The skin care needs of an aging population have created a juggernaut
of products boasting innovative technology and natural ingredients
“The information age has definitely arrived and with it comes thousands of questions, answers and explanations that make the consumer much more educated about all products in general,” explained Scott Whittier, senior director of product development, Nu Skin. “Where once consumers were satisfied trusting a certain brand or product line, we are now inquiring more about the scientific and benefit differences between products.”
Previously, manufacturers were content to develop products centered around one core ingredient, such as vitamin C. These companies are now more interested in products that contain several active ingredients that either work synergistically to produce one single benefit or complement each other to offer a host of benefits. For instance, Clarins Paris recently introduced an Energizing morning cream that contains 11 vitamins that work together to provide energy to the skin as well as minerals to stimulate it. Meanwhile new ingredients, such as grape seed oil, tea tree oil, St. John’s Wort and echinacea, are finding their way into skin care formulas as research and development teams search for the next blockbuster skin care agent to stir up the industry and keep consumers looking young and refreshed.
The use of vitamins in skin care is nothing new, but lately manufacturers have been taking this trend a step further, incorporating a host of vitamins, minerals and other natural ingredients into their products to feed the skin. “Most botanical dietary supplements contain ingredients that are beneficial to the skin,” remarked Tony Vargas, Elizabeth Arden research and development. “Botanical extracts contain many constituents that are good for ingestion and topical application.”
Arden’s Ceramide Herbal 12 is a 12-ingredient herbal cocktail featuring ginkgo biloba to improves circulation and echinacea for its anti-inflammatory properties. Individual doses of the gel-like substance are encapsulated to ensure freshness and stability. The capsule delivery system makes Ceramide Herbal 12 the purest, most potent herbal skin care treatment for healthy, younger looking skin offered by Arden, remarked Mr. Vargas.
Many herbs have special cosmetic benefits that have been passed down through the ages, according to Warren Reyzor, founder Abra Therapeutic Personal Care, Forestville, CA. “Like medicinal plants that have contributed so much to modern medicines, these cosmetic plants are worthy of research and development,” he said.
Abra’s Hydramax Ginkgo Biloba Phytoserum contains 2% pure standardized ginkoflavonglycosides, de-rived from the ginkgo biloba leaf, which is encapsulated for transdermal effectiveness. The serum’s secondary active is an extract containing willowbark, ginkgo, mallow, comfrey, horsetail, ivy and chamomile.
As the natural trend continues, companies are facing increased challenges formulating their products with naturally-derived ingredients. “Synthetic ingredients made to exact specifications and compounded with other synthetic ingredients in a formulation respond the same way all of the time,” Mr. Reyzor said. “Natural molecules have great complexities and many complementary constituents depending upon regional and seasonal variations. These subtle variations require the cosmetic chemist to depend on talent, experience and attention in each stage of batch preparation.”
“People feel more comfortable using products that contain natural ingredients,” Mr. Vargas said. “We are also seeing more research into these materials from our suppliers. They are constantly developing new methods of extraction to provide us with the best and most concentrated form of the extract.”
Burt’s Bees has formulated its line of soaps and other personal products around a natural philosophy and maintains its business has benefitted from the consumer’s desire for natural ingredients. “The educated and informed female is driving our business,” said Chuck Friedman, technical director, Burt’s Bees. “When she reads our label, she wants it to sound like lunch. She doesn’t want to see ingredients she can’t pronounce.”
The Root of the Problem
Behind every great solution comes a great problem. Thus, many cosmetologists have focused on determining the cause of wrinkles and other signs of aging in their efforts to halt them. While there are several schools of thought on where the root of aging lies, companies have been developing product lines based around their individual theories.
Japanese cosmetic giant Shiseido has based its The Skincare line around its theory that damage to the basement membrane causes the skin’s layers to lose their ability to communicate with each other. The basement membrane is the link between the dermis and epidermis and the products restore communication between these two layers with a phyto-vitalizing factor, a combination of lipidure, xylitol, glycerin and plant lipid. Shiseido spent five years developing this factor, according to spokeswoman Lorraine Wilner. “The destruction of the basement membrane starts in the early 20s,” Ms. Wilner said.
The Skincare line comprises 15 products: three cleansers, six moisturizers and six treatment products. It is Shisiedo’s first global brand and company executives will use this line to step into the future of skin care. “Skin care has progressed dramatically over the years and women want more competitive skin care products that are based on life science technology,” Ms. Wilner said.
