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Inventing Success

By: Rachel L. Grabenhofer
Posted: February 2, 2010, from the February 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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In addition to the safety of the environment, R&D has put great efforts into ensuring consumer safety. To the beauty industry, securing consumer safety means both protection from potential reactions to substances and protection from the elements. Evidence of both aspects exists in the literature, posters and presentations at R&D events, which recently have focused heavily on anti-irritancy, anti-inflammation, probiotics and natural microflora, and sensitive skin care. The industry has taken a defensive stance to skin care with the development of materials that are mild to skin and that act on or support the skin’s natural defense mechanisms to protect against external assaults such as UV radiation and pollution that cause aging, dryness, inflammation, etc.

For example, in a paper presented at the SCC Annual Scientific Seminar in Chicago, Howard Epstein of EMD Chemicals discussed the application of bioflavonoids from the adaptogenic herbs emblica and ginseng to increase the body’s resistance to stress. His analysis showed that tiliroside, an enzyme that decreases in the skin with age, could be upregulated. In another study, Françoise Arnold and team from MMP, examined the metabolism of vitamin D in skin to determine how it relates to skin barrier function, the activation of antimicrobial peptides, the photoprotection of skin, and protection against cell death.

Nu Skin’s Helen Knaggs introduced a newly discovered enzyme related to intrinsic aging—the age-related NOX or arNOX enzyme. The activity of this enzyme has been found to increase with age and correlate with whether individuals look young or old for their age; her work suggests a new target for antiaging actives. Another approach to antiaging from CoValence’s K.G. Sabarinathan proposed nourishing the mitochondria in skin cells. It was shown that certain materials prompted DNA repair and supported mitochondrial nutrition.

Work by Johann Wiechers, PhD, revealed a novel mechanism of skin moisturization, and also rallying the skin’s defenses, in this case for sun protection, Isabelle Imbert and team from ISP/Vincience described a pea-derived extract that assists skin in “switching on” its own melanin content. The extract was shown in a time- and dose-dependent manner to optimize the skin’s natural melanin production upon exposure to sunlight.

Finally, in a dual-sided approach to antiaging, IBR Ltd.’s Liki von Oppen-Bezalel proposed a cosmetic active based on both a dormant Narcissus tazetta bulb extract, which was shown to slow the cell turnover rate, thereby preserving cells in a younger state. This material was combined with colorless carotenoids to absorb UV radiation and protect the skin from oxidative stress and photodamage. Her approach aimed to reduce the signs of aging both intrinsically and extrinsically. (For more information on intrinsic and extrinsic aging, see “A Closer Look at Intrinsic Aging” by Steven Herman at or the April 2009 issue.)

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