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Skin Care Thinks Small to Deliver Big

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: August 5, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
An array of polymer microneedles 1,000 microns tall

Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Tech’s school of chemical and biomolecular engineering, one of the professors leading a U.S. team in finding a new mass delivery method for the flu vaccine, holds an array of polymer microneedles 1,000 microns tall. This photo, taken by Gary Meek and duplicated from the cover, is used with permission from Georgia Tech.

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Looking to the future, Rodrigues says LS has focused its R&D efforts on reducing neurogenic inflammation. “This has led to the development of an upcoming peptidic active ingredient aimed at decreasing nerve stimulation, thereby helping to relieve sensitive skin by reduction of cutaneous hyper-reactivity to environmental factors or stimuli,” she says.

Another system aiming to improve the signs of aging on the face and body is Skinmimics, novel active ingredients by Germany’s Evonik Goldschmidt GmbH. Five years in the making, the system is designed to moisturize, protect and regenerate mature skin, says Betty Santonnat, global marketing manager of actives. “Skinmimics is composed of unique ceramides and the newly identified sphingokines molecules,” she says. “It is able to optimize the total epidermal water management system acting at three levels: It repairs the skin’s own water protection barrier; it activates the skin’s own water natural moisturizing system; and it increases the glycerol and water transport mechanism.”

France’s Silab, a research company providing bioactives for skin care and other markets, also recently released several new antiaging ingredients. Introduced during In-Cosmetics 2008 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Papilactyl D, from the African tiger nut plant, reinforces the elastic properties of skin tissue to prevent wrinkles, according to M. Cruchon, CEO, Silab Inc. The company tested the efficacy of the product’s claims in-house. Thanks to its R&D department, which represents a third of its workforce, Silab has launched several other new actives—including Longevicell, from the Mediterranean myrtle shrub flower, which revives cellular metabolism and communication to preserve the functions of skin tissues; and Heliomoduline, made from cottonseed peptides, to help in the skin’s DNA repair process in response to exposure to UV rays.

But how do these active ingredients get to their final destination? That’s where delivery systems come in.

Nano Delivery Systems

Nanotechnology, one type of delivery system, involves nanometer-sized particles of ingredients, about 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, that penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers to repair tissue and deliver other beneficial effects.