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Cover Story: Cosmeceuticals Inject Innovation Into Antiaging

By: Diana Dodson
Posted: April 2, 2008, from the April 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The emergence of advanced cosmeceutical brands is one of the key developments to come out of the demand for progressively more efficacious antiagers. A cosmeceutical is a product that is marketed as a cosmetic but reputedly contains biologically active ingredients and claims to have drug-like benefits. Some of the ingredients that have become big sellers in the antiaging market as a result of this trend include retinoids (some of which are so powerful, products containing them are actually classified as medicines), alpha-hydroxy acids (which strip the skin of the dead outer layers to reveal the fresher skin underneath) and collagen-promoting peptides. As cosmeceuticals gain momentum in the antiaging market, the variety of ingredients used and range of skin aging problems they claim to solve are multiplying fast.

Antiagers that purportedly offer transdermal delivery of skin plumping ingredients such as collagen are among the more recent developments in the cosmeceuticals market. Other products claim to replicate the effects of professional antiwrinkle products such as Botox. Tri-Aktiline is one such product. Recently launched in the U.K. and sold via the online store of health and beauty chain Boots, Tri-Aktiline’s key ingredient is gatuline, an extract from the South American Acmella oleracea plant, which supposedly relaxes facial muscles.

The most advanced, and controversial, antiaging cosmeceutical to come onto the market to date uses stem cell technology. Voss Laboratories was the first company to explore the potential of skin cells in the antiaging market. The resulting product, Amatokin, claims to transform aging skin from the inside by stimulating the generation of new skin cells while repairing DNA. It did not take long for other brands to pick up on the technology, and Dior Capture R60/80 XP and RéVive’s Peau Magnifique are two further examples of stem cell wrinkle creams.

At-home Treatments

Another trend in cosmeceutical antiagers brings beauty treatments to the at-home market—notably in the form of laser skin rejuvenating devices. Johnson & Johnson and, more recently, L’Oréal have announced plans to develop light-based antiaging devices, and Procter & Gamble joined forces with Israeli-based Syneron in 2007 to sell skin care products to be used in conjunction with proprietary Intense Pulse Light technology direct to the consumer. The trend is even attracting manufacturers from beyond the cosmetics market, and Philips is said to be developing its own versions of electric antiaging products.

Other brands seek to complement the cosmetic surgery market by offering post-operative formulations. La Prairie’s Cellular Nurturing range, aiming to relieve the redness and tightness often experienced after surgery, is one example. Estée Lauder’s Clinique brand has taken this trend one step further, teaming up with Botox creator Allergan to offer a range of skin care products to complement in-office esthetic procedures and to be sold exclusively through U.S. physicians’ offices. As growing numbers of consumers resort to cosmetic surgery and treatments in the pursuit of younger-looking skin, this approach is expected to gain momentum going forward. Estimates suggest plastic surgery will rise to be a £1.8 billion business in the U.K. alone by 2011.

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