Bicotene® Complex (now 99% natural)

Epidermal delivery of pro-retinol


Deep skin protection from UV, blue, visible light and IR damage


Prevents the main causes of photoaging

Technology overview


Bicotene® Complex is an ingredient based on the Bicosome® technology: a skin delivery platform providing double encapsulation of actives and target delivery to the desired skin layer. Bicotene® Complex contains beta-carotene as the main active ingredient - a natural protector against free radicals (FR) and is an abundant and effective precursor for Vitamin-A production (pro-retinol).

Beta-carotene on its own is not stable and degrades rapidly upon exposure to, among others UV radiation. The Bicosome® technology is able to stabilize beta-carotene as a result of the double encapsulation. Raman spectroscopy of non-encapsulated beta-carotene and Bicotene® Complex before and after exposure to 2h of UV radiation clearly show the degradation of non-encapsulated beta-carotene, while the beta-carotene in Bicotene Complex is not affected by UV exposure.

Bicotene Complex is able to effectively deliver beta-carotene into the epidermis. Raman microscopy shows an 8 times deeper penetration of beta-carotene with Bicotene Complex compared to a traditional liposome based delivery system.

Sun exposure leads to generation of FR in the skin and the resulting oxidative stress damages cell membranes and DNA. By upregulating MMP-1 enzymes, FR formation further lead to degradation of structural fibers such as collagen. Bicotene® Complex provides deep skin protection against FR formation in all 3 stages of sun exposure: a. before, b. during and c. after.

Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) measurements on native skin and skin treated with 3% Bicotene Complex show the protective effect of Bicotene Complex against FR formation. Before, during and after exposure to UV/vis and IR radiation Bicotene Complex effectively reduced the level of FR present in the skin.

Bicotene Complex’s ability to protect collagen is demonstrated using SAXS measurements. The SAXS profile of native skin (A) show characteristic collagen peaks that disappear upon exposure to IR radiation (B). Application of 3% Bicotene Complex prior to IR exposure prevents the diminishing of the collagen peaks in the SAXS profile (C), demonstrating Bicotene Complex’s protective properties towards collagen degradation.

Bicotene® Complex’s ability to protect against DNA damage is demonstrated by histone phosphorylation measurements. These studies show a 90% decrease in DNA double strand breaks in skin onto which 1% Bicotene Complex has been applied prior to UV exposure, in comparison to untreated skin.

LDH assay tests on native skin and skin treated with 1% Bicotene Complex prior to UV exposure shows a protective effect against cell membranes damage.

Furthermore, LDH assay tests also show a repairing effect of Bicotene Complex on cell membranes when it is applied onto skin after UV exposure.

Application, uses and benefits

Bicotene® Complex can be used in a variety of products with multiple benefits:


Skin care, sun care, color cosmetics:

  • Long-term stability of beta-carotene/pro-retinol
  • Target delivery of beta-carotene to the epidermis
  • Deep skin protection from UV, blue light, visible light and IR damage
  • Restoring the skin’s lipid structure
  • Protects against the main causes of photoaging:
    • Reducing oxidative stress in skin
    • Protect against collagen break-down
    • Protects against DNA damage
    • Protects against cell membrane damage


Formulation guidelines

The following formulation guidelines will help in successfully using the Bicotone® Complex products in formulations:


Liquid water-based Bicotene® Complex:

  • Post-add Bicotene® Complex to the O/W emulsion upon cooling down
  • Recommended dosage: 1 - 3%
  • Optimum pH range: 4 – 9
  • Preferred processing temperature: <55˚C


Lyophylized Bicotene® Complex:

  • Post-add Bicotene® Complex to the W/O emulsion upon cooling down
  • Recommended dosage: 0.2 – 0.6%
  • Preferred processing temperature: <55˚C


Dos and Don’ts:

  • Do not dissolve Bicosome® in any solvents
  • Avoid harsh surfactants
  • Do not use in formulations with alcohol content of >15%
  • Avoid strong oxidants, such as peroxide


Global compliance

Bicotene® Complex products are globally compliant (including China) for use as cosmetic ingredient


Bicotene® Complex: Aqua, Lecithin, Hydrogenated Phosphatidylcholine, Lysolecithin, Glycine Soja Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phytic acid, Tocopherol (mixed), Beta-Sitosterol, Squalene, Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract, Beta-Carotene.


Bicotene® Complex - Lyophylized: Lecithin, Hydrogenated Phosphatidylcholine, Lysolecithin, Glycine Soja Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Sodium phytate, Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract, Beta-Carotene, Tocopherol, Aqua


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The Bicosome® products are developed and manufactured by Bicosome company ( Ultra is the supplier of the Bicosome® products in parts of the US and Canada.

Ultra Chemical Inc.

2 Bridge Avenue Suite 631

Red Bank, NJ 07701



Ultra Chemical BV

Zuidplein 36 - 1077

XV Amsterdam

The Netherlands