The Science


Artocarpus heartwood extract

Artocarpus lakoocha, sometimes referred to as Monkey Jack, is a tropical tree widely distributed in the regions of Southeast Asia.

Artocarpus heartwood extract contains oxyresveratrol, which has been found to have strong tyrosinase-inhibitory activity and potential use as a skin-whitening agent.1

Oxyresveratrol has shown an inhibitory effect on tyrosinase 32-fold greater than kojic acid. The depigmenting effect of Oxyresveratrol works through reversible inhibition of tyrosinase activity rather than suppression of the expression and synthesis of the enzyme.2

Scientific Study Highlight

Artocarpus lakoocha extract 0.25%, licorice extract 0.25% and kojic acid 3%, each dissolved in propylene glycol, were tested on three groups of 20 volunteers. The melanin content of each application site was measured using a Mexameter every week. The Artocarpus lakoocha extract was the most effective agent,giving the shortest onset of significant whitening effect after only 4 weeks of application (P < 0.05), followed by 3% kojic acid (6 weeks) and 0.25% licorice extract (10 weeks).3

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

Niacinamide is an effective skin-lightening compound that works by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes.

Scientific Study Highlight

Niacinamide has been shown to have the ability to reduce cutaneous pigmentation and suppress melanosome transfer:

  • Niacinamide gave 35-68% inhibition of melanosome transfer
  • In clinical studies niacinamide significantly decreased hyperpigmentation after 4 weeks of use
  • The data suggest niacinamide is an effective skin lightening compound that works by inhibiting melanasome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes4
  1. Likhitwitayawuid K, Sornsute A, Sritularak B, Ploypredith P (2006). Chemical transformations of oxyresveratrol (trans-2,4,3′,5′- tetrahydroxystilbene) into a potent tyrosinase inhibitor and a strong cytotoxic agent. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 16: 5650-5653
  2. P. Tengamnuay*, K. Pengrungruangwong*, I. Pheansri* and K. Likhitwitayawuid, Artocarpus lakoocha heartwood extract as a novel cosmetic ingredient: evaluation of the in vitroanti-tyrosinase and in vivo skin whitening activities, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2006, 28, 269–276
  3. Hakozaki T, Minwalla L, Zhuang J, et al. The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. British Journal of Dermatology. 2002;147(1):20–31.


Unique ingredient technology developed in-house by Ultraceuticals scientists.

New ULTRA-Reti™ impermeable encapsulation and delivery technology involves the formation of a protective emollient base to form a soft wax medium into which the retinol is embedded. With emulsification the retinol is captured in impermeable soft wax rapid melt particles.

Scientific Study Highlight

The anti-ageing effects of retinol on the skin have been broadly acknowledged and widely documented. Retinol has been shown to enhance the proliferation of keratinocytes,1-3 to promote the deposition of new collagen and prevent its degredation,1,4,5 and to reduce melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.6 In addition, retinol is a potent antioxidant and has also been shown to enhance elastin fibre formation through induction of elastin gene expression in cultured human dermal fibroblasts.7 Not surprisingly, recent studies of the effects of retinol on aged and photodamaged skin document showed marked improvements in fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation, and an increase in skin firmness and elasticity.8,9

The use of the ULTRA-Reti™ encapsulation and delivery technology supersedes older technologies such as retinol loaded porous methacrylate spheres used in other commonly doctor recommended products. Soft wax encapsulation enables rapid and effective skin penetration.

