It’s the second time that IFSCC held such an event in partnership with CBE organizers, Informa, and Baiwen. Expanding on last year’s event, this second edition dedicated a full day to demonstrate how deep and broad today’s cosmetic research can go, with the morning session on French expertise in beauty science and the afternoon highlighting the presentations from 29th IFSCC Congress last year. The hot topics ranged from anti-pollution/aging to moisturizing and brightening, discussed by international names like L’Oréal, LVMH, Chanel, and Shiseido, along with local powerhouse Jahwa, as well as well-regarded suppliers including DSM, Episkin, and Greentech.
“Nowadays, in order to create a successful product, we must bring together all facets of scientific knowledge, from chemistry, physicochemistry, biology to sensory,” explained Claudie Willemin, L’Oreal R&I Worldwide Applied Research Director and IFSCC scientific editor who organized the forum, during her opening speech.
And logically, it has been the real thinking behind all research presented at the forum, demonstrating insightful results with a comprehensive and integrative methodology.
Anti-aging is one of the most researched topics in today’s beauty industry, and it was covered by several experts, each of whom presented quite different findings with different but still comprehensive approaches.
In the process of aging, researchers increasingly realize the complexity of environmental factors, especially when related to intrinsic ones. In her presentation, “Skin aging & environmental factors,” Dr. Frederique Morizot from Chanel France demonstrated how such research can be done with the help of the latest advanced technologies.
“There is a huge need to understand the mechanism which protects us from aging. What we’ve done is to connect both intrinsic and extrinsic factors to skin aging to grasp a bigger picture,” explained Dr. Morizot.
By conducting a genome-wide association study (GWAS), the Chanel team identified genetic factors and their associations that may affect skin aging, to better understand the aging mechanism at a molecular level, and therefore develop a new intervention beauty treatment strategy as well as diagnostic methods, she explained.
The interaction between environmental factors and genetic ones is complex, especially when it comes to preventing aging. “The good news is that with new technologies like GWAS, we were able to identify new targets to predict aging,” Dr. Morizot concluded. This powerful tool identifies both genes and biological pathways including regulation of cell autophagy, biosynthesis of saccharide structure, and cell communication, leading to the finding of the sestrin gene family. GWAS studies on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean women are underway.
While Chanel researchers look at the bigger picture of skin anti-aging, Shiseido scientists are focused on the dermal layer or, more precisely, sweat glands. This research also earned the company the poster award at the 2016 IFSCC Congress held in Orlando, FL.
In her presentation “Discovery of novel skin aging mechanism: dermal cavitation,” Dr. E. Takasu, director of Shiseido’s China Innovation Center noted that the appearance of aging is largely due to facial sagging.
In order to find out what’s happened inside sagging skin, Shiseido’s researchers have used several methods, including ex vivo analysis of 3D skin structure using CT scanning, non-invasive assessment of skin structure and sagging, and gene expression analysis via skin biopsy. During their research, they learned that the shrinkage of sweat glands and the resulting cavitation of the dermal layer are the real mechanisms behind skin sagging.
Now the company is planning to apply this finding to the future development of new anti-sagging/aging skin care. As Dr. Takasu noted, “one of the new approaches is improving sweat gland function to prevent the shrinkage.” In other words, skin care products stimulating sweating for anti-aging/sagging may be developed.
Sound novel? How about hearing the visual status of your hair? That’s what the representative of L’Oréal presented, “Translating the human hair surface state into sound.”
“Today’s consumers evaluate the performance of their beauty product through visual, tactile, and olfactory cues,” explained Dr. Chengda Ye of L’Oreal China R&I. “We now think it’s time to unlock further the sensorial experience, sound, to enhance user experience, uniqueness, and universalization.”
According to Dr. Ye, the changes in hair friction are detected via a highly sensitive sensor (tribometer), and measurement data is then converted into sounds through a proprietary algorithm (Soniphy). Variation among hair shafts with different damage degrees, the sounds therefore can demonstrate the status of hair and how it can be rectified and restored through treatment. By adding musical elements, the resulting device enables consumers to distinguish their hair condition and feel the benefits of hair care treatment in a more perceivable and personalized way.
