Novel Ingredients And The Formulators Who Love Them

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | March 9, 2010

Key ingredients can make all the difference in a personal care formulation. Here's a look at some of the ingredients today's leading formulators are smitten with-and why.

Ingredient: Ectoin


Who’s Using It: Jeff Murad, vice president, product development at Murad

Where: Active Radiance, a new treatment in its Environmental Shield line.

“Perhaps the most novel and exciting ingredient I have come across to date is called Ectoin. Ectoinesare molecules synthesized by many organisms that fall into the biological category of extremophiles. These creatures live and thrive in the parts of the planet that no other living things would survive in, such as the world’s most arid deserts, the most saline bodies of water and the coldest parts of the polar regions,” Murad told Happi. “Ectoines are the unique biochemicals that allow them to withstand such conditions, by binding water to shield cellular membranes and organelles from otherwise uninhabitable conditions.”

According to Murad, new technology has allowed the industry to extract this substance from single-celled extremophiles for inclusion in skin care formulations.“As it is very compatible with cellular metabolism, it quickly becomes active within human skin when applied topically. In-vivo studies have shown that topically applied ectoin not only shows immunoprotective benefits, by preventing UV induced reduction in Langerhans cells (our immune system’s component in the skin), but also increases skin hydration and resistance to external dehydration for weeks after use.”

Ingredient: Isoniacinamide

Who’s Using it:Dr. Tom Mammone, executive director, Clinique R&D

Where:Clinique’s Youth Surge Night Age Decelerating Moisturizer

Clinique recently launched Youth Surge Night Age Decelerating Night Moisturizer, billed by the company as “a comprehensive de-aging skin care product that enables skin to restore and repair the signs of aging while you sleep.”

“It is through groundbreaking research on the activity of sirtuins that we have learned skin’s cellular cycle is critical to the overall maintenance of a youthful complexion,” Dr. Mammone said. “Youth Surge Night utilizes this groundbreaking sirtuin technology to help extend the ‘lifespan’ of skin and visibly restore youth to aging skin. Sirtuins are a class of proteins vital to helping extend the function and life of cells and crucial to this formula is a patent-pending complex of Sirtuin Activating Compounds which work synergistically to extend cellular longevity.”

One of the main molecules in this complex is Isoniacinamide, which is known as a sirtuin activator,
according to Dr. Mammone.

“This vitamin B like molecule helps to promote the natural repair of the skin that takes place during the night. The discovery and use of this molecule helped us find a revolutionary way to help slow down the visible signs of aging while simultaneously promoting natural nighttime cellular repair.”

Ingredient: Salicylic Acid from Oil ofWintergreen

Who’s Using It: Brandie Johnson, Aveda formulation project manager, skin care, spa and Pure-fume

Where: Green Science Skin Care and Perfecting Plant Peel

Salicylic acid is a go-to ingredient in skin care, and Aveda derives its from oil
of Wintergreen, rather than conventional synthetic sources.

“This multi-functional ingredient is one of my favorites for powerful plant-derived functionality in our green formulations,” said Brandie Johnson, Aveda formulation project manager, skin care, spa and Purefume.

Aveda has incorporated naturally-derived salicylic acid into several recent launches, including Green Science Skin Care and Perfecting Plant Peel, a professional, botanically-based spa facial treatment that has been clinically proven to provide the immediate benefits of a 30% glycolic peel, without the associated redness and irritation.

Ingredients: Pea Extract, Bamboo Extract and Glucosamine HCL

Who’s Using it: Remona Gopaul, KC Holley, Jan Lephart and Helen Knaggs, Nu Skin Global Research & Development team

Where: ageLOC Transformation skin care

Nu Skin’s Jan Lephart, Remona Gopaul,
KC Holley and Helen Knaggs.
As human skin ages, the gene activity associated with the appearance of aging alters the biological processes responsible for the visible signs of skin aging. According to the research team at Nu Skin, pea (pisum sativum) extract, bamboo (bambusa vulgaris) extract and glucosamine HCL are three ingredients that have been shown to affect not only the visible signs of skin aging, but also the ultimate sources of the appearance of aging on the skin.

“A botanical blend of pea extract, bamboo extract and glucosamine HCL has been shown to target multiple signs of aging,” said Helen Knaggs, vice president, global Nu Skin research and development, Nu Skin Enterprises.

Evaluation of this blend of ingredients showed a 45% improvement in the appearance of lines and wrinkles over four weeks and an 84.7% increase in skin exfoliation after five days of use. And according to Knaggs, consumer clinical in-vivo testing of a topical formulation containing this blend substantiated the in-vitro data by showing significant clinical improvements in multiple signs of aging.

“Results from genomic testing also showed that the blend of pea extract, bamboo extract and glucosamine HCL regulates the expression of multiple genes involved in various pathways that research has shown to be related to the skin aging process, specifically skin structure and cellular differentiation.Therefore, we believe that these ingredients also target the sources of skin aging by resetting gene activity to more youthful patterns,” she concluded.

