Perform or Perish

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | December 1, 2016

Success in today’s skin care sector begins with active ingredients, formulated in products that address modern-day issues.

Skin care companies know consumers mean business when it comes to performance. There’s an ever-increasing array of new moisturizers, serums and creams that promise to improve skin clarity, tone and texture. But formulators beware—results that don’t come to fruition or one bad experience (think irritation) can seal the fate of a product’s repeat purchase.

“While efficacy is at the forefront of our development process, so is consumer experience. Striking a balance between finding the most efficacious, hard-working combinations of ingredients while maintaining the look and feel of a skin care product is something we pride ourselves on,” said Smitha Rao, vice president, product development at StriVectin.

Based on recent sales data, consumers appear to be happy with offerings from StriVectin and other leading brands sold through prestige channels. According to third quarter numbers crunched by The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY, skin care sales between July and September 2016 rose 5% to $1.1 billion. Growth in facial masks continued to outpace the overall market, with dollar sales increasing 28%. Also faring well were lip treatments, with dollar sales up 23% and face supplements, where dollar sales have more than doubled, according to NPD.

As any chemist will attest, the best skin care treatments begin with active ingredients. In 2016, brands rely on both traditional workhorses—think retinol, peptides and AHAs—as well as new ingredients that have caught the attention of their R&D teams, and, if all goes as planned, will catch consumers’ fancy too.

Avon, which recently teamed up with dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kim Nichols, is best known for its game-changing Anew brand, which broke new territory in mass market skin care in the early 1990s with its AHA-driven technology. Most recently, the company expanded the Anew line with Anew Ultimate Supreme Advanced Performance Créme. It is formulated with the “most potent levels of exclusive Celluvive complex and Tahitian black pearl essence,” which is known to improve skin’s ability to retain moisture, according to the direct seller.

Researchers at True Results, a Biotone company, view retinol as a key workhorse ingredient. The firm has rolled out a new system called True Results Retinol Active Skincare, which has six products formulated to decrease fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration associated with natural skin aging.

“I wanted to offer women an affordable anti-aging skin care system that does what it claims to do,” Jean Shea, True Results founder and president said in a statement. “Many products promise a lot, but provide limited or no results. With our Retinol Active Skincare System…women can enjoy the anti-aging benefits of retinol, which normally are associated with higher-priced retinol skin care offerings.”

Retinol Active Skincare System uses TruSR technology, which combines maximum levels of active retinol with patented hydrators making it highly effective yet gentle, according to the company. Products include True Results Retinol Night Cream, which is available in maximum strength 1% active or 0.5% active, and True Results Retinol Eye Serum with .25% active, which reduces the appearance of fine lines around the eyes.

Indeed, brands must take care when formulating treatments for the eye zone; it is more sensitive, much thinner and seems to be more prone to showing signs of aging from dehydration, stress and a lack of sleep, noted Jamie Palmer, BSN, RN, who works in research and development for Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare.

To treat the area, Palmer cited a trio of key ingredients, led by niacinamide.

“Niacinamide is an amazing ingredient to use in skin care, which is why, more and more, you see it in all sorts of products from professional treatments to serums and creams,” said Palmer, noting that it serves multiple purposes for the eye area, including improving circulation and hydration, protecting against reactive oxygen species, decreasing inflammation and helping to protect and maintain a healthy skin structure.

The other two ingredients Palmer pointed to were 1,3 beta glucan and chronoline, a biomimetic lipopeptide. All three can be found in the Osmosis Pur Eye Serum Collection, which features Refresh and Refresh PM serums. The first is formulated with hyaluronic acid, rosemary oil and niacinamide, as well as a wrinkle filler derived from tripeptides comprised of six amino acids. The PM serum is described as a richly hydrating, peptide-boosting, anti-aging concentrate. Thicker than the sister formula, it also contains Chlorella vulgaris to protect and stimulate collagen and elastin and CoQ10, an ingredient with well-documented skin benefits.

Peptides are another well-known active ingredient harnessed by many brands, including Freeze 24-7. For example, the company’s new Avalanche Anti-Aging Peptide Lotion is said to be for minimalist consumers who want to apply one moisturizer to address multiple signs of aging. The brand is billing it as a “one step collagen replenishing peptide lotion” that rushes on like an “avalanche with powerful age-defying complexes to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while diminishing dark spots for an overall even skin tone.”

‘C’ My Improved Skin

Another longtime ingredient that appears to be gaining new traction in the marketplace is vitamin C. Boulder, CO-based MyChelle Dermaceuticals, for example, has rolled out new Perfect C Pro Speed Peel, a one-step, one-minute, fast-acting Vitamin C peel formulated with 10% L-ascorbic acid, L-lactic acid, plant C-stem and retinol. The peel can be found at Whole Foods Markets and select Ulta stores.

Derma E is betting big on it too. The brand’s new Vitamin C Collection, due out early next year, is formulated with 100% stable vitamin C and moisturizing hyaluronic acid to help brighten skin, support collagen health, reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone and minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, a unique combination of probiotics and rooibos work to build up skin’s natural defenses, boost the production of healthy skin and fight harmful bacteria that can cause blemishes and premature aging. The range includes Vitamin C Micellar Cleansing Water, Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer and Vitamin C Intense Night Cream, according to the Simi Valley, CA-based company.

