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Tripeptide complexes deliver hair growth benefits

Male pattern baldness affects a vast number of people and can significantly impact self-esteem. Here we look at solutions from South Korea.

Hair represents a very important aspect of a person’s identity and therefore consumers will always be looking for products that enable them to maintain healthy hair and project the best possible version of themselves. The hair is one of the first features noticed when meeting someone, and can convey an enormous amount of unspoken information about their age, health, wealth, character, interests and beyond. Hair thinning is a process that impacts men and women all over the world for a wide variety of reasons, but can deeply affect an individual’s self-esteem and social confidence. As a result, there is even more consumer demand for hair treatments that offer the ability to either halt or reverse the hair thinning process without needing to resort to costly, painful, and potentially unsuccessful surgical procedures. Due to the range of causes behind hair loss, a complex of active ingredients, each performing a different role, increases the chance of delivering visible results.

Two topically applicable new tripeptide complexes, Hairin I&II, available from Equipforskin & SupadElixir show promising in vitro results as topical hair care cosmetic ingredients.

Cosmetic and cosmeceutical ingredients

A tripeptide is a small signalling protein molecule containing three amino acids and two peptide bonds. Some tripeptide molecules are naturally synthesised within human bodies and responsible for a number of important functions like enhancing cell communications. Dr JH Hahn, a biomimetic scientist and professor with over 30 years of experience, has confirmed no functional difference between 3-4 amino acid peptides (tripeptide or tetrapeptide) and the 10-50 amino acid polypeptides and invented a wide range of functional tripeptides (all patented) for pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical and cosmetic use.

The 500 Dalton Rule stipulates that peptide molecules with less than 500 Daltons of molecular weight can penetrate the skin by themselves as with small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients. Dr. Hahn tripeptides were also proved to penetrate through the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous layers in the skin permeability tests.

Dr. Hahn tripeptides with over 95% purity are very stable with no property change at 50 °C (HPLC analysis) and safe as cosmetic ingredients with no reactions at skin patch tests, no cytotoxicity and no skin sensitisation. Dr Hahn Tripeptides as signalling proteins can be used as topical cosmetic ingredients to improve various skin conditions like soothing, anti-inflammation, skin barrier formation, skin regeneration, anti-ageing, anti-pigmentation, whitening and hair regrowth.

In addition, when Dr Hahn’s tripeptides are combined with one another, a variety of tripeptide complexes can be formulated to be important active ingredients for anti-ageing, soothing, skin rejuvenation, anti-pollution, scalp care, hair restoration etc.

Two hair care tripeptide complexes

Postnatal hair follicles (HFs) cycle repeatedly through rest (Telogen), growth (Anagen), and death/regression (Catagen) phases.

Hair follicle and the cycle

The Anagen phase is the active growing phase of the cycle and can last for between 3-6 years and represents 90% of the cycle. The Catagen phase is a transitional period that only lasts between 1-2 weeks. At this time, growth has ceased, and the outer root sheath shrinks. The Telogen phase represents 10% of the cycle (5-6 weeks), and during this phase the hair follicle is entirely inactive. It is viewed as a ‘resting’ phase. The cycle then returns to the Anagen phase.

Analysis of a 6-tripeptide complex

Dr Hahn’s Haircare Tripeptide Complexes are a combination of the following Tripeptides: Synepin, Syndermin, Bcatin, Adiponin, Vitadin and Andrin.

Hairin I and II (now referred to as ‘tripeptide complex I and II’) consist of 6 topically applicable functional tripeptides which have less than 500 Da. (MW), such as:

  •   Adiponin (INCI name: Acetyl Tripeptide-54 Amide) - This functional tripeptide – derived from adipose tissue - stimulates hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation and stem cell growth.
  • Synepin (INCI name, Palmitoyl shTripeptide-3 Amide) – This functional EGF tripeptide significantly promotes the proliferation of keratinocytes cell line.
  • Syndermin (INCI name, Palmitoyl shTripeptide-1 Amide) – When using this functional FGF tripeptide, the proliferation of HaCaT is dose-dependently promoted.
  • Bcatin (WNT/B-catenin) - agonistic tripeptide to assist signals to hair follicle stem cells
  • VitaDin (Vitamin D) – Vitamin D receptor agonist tripeptide.
  • Adrin (INCI name: tripeptide-80) - Androgen receptor inhibitive tripeptide.