  1. Varani J, Warner RL, Gharaee-Kermani M, Phan SH, Kang S, Chung JH, Wang ZQ, Datta SC, Fisher GJ, Voorhees JJ. Vitamin A antagonizes decreased cell growth and elevated collagen- degrading matrix metalloproteinases and stimulates collagen accumulation in naturally aged human skin. J Invest Dermatol 2000, 114, 480–486.
  2. Kang S, Duell EA, Fisher GJ, Datta SC, Wang ZQ, Reddy AP, Tavakkol A, Yi JY, Griffiths CEM, Elder JT, Voorhees JJ. Application of retinol to human skin in vivo induces epidermal hyperplasia and cellular retinoid binding proteins characteristic of retinoic acid but without measurable retinoic acid levels or irritation. J Invest Dermatol 1995, 105, 549–556.
  3. Bellemere G, Stamatas GN, Bruere V, Bertin C, Issachar N, Oddos T. Antiaging action of retinol: from molecular to clinical. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2009, 22, 200–209.
  4. Kafi R, Kwak HS, Schumacher WE, Cho S, Hanft VN, Hamilton TA, King AL, Neal JD, Varani J, Fisher GJ, Voorhees JJ, Kang S. Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin A (retinol). Arch Dermatol 2007, 143, 606–612.
  5. Quan T, Qin Z, Shao Y, Xu Y, Voorhees JJ, Fisher GJ. Retinoids suppress cysteine-rich protein 61 (CCN1), a negative regulator of collagen homeostasis, in skin equivalent cultures and aged human skin in vivo. Experimental Dermatology, 2011, 20, 572–576
  6. Ortonne JP. Retinoid therapy of pigmentary disorders. Dermatol Ther 2006, 19, 280-288.
  7. Rossetti D, Kielmanowicz MG, Vigodman S, Hu YP, Chen N, Nkengne A, Oddos T, Fischer D, Seiberg M, Lin CB. A novel anti-ageing mechanism for retinol: induction of dermal elastin synthesis and elastin fibre formation International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2011, 33, 62–69.
  8. Tucker-Samaras S, Zedayko T, Cole C, Miller D, Wallo W. Leyden JJ. A stabilized 0.1% retinol facial moisturizer improves the appearance of photodamaged skin in an eight-week, double-blind, vehicle-controlled study. J Drugs Dermatol 2009, 8, 932–936.
  9. Kawada A, Konishi N, Momma T, Oiso N, Kawara S. Evaluation of anti-wrinkle effects of a novel cosmetic containing retinol using the guideline of the Japan Cosmetic Industry Association. J Dermatol 2009, 36, 583–586.


Retinaldehyde (Ultimate A2 Anti-Ageing Concentrate)

Retinaldehyde is a natural form of Vitamin A found in skin cells and which acts to help cellular repair. The body can convert retinaldehyde either to retinoic acid or to retinol (which can be further converted to retinyl palmitate).

A powerful yet gentle ingredient, topical retinaldehyde is well tolerated by human skin and has been shown to have several effects identical to that of retinoic acid.1,2-4 These include induction of cellular retinoic acid binding protein, increased epidermal thickness, enhanced keratinocyte proliferation and repair of elastic fibres and collagen after photo damage.

Scientific Study Highlights

One study5 with 125 volunteers compared the efficacy of a retinaldehyde (0.05%) cream with a retinoic acid (0.05%) cream. After 18 weeks of treatment both retinoids delivered a reduction in wrinkles and skin roughness. Treating the skin with retinaldehyde could produce therapeutic levels of retinoic acid while reducing the risk of side effects associated with retinoid excess.5

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5

A small peptide with a unique sequence to support the body's own mechanism to produce collagen. Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 stimulates collagen synthesis, improves the appearance of wrinkle and has skin firming and moisturising properties.6

A study of Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 compared with Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 was performed on 60 healthy volunteers. Various concentrations of Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 (1% and 2.5% respectively) were applied twice daily for 84 days. Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 significantly decreased the depth of wrinkles compared with Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3.6

  1. lFuhr JW, Vienne MP, Lauze C, Dupuy P, Gehring W, Gloor M. Tolerance profile of retinol, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid under maximized and long-term clinical conditions. atology 1999, 199(Suppl 1), 57-60.
  2. Saurat JH, Didierjean L, Masgrau E, Piletta PA, Jaconi S, Chatellard-Gruaz D, Gumowski D, Masouyé I, Salomon D, Siegenthaler G. Topical retinaldehyde on human skin: biologic effects and tolerance. J Invest Dermatol 1994, 103, 770-774.
  3. Boisnic S, Branchet-Gumila MC, Le Charpentier Y, Segard C. Repair of UVA-induced elastic fiber and collagen damage by 0.05% retinaldehyde cream in an ex vivo human skin model. Dermatology 1999, 199(Suppl 1) 43-8.
  4. Didierjean L, Tran C, Sorg O, Saurat JH. Biological activities of topical retinaldehyde. Dermatology 1999, 199(Suppl 1), 19-24.
  5. Creidi P, Vienne MP, Ochonisky S, Lauze C, Turlier V, Lagarde JM, Dupuy P. Profilometric evaluation of photodamage after topical retinaldehyde and retinoic acid treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol 1998, 39, 960-965
  6. Pentapharm Ltd. Iron Out Your Wrinkles with SYNX-COLL(Trade Brochure)


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