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Special Delivery



Skin care delivery systems continue their complex development as actives also become more advanced.



Published January 10, 2006
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This year, skin care became more sophisticated with major companies launching products for at-home use, such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion systems, according to industry experts. Delivery systems are playing an increasingly important role in the development of effective skin care products and the technology behind them continues to become more sophisticated and complex.

Pep Rally

There is a broad range of skin care products containing peptides launched because of their proven anti-aging benefits, according to Navin Geria, vice president of research and development, LeDerma Consumer Products, and Happi columnist.  Anti-aging and Cosmeceutical Corner column.


Nature’s Gate’s Forget Your Lines uses a delivery system called Ameliox—a liposomal complex of carnosine (peptide) and antioxidants (silymarine and tocopherols).
Casi Hudson, director of marketing for Nature’s Gate, Chatsworth, CA, agreed that the use of peptides remains a strong trend in skin care.

“While peptides have been utilized for sometime in the anti-aging category, new advancements continually allow for improved delivery in skin care and other areas,” said Ms. Hudson. “For example, while Ameliox is utilized as an outstanding delivery system in the Advanced Skin Care line, peptides are also used in the new Nature’s Gate Organics Natural Results Acne Treatment System. Formulated with Oligopeptide-10, this brand new peptide is used in conjunction with salicylic acid and is especially effective in the fight against acne.”

The Natural Appeal

Also this year, the consumer became more aware of the role of nutrition, super foods, fruits, vitamins, etc. in promoting beauty from inside, observed Mr. Geria. “Many large consumer companies and dermatologists developed and launched combination anti-aging systems consisting of supplements and topical treatments.”

Added Ms. Hudson, “Natural and organic products are part of a growing trend in the skin care arena. Consumers are becoming more concerned with using safe, yet effective products. Not only are they more focused on what they are putting in their bodies; they are also becoming more concerned with what they are putting on their bodies. Educated consumers are realizing the power of treating their skin with vitamins, botanicals and avoiding such ingredients as parabens and sulfates. Consequently, natural and organic products are being seen and appreciated for what they are—safe, efficacious, earth-friendly beauty solutions.”

Liposomes and Emulsions—We Deliver

Yi Hsin Chang and Chris Stahl, chemists for TranspHuse by Erno Laszlo, New York, NY, explained, “There are a variety of delivery agents available in the industry today and they may be used for a number of purposes, such as sustaining, improving the stability and mitigating the irritation of actives, delivering actives to the skin surface and enhancing penetration of actives into the skin, as well as allowing insoluble material to be dispersed into a typically incompatible vehicle.”


Revitalizing Moisture Strips for Mouth or Neck from DHC USA, Inc. are moisturizing gel sheets that help combat skin slackness and uneven tone.
According to the duo, delivery agents vary widely in chemistry, from polymeric compounds that can be rigid solids or liquid film-forming agents to liposomes based on lecithin and cyclodextrins derived from cyclic carbohydrates. Microspheres and nanospheres may be based on commonly used waxes or polysaccharides. Like their chemistries, the delivery systems also vary in the loading capacity, particle size, penetration ability, and in types of materials they can deliver.

Solid polymeric encapsulates contain vast surface areas that can adsorb or absorb many times their weight in actives. These types of materials generally do not penetrate into the skin and are good mechanisms for time release of actives to the surface of the skin.

Film forming agents can also hold and deposit active ingredients at the skin surface, as well as enhance penetration. Liposomes and nanospheres are generally smaller particles and are best utilized for their ability to deliver the actives into the skin. Liposomes consist of fluid multi- or bilayers that are similar to components of cell membranes and thus have the affinity for increased penetration.

Two of these liposome-based systems are employed in the Erno Laszlo TranspHuse formulation. Carnosine, tocopherols and silybum marianum fruit extracts are complexed in a conventional lecithin-based liposome, which delivers these ingredients into the skin where they are most effective. Secondly, the Atelocollagen is a marine collagen delivered in a unique patented liposome, which is then encapsulated in a marine chondroitin sulfate. The chondroitin sulfate not only protects the liposome but also has the ability to hold water and deliver moisture and the collagen into the skin.

Micro-emulsions are popular for use in certain lightweight yet highly potent products such as skin treatment serums, explained Angela Eriksen, lead national educator, west for Phytoceane Corporation, Salt Lake City, UT.