Nu Skin has incorporated this trio of ingredients in its new ageLOC Transformation skin care products, which have been shown to reduce eight key concerns of skin aging beginning in as little as seven days.

Ingredient: Caviar Extracts

Who’s Using It:Prof. Sven Gohla, vice president R&D, La Prairie.

Where:White Caviar Illuminating Système

La Prairie’s White Caviar Illuminating Système—which includes a trio of new products based on state-of-the-art formulation technologies and ingredients concepts—represents a milestone in skin care, according to Prof. Sven Gohla, vice president, research and development, La Prairie.

“For the first time, with the launch of White Caviar Illuminating Système, La Prairie has created a bridge between two major beauty concerns: firming and illumination, correcting skin discoloration on different levels,” Gohla told Happi.“La Prairie’s approach is to bridge luxury and science, focusing on the beauty demands of both western and eastern luxury skin care customers.”

For the White Caviar Illuminating Système, La Prairie chose the caviar of White Sturgeon harvested
under controlled biological conditions.

“This caviar contains Omega-fatty acids in higher concentration than regular caviar,”Gohla said, noting that in addition to the backbone of the sophisticated formulation, La Prairie builds on the latest generation high-tech peptides to de-line and plump the skin as well as to control equal skin color by acting on melanin production and transportation.

“The latter work in conjunction with powerful skin whitening ingredients such as vitamin C and dioic acid,” he said. “Furthermore, Swiss garden cress sprout extract supports clearing of debris and a host of other innovative actives accomplish the formula’s firming capacities. A strong antioxidant system supports firming as well as illuminating.”

The White Caviar Illuminating Cream, specifically, is based on a water-in-oil-in-powder technology, which allows for the lightweight application of rich formulas, creating immediate line filling and an instant feeling of moisturization, Gohla noted.

“White Caviar Illuminating Système is the first ‘yin and yang’ approach of La Prairie, to allow the combination of Western and Eastern beauty regimens in just one system of power and light.”

Ingredient: Skinasensyl

Who’s Using it: Dr. Zein Obagi, founder of ZO Skin Health

Where:ZO Skin Health Ossential Radical Night Repair Plus

According to Zein Obagi, the challenge for skin care companies that are truly committed to effective treatments for anti-aging is this: how do you increase the concentration of active ingredients without irritating the skin?

“That’s why companies that are using retinol use only a paltry .1 or .15% concentration—not enough to really be effective,” Obagi told Happi.

But not ZO Skin Health, which this month is rolling out Ossential Radical Night Repair Plus. Billed as an amped up version of ZO’s original Radical Night Repair, it has a 1.0% concentration of retinol—10 times the industry average, according to Obagi.

“By encapsulating the retinol in microspheres, and addingSkinasensyl, a peptide that increases skin’s natural tolerance threshold, users are much less likely to experience any discomfort,” he said.

“Skinasensyl, was introduced in late 2008, and I began formulating with it right away,” Obagi continued.“To the best of my knowledge, we’re the only company using it. It works by protecting against neurogenic hyper-reactivity, and acts almost as a pain killer for stinging, burning and itching. It’s especially beneficial to over-reactive and sensitive skin.”

Ingredient: Swiss Apple

Who’s Using It:GSC Products

Where:Thermaskin Skin Repair Sticks

While the apple has long held a special place in our collective history—from Adam and Eve to Sir Isaac Newton to Steve Jobs—one special variety, the Swiss Uttwiler Spätlauber, has caught the attention of the beauty industry from luxury to mass.

“The Swiss Apple is truly incredible. The tree bark and fruit actually heals itself when punctured. Once picked, Swiss apples last months longer than all other varieties,” said Wayne Perry, founder of the GSC Products, maker of ThermaSkin and Thermascalp personal care products.

While this itself was “intriguing enough to use it as a skin regenerator,” Perry said that research conducted at Mibelle Biochemistry brought to light more about this ingredient’s special attributes.

Perry pointed to solid research showing how PhytoCellTec (Mibelle’s raw material based on the fruit) can interact with human skin cells to reduce lines by 15%. “Their studies show Swiss Apple stem cells also provide extreme UV protection as well as reversing UV damage. While there are lots of fruit stem cells and other anti-aging ingredients available, PhytoCellTec provides benefits way beyond anything we’ve seen.”

Ingredient: Baobab Gel

Who’s Using it:Decléor

Where:NutriDivine Collection

“The uniqueness of the baobab gel in the New Nutri Divine creams offers a little more of an added benefit of nutrients and stronger protection that a consumer may not receive from a basic ingredient,” said Shannon Gallogly, Decléor’s national education trainer and lead esthetician.

“Much like the Baobab tree which has the ability to retain water and store vital nutrients as well as act like a natural reserve in any climate, the baobab gel extract works the same in our skin,” said Gallogly. “The baobab gel is able to store a reserve of moisture and water and can call on the stored water even in extreme situations such as winter, wind, heat, sports, when skin needs the moisture the most.

“I love Decléor’s NutriDivine creams because of their moisturizing power and the effectiveness of the very unique ingredients like the Baobab gel,” Gallogly concluded.