Adenosine and Adenovital from Shiseido

I originally wrote this post in 2014, when researching Shiseido and Replicel. At the time, I came across something interesting in their May 2013 partnership announcement document. I learnt about Shiseido’s very popular Adenosine based Adenovital hair growth products. Subsequently, I even added the Adenovital shampoo in my best hair loss shampoos page.

Edit: A new 2020 study found Adenosine to promote human hair growth. See the bottom of this post for more studies.

Update: August 30, 2020

Adenosine in Japan

Adenosine for Hair Growth
Adenosine is highly recommended for hair growth in Japan.

YoungJet just gave us an update on Dr. Takashi Tsuji and his August 25th Zoom conference. Apparently, Dr. T and his team at RIKEN have discovered 3 new hair growth compounds that are more effective than Minoxidil. I was very surprised that instead of giving us more information about his hair multiplication procedure, Dr. T talked about new compounds. YoungJet said this was because the lecture was mainly targeted at cosmetics manufacturers and salons.

The hair multiplication procedure will be extremely expensive, so perhaps cheaper hair growth products will always be popular. In any case, the most interesting thing in this latest video from YoungJet was Dr. T mentioning “Adenosine” as a recommended hair loss product. In the US and Western Europe, Adenosine is never mentioned as a hair growth product.

Shiseido’s Adenovital Hair Loss Shampoo

Getting back to the Shiseido’s document, they state the following:

Shiseido Adenovital Scalp Essence“We released “Medicated Flowline” in 1982 and “Medicated Adenogen” with a biogenic substance “adenosine” in 2005, and “THE HAIR CARE ADENOVITAL SCALP ESSENCE” became a huge hit in the entire Asian region, recording the sales of over 1 million bottles in 1.5 years after the release in February of 2011.”

This was interesting to me because I do not remember ever hearing much about adenosine. Nor this Shiseido Adenovital Vital Scalp Essence product here in the US. For more background information, see the following article on the products’s 2011 release in Asia.

Adenosine versus Minoxidil


After doing some online research, I came across a few forum threads on adenosine from the mid-2000s. But not much more thereafter. Initially, there were expectations that adenosine based products would be even better than Minoxidil when it came to hair regrowth.

Both products are thought to share some similar characteristics insofar as the mechanism of action goes. We are even today continuing to learn about the various ways in which Minoxidil works to grow hair.

Note that Adenosine is related to Adenine and Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Some surgeons use liposomal ATP spray after hair transplants in order to aid healing and graft survival.

Studies and References

— A 2001 study from Japan found that the positive effect of Minoxidil on hair is mediated by adenosine.

— For the female readers of this blog, a Japanese study from 2008 found adenosine to improve hair growth and thickness in women.

— A South Korean study from 2011 found that adenosine:

“Promoted the expression of several growth factors that are responsible for hair growth, including fibroblast growth factors (FGF)-7, (FGF)-2, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).”

— A 2013 study from Iran concluded that topical application of a 0.75% adenosine solution had the same effect as Minoxidil 5% in terms of hair growth. According to patient feedback, adenosine was superior to Minoxidil in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA). It prevented further hair loss faster, and stimulated superior hair growth.

— More recently, a 2015 study from Japan concluded that topical adenosine increases the proportion of hair that is thick in Caucasian men with AGA. Another 2015 study from the same country found that topical adenosine increases thick hair ratio in Japanese men with AGA.

I wonder why we did not hear more on a product that sold over 1 million bottles in Asia in one and a half years after being introduced in 2011? My guess is that the results did not prove comparable to the results from Minoxidil. It is nevertheless encouraging to read about Shiseido’s lengthy history in hair loss related research and product development.

Winlevi: Cassiopea’s Breakthrough Acne Treatment

Winlevi (clascoterone cream 1%) will definitely come to the US market in early 2021! Official website here. I forgot that I wrote this post on Winlevi and acne before, so am updating it now. Also see my related posts on clascoterone based hair loss treatment Breezula.

Many people will inevitably try to use Winlevi on their scalps for hair growth (via off-label prescription). This is not recommended by the manufacturer.

Update: August 27, 2020

Winlevi Approved by the FDA to Treat Acne

Winlevi Clascoterone Cream 1%
Winlevi Clascoterone Cream 1% Acne Treatment.

Cassiopea’s Winlevi topical androgen receptor inhibitor has just been approved as an acne treatment by the US FDA. It is the first acne treatment with a new mechanism of action to be approved in 40 years.

More information from Cosmo Pharma (Ireland — COPN:SWX), which owns 45 percent of Cassiopea (Italy — SKIN:SW). Winlevi will be on sale in early 2021.

CEO Diana Harbort quote:

Dermatologists have said targeting androgen hormonal activity in the skin is ‘the holy grail’ of acne treatment for both males and females.

Update: November 8, 2019 — Cassiopea announces US FDA reviewing new drug application (NDA) for clascoterone cream 1% to treat acne.

August 23, 2019

I have covered Italian company Cassiopea numerous times on this blog. Primarily due to its Breezula topical product for male pattern hair loss. Earlier this year, Cassiopea announced very good 12-month Phase 2 clinical trial results for Breezula.

Clascoterone, Winlevi and Acne

Cassiopea is also working on an acne product called Winlevi. Both Breezula and Winlevi are based on the same key ingredient: Clascoterone. However, the dosage in Winlevi is significantly lower at 1%. Winlevi is almost ready to come to market per Cassiopea’s product pipeline.

Cassiopea Winlevi Pipeline
Cassiopea Winlevi and Breezula Pipeline


Earlier this week, Cassiopea made a major announcement. The company has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking marketing approval for clascoterone cream 1% for the treatment of acne.

My Thoughts

Some interesting points in the press release and my thoughts:

  • Clascoterone cream 1% targets androgen receptors at the site of application. This inhibits the local (skin) effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Apparently, DHT is a key driver of acne lesion development. Most people wrongly assume it is solely testosterone.
  •  This acne treatment product will be safe to use in both males and females.
  • If approved, clascoterone cream 1% will represent the first new mechanism of action in the treatment of acne in almost 40 years. Interestingly, if Breezula is approved for hair loss in 2021, it will be the first new topical or oral treatment for hair loss in almost 25 years.