“Like emulsions, micro-emulsions are a blend of oil and water-based ingredients that utilize special ingredients, called emulsifiers, which keep each portion of the formulation evenly blended so that each part of the product contains an equal and viable concentration of active ingredients,” she said. “The important aspect of a micro-emulsion is that it blends the active ingredient droplets into a much smaller or finer droplet than you would find in a normal emulsion. Because the size of the active ingredient droplet can be around 1000 times smaller than that of a normal emulsion, that means that the actives can rapidly penetrate deeper into the skin because the ingredient droplets can fit in between the inter-cellular spaces of the tissue much more efficiently.”

Current trends for delivering actives to the skin also include triple emulsions.

“Triple emulsions are more highly constructed to provide the option of delivery into specific parts of the tissue or even specific cells,” continued Ms. Eriksen. “For instance, our contouring creams are formulated in a triple emulsion formula in order to deliver slimming and fat burning ingredients directly into the adipocytes. Typically, an average contouring cream would only penetrate into the epidermis. Since our fat cells are located in our adipose tissue (which is much deeper in the body), regular contouring emulsions won’t have much of an effect on those fat cells that are so deep in the skin.”

Triple emulsions, like regular emulsions, are made of oil and water-based active ingredients. But instead of distributing the oil through the water or vice versa, chemists can actually put water in oil and then redistribute it through another layer of water. So the first “layer” of the emulsion is a water-based active ingredient (for contouring) dissolved into little oil droplets that have a similar structure to the cellular membranes of a fat cell, creating a miniature “pseudo-adipocyte.” Small appendages are even constructed on the outside of the pseudo-adipocyte membrane to mimic the shape and structure of cell receptors (the gateways through which materials enter and exit the cell). The last layer of the triple emulsion is achieved when pseudo-adipocytes are dissolved into another water-based texture to distribute and stabilize the structure of the contouring cream.

According to Ms. Eriksen, active ingredients delivered via triple emulsion are on average five times more efficient than the same actives delivered in a simple emulsion.

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep

Yves Saint Laurent’s YSL Beauté has developed two new delivery systems to enhance their skin care products. The Cyto-Regenerating complex is composed of ganoderma lucidum extract and oligo-peptides. According to Joelle Guesnet, YSL Beauté R&D scientific director and member of the Group of Scientific Interest in Advanced Cosmetology (GISCA), YSL Beauté research has isolated and identified a polysaccharidic fraction of the ganoderma or glucan fraction, which relaunches and stimulates cellular communication.

In the cells, glucans stimulate the production of the cellular messengers or cytokines. These restore the cooperation between skin cells, though situated in the dermis and the epidermis, two different compartments of the skin. The ganoderma lucidum has shown a strong regenerating power through an intensified production of cytokines, therefore contributing to the improvement of the skin cells communication and better cutaneous remodelling.

YSL Beauté’s Temps Majeur Nutri-Crème utilizes hydra-lipidic essence for comfort, cameline oil to soothe and ginkgo biloba to protect skin from free radicals and environmental aggressions. The Temps Majeur lotion also contains pure peach nectar to hydrate and soothe, and cotton extract to soften skin.


About Face from Billy Jealousy uses a transdermal gel with high lipid solubility.
Lisse Expert Advanced Intensive Anti-Wrinkle crème uses the Wrinkle Profiling Complex, an exclusive and unique bio-peptide complex developed by YSL Beauté, which acts both on decorin production as well as on the strengthening of Dermo-Epidermic Junction (DEJ) components to correct deep wrinkles. To boost the anti-wrinkle efficiency of the Wrinkle Profiling Complex, YSL Beauté researchers have specially developed the Delivery Cap System. The small (700nm) phospholipid vector easily penetrates the cutaneous barrier. In addition, vectors are coated with a substance that will be recognized by receptors located on cell’s membrane; therefore coated and recognized, the vector will guide and fix its targeted cell, according to YSL.

Inspired by this innovation, YSL Beauté researchers have identified a polymer which has receptors located on the DEJ. The Delivery Cap System is coated with this polymer to target the DEJ and to deliver the Wrinkle Profiling Complex precisely where it is needed.

The OcéaRepair Collection from Phytocéane includes Soothing Anti-Wrinkle cream, Intense Lifting serum, Restructuring Anti-Aging mask and Ultra-Penetrating Anti-Aging Body cream.

According to Ms. Eriksen, the primary active ingredient is a combination of an oil taken from a seaside plant, crithmum maritimum, and a mineral extract derived from a vegetal coral (a type of red seaweed), jania ruben.

The oil extract from the seaside plant is named marine rock samphire oil. With properties similar to retinoid derivatives, without the irritating or photosensitizing effect, the samphire concentrate, otherwise known as “sea retinol,” naturally works in symbiosis with the epidermis to combat the effects of premature aging.