The function of tripeptides in complex  I 

Studies have also found that vitamin D receptors are located in the hair follicles and play a role in normal hair cycling. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) is thought to induce the development of mature Anagen hairs via the WNT-beta signalling pathway. In case VDRs are absent, the stem cells in the bulge of the hair follicle have an impaired ability to replicate. So, vitamin D deficiency can lead to hair loss and poor hair growth. Beta-catenin is a decisive protein to give a signal to the stem cells in the bulge of hair follicle. Our B-catin is a signalling Beta-catenin tripeptide and Vitadin is a vitamin D receptor agonist tripeptide.

Working mechanism of tripeptide complex I

Tripeptide complex I works for androgenic alopecia which is about 95% of hair loss.

Androgenic alopecia, male (or female) pattern baldness, has been clinically proven to be caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which binds with the receptor site in the vulnerable hair follicles, slowly degrades the hair follicles’ ability to grow healthy thick hair and finally leads to the male pattern baldness. Andrin tripeptides block this binding of DHT to the dermal papilla cells in the hair root and prevent the hair follicles from being degraded. Then simultaneously Synepin (EGF tripeptide) and Syndermin (FGF tripeptide) enhance the cell growth and Adiponin, Bcatin and Vitadin tripeptides help to proliferate the stem cells in dermal papilla area, eventually helping the development of hair growth.

Andrin in vitro test

In the in vitro study, Adrin tripeptide, when treated at cell line, shows the ability to inhibit the DHT induced prostate specific antigen (PSA) dose-dependently.

Tripeptide complex II

Tripeptide complex II consists of 6 different tripeptides including Synolin tripeptide instead of Andrin in Complex I in addition to 5 cell growth related tripeptides like Synepin, Syndermin, Bcatin, Adiponin and Vitadin.

Tripeptide complex II – working mechanism

Tripeptide complex II, another multiple tripeptide complex works for non-androgenic hair loss like telogen effluvium that usually happens temporarily after stress, a shock or a traumatic event.

The body accumulates senescent cells (damaged cells) as we age. Also, various environmental stresses lead to excessive production of ROS (reactive oxidative species) causing progressive oxidative damage and ultimately cell death. Synolin, p53 agonistic tripeptide has kind of a synolytic activity that the p53 protein prevents cells with damaged DNA from dividing or, when damage is too great, promotes cell death. In this way, Synolin tripeptide helps to block the damaging mechanism of ROS and again to dermal papilla cells in the hair root. On the other hands, Synepin (EGF tripeptide) and Syndermin (FGF tripeptide) enhance the cell growth and Adiponin, Bcatin and Vitadin tripeptides help to proliferate the stem cells in dermal papilla area, eventually help for hair growth. 

Conclusion

In the studies described in this article, the two tripeptide complexes have demonstrated that they offer formulators the ability to target alopecia in two ways. Two topically applicable new tripeptide complexes, Hairin I & II, available from Equipforskin, have shown promising in vitro results as topical hair care cosmetic ingredients that promote hair growth.

Hairin I works for androgenic alopecia, while Hairin II works for non-androgenic hair loss like telogen effluvium that usually happens temporarily as a result of stress.

These complexes therefore present the industry with an effective dual approach to address hair loss, a global problem that affects both men and women and can have a considerable detrimental impact on an individual’s wellbeing.

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Shenzhen BST Science & Technology Co., Ltd. established in 2007, is a manufacturer of personal care functional ingredients in China and has ten years experience in import and export. We have established competent and international standard level R&D and quality assurance capability. 

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