With thoughts of safari top-of-mind for many attendees, cosmetic chemists descended on Johannesburg, South Africa, Oct. 15-18 to exchange ideas, get enlightened and just plain enjoy themselves at the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) Congress. More than 400 delegates from 29 countries attended the three-day scientific congress, which included 67 oral presentations, 157 poster presentations and Cosmetex Exhibition, which featured 46 stands representing 61 companies. Podium presentations were wide-ranging, devoted to issues such as society and cosmetics; well-being; protective strategies; and the physical, chemical and biological aspects of cosmetics and the engineering that goes along with them.
The Congress got underway with a keynote lecture by Aubrey Parsons, AP Consulting, who reviewed some of South Africa’s unique flora, which has applications in cosmetic chemistry. Parsons noted that South Africa has one of the largest selections and varieties of plant biodiversity on the planet and more of them are being considered for their phytomedicinal properties. Most crude plant materials, according to Parsons, have a content of roughly 20 present extractable substances, which corresponds to an herb-to-extract ratio of 5:1.
One of the plants that Parsons detailed was rooibos which, when steeped, is enjoyed around the world as red tea. However, the plant is also rich in antioxidants and has applications in skin and hair care products. Parsons dedicated his presentation to the late Johan Weichers, a former IFSCC president, who died suddenly in November 2011.
Following Parsons’ presentation, attendees enjoyed a rousing display of authentic African dances.
The first full day of the Congress opened with a keynote by Jürgen Lademann, Charité University, Berlin, Germany, who detailed the benefits of antioxidants and their role in combatting free radicals. While children around the world have been urged to eat their vegetables, scientists have never had an effective, yet inexpensive method of measuring their value to the skin. But now, thanks to Resonance Raman Spectroscopy, antioxidant levels are easily measured in skin.
“Antioxidants in the skin are a fingerprint that shows the lifestyle of the subject,” explained Lademann. “For example, due to their ready availability, we’ve demonstrated that subjects eat more fruits and vegetables in summer.”
But Lademann warned that people cannot rely solely on the foods they eat to looking younger. Rather, it takes a three-pronged approach to boost antioxidant levels: following a healthy diet, reducing stress and topically applying antioxidant-based creams and taking supplements.
Water, Water Everywhere
Antioxidants play a key role in skin health, but perhaps nothing is more important than water. Shiseido’s Ichiro Iwai noted that water often accounts for 90% of a skin care product formula and that hydration plays a vital role in the reorganization of the stratum corneum. But how does one measure these water levels in the skin?
One method, according to the Shiseido researcher, is Cryo-electron microscopy of vitreous sections (CEMOVIS), which is the only available technology that enables observation of wet tissue in its native state with high-resolution TEM. Using this technique, investigators studied the effect water dynamics have on keratin intermediate filaments (KIFs) and SC intercellular lipids. They discovered that permeation of water between KIFs spatially loosened the SC cells and that dehydration drove the condensation of the SC to become a thin, dense layer. Furthermore, the speaker said that the “dry-wet-dry” skin care process, which includes hydration and evaporation, organizes the SC constituents, including SC lipids and KIFs toward improved barrier function, through induction of “dry, wet, dry” hysteresis. Iwai concluded that the vital role of water in skin care products is to improve the skin’s condition via wet and dry hysteresis.
Christine Jeanmarie of BASF detailed the results of a study highlighting new targets for stretch marks. Using an active ingredient obtained from an aqueous extract of Manilkara multinervis derived from Western Africa, researchers created a cream that proved to preserve the elastic fibers in the dermis. In fact, the measured anti-elastase efficacy of the active ingredient is similar to alpha-1 anti-trypsin, a potent serine protease inhibitor. In addition, the active significantly enhanced the amount of released type I collagen from cultured human dermal fibroblasts with an efficiency that mirrors vitamin C, according to BASF. Morever, there was a decrease in skin roughness and an improvement in color.
Sederma researchers generated plant cell culture extracts from Corydalis cheilanthifolia and Globularia cordifolia. Through a dedifferentiation technique, the stem cells were grown in a controlled environment to be forced to synthesize secondary metabolites as a defense reaction to a controlled stress, according to Claire-Marie Grizaud.
For Corydalis cheilanthifolia, the process boosted the overproduction of the desired macleyin, while limiting the undesired sanguinarine ratio from 27 to 263 (p<0.01). For Globularia cordifolia, the process doubled the production of desirable phenylethanoid glycosides v. non-elicitated cell culture and by 250% vs. whole plant extract. Phenylethanoid glycosides are known for their biological activities, play a role in the plant’s defense and can be thought of as hormetins to stimulate anti-aging defenses for skin cells, according to Grizaud.
The Day 2 keynote lecture detailed the benefits of amino acids, and was delivered by Kazutami Sakamoto of the Chiba Institute of Science, who pointed out that there are 20 ubiquitous amino acids incorporated in proteins. As a building block of proteins, amino acids are indispensible for healthy skin. In particular, one amino acid, pyroglutamate (PCA), is a key component of Natural Moisturizing Factor and enhances blood circulation by modulating constitutive nitric oxide production. Furthermore, zinc L-PCA has an intrinsic biological effect to regulate or control homeostasis in the skin and can enhance production of Type I collagen.
“Such knowledge will lead us to develop innovative cosmetic products,” he concluded.