When formulating products with the oil, it is easily incorporated into an emulsion. Liposomes deliver the samphire oil to the basal cell layer, where all new cells are born and renewed. As new cell production speeds up deep within the epidermis, dead cells at the surface are sloughed for a gentle exfoliation.

Added Ms. Eriksen, “Because we are primarily targeting the epidermis, or uppermost layer of the skin, a finely formulated emulsion including liposomes is all that is necessary to have a remarkable effect. Because the live cell layer of the epidermis naturally creates changes deeper within the dermis, we can say that we affect the dermis indirectly and naturally without needing to have an extremely “high-tech” formulation. In other words, we are re-educating skin on how to behave in a youthful way with naturally occurring cellular communication. The emulsion allows our own cellular functions to create the positive changes.”

Aloette’s Redefine PS Advanced Nourishing Masque has a blend of organic materials and unique minerals including zinc, copper, bromine, iodine, boron, manganese, chromium, selenium and chelated minerals derived from the freshwater silt known as pelat silts from Latvian lakes of northeastern Europe. According to Greg Tobias, vice president of product management, the benefits of the masque centers on fresh water silt, larch tree extract and a delivery system utilizing nanospheres with Resveratrol.

Nature’s Gate’s Forget Your Lines uses a delivery system called Ameliox. It is a liposomal complex of carnosine (peptide) as well as  antioxidants (silymarine and tocopherols). The liposome form allows better delivery through skin, increasing bioavailability of the active, says Ms. Hudson.

Nature’s Gate’s Oh What a Night walnut night renewal cream contains gatuline age defense, an anti-aging complex with boosting energy, which uses walnuts to help reinforce skin cells’ natural protective systems. It also utilizes Gatuline RC Bio, a vegetal delivery complex derived from the beech tree, rich in peptidic factors for anti-aging.

Billy Jealousy’s About Face Anti-Aging Serum relies on a transdermal gel with high lipid solubility to quickly absorb active ingredients into the skin.  


Phytocéane’s OcéaRepair Collection uses natural ingredients fom the sea.
Erno Laszlo’s TranspHuse Topical, part of the Surgiceutical Skincare line, is a transforming, multitasking fluid that uses effective active wrinkle reducers and dermal fillers to eliminate visible fine lines and wrinkles by plumping from within, while topical muscle relaxers immediately smooth the skin’s surface and help prevent future damages. TranspHuse is also one of the first products to enhance procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers. Key delivery ingredients include microspheres, primarily made up of marine chondroiton sulfate and marine atelocollagen. These enhance cell renewal and increase elasticity and surface film homogeneity, while stabilizing the hydration and moisturization levels in the skin. MDI complex (glycosaminoglycans), ameliox and collaxyl (hexapeptide-9) reduce lines and wrinkles and inhibit enzymes that degrade and destroy the skin’s collagen network while stimulating new collagen growth. Pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate are microspheres that penetrate the cutaneous layer to immediately smooth out wrinkles. Hexapeptide-9 is a collagen-like peptide that stimulates ECM biosynthesis, therefore playing a role in tissue regeneration

Revitalizing Moisture Strips for mouth and neck from DHC USA, Inc. are two specialized moisturizing gel sheets that help combat slackness and uneven tone in the areas prone to the first signs of aging. The high-polymer gels are infused with beautifying ingredients and a concentrated flow of nutrients. They adhere to skin to aid in soothing, brightening and softening, and also in removing old skin cells from the surface. They help revive skin that has been damaged by sun or compromised by age.

“These products are great for targeting fine lines that appear around the neck and mouth,” explained Gloria Ortiz, licensed esthetician and trainer for DHC USA’s headquarters in San Francisco, CA. “Not only are Revitalizing Moisture Strips effective for hydration, but they also help fight the signs of aging with olive leaf extract, alpha-arbutin, kudzu, tartaric acid and chlorella, which plumps to protect against moisture loss.”

What’s in There, Anyway?

Delivery systems are great, but only when they have something worthwhile to deliver. Ingredients that are delivered to the skin via creams, lotions, gels, pads or serums are numerous and multi-functional. Mr. Geria offers the following overview:

Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, green tea, selenium, glutamine, isoflavones, plant hormone phytochemicals, herbs, homeoepathic medicines, etc., minimize the effect of oxidative stress on our bodies and prevent damage to cells from free radicals.

Alpha-lipoic Acid (thioctic acid): A potent antioxidant, it’s water and fat soluble and can work both in reductive and oxidative mode. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Acetyl Hexapeptide-3: Also known as argiriline, it was custom designed to relax facial muscles responsible for frown lines, crow’s feet, and other wrinkles. It is promoted as a non-invasive version of Botox for products like Strivectin D and Relaxaderm.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): Useful for warts and dry, scaly skin. They shed excess skin cells, also providing anti-inflammatory benefits.

