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The Anatomy of BB Creams

By: Luigi Rigano, PhD
Posted: April 26, 2013, from the May 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Appropriate moisturization for very dry skin requires the selection of a combination of ceramides, sterols and fatty acids triglycerides. In general, BB creams are designed for consumers with oily skin, with actives and fillers that support the adsorption of excess sebum and avoid the development of shine for cutaneous secretions.

BB creams should also provide both UVA and UVB protection to avoid the stimulation of melanocytes and the consequent production of melanin. Protection from UVA rays hinders the oxidative stress induced by the longer wavelengths, which give rise to free radicals and skin cell damage. This can be obtained with the usual sunscreen ingredients. BB creams are available at SPF 15 and 35 to maximize protection.

Additionally, recent BB creams combine the above mentioned functional parameters related to the correction of skin color defects to the concept of long-term prevention of pigmentation disequilibrium. In this respect, the renewal, antioxidant, free radical prevention, anti-glycation, plumping, etc., that are normally associated with anti-aging products can be added to the formula to complete and sustain immediate skin lightening with more durable rejuvenation effects. Skin aging results in a pronounced loss of skin elasticity and its capability to reflect light. Progressive graying of skin is the result. Biologic mushroom ferments have been proposed to counteract this effect. For improving the desquamation process, one ferment from the coral reef is reported to stimulate the desquamation and differentiation markers, regenerating the skin and providing a smoother, more even appearance.

The Future and CC Creams

New to the market from Korea are CC creams, which are said to combine all the skin benefits of BB creams with better coverage. One example is Vichy’s Aeratint Pure Cream Foundation, which claims all-day velvety feel, moisturization, sun protection and soothing. In other words, a perfected machine for rapid but complete skin care before daily exposure to the environment. (See Next Up: CC Creams for more market information.)

BB creams are the perfect hybrid product for a number of consumers: for those seeking something different from a foundation; for young adults just entering the world of skin care; and for consumers looking for better illumination from makeup. For this multitasking product, the future looks bright.


  1. BB Cream: The Next Big Thing in Beauty, The Huffington Post, (Accessed Mar 11, 2013)
  2. FR 2,900,334, Cosmetic composition comprising substitute adenosines for depigmentation of skin, L’Oréal (Nov 2, 2007)
  3. JP 2007, 291,066, Cosmetic compositions for covering uneven skin color, Kosei Co. , Ltd. (Nov 8, 2007)
  4. T Mammone, et al, Modification of skin discoloration by a topical treatment containing an extract of ,em>Dianella ensifolia: a potent antioxidant, J Cosm Dermatol, 9(2), 89–95 (2010)

Luigi Rigano, PhD, is a consultant for the cosmetics industry, co-director of the Institute of Skin and Product Evaluation (ISPE), and head of Studio Rigano Industrial Consulting Laboratories, a laboratory he founded in 1986. He spent more than 15 years in R&D, production and technical positions at Unilever, Intercos, Givaudan and Schering-Plough Corp., and is an active member of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) and of the register of chemists in the Lombardia region of Italy. Rigano serves as a consultant at the Milan Court and has authored more than 80 scientific articles on cosmetics, aesthetics and dermatology.