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Topical Niacinamide Reduces Facial Skin Sallowness

Donald Bissett, Ph.D.1; Cindy Berge, B.S.1; Peiwen Sun, Ph.D.2; Kukizo Miyamoto, Ph.D.1;

The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio1 and Kobe, Japan2


Niacinamide has revealed an array of benefits for aging skin, such as reduction in the appearance of hyperpigmentation, red blotchiness, and poor texture [1]. One mechanism likely involved in these effects is conversion of niacinamide to the cofactors NAD(H) and NADP(H), which are involved in many metabolic processes in skin. 

In addition to the above-mentioned aging skin problems, another appearance problem is skin sallowness (yellowing). A mechanism contributing to this problem is glycation, the spontaneous oxidative cross-linking reaction of sugar with protein [2]. The glycation product is yellow in color, and such collagen products accumulate in skin [3].

Since glycation involves oxidation, antioxidants have potential to affect the process. Since NADH and NADPH are endogenous anti-oxidants and niacinamide is a precursor to them in skin [4], topical niacinamide has potential to be effective against skin sallowness (yellowing).


  • To determine if topical niacinamide is clinically affects the appearance f skin sallowness (yellowing)
  • To confirm previous skin appearance clinical benefits of topical niacinamide.


This was a double-blind, placebocontrolled, split-face, left-right randomized clinical study of 2 facial treatment formulations (oil-in-water emulsions). Fifty Caucasian females (ages 40-60) were recruited. Subjects used the same facial cleanser and moisturizer products for 2 weeks prior to start of the study ("wash-out period") and during the 12 week twice daily treatment phase of the study.  Treatments were placebo formulation and 5% niacinamide formulation. Facial images were captured at the end of the 2-week wash-out period (baseline) and after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment. Images were analyzed for texture, fine lines/wrinkles, pigmented spots, red blotchiness, and sallowness [yellow color (b value from CIE L*a*b* color scale)].


Topical niacinamide significantly reduces skin sallowness (yellowing) - Figures 1 and 2.

As noted in previous testing, topical niacinamide also significantly improves the appearance of hyper-pigmented spots (Figure 3), fine lines/wrinkles (Figure 4), red blotchiness, and texture (e.g., enlarged pores).

(Insert three bar graphs and one image here)


  • Topical niacinamide is significantly effective in reducing the appearance of facial skin sallowness (yellowing)
  • Topical niacinamide is also significantly effective in improving the appearance of

Other aging facial skin problems:

  • hyperpigmented spots
  • fine lines/wrinkles
  • red blotchiness
  • poor texture


[1] Bissett et al., J. Clin. Derm., 32, S9-S18 (2003).
[2] Vlassara, J. Lab. Clin. Med., 124, 19-30 (1994).
[3] Dyer et al., J. Clin. Invest., 91, 2463-2469 (1993).
[4] Matts et al., Int. Fed. Soc. Cosmet. Chem. Magazine, 5, 285-289 (2002).
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