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Chemical Reaction: Neurocosmetics

By: Steve Herman
Posted: May 4, 2007, from the May 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Testing dermal nerve responses with electrodes is the subject of a 2002 patent application by Cognis6, based on research performed in France, where the patent was filed for. This study is a good place to begin an examination of the underlying science of neurocosmetics: “The skin is equipped with a particularly effective communication and control system of which the function is to protect the organism from the environment. This system contains a very dense system of highly specialized, outgoing autonomous nerve branches and sensory, feeder nerve branches which is distributed over all layers of the skin. The information passing through this network is processed in the central nervous system and can produce an inflammatory reaction through the antidromic propagation of impulses. The response activity of a nerve can be determined from the neuropeptides released and the receptors of the corresponding target structures.”

The nervous system can easily absorb a lifetime of study. The advent of the Internet, however, makes exploration easier; simply Google search terms such as nociceptor, Aδ fiber axons, C fiber axons, mechanotransduction, thermotransduction or neurotrophins to open a world of knowledge. The challenge is not a lack of information but the ability to sort through the vast resources now available with the click of a mouse.

Neurocosmetics is clearly only a step towards the logical goal, a REACH Certified Biodegradable Green Renewable BioActive NanoNeuroCosmetic—the inevitable topic of a future Chemical Reaction column. Our industry is clearly far from the end of its quest to understand and treat aging skin, but the possibilities for new and better products seem endless.

Acknowledgments and References

Thanks to Douglas De Blasi for providing a copy of his SCC presentation, Jayson Goodner for Ocaline documentation and the National SCC office for providing a copy of the Watson paper.

  1. D DeBlasi, A Neurocosmetic Approach to Improvement in Sensitive Skin Protection, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists presentation (Jan 3, 2007)
  2. HR Watson, R Hems, DG Roswell and DJ Spring, New compounds with the menthol cooling effect, J Soc Cosmet Chem, 29 185–200 (1978)
  3. MB Erman, Cooling agents and skin care applications, Cosmet Toil, 120 105–117 (May 2004)
  4. CL Huang, The transient receptor potential superfamily of ion channels, J Am Soc Nephrol, 15 1690–1699 (2004)
  5. WD Snider, How do you feel? Neurotrophins and mechanotransduction, Nat Neurosci, 1 (1) 5–6
    (May 1998)
  6. US Pat 2006 0224077, Analysis of a skin reactivity and hypersensitivity, G Pauly et al, Cognis (Oct 5, 2006)