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Anti-Sebum Cream Efficacious in Sebum Reduction, Improved Skin Hydration


Cream containing epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or EGCG combined with L-carnitine yielded a greater anti-sebum effect.

In patients with seborrhea, anti-sebum moisturizing cream demonstrated substantial sebum reduction and improved skin hydration. Additionally, patients reported high levels of satisfaction as a result of use.


In a study,1 researchers sought to compare the efficacy of anti sebum moisturizing creams container either or both 5% epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and 2% L-carnitine in controlling facial sebum production. Furthermore, they intended to compare the synergistic effects of both agents.

The clinical study, which was prospective, randomized, and single-blinded in nature, was conducted at a single research center from November 2021 to March 2022. Adult patients ages 18 to 40 years old were eligible for participation in the study if they had either an oily or combination skin type. In total, 90 patients enrolled.

Following enrollment, all participants were evaluated for several factors. These included skin type characterization (oily or combination), frequent perception of oily on either the forehead and/or nose, whether the participants’ face had been shiny and reflective 2 to 3 hours after washing one’s face, a requirement of face washing on a twice-daily basis, and the presence of comedones on the face. Prospective participants were excluded from participation if they were or had:

  • Pregnant
  • Lactating
  • History of allergic contact dermatitis
  • Moderate to severe acne vulgaris
  • Hyperandrogenism
  • History of isotretinoin, spironolactone, anti-androgen, or contraceptive use (6 months prior)
  • History of botulinum toxin or facial phototherapy (6 months prior)
  • History of topical retinoid or oily skin products (2 weeks prior)

Before being applied to participants’ skin, all 3 moisturizing cream formulas underwent a closed patch test and irritation test. Researchers randomly assigned participants to each of the 3 treatment groups (5% EGCG, 2% L-carnitine, or combination) and instructed them to apply the topical cream on a twice-daily basis for a period of 4 weeks. In doing so, they were also instructed to apply the cream following washing their face. All participants were given the same gel-based face wash and were instructed to cease use of any other topical products such as cosmetics or sunscreen.

At weeks 0, 1, 2, and 4, researchers conducted clinical assessments. During these assessments, participants washed their faces with the gel-based cleanser and were isolated in temperature and humidity- controlled rooms for 30 minutes before undergoing a skin examination.

Researchers measured participants’ sebum levels using a Sebumeter SM815 on the tip of each participants’ noses and on either side of their foreheads. Additionally, all participants were evaluated for anti-sebum efficacy, oil control, skin capacitance, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and adverse effects (AE). All participants were also asked to complete an oily skin self-image questionnaire (OSSIQ) to evaluate their individual perception of their skin’s oiliness and its effects on psychological and sociability factors, as well as their overall quality of life.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers noted that the average sebum levels of participants in all 3 test groups had decreased significantly from baseline. They found that the combination cream had statistically significant anti-sebum efficacy than the cream containing solely L-carnitine.

The number of participants in each group who had achieved significant sebum control results was lowest in the L-carnitine group and highest in the combination group. Each group experienced a statistically significant difference in the average time (in days) to control oil.

The average TEWL of all 3 groups did not significantly increase, with no notable difference in TEWL changes between the 3 creams. However, average skin capacitance increased from baseline in all groups. Similarly, though, there was a lack of significant difference between the 3 creams.

With respect to quality of life and treatment satisfaction, participants in all 3 treatment groups experienced a statistically significant difference reduction in OSSIQ score from baseline.

AEs were mild in nature, most commonly including skin redness, which was able to be resolved without treatment discontinuation. Among the 3 groups, these AEs were not significantly different from one another.

According to researchers, observed study limitations included length of treatment period and a lack of a placebo group.

“Anti-sebum moisturizing cream is beneficial and safe to reduce sebum on the skin, moisturize the skin and promote the epidermal barrier. Anti-sebum moisturizing cream has a positive effect on perception, satisfaction, and better skin quality,” study authors wrote. “In addition, EGCG possesses various bioactivities, including anti-inflammatory effect and antimicrobial effects on C. acne which can correct other key pathogenesis of acne. Therefore, it could be applied in further studies as adjuvant therapy and prevention of the side effects of acne treatment.”


  1. Detudom P, Kamanamool N, Paichitrojjana A, Udompataikul P, Udompataikul M. Efficacy of anti‐sebum moisturizing cream containing 2% L‐carnitine and 5% epigallocatechin gallate in seborrhea: a randomized clinical trial. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online May 17, 2023. Accessed May 22, 2023. doi:10.1111/jocd.15816
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