Co-enzyme Q10: Also known as ubiquinone, it is a coenzyme that potentiates the action of other enzymes acting as a free radical scavenger. It produces the energy necessary to maintain healthy skin cells. Topically applied, it provides antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.

Copper peptide: Encourages the regeneration of skin tissue, which results in firmer skin. It also prevents the cross-linking of collagen and elastin.

DMAE: Chemically known as dimethyl amino ethanol, it is a naturally occurring substance and has a significant firming effect on skin. It promotes muscle fiber to become firmer, elastic and more vigorous.

Glycolic acid (AHA) and Retinol: Both, to some extent, irritate the skin to cause cellular turnover. Photosensitivity and skin redness are some negative drawbacks. They work only on stratum corneum. As one ages, cell turnover rate slows down, causing skin to become irregular, resulting in keratinization and hyper-pigmentation. They desquamate these surface irregularities from the protective layer of the skin.

Growth Hormones: These are constantly being researched and utilized in anti-aging products. They are stimulated by exercise and taking the combination of specific amino acids such as arginine and lysine.

Kinetin: An antioxidant that influences cell growth and slows the aging process.

Peptides: Naturally occurring sequences of various amino acids, and different amino acids make different peptides. They act as messengers from the brain to the body directing nerves and muscles to perform various functions. There are new synthesized peptides available that can transmit neuromessages. Peptides stimulate collagen production and promote elasticity.

Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3: Improves micro circulation, increasing the oxygen supply to tissues and strengthening and protecting the integrity of elastin and collagen in the skin by inhibiting elastase and collagenase activity. Its benefits include reduction of puffiness and dark circles around the eyes and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.

Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3: Also known as Matrixyl, it was proven to stimulate the development of new collagen, fibernectin, elastin and GAGs in the dermal layer of the skin. It creates a healing response in the skin. It is a combination of five amino acid peptides in one chain.

On the Agenda

What will follow the already impressive array of skin care delivery breakthroughs in the future? Billy Jealousy’s Pat Parsi believes in the vitamin C delivery systems, wherein 8-12% absorbic acid is distributed to the skin through a dual-chamber delivery system.

Angela Eriksen, Phytoceane, is betting on neuro-cosmetics. “Because the skin can be considered an endocrine organ, meaning it produces and responds to many different hormones in the body, we can indirectly affect many physiological functions via the skin. By studying the vast hormones and messenger proteins that the skin produces and responds to, it can bring us many ideas for how to affect, balance and change various aspects of the body and our skin.

“We have been developing various ingredients that work via our skin cells’ natural ability to communicate with other cells either deeper in the skin, or in other parts of the body. By stimulating our epidermal and dermal cell’s communication systems we can restore balance to various cellular functions that can be altered or damaged with age, free radical formation, nutritional deficiency etc.”

According to industry experts, marketers have sensed consumer readiness to experiment and adopt new products. New launches across various categories, and the aging of the population, means that the market will grow quickly in the next five years. The market for professional skin care products, sold primarily through spas and salons or dermatologists and plastic surgery clinics, and mainstream products launched by major consumer health care companies mimicking these professional products, will dominate the skin care market.

“The vitamin-beauty category holds tremendous potential as consumers increasingly turn to beauty supplements to complement their use of anti-aging products, explained Mr. Geria, LeDerma. “More simplified anti-aging daily treatment routines will be possible by using skin care products formulated with human growth factors and their precursors. Nanotechnology-based skin care products can deliver skin nourishing ingredients by delivering them faster and deeper into the skin.”

Getting Personal

Personalized skin care systems may offer genetically guided skin care products that would be offered by bioscience- based companies. They could develop individualized formulations based on consumer’s own genetic predisposition and could significantly outperform routine anti-aging products.

As for peptides, next generation ingredients have already entered the market, where they are combined with other effective ingredients producing a high level of elastin, collagen, fibroblasts and GAGs in the skin, say the experts. There is already available a product with an active consisting of chains of amino acids that mimic natural collagen found in the skin. This is known as poly-collagen peptides, which act as a catalyst in coaxing the skin to produce more collagen and therefore making the product more efficacious.

The interest in peptides research will possibly intensify and more new products using them will be launched.

Iontophoresis technology may be the foundation of an anti-aging patch delivery system that would drive an active into the skin using a weak electrical current. There are currently patches available based on this technology for the treatment of pigmentation disorders, scars, and fine wrinkles. The technology may soon be available for at-home use, and producing visible anti-aging skin benefits within an hour or two after application.



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