It’s one thing for a consumer product company to insist that its anti-aging cream is effective; but how can the consumer know for sure? Greg Hillebrand of Procter & Gamble detailed a web-based, at-home facial imaging system that enables consumers to accurately measure and track changes in their facial wrinkling and hyperpigmentation using their own digital cameras. The system relies on a printed headband to correct for variations such as lighting and camera angle. According to Hillebrand, similar to a person who uses a scale to track weight loss, the P&G system enables consumers to objectively measure changes in their skin before, during and after treatment.
“The system keeps the consumers following the treatment,” concluded Hillebrand. “And it enables consumers to take control of their skin care.”
Back in the lab, Silab researchers have conducted a pilot study for a fast, qualitative and quantitative measurement of barrier function by fluorescence in-vivo laser scanning microscopy (IV-LSM).
Using this technology, Silab was able to obtain operator-independent, rapid, automatic, high-resolution 3D images of the stratum corneum on a broad surface (2x2mm). According to David Boudier, fluorescence IV-LSM is a tool of choice for qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the integrity of SC barrier function.
Jacque LeClerc, L’Oréal; Liezanne van der Walt, Akulu Marchon and Jürgen Lademann, Charité University
Ian Tooley of Croda Europe explained how electron spin resonance spectroscopy is used to measure UV-initiated free radical generation in skin substitutes. According to Tooley, the concentration of free radicals generated in a synthetic skin replica, when exposed to near-UV (HEV) radiation from a solar simulator, was reduced significantly when the skin was protected with a formulation containing a titanium dioxide with enhanced UVA attenuation compared to skin protected with the same formulation containing another grade of titanium dioxide or unprotected skin. Near-UV (HEV) light, which is just beyond the cut-off from the UVA to the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum (380-500nm), has been linked to degradation of collagen and elastin resulting in the formation of wrinkles and premature aging.
According to Tooley, the TiO2 with enhanced UVA attenuation can absorb at these wavelengths and hence provides a physical shield to protect the skin against free radical damage in the near-UV (HEV) part of the spectrum. In fact, while there was a 20% reduction in free radicals in the skin samples protected by the UVB titanium dioxide-based formulation, there was a 75% reduction by the high UVA attenuating titanium dioxide. That significant reduction is due to the shielding effect of the enhanced UVA TiO2 in the HEV region of the spectrum.
Yves Rocher’s Jamila Essadouni explained how in vivo confocal scanning laser microscopy is used to assess the performance of an anti-aging cosmetic formula that was applied daily by test subjects for three months. Images were taken of the cheek and the outer surface of volar forearm and measurements were made of stratum corneum (SC) thickness, stratum granulosum (SG) thickness and stratum spinosum (SS) thickness.
A significant decrease in SC thickness was measured on the cheek and forearm after the three-month treatment. The SG and the SS were significantly thicker on both body sites, and the living dermis was thicker after treatment, according to Essadouni.
The Congress’ final keynote lecture, delivered by L’Oréal’s Jacques Leclaire, was entitled “How Science Can Serve the Diversity of Beauty Needs.”
“To universalize beauty, you must take into account skin and hair needs in different worldwide locations,” insisted Leclaire. “It is both a challenge and an opportunity.”
With R&D centers in the US, France, China, Japan, Brazil and India, L’Oréal has developed a better understanding of consumer needs. For example, Leclaire noted that an objective evaluation of skin color may lead to new customized makeup strategies.
“There is a continuum of skin color,” he told the audience. “No single color is unique to a specific ethnic group.”
In hair care, L’Oréal developed a new cationic polymer specifically designed for African hair, which protects the hair from damage during the perming process.
L’Oréal is even creating photoprotection products that are designed for each skin color. The company has taken measurements from 3,500 subjects to quantify skin color, as there is a clear correlation between skin color and UV sensitivity.
Research like this enabled L’Oréal to create LR 2412, an active derived from jasmine that is said to do more than correct wrinkles, it is “capable of re-creating more beautiful skin,” according to the company.
Finally, after studying oily skin on nearly 1,800 Chinese women, L’Oréal patented Perlite, a spheric polymer that absorbs sweat. The material was developed in China, and adapted and deployed in India, South Africa and Europe.
“Science, plus technology, plus understanding consumer needs are critical to developing game-changing innovation,” Leclaire concluded.
Sales within the natural personal care market rose 8% last year to top $9 billion, but that increase was down from 15% gains just a few years before. Still, green means growth and marketers like to tell consumers that their cosmetics are natural and/or organic. But are they?
Organic Monitor evaluated a large number of marketed products relating to more than 100 brands worldwide. According to Judi Beerling, many supposedly natural brands do not live up to their marketing claims; some even have conventional cosmetic formulations. Many products, especially those marketed outside Europe, use a number of synthetic ingredients that are not commonly accepted in natural and organic cosmetics, according to Beerling.
“We still have a long way to go to create truly natural and organic products,” she concluded.
Heading to Rio in 2013?
• The IFSCC 2013 Conference will be held Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will be the first time that the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) has held a conference or congress in Brazil, one of the biggest beauty markets in the world. The Brazilian Association of Cosmetology (ABC) and the scientific committee in partnership are organizing the event with NürnbergMesse Brasil.
Here’s a look at conferences that follow Rio:
- 2014: 28th IFSCC Congress, Paris, Oct. 27-30, 2014. More info: www.ifscc2014.com
- 2015: 23rd IFSCC Conference, Zurich, Switzerland, Sept. 21-23, 2015. More info: www.ifscc2015.com
- 2016: 29th IFSCC Congress, Orlando, FL, USA, Oct. 23-26, 2016. More info: Bill Cowen, SCC National Office, firstname.lastname@example.org