Novel Natural

March 6, 2006

The cosmetic chemist can pick from a wide range of unique ingredients that, more often than not these days, are derived from natural sources.

Cosmetic chemists are always searching for novel concepts and attractive product forms. Top quality new product development is essential to maintain and expand market positions. Products that provide multiple benefits via a selective combination of preferably natural ingredients and delivery systems are driving new product innovations.

Clearly, consumers want nature-based ingredients. The natural fragrance of essential oils characterizes many natural personal care brands and is valued by users. Consumers  attach great importance to the verifiable natural effect of plants like aloe vera, calendula or roses, which in some cases have proven themselves for centuries. Natural product chemists are focused on finding unique chemical structures from plants that grow wild. A decisive factor for many buyers, however, is the guarantee that certified natural personal care products are manufactured without the use of animal tests.

Symrise Relies on Oats

Avenanthramides1 from oats are unique, bioavailable and innovative ingredients to treat dry and itchy skin. The active constituents of oat, have been long known for its anti-irritant and anti-itch properties. Natural avenanthramides constitute only a minor fraction of oat. Taking nature as a guide, Symrise has synthesized a stable version of avenanthramide called Dihydroavenanthramide D which is available under the trade name SymCalmin. It can be used for a wide range of topical applications such as dry and itchy winter skin, aged skin, sensitive skin, after-sun preparation, itchy scalp and anti-dandruff shampoo. It can also be used to reduce potential irritation of actives such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).

AquaCacteen3 is an ultra-refined elixir from Opuntia Streptacantha cactus, available from Mibelle AG Biochemistry.2 Cacti are succulent plants that grow in arid climates and are exposed to extremely strong solar radiation. Manifold adaptations protect the plants against these environmental stresses and allow them to store large quantities of vital water. Opuntia Streptacantha cactus—also known as Prickly Pear or Nopal—boast all of these properties combined with high amounts of amino acids, flavones, vitamins, antioxidants and water-binding polysaccharides. The ingredient has been tested for beneficial effects on skin hydration and soothing activity which was proven by reduced CGRP liberation in presence of a control irritant. A product with 2% AquaCacteen imparts deep, long-lasting hydration and soothes sensitive and dry skin while protecting it from environmental stress.

Using SEM, the Vincience Research Center recently studied the effect of Cotton honeydew oligo-saccharides on normal and damaged human hair. In addition, mRNA studies on epidermal cells were performed and confirmed honeydew extract’s stimulating effect on keratin synthesis. Cotton honeydew extract is composed of unusual oligo-saccharides, such as  fructose, glucose, inositol, melezitose, saccharose, trehalose and trehalulose. Cotton honeydew extract formula leaves the hair feeling smooth, soft, hydrated and with a net improvement in manageability and hair combing ease.

Cehami PF (TRI-K) is an all-natural standardized botanical extract obtained from a member of the daisy family (Centipeda cunninghamii). The extract’s active components have outstanding cell renewal, anti inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which deliver fast and effective relief of skin complaints such as eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections of the feet, dermatitis, allergy rashes, windburn, sunburn or any dry skin complaint.

Chicory Boosts a Tan

Quicksun Clear from Engelhard Corp. contains chicory and muirapuima extract, while Quicksun Matte is a combination of Chicory and Gymnema plant extracts. This new technology imparts a light-golden tan look to fair skin. Yet, these gels boost natural golden looks without the dangers associated with sun exposure. The gels do not contain a sunscreen and they are not self-tanners. They enable a healthy-looking, tanned appearance for all skin types in as little as one minute. Tan intensity is adjustable according to the number of applications while the skin stays well-moisturized. They are easily removed from the skin with water.

The modulation of melanin synthesis in the skin has become an important focus of skin research in recent years.

