Kinetin is a plant hormone found naturally in coconut water. Preliminary research suggests that kinetin may delay aging, in addition to its effects on improving the complexion by smoothing wrinkles, reducing spots and improving the texture of the skin.


Grade Level of Evidence
A Multiple double-blind, controlled clinical trials.
B 1 double-blind, controlled clinical trial.
C At least 1 controlled or comparative clinical trial.
D Uncontrolled, observational, animal or in-vitro studies only.
Grade Effect Size of Effect Comments


Skin lightening


Reduced the number of UV spots and improved the appearance of blotchiness.


Smoother skin


72% of subjects reported marked or moderate improvements in the texture of their skin after 24 weeks of treatment.


Wrinkle treatment


Improved fine wrinkles after 24 weeks' treatment with 0.1% kinetin cream.


Rosacea treatment


Did not reduce the number of inflammatory lesions, but alleviated facial redness.


Increased skin elasticity


Increased the deposition of elastin in the upper dermis of the skin.




Inhibits the generation of and scavenges reactive oxygen species, protecting against oxidative damage.

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Table of contents:

1. Sources

Kinetin is an essential plant growth factor that regulates various aspects of cellular growth and differentiation,[1] such as leaf yellowing and senescence, and fruit ripening and degradation.[2] Once believed to be a synthetic plant hormone, kinetin is now most well-known as a component of coconut water.[3]

Kinetin also exists naturally in the DNA of many organisms' cells, including human cells, calf thymus, and plant cell extracts.[4][5] It has been proposed that kinetin is formed in DNA in vivo first by oxidation of deoxyribose to yield furfural, which then reacts with the amino group of adenine, giving rise to kinetin.[6]

2. Bioavailability

Studies investigating the percutaneous absorption or penetration of kinetin into human skin have yet to be found. However, kinetin appears to be chemically stable.[7]

3. Effects on the skin

There is some evidence to show that kinetin exerts anti-aging effects in humans. In vitro studies have demonstrated that kinetin delays the onset of age-related characteristics in human fibroblasts, such as morphological alterations, growth rates, cell size, cytoskeletal organization, macromolecular synthesis and the accumulation of oxidative damage product lipofuscin.[8] Kinetin also induces the differentiation of human keratinocytes undergoing aging in vitro.[9] In a reconstructed skin model, kinetin also stimulated the formation of fibrillin-1 and the deposition of elastin in the upper dermis and their organization perpendicularly to the dermoepidermal junction.[10]

A few studies have tested the anti-aging efficacy of topical kinetin. In one uncontrolled study, subjects applied 0.1% kinetin cream to the face and neck twice daily for up to 24 weeks, and a complexion-analysis system was used to evaluate parameters such as skin evenness, pores, wrinkles, visible spots and UV spots at baseline and after every 6 weeks. Ultrasound scanning was also employed to determine collagen density. Although a reduction in the number of UV spots, blotchiness and an increase in low-density collagen were reported, measures of statistical significance were not given.[1] Another study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face trial on 52 Taiwanese subjects, 0.03% kinetin and 4% niacinamide was found to persistently and significantly reduce spot, pore, wrinkle and evenness counts, decrease erythema as well as increase corneal hydration status within 12 weeks.[7]

A formulation containing kinetin with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and alpha-lipoic acid, has separately been found to exert photoprotective effects in skin barrier function and hydration effects on human skin, though the role of kinetin in enabling these benefits is not clear.[11]

The apparent anti-aging effects of kinetin may be due to its ability as an antioxidant. Kinetin appears to act as an inhibitor of reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and as a direct scavenger of ROS.[12] Kinetin has also been shown to protect against oxidative and glycoxidative protein damage generated in vitro.[13] This may allow it to inhibit the formation of advanced glycation/glycoxidation end products, which are thought to be one factor in aging.[2]

3.2 Rosacea treatment

One study has investigated the use of kinetin to improve the symptoms of rosacea. 18 participants with mild to moderate facial rosacea applied a moisturizing lotion containing 0.1% kinetin (Kinerase) to the entire face twice daily. At the end of 12 weeks, there was no appreciable decrease in the number of inflammatory lesions, but there was a significant reduction in facial erythema. Adverse signs and symptoms including burning, stinging and dryness associated with rosacea were also significantly improved.[14] However, as this trial was open-label and uncontrolled, further studies held to higher standards of scientific rigor are required to confirm these findings.

4. Side Effects

From the limited number of clinical trials that have been performed so far, kinetin seems to be non-irritating to the skin, with few adverse events reported.[1][7]

Scientific References

  1. Katz BE, Bruck, MC. Efficacy and tolerability of kinetin 0.1% cream for improving the signs of photoaging in facial and neck skin. Cosmet Dermatol. (2010)
  2. Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. (2010)
  3. Ge L, et. al. Identification of kinetin and kinetin riboside in coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water using a combined approach of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography and capillary electrophoresis. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. (2005)
  4. Barciszewski J, et. al. Evidence for the presence of kinetin in DNA and cell extracts. FEBS Lett. (1996)
  5. Wyszko E, et. al. "Action-at-a distance" of a new DNA oxidative damage product 6-furfuryl-adenine (kinetin) on template properties of modified DNA. Biochim Biophys Acta. (2003)
  6. Barciszewski J, et. al. A mechanism for the in vivo formation of N6-furfuryladenine, kinetin, as a secondary oxidative damage product of DNA. FEBS Lett. (1997)
  7. Chiu PC, et. al. The clinical anti-aging effects of topical kinetin and niacinamide in Asians: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face comparative trial. J Cosmet Dermatol. (2007)
  8. Rattan SI, Clark BF. Kinetin delays the onset of ageing characteristics in human fibroblasts. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (1994)
  9. Berge U, Kristensen P, Rattan SI. Kinetin-induced differentiation of normal human keratinocytes undergoing aging in vitro. Ann N Y Acad Sci. (2006)
  10. Vicanova J, et. al. Epidermal and dermal characteristics in skin equivalent after systemic and topical application of skin care ingredients. Ann N Y Acad Sci. (2006)
  11. Campos PM, et. al. Efficacy of cosmetic formulations containing dispersion of liposome with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, alpha-lipoic acid and kinetin. Photochem Photobiol. (2012)
  12. Barciszewski J, et. al. Kinetin — 45 years on. Plant Science. (1999)
  13. Verbeke P, et. al. Kinetin inhibits protein oxidation and glycoxidation in vitro. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (2000)
  14. Wu JJ, et. al. Topical kinetin 0.1% lotion for improving the signs and symptoms of rosacea. Clin Exp Dermatol. (2007)