Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has profound effects on human skin, causing sunburn, inflammation, cellular-tissue injury, cell death, and skin cancer. Most of these effects are mediated by a number of cytokines produced by keratinocytes. In this study we investigated whether nicotinamide (NCT), the amide form of vitamin B3, might have a protective function in reducing the expression of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α in UV-irradiated keratinocytes. HaCaT cells were treated with UVB in the presence or absence of NCT, and cytokine mRNA levels were examined by quantitative real-time PCR. NCT significantly downregulated IL-6, IL-10, MCP-1 and TNF-α mRNA expression, whereas it did not exert any significant effect on IL-1β or IL-8 expression. Because of its ability to decrease these cytokine mediators after UV exposure, NCT is a possible therapy to improve or prevent conditions induced or aggravated by UV light.