application:

  • Mix aloe vera gel with honey until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add nicotinic acid to the mixture and mix well.
  • Apply the mask to the entire length of your hair, paying special attention to the ends.
  • Leave for 30-40 minutes under a foil and towel to create a greenhouse effect.
  • Wash off the mask with warm water and shampoo.

3. Thick hair mask


  • 1 ampoule of nicotinic acid
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Preparation and application:

  • Whisk the egg yolk and olive oil until smooth.
  • Add the nicotinic acid to the mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Apply the mask to the roots and throughout the length of your hair.
  • Leave it on for 1 hour, then wash off the mask with warm water and shampoo.

Important points:

  • Before applying any mask with nicotinic acid, be sure to do a sensitivity test to avoid allergic reactions.
  • Use the masks 1-2 times a week for a month to achieve visible results.
  • After applying a nicotinic acid mask, you may feel a warm or slight tingling sensation on your scalp, which is a normal reaction.

These homemade masks will help to improve the condition of your hair, make it thicker and healthier.

Use Of nicotinic acid for hair during pregnancy

No direct studies evaluating the safety of using nicotinic acid (niacin) during pregnancy for the treatment of hair loss have been found in the available literature. It is important to note that during pregnancy, the use of any medication should be under strict medical supervision, taking into account the potential risks to fetal development and maternal health.

One study concerning the effects of niacin deficiency on pregnant rats showed that niacin deficiency can lead to multiple congenital abnormalities in the offspring (Chamberlain & Nelson, 1963). Although this study is not directly related to the use of niacin during pregnancy to treat hair loss, it emphasizes the importance of understanding the potential effects of niacin in pregnancy.

When considering the use of any supplements or medications during pregnancy, including nicotinic acid, it is extremely important to consult a physician. Your doctor will be able to assess the potential benefits and risks, taking into account your individual health and pregnancy history.


Nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) has a number of contraindications and may cause side effects that limit its use in clinical practice:

  1. Side effects: The most common side effect of nicotinic acid is skin redness, especially on the face and upper body, which may reduce patient adherence to treatment. Increases in blood glucose levels have also been noted, which may require an adjustment in treatment regimen in diabetic patients (Guyton & Bays, 2007).
  2. Hepatotoxicity: Serious toxic liver damage has been reported with nicotinic acid, particularly associated with the use of long release forms taken as unregulated dietary supplements. There is an increased risk of insulin resistance, although the glycemic response in subjects both with and without diabetes is usually minor and nicotinic acid can be used safely in diabetic patients (Guyton & Bays, 2007).
  3. Myopathy: Despite some reports of myopathy associated with the combination of nicotinic acid and statins, two decades of clinical data do not support a general myopathic effect of nicotinic acid alone or in combination with statins. Rare and less certain side effects include blurred vision due to cystoid macular edema, nausea and vomiting, and exacerbation of peptic ulcer disease (Guyton & Bays, 2007).

Importantly, the perception of the side effects of nicotinic acid often exceeds reality, and as a result, a valuable drug for cardiovascular risk reduction is underutilized. Therefore, the potential benefits and risks should be carefully evaluated before initiating treatment with nicotinic acid, especially in patients with existing medical conditions or those taking other medications.

Side effects Of nicotinic acid for hair

Nicotinic acid (niacin) has multiple beneficial effects on plasma lipoproteins and has demonstrated clinical benefit in reducing cardiovascular events and the progression of atherosclerosis. However, the side effects of niacin limit its widespread use in general clinical practice. The side effects of niacin include:

  1. Skin redness: The most common side effect associated with taking niacin, caused by stimulation of prostaglandins, resulting in dilation of blood vessels and reddening of the skin.
  2. Hepatotoxicity: Particularly noted with slow-release niacin preparations, which may cause liver damage.
  3. Insulin Resistance: It has been shown in short-term studies that niacin can cause insulin resistance, but the glycemic response in subjects with and without diabetes is usually not significant.
  4. Rare side effects: Include blurred vision due to macular edema, nausea and vomiting, exacerbation of peptic ulcer disease.
  5. Laboratory abnormalities: Usually minor and clinically unimportant, include increased prothrombin time, increased uric acid, decreased platelet count and serum phosphorus.

When using niacin, it is important to consider these side effects and monitor patients closely to minimize potential risks. It is also important to consider that the perception of niacin side effects often exceeds reality, leading to underutilization of this valuable drug to reduce cardiovascular risk (Guyton & Bays, 2007).


An overdose of nicotinic acid can lead to serious side effects and toxicity. The following are some reported cases and their consequences:

  1. In one case, a 35-year-old man experienced reddening of the skin, wheezing, tachypnea and itching, as well as burning in the throat and thighs after an overdose of nicotinic acid. His condition was initially mistaken for anaphylaxis. After hospitalization and recognition of the use of 500 mg of nicotinic acid as treatment for allergic symptoms, a diagnosis of redness due to nicotinic acid overdose was made. The patient was discharged the following day without symptoms.
  2. Another 23-year-old man was hospitalized with an altered state of consciousness, fever, acute renal failure, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and coagulopathy after ingesting about 22.5 g of nicotinic acid over a 48-hour period in an attempt to pass a pre-employment drug test. After complex treatment, including mechanical ventilation due to respiratory failure and hemodialysis due to acute renal failure, the patient made a full recovery and was discharged after 10 days.
  3. A separate case involves a 56-year-old man who experienced severe and persistent hypotension after ingestion of 11,000 mg of nicotinic acid without manifestation of skin redness. This case was the largest reported overdose of nicotinic acid and the first case in which severe sustained hypotension was attributed to nicotinic acid.

These cases underscore the importance of being aware of the potential risks and toxicity associated with unapproved or improper use of nicotinic acid. Although nicotinic acid is used to treat dyslipidemia and other conditions, its misuse can lead to serious and even life-threatening side effects.

Interactions with other drugs

Nicotinic acid, also known as vitamin B3 or niacin, is widely used in medicine due to its pharmacological properties, including the treatment of hyperlipidemia and prevention of atherosclerosis. Interaction of nicotinic acid with other drugs may lead to various effects, including potential strengthening or weakening of their action.

One known interaction is the interaction of nicotinic acid with hypolipidemic drugs such as statins. Combining these drugs can enhance their hypolipidemic effects, but also increases the risk of myopathy and rarely rhabdomyolysis. In addition, nicotinic acid may affect glucose metabolism, making its use limited in patients with diabetes mellitus. Nicotinic acid should also be used with caution with antihypertensive drugs, as it may cause vasodilation and increase the hypotensive effect.

It is important to note that the interaction of nicotinic acid with other drugs may vary depending on the dosage, the general health of the patient and the specifics of treatment. Therefore, when prescribing nicotinic acid in combination with other drugs, it is important to consider the potential risks and benefits, as well as the need for dosage adjustment. Close monitoring of the patient's condition and laboratory parameters is recommended for timely correction of treatment.

For more information on the interaction of nicotinic acid with specific drugs, it is recommended to consult medical guidelines and literature as it may contain more relevant and specific data.


To simplify the perception of information, this instruction for use of the drug " Nicotinic acid for hair" translated and presented in a special form on the basis of the official instructions for medical use of the drug. Before use read the annotation that came directly to medicines.

Description provided for informational purposes and is not a guide to self-healing. The need for this drug, the purpose of the treatment regimen, methods and dose of the drug is determined solely by the attending physician. Self-medication is dangerous for your health.

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