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Research list

Brightening research

Research on melanin control II:
Development of Rhododenol

The next active ingredient (quasi-drug) we developed after Magnolignan was Rhododenol. Rhododenol is derived from a substance we found in abundance in a search for natural chemical compounds in the bark of the white birch tree. Kanebo Cosmetics discovered that one of these compounds confers strong brightening effects by suppressing the production of melanin in several stages.

The three mechanisms of the Rhododenol effect

  1. Inhibiting tyrosinase activity:
    The enzyme tyrosinase is a key factor in melanin synthesis. When activated, it binds with the amino acid tyrosine and gradually changes it to melanin. Rhododenol inhibits the activation of melanin production by binding with tyrosinase before the tyrosinase has the chance to bind with tyrosine. This action is called “competitive inhibition.”
  2. Accelerating tyrosinase degradation:
    Rhododenol reduces the amount of tyrosinase by accelerating its degradation.
  3. Inhibiting eumelanin synthesis:
    Melanin comes in two types, eumelanin, a brown-to-black type, and pheomelanin, a yellow-to-reddish-brown type. Eumelanin is thought to be the main cause of dark spots, dullness, and other types of pigmentation. Rhododenol inhibits eumelanin synthesis by preferentially lowering the amount and activity of enzymes involved in eumelanin synthesis.

White birch (Betula platyphylla, photograph on the left) and its bark (photograph on the right), the source of Rhododenol

Competitive inhibition by Rhododenol

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