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Lab Test Equipment Update

Posted: December 5, 2006, from the December 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

In order to substantiate claims, manufacturers and brands must prove that their products do what they claim with the safety of the consumer in mind. The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) recently introduced its new commitment code for cosmetic companies, promoting industry self-regulation regarding product safety. As a self-regulated industry, scientific data that validates cosmetic and personal care products builds trust between the brand and the consumer. With increasingly advanced products, such as those for antiaging skin care, measuring products’ effects is becoming even more vital to boosting consumer confidence.

“Efficacy testing and validation of skin care products need increasingly rigorous scientific methodology if they are going to stand up to regulator and consumer demands,” said Annie Brooking, CEO of Astron Clinica. “It’s about quantitative data as well as qualitative results.” Observing basic changes to the surface of skin is not enough. Using techniques that map the skin, practitioners can view the skin’s relative age, thus creating specialized treatment plans to manage aging skin. For marketers, this measurement creates conclusive scientific proof that their products should be part of this skin management regimen.

Chromophore Mapping

In a study conducted by Paul J. Matts, PhD, associated with P&G Beauty; and Symon D. Cotton, PhD, associated with Astron Clinica, Ltd. in the U.K., the visual inspection of the chromophore maps of young and aged subjects revealed a contrast, particularly for the melanin and hemoglobin chromophores. (See What is a chromophore?)

In young skin, these chromophores are distributed in an extremely homogeneous manner—consistent with the delicate, even palette of youth. With age, a significant increase in both total concentration and in homogeneity is evident for both chromophores, producing wrinkles, lines and dark spots. An apparent “lag” phase for total skin concentrations of both chromophores (lasting until approximately age 30 for melanin and 40 for hemoglobin) occurs as skin ages, after which there was a steady increase in each chromophore total concentration with a concurrent progressive increase in inhomogeneity of each pigment.1 Collagen maps reveal an apparent overall loss in both density and the skin’s fine “egg-box” lattice with age. These concentrations over time showcase the skin’s true age below the surface.

“It creates a beauty timeline that can be used to manage skin health,” said Suzanne MacDonald-Carr, Astron Clinica. This data appears to confirm chromophore mapping as a tool to characterize and explain the visual appearance of aging skin. “Procter & Gamble was the first to identify the fact that the three chromophores of hemoglobin, melanin and collagen determine the way skin looks,” said Brooking. Chromophore mapping measures them without taking a biopsy, which is important within the cosmetics and personal care industry.

Below the Skin