How Science Is Shaping the Future of Beauty
The trend for effective anti-aging treatments is prompting cosmetic brands to look beyond traditional formulations to discover more effective, science-driven alternatives. Researchers at Mintel and the Jump France Group explain what lies ahead for beauty formulations.
By Imogen Matthews
Consultant to In-Cosmetics
What do you call a science-based beauty product that actually does what it promises to do? Research group Mintel calls it “Turbo Beauty.”
“Throughout 2009 we have seen a decided pendulum shift to science in beauty, in spite of the abundance of organic launches in the U.S.,” explained Nica Lewis, head consultant, Beauty Innovation, Mintel. For example, science is behind many of the innovations in facial color cosmetics with high tech scientific actives, such as peptides, in new foundations, powders and primers. There is increased focus on fast results with time/speed claims and a jump in the number of clinically tested products, which is a step up from “dermatologically tested” as a claim, according to Lewis.
Whereas anti-aging claims traditionally use language that targets wrinkles and lines and talks about preventing oxidation from free radicals or boosting collagen and wrinkles, marketers are expanding claims with new terms, many of them borrowed from medicine.
“Gene therapy and longevity science are driving innovation in preventive anti-aging medicine and beauty today,” affirmed Lewis, who sees this development among the new generation of anti-aging Turbo Beauty launches.
For example, Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Cream is the result of 10 years of research that found a link between skin youth and a person’s genes. In other words, the true origin of a person’s skin’s youth lies in their genes, which are expressed by producing specific proteins detectable on the surface of the epidermis. The proteins diminish with age, but Lancôme claims to have created a range of products aimed at re-boosting the activity of the youth genes.
Sirtuins and Such
Stem cell technology for use in skin care was first reported by Mintel in 2007, with the U.S. launch of Amatokin Emulsion for the Face. Priced at $173, it was one of the first topical compounds shown to “highlight the expression of human stem cell markers in adult skin.” In 2009, Klapp Stri-Pexan Phyto Stem Cell came out with botanical stem cell technology that used an active ingredient obtained from apple stem cells. The products in this range claim to help protect DNA and counteract premature skin aging.
Sirtuins are another anti-aging development appearing in new product launches. They are a family of enzymes found naturally in the body that are said to prolong the lifespan of cells and slow the visible aging process. An example is Natura Bissé The Cure Pure Serum that boldly claims to reverse signs of aging through its SIRT-AP Complex, a cutting edge peptide complex derived from soy and oryza sativa rice that allegedly prolongs the lifespan of cells and slows down the aging process. Sirtuins are even finding their way into men’s skin care with the U.S. launch of Alford & Hoff, whose Sirtuin-Activating Complex (SIR2stac Complex), claimed to have proven antioxidant properties and long-term effects on anti-aging. It contains amino acids, vitamin C, sea fennel, antioxidants, lavender extract, rice extract, tetrapeptides 7, dipeptides, pro vitamin B5 and beta-glucan.
As cosmetic scientists look toward the world of medicine for anti-aging concepts, medical beauty is moving mainstream, according to Dora Jurd, senior beauty consultant at Jump France Group. “Botox will be used more and more in prevention and will be used by ever younger women (under 20) for prevention of the first wrinkles,” she predicted. “This trend will force cosmetic companies to seek new anti-aging products beyond the classical anti wrinkle formulations.”
Mintel has already spotted a post-injection makeup with skin care benefits called Teosyal Cosmeceuticals Covering Repair Tinted Cover-Up Skin Care, launched by Teoxane Laboratories, best known for its injectable dermal fillers.
Jurd maintains that light technologies will become more popular than injections and that classical invasive techniques will become less intrusive. “Instead of destroying the skin as we do today, the trend will focus on saving it. Light technologies will increasingly be combined (e.g., LED mixed with lasers or IPL) to optimize the result with minimum pain. And new softer lasers will destroy less skin surface,” she said.
The Epigenetic Theory
Looking even further ahead, Lewis believes that epigenetics may also play a part. “A new theory argues that genes can be affected by the lifestyle of the carrier’s parents and grandparents,” she explained. “The science of epigenetics claims that the diet, smoking habits, pollutant exposure and obesity levels of ancestors could affect individuals in the present day.
“We will see even more patents, advanced technology and clinical testing come into play as companies attempt to convince people that their claims are true,” she added.
If all this sounds as if the beauty markets are becoming over-complicated, Jump has predicted a parallel trend back towards simpler and more basic solutions, even in anti-aging.
“Cosmetic firms are launching ‘global’ anti-aging skin care products for all ages and all skin types, such as Serum 7 by Boots,” said Jurd. “After the success of age and skin condition segmentations, we are coming back to the universal anti-aging product.”
In parallel to these developments, Jump is seeing evidence of the so-called slow movement spreading from other sectors, such as slow food, slow design. The Slow Movement is about addressing the issue of time poverty through making connections to people, our community and to ourselves, so that we live a more connected life. Slow aging, according to Jurd, has come about with the increase in organic consumers.
“For them, slow is synonymous with luxury,” added Jurd. “In terms of cosmetics, they prefer slow anti-aging treatments; e.g., massages, long spa treatments, medical coaching, to rapid and high tech ones, such as injections lifts and other aesthetic medicine solutions.”