| Nanotechnology is creating a new generation of skin care products.
Marketers rely on a variety of ways to deliver active materials to the skin.
As sales of anti-aging products soar, active components are being delivered to the skin at an ever-increasing rate. Research and development teams from the world over are jumping at the chance to get their blockbuster new active into skin care formulations.
According to Kline & Co., the U.S. market for carrier systems reached $90 million in 2006, up threefold from $30 million in 2001, and demand is still growing at 5-10% a year.
The surge in demand comes at a time when more products penetrate deeper into the skin.
“Transdermal delivery and cosmetic research suggests that vesicle materials may penetrate the stratum corneum of the human skin, but not into living skin,” explained Vispi Kanga, president of Cosmet-Pharm Consultants, LLC, Cresskill, NJ.
Today’s skin care delivery systems resemble traditional postal mailing systems, envelopes with messages intended for a specific recipient. Cosmetics that are enhanced with active ingredients contain small envelopes with even smaller messages inside and those envelopes protect and deliver active ingredients to their destinations.
Lately, these small envelopes have become part of an elaborate new schematic. Consumers are accustomed to contents such as vitamins, botanicals and emollients that have been encapsulated in the products they use. But now the introduction of skin-enhancing ingredients to the skin comes in a variety of sophisticated ways.
“I believe that the topical application of vitamins is the most effective means of preventing aging and treating existing skin conditions,” said Dr. Dennis Gross, MD Skincare. Applying them early on can help prevent premature aging.
From color-carrying particles in lotions or aftershaves that rupture as they are rubbed onto the skin to toothpastes that carry flavors and antibacterial ingredients, delivery systems are generating loads of excitement in the personal care industry.
But with all the hope comes a lot of hype—especially when the topic is nanotechnology.
“Nanotechnology is particularly vulnerable to hype. On one hand, the potential of nanotechnology is defined in terms of breakthrough technologies and applications, often with overoptimistic growth projections,” said Gillian Morris, senior industry manager, Kline & Company.
| Epionce is a 5-step comprehensive system with interchangeable products.
What This Means for Marketers
Encapsulation technology preserves the activity of a given ingredient and is an improvement over yesterday’s liposomes that were often only used to shelter active ingredients. Those early encapsulates broke down in formulations before they could be delivered to skin. The systems on the market now are safe, effective, and used in a wide variety of cosmetics.
But don’t expect this technology to be emblazoned across product packaging.
“Most marketers know the term, but don’t really understand the concept. Product developers are obviously more familiar with delivery systems, but the concept remains in the domain of the chemist. From a marketing point of view, the delivery system is the carrier that gets the active ingredient wherever it’s supposed to end up in the appropriate time frame (such as time released),” according to Karen R. Young, chief executive officer, The Young Group.
Despite the unfamiliarity of this topic for some marketers, cosmetics with encapsulation delivery systems are gaining ground in the spa and dermatological segment. Episciences, Inc., Boise, ID, markets Epionce, a comprehensive skin wellness line, is sold through dermatologists without a prescription. Epionce improves the skin’s ability to protect itself and correct visible signs of skin aging, while preventing the development of common skin conditions and future skin damage.
“When Epionce is applied to the skin, the formulation creates what is called phase separation which separates the layers of lipids to create tiny slippery spaces called micro-pathways. It also creates small holes only one molecule wide in layers of the three key barrier lipids, said Dr. Carl R. Thornfeldt, chief scientific officer, Episciences.
“This will allow certain molecules to slide through. Via these micropathways and holes, the active ingredients are delivered therapeutically to the targeted cells in the epidermis. This prevents additional damage from occurring to the skin, or generating pro-inflammatory insults which contribute to chronic inflammation,” he added.
| Azuré's Hydropeptide products repair depleted skin.
“These peptides have specific actions within the skin and they must be delivered to different areas within the epidermis in order to be most effective,” said April Zangl, chief executive officer, Azuré Cosmeceuticals.
Azuré Cosmeceuticals utilizes small peptide chains within their formulas so molecules are able to penetrate the skin barrier. Azuré uses a variety of delivery systems including phospholipids, polymers and oils. The microencapsulated phospholipids found in HydroPeptide are both stable and versatile.
“In fact, each peptide is combined with its own oil or Palmitoyl in order to ensure delivery,” Ms. Zangl added. “Polymers allow the peptides within HydroPeptide to be time-released into the skin. These polymers maintain the active ingredients’ integrity and maintain contact with the skin so they are not easily washed away.”
HydroPeptide products are available in cosmetic boutiques, fine spas and med spas, skin care clinics, specialty pharmacies and doctors’ offices.
Ultra Small and in Demand
Marketers are working in conjunction with suppliers to research and identify the varieties of delivering active ingredients being used in other industries to include them in dermatological products.
