The quest for perfect skin goes “colorless.”
By Joanna Cosgrove
Women of all ages are increasingly reaching for products that promise age prevention, skin whitening and complexion brightening. Israeli Biotechnology Research (IBR) Ltd., which has offices in Israel and Germany, is currently offering three forms of naturally-derived colorless carotenoids for topical application and oral consumption that have been shown to contribute to the prevention of “photo-aging.”
The topical products, which are trade named IBR-TCLC (derived from tomatoes) and IBR-CLC (derived from algae) are liposoluble and can be used emulsified cosmetic creams. The third colorless carotenoid product is part of the IBR’s nutricosmetics offering and is an oral supplement named PhytoflORAL. It is in powder form for easy encapsulated or formulation into premixes and water/milk based drinks.
According to IBR Ltd.’s Liki von Oppen-Bezalel, PhD, vice president of business development and marketing, colorless carotenoids bring a variety of benefits to cosmetic and beauty formulations. “Colorless carotenoids are actives that contribute to protection and prevention of aging and specifically photo-aging via several routes: as potent anti-oxidants against the most destructive free radicals named hydroxyl radicals, absorption of UV light and quenching of the UV derived ROS, prevention of damage to DNA derived from ROS, anti inflammatory action, and collagenase inhibition,” she said. “Colorless carotenoids are stabilizers of other sensitive actives and adding value to these actives resulting in synergistic actions between the two. This was shown to work that way for example with CoQ10 (Fuller et al, “Anti-inflammatory effects of CoQ10 and colorless carotenoids,” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 5:30-38. 2006).”
Specifically, colorless carotenoids play a key role in the inhibition of melanin synthesis – which is why IBR recently patented their use as skin whitening/evening of skin tone actives.
In terms of formulation and application issues, Dr. von Oppen-Bezalel stressed that topical skin care products would benefit from “effective concentrations” because using standard, colored carotenoids even in very low amounts poses a staining threat to the skin. “Due to the fact that carotenoids’ UV skin protection comes from the colorless carotenoids and their all together anti aging and specific skin whitening applications, one would definitely also benefit from replacement of the colored carotenoids with the colorless carotenoids in supplementation and nutraceuticals,” she said. “The fact that one can use the exact same active ingredient (the colorless carotenoids) for the combination of beauty from the inside (oral) and out (topical) is a great advantage for competing in this increasingly growing market trend.”
IBR Ltd.’s colorless carotenoids are natural carotenoids (phytoene and phytofluene) and have no visible color. “They do have UV color though in the UVB and UVA respectively,” explained Dr. von Oppen-Bezalel, however “the reason for their lack of visible color is existence of lower number of conjugated double bonds on their C40 backbone chain. The fact that these natural carotenoids render UV color add to their benefiting properties for protection against UV derived damage, a property that the colored carotenoids can not claim directly.”
Moreover, she said, the reduced number of conjugated double bonds on the molecule C40 chain “also affect their capability to quench certain types of free radicals, namely hydroxyl radicals that are not only the most destructive that exist, but also the ones that colored carotenoids can not ‘fight’.” Less conjugated double bonds on the C40 chain also makes them more stable than the colored carotenoids.
IBR Ltd’s colorless carotenoid products are currently used in products by NuSkin, Methode Jeanne Piaubert, Stendhal and Boots. Dr. von Oppen-Bezalel acknowledged that more than ten other brands are in the pipeline to launch products containing colorless carotenoids within the 6 to 12 month with the highest concentration of interest in the ingredient’s skin whitening and anti-aging/photo-aging activity.