As more problems are discovered, more products are being developed. Gone are the days where a simple moisturizer sufficed, according to Jack Mausner, senior vice president, research and development, Chanel. “We are now capable of formulating for a specific condition and treatment is becoming more like a prescription drug,” he said.
Chanel’s new Précision line was developed as a diagnostic method for evaluating the skin based on the observation of thousands of women as well as research into healthy skin. For instance, the six moisturizers in the Précision line consider hydration and lipidation in characterizing skin and the treatment products consider photoaging and the evenness of the complexion in diagnosing skin aging. “We identify the crucial features of each skin type so we know the degree of dryness and we know why there are wrinkles,” Dr. Mausner said.
Précision addresses eight skin conditions—oiliness, dryness, environmental sensitivity, breakout tendency, sun sensitivity, uneven complexion, facial wrinkles and localized wrinkles, which, when combined, create an infinite number of regimen variations. Once the skin is evaluated, a skin care regimen is chosen from the products in the Précision line.
“Once the diagnosis is made at the counter, the consumer will get products that are ideal for her symptoms,” Dr. Mausner said. “Then the solution to the problem should be imminent.”
All of the marketers Happi spoke to agreed the No. 1 problem driving research and development teams is anti-aging. As the portion of the population older than 50 continues to increase, sales of treatment products continue to rise and competition in this category has become intense. This intensity has led to a range of products, all promising clear, radiant skin to its users.
Retinol, or vitamin A, has been a popular anti-aging ingredient for some time but some companies have been reluctant to use it due to its sensitivity and instability. Instead, these companies sent their research and development teams to the labs in search of a way to incorporate the ingredient into a stable formula. The fruits of this labor are now becoming apparent. “We chose not to introduce a Retinol product until we could better understand how to stabilize this crucial ingredient and perfect its texture,” explained Pam Alabaster, senior vice president, marketing, Lancôme.
This month Lancôme will introduce Re-Surface Retinol Concentrate Wrinkle Correc-tor, which is being billed as the company’s biggest skin care launch to date. The product features Lancôme’s Na-nocapsule technology, a double-walled spherical delivery system of infinitely tiny proportion that helps protect Retinol from air and light. The Nanocap-sule’s unique structure penetrates the skin’s surface layers and gradually releases Retinol without disturbing the skin’s balance.
“In many cases, skin irritation, which has been reported as a primary drawback to other Retinol-containing products, can be linked to the fact that the Retinol is applied to the surface of the skin, where it has far greater potential to oxidize and irritate skin,” said Ms. Alabaster.Clarins combats the drawbacks of Retinol by using Retinol Palmitate, the most stable form of Retinol, in its Renew-Plus Night Lotion. Pre-Retinol restructures the horny layer and prevents it from becoming too thick while strengthening the epidermis and dermis, according to Clarins, The agent is held in reserve until the skin uses what it needs, eliminating the risk of build-up and minimizing skin irritation. In addition to Pre-Retinol, Renew-Plus contains plant extracts to provide nutrition, hydration and energy to the skin.
The No. 1 anti-wrinkle cream in France will arrive on U.S. shores this month when Roc Retinol Actif Pur is introduced nationally. This product contains a pure, stable form of vitamin A, encapsulated in microspheres that deliver the Retinol for lasting results, according to the company.
A stable form of vitamin A, ecapsulated in microspheres, Retinol Actif Pur works where wrinkles develop, deep inside the skin’s surface. The product is available in four formulas: Retinol Actif Pur Night contains microspheres that provide 12-hour time release delivery of retinol; Retinol Actif Pur Day SPF 10 protects skin from future damage; Retinol Actif Pur Eye Contour Cream is specially formulated for skin around the eyes and lips and Retinol Actif Pur Anti-Age Hand Treatment is light, non-greasy and quickly absorbed.
Nu Skin’s 180° Skin Care System is being billed as a line of scientifically advanced products designed to bring moisture and elasticity to skin for a healthier, more youthful appearance. The line’s key ingredient, SMW Complex, allows the products to be formulated without high free acid levels.
“The SMW Complex is a combination of natural ingredients that have been shown in clinical tests to effectively soothe and calm the skin when used simultaneously with the application of alpha hydroxy acids,” Mr. Whittier said. “When used in relatively high concentrations, AHA compounds can cause stinging, burning and itching sensations. SMW allows for the application of these acids while minimizing the associated side effects.”
