Follow us on our new Insta page »

Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine

Also-called-like-this: Sepiwhite MSH
What-it-does: skin brightening

Official CosIng Information


If you have pigmentation issues, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine is something to look at. It is an amino acid (Phenylalanine) derived molecule that is thought to hinder the pigmentation process in a unique way by being a so-called MSH-antagonist

MSH stands for Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone, and as you have probably guessed by its name, it is important in the process of melanogenesis, i.e. the generation of melanin pigments. MSH binds to a receptor on the melanocyte (the skin cell that creates melanin) called Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R), which kicks off a bunch of biological processes that result in the formation of pigment. Our guy, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine can hinder this binding and thus the whole melanin creation process afterward.  

The efficacy of the molecule is definitely promising. The manufacturer did several in-vitro (in test tubes) and in-vivo (on people) tests and found Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine to be more effective than a bunch of well-known skin-lightening molecules, such as arbutin, kojic acid or MAP (the vitamin C derivative). 

We also found two research studies that show that 2% Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine is effective both in the treatment of age spots (or sunspots, the pigmentation that comes with UV and age) and melasma (that comes at a younger age and is usually influenced by hormones). A third study done by Procter&Gamble examined our amino-derivative, combined with Niacinamide and found that the combination of 1% Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine with 5% Niacinamide is more effective than niacinamide alone

Show me some proof

  • Katoulis, A. C., et al. "A randomized, double‐blind, vehicle‐controlled study of a preparation containing undecylenoyl phenylalanine 2% in the treatment of solar lentigines." Clinical and experimental dermatology 35.5 (2010): 473-476.
  • Katoulis, Alexander, et al. "A double‐blind vehicle‐controlled study of a preparation containing undecylenoyl phenylalanine 2% in the treatment of melasma in females." Journal of cosmetic dermatology 13.2 (2014): 86-90.
  • Bissett, Donald L., et al. "Reduction in the appearance of facial hyperpigmentation by topical N‐undecyl‐10‐enoyl‐l‐phenylalanine and its combination with niacinamide." Journal of cosmetic dermatology 8.4 (2009): 260-266.

Products with Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine

Arcona Mandarin Brightening Peel Environ Evenescence Clarifying Lotion Epionce Melanolyte Tx Neova Serious Clarity 4X Complexed Brightening Serum Perricone MD High Potency Classics Firming Eye Lift Bionike Defence B-Lucent Skin-Evening Concentrate IOMA 7 Illumine Dark Spot Concentrate Bio-Taches Serum Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Smooth And Brighten Emulsion Indeed Laboratories Pepta-Bright Olay Professional Prox Even Skin Tone Spot Fading Treatment Holy Snails Snow Shark Medik8 White Balance Original Serum Regimen Level Serum Sesderma Azelac Ru Liposomal Serum Trx Ddf Discoloration Reversal Moisturizer Olay Regenerist Luminous Anti-Ageing Skin Tone Perfecting Serum Regimen Lab Level Serum SVR Clairial Cream 10 Dermaceutic Yellow Cream Face Reality Brighten-C Mask Farmona Amberray Bright Shock Serum Glytone Triple Defense Brightening Complex Spf 30 Olay Luminous Light Hydrating Face Lotion SUNDARI Brightening Glow Turmeric Cream Sesderma Azelac Ru Serum Olay Luminous Miracle Boost City Beauty Illuminating Dark Spot Corrector Dermaceutic Mela Cream Olay Regenerist Max Tone Serum With Vitamin C Bionike B-Lucent Olay White Radiance CelLucent Essence Water SVR Clairial Serum Medik8 Bakuchiol Peptides ORIENTANA Licorice And Morus Alba Day And Night Cream ORIENTANA Vitamin C & Mulberry Face Bio Serum Olay White Radiance Light Perfecting Essence Olay White Radiance Tone Perfecting Hydrating Essence SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence SVR Clairial Cc Cream SPF 50+ SVR Clairial Night Peel SVR Laboratoires Clairial Cc Crème Sun Protection – Light Spf 50+ SK-II Atmosphere CC Cream SPF50/PA++++ Civant Meladerm SVR Clairial Cream Spf50+ SVR Clairial Spf50 Complete Corrector Anti-Brown Spot Radiance Creme Pharmagel Sun Therape Face & Body Moisturizer Spf 35 Sesderma Azelac RU Liposomal Serum Sesderma Azelac Ru Luminous Fluid