The presence of sebum on the face is responsible for both facial shine and the formation of comedonal and inflammatory acne lesions. Sebum control is a goal of many OTC skin care products; however, most currently available products function by absorbing sebum from the face rather than modulating its production.
To demonstrate the effect of topical 2% niacinamide on sebum excretion rates and casual sebum production in Oriental and Caucasian populations.
Separate clinical trials were conducted in both Japan and the USA to evaluate the effect of topical 2% niacinamide in different ethnic groups. A total of 100 Japanese subjects were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled comparison between two independent balanced groups. Fifty subjects applied the 2% niacinamide moisturizer to the face for 4 weeks and 50 subjects used a placebo moisturizer for 4 weeks, with sebum excretion rate (SER) measurements taken at baseline, week 2, and week 4. In addition, 30 Caucasian subjects were enrolled in a randomized split-face study for 6 weeks with SER and casual sebum levels (CSL) measured at baseline, week 3, and week 6.
The results of the Japanese study demonstrated that the SER of the two groups was not significantly different at baseline, but the 2% niacinamide treated group demonstrated significantly lowered SER after 2 and 4 weeks of application. The results were somewhat different in the Caucasian study. After 6 weeks of treatment, the CSL was significantly reduced, but the SER was not significantly reduced.
Topical 2% niacinamide may be effective in lowering the SER in Japanese individuals and CSL in Caucasian individuals.