Clinical Evidence for the Activity of Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine (THPE), a New Anti-Aging Active Cosmetic

October 2011 | Volume 10 | Issue 10 | Original Article | 1102 | Copyright © October 2011


Background/ Objectives: The cellular surface modification of superficial epidermal keratinocytes can induce immediate skin tensioning effects and may improve signs of skin aging. Tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine (THPE) is an active that has been described to induce keratinocytes' morphological changes in vitro. We conducted an in vivo study to assess anti-aging clinical benefits of a THPE-containing product.
Methods: An eight-week double-blind, randomized intra-individual placebo controlled clinical study was performed to evaluate the clinical benefits of a 2.5% THPE-containing cream. This study included 41 Caucasian women who received the THPE cream product on one side of the face and a placebo cream on the other side daily. Evaluations were performed at baseline, 45 minutes after first application, week 4 and week 8 and included clinical examination and digital photography.
Results: The study demonstrated the immediate lifting effect of a 2.5% THPE-containing cream. Forty-five minutes after a single application on the face, as the skin surface smoothed out, light reflection was modified: healthy glow and radiance of the skin were significantly improved (respectively 22.9% and 40% of improvement) and skin yellowishness was reduced (7.1%). Notably, the THPE-treated side was significantly lifted, both immediately after product application (8.1%) and after 8 weeks of application (14%), compared to the placebo-treated side.
Conclusion: This clinical study demonstrated that the effect of a 2.5% THPE-containing cream on the keratinocytes cells leads to an immediate and long-term clinical improvement of the skin appearance (radiance and skin firmness, skin lifting) and can therefore be considered as a new anti-aging cosmetic active.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(10):1102-1105.


In 2040, one out of four people will be at least 65-years-old, as a consequence of the “baby boom” generation (1946 to 1964 in the U.S.; 1946 to 1974 in France and the United Kingdom, for example). The aging population in conjunction with the desire to maintain a youthful appearance has led to a nearly simultaneous growth in the anti-aging cosmetic market. Facial skin is particularly vulnerable to the effects of aging, which take place gradually often being recognized by the emergence of furrows and wrinkles together with a loss of tonicity.1 The loss of skin firmness can lead to facial sagging which has been reported to strongly affect the perceived age.
To meet the increasing demand for anti-aging treatments, various cosmetic active ingredients have been investigated. However, most of them require long-term use to perceive benefit. Consumers desire more instantaneous benefits leading to an immediate smoothing of the cutaneous microrelief, a lifting of the skin and an improvement of its viscoelastic properties. High molecular weight polymers, such as proteins and polysaccharides well known as skin tightening agents, are able to form a film leading to the stratum corneum retraction have been commonly used in cosmetic practice.
It was reported that modulation of superficial epidermal keratinocytes could induce rapid skin tensioning effects and affect skin appearance.2-4 Tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine (THPE) acts through this novel mechanism of action of keratinocyte contraction. Toxicological in vitro studies have demonstrated that THPE did not induce vacuolization and had no effect on keratinocyte or fibroblast proliferation (Data not shown). Using real-time visual microscopy and electric cell-substrate impedance measurements of primary human keratinocytes,5 THPE was found to induce a dose-dependent in vitro keratinocyte contraction, decreasing significantly cell area by up to 44.5 percent in five hours.6