The line consists of five products: Triple Action Face Wash, Skin Energizing Mist, Cell Renewal Fluid, Night Repair Complex and UV Block Hydrator SPF 18.
Letting the Good Stuff In
In order for products containing vitamins, Retinol or any other anti-aging agents to be effective, the skin must be properly exfoliated to free it of dead skin and clogged pores, note some industry experts.
Cellex-C’s Betaplex products gently exfoliate skin through a combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acids. By combining the two ingredients, Cellex-C, Toronto, Ontario, increased their stability, according to company spokeswoman Gay Prizzio. “Products that deliver results are meaningless if those results come with irritation,” she said. “We were careful to select ingredients for their efficacy and balance. Alpha and beta hydroxy have a synergistic effect.” The line contains seven products.
Once the domain of spas and salons, facial peels are becoming a common at-home skin exfoliation method. Ellen Lange Skin Care’s Retexturizing Peel Kit uses a combination of glycolic acid, special enzymes and microbeads to exfoliate, reduce fine lines and renew and rejuvenate skin. Formulating this peel was a challenge, according to Ms. Lange, because high levels of glycolic acids, which are found in salon peels, can be dangerous in at-home products. She was able to overcome this problem with the other exfoliating agents which rough up the skin and make it more susceptible to the 5% glycolic acid solution.
Ms. Lange’s peel kit consists for four steps: the peel prep, the peel accelerator pad, the glycolic peel solution and the post peel cream. The entire process takes about 20 minutes.
“Peels have become popular because what makes the skin look its best is exfoliation,” Ms. Lange said. “It evens the skin, eliminates clogged pores, minimizes peaks and valleys and provides an overall fresh look.”
Relief for a Breakout
While fine lines and wrinkles are the No. 1 concern for the aging population, younger women are more concerned with blemishes. In fact, 50% of women 18-39 said their biggest skin care concern is blemish prevention, according to a survey conducted by Bioré. To help consumers address this problem, Bioré has developed two acne-fighting products. The Blemish Bomb is a salicylic acid-based gel that fights breakouts overnight, re-duces redness and makes blemishes visibly smaller; the Blemish Fighting Cleanser helps prevent future breakouts and is milder than many other foam acne cleansers, according to Bioré brand manager Kenneth Robinson.
Bioré researchers conceived the idea for the Blemish Bomb several years ago and first intended to craft the product in patch form. However, this form proved too limiting and did not offer the consumer customization. “Research and development said the formula is easier to deliver when it is in a wet gel form,” Mr. Robinson said. “It allows barrier function restoration and is more accepting to the skin.”
While salicylic acid has for some time been considered an extremely effective ingredient against acne, other natural ingredients are emerging with acne-curing benefits. For instance tea tree oil, derived from the Australian Melaleuca tree is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating, antiseptic, germicide and fungicide. Tea tree oil is one of the main ingredients in D’Arcy skin care’s medicated acne wash. The system contains other natural ingredients, including rosemary oil, ylang ylang oil, vitamin C and green tea extract.
The Hunt for Eternal Youth
Whether designed to prevent wrinkles or reduce them, there is no doubt that the demand for anti-aging products will continue. Companies will be searching for the next big ingredient to shake up the industry just as vitamin C, AHA and Retinol have in past years. While marketers can speculate, no one knows for certain what will be next. Medi-Cell’s Mr. Pollock said he thinks cereal grains including wheat proteins, amino acids, betaglucans and soy will become alternatives to animal derived and synthetic ingredients and Regener-8, a beta carotene-based complex based on lycopene, will emerge as an important anti-aging complex.
“We believe that the discoveries in biogenetics and other related sciences will lead us to new findings about skin and will help us customize products that recognize each woman’s individuality,” said Lancôme’s Ms. Alabaster. “We believe that the future of skin care will include more advanced over-the-counter products which may feature technology previously only available in pharmaceutical products.”
Meanwhile companies will focus on improving methods for stabilizing already popular agents such as vitamin C and retinol and will continue to improve preventive products such as sunscreens to stop wrinkles before they start. “Treatments products will re-ceive the most attention because consumers are demanding products that will truly benefit their skin,” Nu Skin’s Mr. Whittier said. “The search will continue for technology solutions to address skin problems.”