“Technological advances utilizing drug discovery approaches such as high-throughput screening, animal model systems, nanotechnology and biochemical assays have helped create a new generation of scientifically advanced skin care and cosmetic products,” said Mr. Kanga.
“Another major issue is the nature of market demand for nanotechnology. One illusion that surrounds nanotechnology is that it has commercial value in and of itself,” said Ms. Morris.
By investing and developing the tools to create and manipulate nano-scale particles and devices, marketers often make the mistake of believing this translates into commercial value. Not so, according to Ms. Morris. “In reality, value is only created when companies can leverage these tools to create products and services that satisfy market demand.”
| Murad's approach to skin care involves a comprehensive line of products.
Recent developments in the skin care industry have allowed companies to produce highly efficacious products via new delivery systems.
“We are able to create a weightless serum that delivers potent antioxidants while achieving immediate and long-lasting effects. Such technology allows us to create lighter-weight sunscreens that protect from sun damage and environmental factors. Including chelators in sun protection is a revolutionary step toward prevention and protection,” said Dr. Gross.
“Our chelating system is revolutionary because this new class of active ingredients (as used in MD Skincare products) serve as “pac-men” to engulf and neutralize these offenders and promote and preserve the skins’ youthfulness,” he added.
Some delivery systems require consumers to be more proactive. Beneficial properties derived from nutritional products are all the rage. The latest beauty remedies can be obtained via pill popping and/or beverage consumption. According to Datamonitor, oral beauty supplements are expected to generate sales of $1.16 billion in Europe by 2010. Stateside, that number grows a bit, to $1.17 billion by 2010.
These products have the ability to produce appearance enhancements by improving overall health, but a comprehensive regimen that includes ingestibles with topical innovations allows for optimal skin health. This innovation in skin delivery appears to be the wave of both the present and the future.
A leader in the beauty supplement category, Borba markets a variety of ingestible and topical skin care products.
At their introduction to the market, Borba Skin Balance Waters aimed to simplify skin care regimens and consumers’ buying experience.
“This is why I came out initially with three different waters—in order to offer a full body benefit from a daily perspective,” said Scott-Vincent Borba.
As a result of the success of the Skin Balance Water, Mr. Borba found himself heading back to the drawing board for another innovation in ingestibles.
“Because I travel so much I couldn’t lug around the bottles, so I came up with another way for consumers to get the full body benefits of the Borba formulations—I developed Aqua-Less Crystalline, a powder version which can be added to food or liquid,” added Mr. Borba.
Now, consumers can even find the powders at Jamba Juice, a high-end chain of smoothie restaurants.
But Borba didn’t stop there. “We realized from this and other successes that the Borba formulation could live in multiple categories, from smoothies to cupcakes and jelly beans,” said Mr. Borba.
“The internal use of vitamins is one of the most powerful weapons in the ongoing quest for younger, healthier, more attractive-looking skin,” according to Dr. Murad.
He has been recommending dietary supplementation to his patients for more than three decades. He explained that he has always believed that nutritional supplements benefit the skin, and promote overall body health.
“When we treat the epidermis with topical facial products, we address approximately 20% of the skin. The remaining 80%, the dermis, which contains the cells and connective tissue featuring collagen, elastin fibers, and blood vessels, needs to be addressed from the inside,” explained Dr. Murad.
This is where a comprehensive regimen proves beneficial. The way to do this is through nutritious foods and added support through supplementation, according to Dr. Murad.
The idea makes perfect sense—eat well, get better skin—but feeding the skin all the nutrients it needs has proven to be an elusive battle in a society that is overfed yet under-nourished, because folks load up on fatty foods rather than vitamins and minerals. The value of proper diet and supplementation is immeasurable.
The cosmetic and skin care product industry is somewhat overwhelmed by a me-too mindset in which research and development focuses on matching the competition rather than applying innovation to improve products.
“Research, therefore, has traditionally been based on efforts to improve traditional, successful combinations of surfactants, oils and active substances,” said Mr. Kanga.
The industry needs to look further into delivery systems to enhance the bioavailability of cosmetic ingredients to the skin. Active ingredient research and its use in providing targeted delivery should be the main focus of R&D for marketers in terms of newer trends in nanotechnology.
Azure Cosmeceuticals researchers insist the newest trend in skin delivery is that of film forming delivery systems. The system has similar characteristics of a time-released patch effect but without the patch.
“It enhances the delivery of actives and provides long lasting hydration and rehydration. In addition, this film forming delivery system is only noticeable on skin via black light so it’s very lightweight,” said Ms. Zangl.
With a wealth of delivery systems at hand there are many possibilities ahead. Industry experts predict there will be more active smart molecules with real consumer benefits. Encapsulation technologies will become more effective at getting those active ingredients to the places where they will do the most good.