Reduction in the appearance of facial hyperpigmentation by topical N-acetyl glucosamine

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2007 Mar;6(1):20-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2007.00295.x.


Glucosamine has been reported to inhibit melanin production in melanocyte culture. It thus has a potential to reduce hyperpigmentation via topical use. Due to stability limitations of glucosamine, we chose to clinically evaluate the stable derivative N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG). Based on in vitro Franz cell testing, NAG is a good skin penetrant. In an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, left-right randomized, split-face clinical test, topical 2% NAG reduced the appearance of facial hyperpigmentation. In a second clinical study involving the topical combination of 2% NAG with 4% niacinamide, an agent previously shown to be clinically active, the effect on hyperpigmentation was greater. Both of these agents are well tolerated by the skin. This high tolerance coupled with relative ease of formulation and stability in solution make NAG, especially in combination with niacinamide, a suitable cosmetic ingredient for use in skin care products dealing with issues of skin hyperpigmentation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosamine / therapeutic use*
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asians
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Facial Dermatoses / diagnosis
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / diagnosis
  • Hyperpigmentation / drug therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Niacinamide / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Whites


  • Niacinamide
  • Acetylglucosamine