Achromaxyl is a new lightening active ingredient from Vincience  Research Center. It is an extract of fermented and hydrolyzed proteins from Brassicaceae (mustard family)  Researchers have shown by colorimetric assay of tyrosinase enzyme activity using L-DOPA substrate that Brassicaceae extract application to the cells decreased tyrosinase activity in a dose-dependent manner, starting at 1% of the extract and reaching a plateau at 7%. The clinical study demonstrates a significant decrease in the melanin index, and an improvement in age spots and other unwanted skin pigmentation after four weeks. The extract reduces the melanin level by restraining UV-induced melanin synthesis in the skin and in age and UV-induced pigmentations on skin.

A Novel Skin Lightener

Belides, CLR’s new water-soluble skin lightening active was introduced in mid-2005. It is derived from carefully collected daisy flowers (Bellis perennis) by organic solvent-free special production procedure. Belides is highly efficient because, contrary to commonly used skin-lightening actives, it influences different pathways involved in melanin production

Active Powder Purity LS 9695 from Cognis is a patented encapsulated system containing horsechestnut seed extract, which allows the incorporation of a significant amount of water-based active specifically designed to control sebum regulation and inhibit lipogenesis. Because of the encapsulation process, it can be formulated into all anhydrous systems such as loose and pressed powders, hot pour sticks and silicone-based serums. It is designed to treat oily, troubled and/or blemished skin, including acne.

Unisurrection S-61 (Induchem) is a plant-based complex based upon the rare flowering resurrection plant, Haberlea rhodopensis. This plant has the rare ability to survive extended periods of desiccation and to resume normal growth upon rehydration because it contains cosmotropic substances that maintain protein structure and order within the cells under extreme conditions that would kill other organisms. The complex also contains Beta vulgaris (beet) root extract and yeast extract. Unisurrection S-61 has been proven to restructure damaged enzymes, increase DNA synthesis rates, and lift mitochondrial activity and cell vitality, as well as significantly increase moisture content and reduce wrinkles. This complex can be used for skin exposed to extreme conditions and for general anti-aging formulas.

Unireduce R-35, a combination of Farnesol acetate and Panthenyl triacetate, significantly reduces sebum by correcting deficiencies in lipid metabolism. D-panthenyl triacetate provides a bioavailable precursor to the production of Coenzyme A, a key factor in fatty acid metabolism, as well as stimulating epithelization to heal minor wounds. Farnesol acetate provides a key component in the production of cholesterol, as well as providing antibacterial properties. Clinical studies show that Unireduce R-35 can normalize sebum content in several weeks and maintain reduced sebum levels for weeks after discontinuation of use.

Hyaluronic “Filling Spheres” is an Engelhard technology to smooth deep wrinkles without injection. The technology is based on hygroscopic material, pure hyaluronic acid, to make a sphere. These spheres are dehydrated and fill up with water within the skin. This hydration process causes an increase in volume proportional to the microspheres’ moisture-retaining capacity, which results in reduced wrinkles. They are applied topically to the skin in either emulsion or gel form to smooth away heavy wrinkles. The physical change of volume allows for rapid results.

Patented Peptides

Last month, Helix BioMedix, Inc., a developer of bioactive peptides, filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a new class of “small molecule” antimicrobial hexapeptides. The hexapeptide is represented by a specific formula consisting of hydrophilic, hydrophobic and aromatic residues organized within specific structural parameters. These structures exhibit potent antimicrobial and antifungal activity against a variety of pathogens including multiply-resistant gram-positive bacteria such as MRSA. These hexapeptides and compositions containing them can be formulated into a number of carrier vehicles, such as sprays, aerosols and water and oil-type emulsions, and therefore may provide favorable features for development as dermatological therapeutics.

The zinc salt of L-pyrrolidone carboxylate (Ajidew ZN-100) from Ajinomoto is a natural humectant associated with the Natural Moisturizing Factor of the skin which helps to reduce the appearance of excess sebum on the skin and scalp, leaving a clean, refreshed sensation. Ajidew Zn-100 is ideal for the widest range of personal care and beauty products.

