Whatever Procter & Gamble was promoting, dermatologists at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting were interested. At the recent annual event, the P&G stand in the exhibit hall was jammed with docs eager to get a look at Procter’s promotions. Lines wrapped all the way around P&G’s oversized stand as dermatologists queued to get a look at the latest offerings in skin care.
“It was a good event; we get a lot of traffic,” noted Frauke Neuser, principal scientist, Olay Skin Care, P&G. “We had a reception for dermatologists and one-on-one meetings with dermatologists. I like the AAD event because you get a feel of what is happening.”
And what was happening at the AAD annual meeting? From Neuser’s vantage point, there was a refocus on “classic” ingredients including peptides, niacinamides and antioxidants.
“It was about getting back to the basics and what works,” she added.
When it comes to taking care of skin, derms agree that every regimen should be built upon proper UV protection. With that in mind, Olay rolled out New Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream SPF 30. The formula contains broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, along with an amino-peptide complex that is said to visibly and quickly reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
“A lot of people don’t use daily sun protection because they are heavy and oily; women don’t want that,” explained Neuser.
P&G formulators were able to give women what they want by reducing the amount of oils in the product and adding powders for a lighter feel. Consumers tend to agree; one product reviewer on the Olay website noted, “I’m not a fan of sunscreen on my face. But I burn easily due to a health issue and a medication so now I cannot go without sunscreen. This moisturizer feels good on my skin without the heaviness of usual sunscreens.”
But the formula is about much more than sun protection. It also contains an anti-aging moisturizer to hydrate skin and regenerate volume and shape
One of the key ingredients in the amino-peptide complex is vitamin B3, a long-time favorite ingredient of P&G formulators. According to Neuser, niacinamide, niacin’s precursor, improves texture and tone, and strengthens the barrier function. Furthermore, it works well with other ingredients. For example, in combination with pentapeptides, niacinamide improves texture better than if it were used as a single ingredient.
“Niacinamide is a real multi-tasker with many ingredients,” observed Neuser. “We’ve tested a lot of other ingredients in the search for something better, but we haven’t found anything yet.”
Not So Different…
Testing for niancinamide alternatives isn’t the only research P&G conducts; for example, its scientists are in the midst of a multi-decade ethnicity (MDE) study. So far, P&G has completed work on Black and Caucasian skin and is now studying Asian and Hispanic skin.
“We’ve found that African-American and Caucasian skin structure is similar; the differences come as women age,” said Neuser.
P&G found the decline in gene expression occurs more slowly in Black skin due to higher pigment levels; other factors that account, in part, for slower senescence include structure, hydration and dermal matrix proteins. Neuser added that regardless of race, everyone should moisturize her skin and protect it from UV damage. P&G is using bioinformatics and overlays this data with gene expression data to uncover even more ways to slow the aging process.
But in another MDE study, P&G’s facial mapping research revealed rather dramatic differences in skin based on zones—cheek, forehead, nasolabial folds and eye area. Using a variety of studies, P&G confirmed that the eye area is quite different in terms of thickness, elasticity and barrier function. Furthermore, the genomic signature is different so the eye region ages earlier and faster than other parts. All the data confirmed that there is a difference between undereye skin and the rest of the face and it proves that there is a real need for specific skin care products for the eye area.
What Consumers Say
All the research in the world is meaningless if P&G’s message doesn’t connect with consumers. Last year, the company surveyed 7,000 women around the world (including 1,000 in the US) to get their thoughts on aging.
• 87% said chronological age becomes less relevant as people live longer and healthier lives;
• 54% feel younger than their age; and
• 78% feel more confident than they did 10 years ago.
When asked, what gives away your age? The most common response was skin sagging and skin appearance. Respondents also told P&G that the biggest compliment they could get is that people can never guess how old they really are.
“They are concerned about how the look, but not their age,” noted Neuser.
It’s all part of Olay’s Ageless campaign that features the tagline, “with Olay, you age less, so you can be ageless.”
According to Neuser, the beauty industry has a tendency to talk to all women the same way, but in reality, there is a broad range of attitudes about aging; some women go to dermatologists every month to look great while others want to look for their age.
“They all have different attitudes, want different solutions and want to be talked to in different ways,” explained Neuser. “A 65-year-old woman doesn’t want to be talked to like a teenager.”