Product Information

Keywords: acne, aging, inflammation, Hamamelis, niacinamide, aloe


Metazene is a gel containing three substances that act in complementary ways against acne: niacinamide, Hamamelis extract, and aloe. The gel is sold in a convenient 2-ounce bottle with a dispensing pump that dispenses a measured amount with the press of a finger.

What we can’t tell you

In the U.S. and some other industrialized countries, government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have adopted censorship as a method for intensifying their control over the supplement industry and its customers. Thus, FDA regulations prohibit us from telling you that any of our products are effective as medical treatments, even if they are, in fact, effective.

Accordingly, we will limit our discussion of Metazene to a brief summary of relevant research, and let you draw your own conclusions about what medical conditions it may be effective in treating.

Acne mythology

Until a few decades ago acne was difficult to treat effectively. The causes were not understood and treatments were based more on false premises and wishful thinking than on evidence of success. For example, it was widely believed that acne sufferers caused their condition through slipshod bathing habits or by sexual activities. These and other myths about acne are still being circulated and result in many sufferers not getting treated.

One of the myths about acne is that it is a ‘merely’ cosmetic ailment that isn’t worth treating since it isn’t life-threatening and will go away eventually by itself. This is the attitude taken by cheapskate parents who don’t want to spend money on their offspring. The truth is that acne is a serious problem, both psychologically and physically.1 It need not be expensive to treat, and there is no good excuse for anyone in the 21st Century being victimized by it.

Another myth is that acne can be treated by washing the face vigorously. While washing can help the skin in some ways, it is useless for preventing acne. Soap and water do not penetrate the skin to where the problem is located.

Acne’s causes and treatments

Acne is caused by the following process:2

  • Testosterone and similar hormones (which increase in both sexes during adolescence) cause oil glands in the skin’s pores and hair follicles to become enlarged and overactive.
  • The channels through which this oil normally travels to the skin surface become clogged with proteins produced in the skin.
  • Bacteria that normally live and multiply in this oil can no longer escape to the surface. They continue to reproduce in the clogged channels.
  • Bacterial activity attracts cells of the immune system which flock to the acne sites and release substances that irritate and damage the skin.
  • Bacteria and immune cells reproduce in the clogged channels, enlarging the cavities and making cysts inside the skin.3
  • The cysts are temporary, but the skin damage they produce can leave permanent scarring.4

As described by Dr. Zarkov in an article on this website, there are seven basic approaches to treating acne:5

  • Retinoid drugs (like tretinoin)
  • Antibiotics (like tetracycline)
  • Bactericides (like benzoyl peroxide)
  • Steroidal hormones or hormone inhibitors (like estrogens or cyproterone)
  • Heat
  • Light (intense blue/violet light or laser light)
  • Anti-inflammatories

Most of these approaches have a downside:

  • Retinoids make the skin dry, red, flakey, cracked, and painful, and they cause severe birth defects.
  • Antibiotics work poorly, and have distressing side effects if used systemically.
  • Bactericides also work poorly, are inconvenient, and can damage clothing.
  • Steroids and inhibitors often have undesired side effects, and sometimes even damage the body permanently.
  • Heat is not very effective.
  • Light therapy is quite expensive and can cause burns.

The seventh approach to treating acne, anti-inflammatories, has few if any negative side effects. Inexpensive anti-inflammatory products are readily available without a prescription.

There are many anti-inflammatory substances to choose from; they vary widely in effectiveness and convenience. They include:

  • zinc
  • azelaic acid
  • tea tree oil
  • ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • turmeric, witch hazel (Hamamelis), aloe, and other herbal anti-inflammatories
  • niacinamide

None of these anti-inflammatories are better than niacinamide and Hamamelis in their ability to suppress acne without side effects.

After an acne lesion (pimple) is inactivated, the skin’s repair mechanisms come into play. Unfortunately, these work poorly — that’s why we see so many adults with faces scarred from acne episodes earlier in life. A good acne treatment should therefore include a substance that aids in skin regeneration. Aloe is such a substance.

Let’s look at what is known about these substances as acne treatments.


Niacinamide (aka ‘nicotinamide’) is a member of the vitamin B3 family. In the body it is converted to NAD, which plays an essential role in many biochemical reactions in all living organisms. Niacinamide has been a part of the biochemistry of life on Earth for more than a billion years.

Niacinamide’s powerful anti-acne activity, which has been clearly demonstrated clinically,6 results from several different actions it has in the skin:

  • It suppresses inflammation7
  • It reduces sebum production by hair follicles.8
  • It improves the skin’s water barrier function9, which is impaired in acne-prone skin.10

Niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory action is thought to stem from its ability to decrease the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (signalling molecules)11, reduce free radical levels,12 and block the inflammatory actions of iodides.13

Aside from its effects on acne, niacinamide also appears to have a significant impact on skin aging. As one researcher describes it, niacinamide “improves the surface structure, smoothes out wrinkles and inhibits photocarcinogenesis”.14 A clinical trial in 2005 concluded that 5% niacinamide applied to the skin resulted in “reductions in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing)” and in improved elasticity.15

Hamamelis extract

Hamamelis virginiana (aka ‘witch hazel’) was used by native Americans in pre-Columbian times to treat many ailments. Witch hazel twigs were steamed in a sweat lodge and the smoky vapor settled on the skin and was also inhaled. Today the twigs are chipped and extracted by steam distillation to produce an oil containing flavonoids, tannins, and other physiologically active components.16

Hamamelis extract has significant activity against inflammation, particularly when applied to the skin.17 The mechanism for this activity is thought to involve the inhibition of signalling molecules that mediate inflammation — different signalling molecules than those that account for the anti-inflammatory action of niacinamide.16

Because the mechanisms of action of niacinamide and Hamamelis involve different parts of the inflammatory process, these two substances can work together synergistically to produce a large effect. This would explain why Metazene, which uses the two substances in combination, has such a remarkable impact on acne in many people.

Aloe leaf extract

Aloe, a gelatinous substance from the plant Aloe barbadensis (aka ‘Aloe vera’), is a traditional herbal remedy used mainly for skin ailments.18 In recent years scientific studies have shown its value in healing wounded skin.19 This activity seems to depend upon certain polysaccharides (chains of sugar-like molecules) that regulate cytokines involved in skin regeneration.18,20

The main reason for Aloe’s inclusion as an ingredient in Metazene is to stimulate the growth and repair of the skin at the sites of acne lesions (pimples). However, aloe also has anti-inflammatory properties that add to those of niacinamide and Hamamelis.21,22

No hidden ingredients

LifeLink has had queries from Metazene users who were astonished by its effectiveness, asking whether the product contains any ‘secret’ active ingredients not listed on the label. It doesn’t. There are just three active ingredients: niacinamide, Hamamelis extract, and aloe. They make a surprisingly powerful anti-acne combination.


Are Metazene supplements useful for the conditions and purposes mentioned above? We aren’t allowed to tell you, so you should take a look at some of the references cited here, and then decide for yourself.

CAT No. PER BOTTLE Our Price This Order
40700 57 g (2 ounces) $20.95
(11% off!)

Pronunciation: Metazene metʹ·ə·zēn, niacinamide næ·ə·sınʹ·ə·mæd, Hamamelis hā·mā·mēl′·ĭs

— RM

Last modified 2010.09.01