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What Is It: Sepiwhite

Reviewed by Marta September 25, 2008 14 Comments

Sepiwhite is being hailed as a breakthrough age spot fader that takes a novel approach to controlling hyperpigmentation. If it works as well as the manufacturer claims then it will be a welcome alternative to hydroquinone (which does work, but at a price - in France it is banned because of links to cancer).

The key thing in the regulation of skin pigmentation is melanotropin, also called alpha-MSH. Melanotropin controls tyrosinase activity, melanin (eumalanin) synthesis and melanosome. Sepiwhite MSH is a molecule that works by "antagonizing" alpha-MSH and inhibiting tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is the essential enzyme in the formation of melanin by converting DOPA to DOPAquinone. Therefore, reducing its activity is a principal method of improving skin tone and the one most commonly claimed for ingredients in current production for skin lightening. However, the manufacturer claims Sepiwhite inhibits all the other stages of pigmentation as well.

In a test conducted by the manufacturer, a 2% solution of Sepiwhite was compared to the same concentrations of arbutin and kojic acid and a 1% (because of its cytotoxicity) dose of hydroquinone. Sepiwhite's results were visible within seven days and the "efficacy greater and faster" than the competing ingredients. It is thought that the speed of its action is due to Sepiwhite's molecular structure, which is well adapted to reach the targeted melanocytes located in the lower layers of the epidermis.

It all sounds impressive, but I have yet to find an independent study.

The chemical name of Sepiwhite is undecylenoyl phenylalanine. You can buy a tub of it in its pure powder form from Making, should you feel inclined to whip up an anti-age spot cream in the kitchen. Pret-a-porter, it can be found in the following products:

DDF Discoloration Reversal Pods ($70 for 28 pods); Sothy's W Double Lightening Serum ($90); Skin White Bleaching Cream ($45.99) (which the company markets as "the Michael Jackson cream"); Arcona Mandarin Brightening Peel ($78/2oz)NutraLuxe High Potency Skin Whitening ($165).

See all FIVE BEST recommendations including Five Best for dark spots, Five Best for sagging skin, Five Best with vitamin C and Five Best eye creams

  • February 20, 2015

    by Michele Watson

    Thank you Marta! It seems to be gentle and effective. The range is called Dermafix and the product is Melanoderm. Their whole range has all the skin actives you teach us about and surprisingly affordable. Might be a good addition to your store...

  • February 7, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Michele, it is an amino acid. I don't know about long term use, but I did find a study that concluded that side effects were negligable:

  • February 7, 2015

    by Michele Watson

    Hi Marta do you have any updates on the ingredient? Not much on Net. I am trying a product called Melanoderm with it in (by Dermafix). I wanted to use TIA as objective info on it - it contains Sepiwhite.
    Just wondering re safety in bloodstream as am using all over my legs and arms! It seems effective but am worried re reordering if this not safe. I wrote in and the ditsributer says its from amino acid...

  • July 23, 2014

    by yetunde

    Ill love to buy some sepiwhite creams! Can it be shipped to Nigeria! How m any days is the delivery?

  • January 26, 2012

    by Jennifer

    I have to agree with the posts regarding F&F., in the beginning it would work but the consistency of it was not as good. Same thing about the customer service being bad is true and they are so expensive for small quantity. I've officially given up on F&F. Just searching for a new alternative. Tonique products I've tried, but it doesn't work as fast as F&F, but customer service is great and their soap smells so good. I think if Tonique increases a main ingredient it will get my business back.. No more F&F for me

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