Polyquaternium-72 (Croda’s Miru- Style CP) is a naturally-derived, curl- perfecting styling agent which requires no neutralization. It delivers exceptional curl retention and anti-frizz benefits with very low tack and is specially designed to put the “spring factor” into curls. It is also suitable for clear gel systems, besides its normal use in conditioners and hairsprays. The ingredient aids in making the hair smooth, less prone to chipping and with a great improvement in manageability and hair combing ease.

New Uses for PEGs

PEG 300, 400 and 600 polyethylene glycols have been available for decades. However, Croda recently introduced Super Refined PEG 300, 400 and 600 highly purified polyethylene glycols. Croda’s super-refining technique removes polar impurities, such as peroxide species, aldehydes and ketones. Removing these impurities eliminates their adverse interaction with APIs and also minimizes the potential for gelatin cross-linking by removing the impurities that cause this problem. Super Refined PEGs have a peroxide value at least 50% lower than a standard pharmaceutical grade PEG.

Sisterna sucrose esters (Sisterna B.V.), based on sucrose and vegetable fatty acids, are extremely mild and natural EO-free nonionic emulsifiers that are said to be perfect for formulating non-aerosol foams, such as two-phase shower shake, self-tanner and moisturizing body emulsion foams. In comparison to many commercial products, the foam quality and stability obtained with Sisterna sucrose esters is significantly better. These esters show selective anti-microbial activity and silky skin-feel.

Olivem 1000 from B&T is a PEG-free self-emulsifier obtained by esterification of the olive oil fatty acids groups with sorbitol and cetearyl alcohol for O/W emulsion. This emulsifier is able to form a liquid crystal network (hydrosome) inside the emulsion which enhances the delivery of hydrophilic agents toward the skin and which increases the stability and the hydration of the emulsion itself. From the leaves of the olive tree, B&T has extracted an active ingredient with antiradicalic, antioxidant and bacteriostatic activity, called Eurol BT.

Raw material suppliers are aware that consumers are now more savvy about product performance. Skin care formulas are becoming highly advanced and properly formulating the active ingredients into the finished product plays a key role in product efficacy. In fact, more consumers seem to be interested in products that make almost medicinal claims—claims that the FDA still frowns upon.


1. Chen, C., Milbury, P, Kwak,H., Collins, W., Samuel, P., Blumberg, J. Avenanthra-mides and phenolic acids from oats are bioavailable and act synergistically with vitamin C to enhance hamster and human LDL resistance to oxidation. J Nutr 2004;134(6):1459-66.

2. Mibelle AG Biochemistry, Bolimatt-strasse 1, 5033 Buchs, Switzerland.

3. Schmid, D., Suter, F., Zulli, F. Soothing factor from Opuntia Cactus for sensitive skin. International Journal for Applied Science, 11-2005, 14-18, 2005

About the Author

Vispi Kanga is a consultant for Limited Brands Beauty Avenues which includes the product development and manufacturing groups at Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret Beauty. He was the principal global technology manager at Unilever and has 30 years experience in product development in skin care, cosmetics formulations, project planning, supplier networking and development of products from concept to commercial production. His expertise in generating new technical knowledge, creating technical learning materials and dealing with multi-disciplinary groups has resulted in the development of new innovative products. Mr. Kanga’s work has resulted in several patents, related to formulation technology. He received his MS in Pharmaceutics & Cosmetic systems from Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Long Island University, New York and his BS in Pharmacy from India.

His Cresskill, NJ based consulting firm Cosmet-Pharm Consultants, LLC is dedicated to the needs of the cosmetic, personal care and OTC topical drug products industry. It has expertise in providing unique marketable formulas for the personal care and allied industries. It also provides services in product development, sourcing of manufacturing facilities, technology assessment, cost savings, customized training and knowledge management through on-site training seminars and product related short courses.

E-mail: vkanga@optonline.net or (201) 227-1890.

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