Expert's Opinion

Targeting Glycation

By Taya Tomasello, Mintel Beauty Innovation Americas | March 26, 2010

Taya Tomasello of Mintel Beauty explains how the ‘Pro-Tech’t’ trend is reshaping skin care formulations.

One of Mintel Beauty Innovation’s 2010 Beauty Trends is “Pro-Tech’t.” Throughout 2009, there was a renewed emphasis on protection, one of the basic functions of skin care, hair care and color cosmetics. Beauty products offered increasingly powerful shields against not just UV rays, but also physiological aggressors and man-made factors.

In 2010, “Pro-Tech’t” will strengthen this shield. Marketing language is already growing more robust, borrowing from computer technology (e.g. “firewalls”). Packaging, too, will expand beyond traditional glass and plastic to materials like neoprene and concrete.

In keeping with this trend, beauty and cosmetic companies in Japan and Europe are targeting glycation. Glycation is a non-enzymatic reaction that takes place when simple sugar molecules such as glucose become attached to proteins. This results in the formation of molecules known as Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs).Accumulation of AGEs decreases collagen turnover, therefore damages collagen and causes skin to look dull and lose its flexibility and elasticity. It is also said to produce free radicals and increase inflammation, thus contributing to premature aging. Currently, glycation is one of the most-discussed topics in Japanese magazines, blogs and beauty network sites.

Mintel Beauty Innovation is reviewing several anti-glycation products that claim to stop, slow or mask glycation. Here are a few:

ARK Age Aware is a new UK salon skin care brand. Its aim is to provide “protection against glycation and inflammation from the inside and out.” The brand organizes its products by skin stage not by skin type, based on two main transition periods for the skin in which there are dramatic shifts in hormone production and significant changes in the way the body functions: late 20s to early 30s and late 50s to early 60s. The leaflet text has an extensive description of glycation and its effects. The Phytohormone SkinResponse Serum has a base of sweet almond oil with oat kernel, algae, clover flower and grape seed extracts. It claims to diminish the visible signs of hormone depletion such as dullness, dryness, loss of elasticity and uneven color and tone.

French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay’s new anti-aging skin care range Derm AOX claims to neutralize two major skin aging processes, glycation of tissues and cellular oxidation. The leaflet text outlines how sugar, naturally found in the body, fixes to the collagen and elastin fibers and “creates rigid bypasses between them.” The products are based on a combination of carnosine and pycnogenol, vitamins E and C, as well as the brand’s signature thermal spring water. Carnosine is a molecule claimed to reduce the glycation phenomenon by protecting the skin's tissues, increasing collagen and elastin fibers resistance, and protecting the skin against daily external aggressors. The Wrinkles-Radiance Multi-Corrective Day Care moisturizes, brightens and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. It also offers UVA and UVB protection with SPF 10.

Finally, we see anti-glycation entering the U.S. market with the launch of Clinique’s Youth Surge Age Decelerating Night Moisturizer for Very Dry to Dry Skin. This advanced night cream uses sirtuin technology—another hot topic in skin care these days—in tandem with ingredients that fight glycation as skin ages. According to Clinique, the moisturizer not only intensifies natural cellular repair at night for an energized look come morning, but also uses targeted ingredients to inhibit excess sugars from damaging natural collagen, which can help keep skin looking supple and plumped.

Where is anti-glycation going? The anti-glycation claim is poised to make great strides in 2010 and enter other beauty categories. Expect to see this claim also pop up in body care products, men’s skin care, hair care and makeup.

About the Author
Taya Tomasello brings years of analytic support, marketing communications and market research experience to Mintel. In her role as director for Mintel Beauty Innovation, Taya serves as a partner to clients in the beauty and personal care industry including retailers, manufacturers and ingredient and fragrance suppliers. Her work is primarily focused on identifying trends and leveraging them to foster innovation and new product development.

Through her work as a trends analyst, Taya is a frequent speaker at client meetings and the HBA Global Expo. Taya is regularly quoted in consumer and trade press publications including
Brandweek, The New York Times, WWD and The Wall Street Journal.

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