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It’s not your grandma’s wrinkle cream. One size fits all doesn’t work for today’s consumers anymore. “The anti-aging market is going to be much more specific moving forward,” explains Mibelle Biochemistry’s Beata Hurst. “We now need to treat the specific needs of consumers with precise applications.”
Hurst also notes, “The anti-aging market will continue to grow. But not like anything we’ve seen in the past as the market increasingly diversifies.” Thanks to baby boomers, aging consumers as a target market are growing faster compared to the general population, making the mature population more attractive for anti-aging companies. However, younger adults are not to be left behind, as they seek to address concerns early. “Advances in understanding the process of aging have helped cosmetic manufacturers realize that aging is not just a problem for people 45 and up,” says Anurag Pande PhD, vice president of scientific affairs, Sabinsa Corporation.
Science has allowed further understanding of the underlying causes of aging, which also has enabled anti-aging ingredients and formulations to specifically target various needs. No longer do products only assure a reduction in lines and wrinkles, but also aim to offer an improvement of skin structure, an even skin tone, diminution of pigmentation disorders, and increase elastin production for a firmer, more supple and healthier skin appearance. And new claims such as anti-glycation, anti-inflammation, anti-redness and growth factors will appear on consumer products and applications. But only those backed with science or a natural sourcing story and consumer-perceived results will stand out.
“Consumers want a more immediate effect from their cosmetic products,” says Caroline Magerl-Studer, founder of Mila D’Opiz, which will launch an all-in-one anti-aging night care product in April 2014. “Therefore, the cosmetic industry is developing diverse formulas that have an active influence on a cellular level to mimic more invasive procedures.”
Mibelle Biochemistry is focusing its anti-aging innovation on cell-to-cell communication, chronic inflammation and stem cells. “New findings in biochemistry and dermatology are the two main drivers for innovation,” says Hurst.
One of the results of aging is that the communication process between skin cells, which is mediated by growth factors that act as skin messenger molecules, is reduced. As a consequence, the activity of fibroblasts decreases. Unfortunately, this strongly affects the extracellular matrix, the structural network of the skin. The result is a reduction in the skin’s firmness, elasticity and density. Because it’s a hormone, growth factors within products are not allowed in the U.S. or Europe. However, it is helpful to have ingredients that activate the skin’s own growth factors within the dermis and epidermis, Hurst explains. Mibelle’s DermCom ingredient both improves and repairs skin texture through its growth factor-like activity.
Stem cells also continue to be popular as they work to repair damaged skin quickly. One example is Evonik’s Tego Stemlastin, which helps protect and maintain epidermal stem cell capacity and boost the elastic fiber network. Based on a standardized extract of the micro algae Cyanidium caldarium, which is able to survive under extreme environmental conditions, the extract delivers a special intracellular composition of extremolytes like mineral nutrients, amino acids and algae polyphenols—and is enriched in gamma amino butyric acid. In vitro studies have shown Tego Stemlastin protects and maintains epidermal stem cell capacity for rejuvenated skin activity while also boosting elastic fibers, leading to supple skin and reduction of skin elasticity fatigue. Thus, Stemlastin leads to improved skin elasticity and diminishes wrinkles, especially crow’s feet, through its activity on epidermal stem cells and elastic fibers.
Mature women also are concerned about skin problems during menopause, which are closely linked with hormonal changes. “They are looking for an effective product that makes them feel comfortable during the time in their life when everything turns upside down,” says Manuela Pflaumbaum, global marketing manager, actives, Evonik. Evonik’s Tego Arjuna S is a standardized plant extract of penta cyclic triterpenes with improved bioavailability. It combats the signs and effects of hormonal aging on postmenopausal skin without influencing hormonal activity, for example.
Denise Gabriele, vice president, sales and marketing, Sederma, says true innovation is “performance based on a new molecule—natural or synthetic—that targets and addresses a new mechanism, or addresses a new consumer benefit.” An example would be Sederma’s Beautifeye, which demonstrates lifting of a droopy upper eyelid. [Beautifeye won the Cosmetics & Toiletries R&D Award—Asia for Best New Ingredient Award at in-cosmetics Asia, Oct. 30, 2013. The award is presented by GCI sister publication Cosmetics & Toiletries.]
“Based on a dual-action approach, Beautifeye treats the global contour of the eye by lifting the fold of the eyelid at the top and lessening the crow’s feet wrinkles on the sides by strengthening the dermal structure and increasing its contractile properties,” says Gabriele. It also helps to fade dark circles and diminish puffiness by consolidating the microvascular network and reducing pigmentation. And while clinical studies have demonstrated the positive effects, what’s more important is that the consumer sees the difference. “If the consumer does not perceive a benefit, she won’t purchase [the product] again,” Gabriele explains.
In order to correct the damage, it’s important to understand the underlying causes of visible skin aging. Senescence—also known as the process of deterioration with age—changes the functionality of cells responsible for building the skin matrix. “Prior to senescence, these cells produce key structural proteins such as collagen and elastin and other skin-protective molecules that maintain skin’s vitality and firmness,” explains Sonia Dawson, marketing manager, botanicals, Croda Inc. “However, after senescence, these cells switch activity and produce high amounts of destructive molecules that accelerate visible skin aging by breaking down various components of the skin.” The accumulation of these cells with age has visible effects such as thin and sagging skin and an abundance of pigmented age spots. Recent studies show certain small, signal-blocking molecules known as microRNAs are directly involved in the occurrence of senescence.
Sederma, therefore, developed Senestem, a high-tech active proven to fade signs of senescence with an approach targeting microRNAs. “We’re targeting aging at the source,” says Dawson, and this micro approach leads to a visible macro effect: skin recovers its density, firmness and elasticity, and age spots lightened.
It’s also a natural solution, created using Sederma’s HTN (High Tech Nature) Plant Cell Amplification method, developed by the scientists at Sederma’s Instituto di Ricerche Biotecnologiche (IRB). “This proprietary process is an eco-friendly and highly sustainable means for the precise selection and amplification of the most desired natural molecules, reaching levels 1,000 times greater than those achieved from traditional means,” explains Dawson. “It is due to the high levels of specific plant molecules uniquely suited for this cosmetic activity that we are able to deliver such visible benefits.”
As if biotechnology and cell manipulation weren’t enough, consumers are drawn to natural beauty products for the skin, in addition to the environment around them. “What we put onto our bodies is as important as what we put into them,” says Karen King, co-founder of La Bella Figura, which selects ingredients based on their effectiveness as well as their sustainability.