Tyrosinase not the only pathway of interest for skin lightening ingredients

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Melanin

Many of the skin lightening ingredients available on the market today concentrate on the tyrosinase pathway, one of the major enzymes involved in the production of melanin, but researchers suggest other mechanisms are worth investigating.

In a recent review published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, scientists from the cosmetics company Oriflame have outlined other mechanisms of decreasing melanin synthesis, which they claim will deserve attention in the future.

“Tyrosinase is the endpoint of melanocyte stimulated melanogenesis and still very much of interest, however the review was written to highlight that there are several other pathways that could inhibit epidermal pigmentation,”​ study author and senior research scientist at Oriflame Dr Johanna Gillbro told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.


One potential target for skin lightening research could be the regulation of beta2-adrenoreceptors, the researchers argue.

According to the review, human epidermal melanocytes express beta2-andrenergic receptors and their activation have been shown to increase melanin synthesis. In addition, UV-induced melanogenesis was also found to be blocked by beta2-andregenic antagonists.

Therefore, the scientists argue it would be interesting to investigate whether such antagonists could have skin lightening activity in vivo​.

Furthermore, Gillbro and colleagues noted that the blockade of these receptors could significantly improve wound healing as well, which may have implications in targeting the aging process.

Other pathways highlighted as ripe for research included new ways to inhibit MITF, a transcriptional regulator of tyrosinase, and the regulation of sex hormones.

Targeting several pathways in one product

While the Gillbro and his team are advocating more work on alternative mechanisms to inhibit melanin synthesis, in the hope of leading to new skin lightening ingredients, it is not expected to replace ingredients that target tyrosinase.

“We believe that it is of importance to cover several pathways to inhibit melanin production,”​ Gillbro said.

The scientist referenced a product soon to be launched by Oriflame that works on two pathways in order to inhibit melanin synthesis.

“We have just developed a very powerful skin lightening technology that works on two pathways to elicit additive effect - octadecenoic acid which exerts its effect by binding to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor- γ (PPAR-γ) and a plant extract of Rumex Occidentalis which inhibits tyrosinase activity. A strong synergistic effect was shown by targeting these pathways,”​ Gillbro explained.

This product will be launched soon in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and China.

Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science
The melanogenesis and mechanisms of skin lightening agents – existing and new approaches
doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00616.x
J. M. Gillbro and J. M. Olsson

Related news