Another new nighttime innovation driven by key actives is available from Babor. Its new Active Night Fluid has been designed to boost beauty during sleep with extracts of black algae, salix nigra bark and black truffle. The black algae raises cellular energy levels which are responsible for the formation of proteoglycanes, for collagen III and hyaluronic acid; salix nigra bark works most effectively during the night-time regeneration phase, raising cellular energy levels effectively combating everyday damage and counteracting signs of skin aging in the cells; and the truffle serves as a free radical scavenger and is also deeply moisturizing.

“Innovation is at the heart of every Babor product. We produce scientifically advanced, results-driven products that produce results you can see and feel, exactly what today’s sophisticated consumer expects,” Benjamin Simpson, SVP-marketing at Babor, told Happi.

San Francisco-based H20+ Beauty is also offering consumers nocturnal skin care formulations like Waterbright Illuminating Night Cream, which is said to rely on vitamin C to enhance skin’s radiance, clarity, evenness, brightness and texture, all while reducing the intensity of dark spots, and Infinity+ Overnight Wrinkle Reducing Mask. The latter is formulated with red algae extract and Camellia Japonica oil to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and protect against moisture loss.

Sleep Issues
New York-based brand SiO is focused on issues related to sleep, in this case, the skin woes that stem from it. According to The Aesthetic Surgery Journal, a publication of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, compression, tension and sheer force applied to the face during sleep causes distortion and sleep wrinkles, but as skin experts like dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman affirm, sleep wrinkles can also form on the décolleté for the same reasons, and side sleeping is especially damaging.

SiO is the brainchild of beauty industry veteran Gigi Howard, a self-described “notorious side sleeper” who first noticed her own chest wrinkles while in her late 20s. She developed SiO to treat and restore the thin delicate skin on the décolleté through a combination of medical grade silicone and wrinkle-fighting active ingredients.

There are three products in the SiO range. The hero is SkinPad, which is formulated with medical grade silicone. It works overnight by forming a “unique micro-climate for ultimate hydration, smoothing existing wrinkles and ensuring skin remains flat and plump to prevent future wrinkles from forming.”

SiO Décolleté Cleansing Discs, formulated with glycolic and lactic acids to enhance the wrinkle-smoothing effects of the pad, are designed for use prior to pad application. The third component is the SiO Décolleté Serum that is applied in the morning after removing the SkinPad. The serum is formulated with red algae, trehalose, hyaluronic acid and Stevioside, an ingredient naturally derived from the leaf of the stevia plant that is said to “proactively minimize wrinkle creation by preventing the involuntary muscle contractions that cause skin to wrinkle, while simultaneously providing hydration and boosting collagen production,” noted Engelman.

Engelman considers the brand to be a new tool to treat a complicated area of the body.

“The skin of the décolleté is thinner and often much more sun damaged than other areas, so treatment can be difficult. The décolleté area is more prone to scarring, so certain procedures like lasers and injections are considered higher risk and can certainly be expensive. SiO offers the first, clinically-tested, affordable at-home solution for the décolleté that creates a unique micro-climate reducing wrinkles in just eight hours,” noted Engelman, who serves as SiO’s medical advisor.

Derma MD, a brand based in Phoenix, is also looking to improve skin’s appearance the same area of the body with its new Mid-Lift11 topical cream. It is formulated around a proprietary blend of peptides that improve elastin fibers and increase collagen synthesis in neck and chest areas, according to president Sheila Malmanis.

Slumber positions aside, there’s another human activity that’s impacting skin health around the décolleté—smart phone use, no, make that, smart phone addiction.

According to some sources, the average person checks her mobile device approximately 221 times daily, and with each glance at Facebook or quick text, she’s risking more lines and wrinkles.

“The skin on the neck and décolleté is fundamentally different than the skin on the face and other areas,” noted Rao. “The skin is more delicate and is more profoundly affected by lifestyle effects such as ‘tech neck.’ The area is also subject to horizontal neck lines and sagging because of the repeated muscle motion of looking up and down—from natural day-to-day activity to glancing regularly at devices.”

StriVectin is tackling the issue head on. This fall, the brand has rolled out #FightTechNeck, a 360-degree marketing campaign and in-store activation created to educate consumers about tech neck and the importance of using a product specifically designed for the neck.

Products in the StriVectin Tech Neck line, all of which are powered by proprietary NIA-114 technology, include new TL Advanced Light Tightening Neck Cream, TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream and Tightening Neck Serum Roller.

According to Rao, StriVectin researchers select ingredient technologies that address targeted skin concerns, and in the case of tech neck, their work centered on addressing the delicate architecture of the neck region. Key ingredients include Gravitite-CF Lifting Complex, a lipopeptide complex that supports the skin’s natural elastin and minimizes the visible effects of gravity on the skin. It works in tandem with NIA-114, StriVectin’s patented technology, to reinvigorate the skin surface for optimal performance, fight against environmental aggressors, and intensify the efficacy of all other actives. In addition, tetrapeptide-2 supports the skin’s natural proteins such as collagen and fibronectin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and roughness, while ceramides and hyaluronic acid support the capture and retention of moisture.

Other actives tapped by the team at StriVectin include “pullulan, algae extract and cumingi leaf extract, which play roles in delivering visible tightening and lifting results to various degrees,” Rao told Happi.

Active ingredients addressing skin woes from too much time spent on social media? Now there’s something worth Tweeting about!

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