“In the future, we will confirm actual enhancement of user experience, validate a portable friction measurement, and expand such approach to other categories,” Dr. Ye stated in his summarization. “It may not be limited to hair application.”
Through this research, L’Oréal won the IFSCC Basic Research award last year in Orlando.
While L’Oreal relied on audio techniques to enhance user perception, LVMH strove to innovate by drawing inspiration from inside—in this case, bones.
“When it comes to regeneration, bone is a tissue with extraordinary abilities for auto-repair, and skin is in perpetual renewal, with exceptional abilities for wound healing,” said Dr. Tony Xu from LVMH Asia Innovation Center. In his presentation, “Skin regeneration with a new cosmetic approach,” he pointed out several similarities between bones and skin. They include:
- Fast regeneration ability to maintain structural integrity and functionality;
- Regeneration process slows down with aging;
- Hormonal variations impact regeneration;
- TGF-β is the common regulatory pathway for regeneration in both.
“For the first time in human skin, we are able to identify in vitro and ex vivo of TIEG-1 gene and protein expression,” he stated. “By in vitro screening of actives, we found a new combination of rosemary and Albizia julibrissin extracts, with proven synergistic effects for modulating TIEG-1 gene and protein expression.”
An LVMH in vivo clinical study proved that a cosmetic formula containing these vegetal extracts improves collagen organization and reduces collagen fragmentation, improves skin texture, and reduces skin wrinkles, laxity, and ptosis, Dr. Ye concluded.
Is such a comprehensive approach only reserved for complex topics like anti-aging? DSM doesn’t think so. Its research team also adopted a very advanced and all-round approach toward a seemingly simple skin care need: moisturization.
In a presentation “The presence and consequence of essential and non-essential corneum proteases: the vital need for protease inhibitors,” Dr. Rainer Voegeli, senior scientist at DSM Nutritional Products discussed the company’s latest research into the underlying causes of skin dryness. By pioneering a visualization technology that enables the investigation of skin biochemistry at a molecular level, the researchers found that specific inhibitors of the plasminogen system can improve barrier function and the subjective perception of moisturized skin.
Dr. Voegeli concluded by illustrating the role of a moisturizer: increase stratum corneum hydration in the short term; normalize desquamation in the medium term; and improve barrier function in the long term. He won the IFSCC Applied Research award for this approach.
New Cosmetology Territories
When it comes to new areas of skin research, anti-pollution is an important one. It is regarded as “new” largely due to its still vague definition and less-understood mechanism on skin. During her presentation on skin and environmental exposures, Dr. Janney Qiu from L’Oréal China R&I tried to address these issues.
“Our skin is exposed on a daily basis to UV, especially UVA, and air pollutants including O3, NO2, SO2 and particles like PM2.5,” she explained. “The negative impact caused by these factors go far beyond the surface of our skin, and can penetrate deep into living tissue, even enter blood circulation.”
For example, PM2.5 inhaled through lungs can enter the bloodstream, and affect skin from the inside out, Dr. Qiu pointed out.
L’Oréal researchers have studied the impact that urban pollution has on a variety of functions, including skin homeostasis, cutaneous modification, and skin aging. Its cluster analysis of clinical and instrumental evaluations link air pollution to many skin problems ranging from increased oxidative stress and reduced barrier function to worsening clinical diseases like atopy and eczema.
Moreover, the company’s evaluation models (both ex vivo and in vitro) have demonstrated a synergistic, deleterious effect of pollutants and UV radiation on skin, which L’Oréal calls “photopollution.” This bombardment by aggressors calls for a comprehensive approach that includes sunscreen (especially broad-spectrum formulas), cleansing and blocking to reduce accumulation of pollutants, protecting and repairing the skin barrier, and utilizing antioxidants to prevent oxidative stress.
The microbiome is an emerging area that has captured the attention of cosmetic researchers. With more industry players entering this area, a practical application of probiotics in cosmetics was presented at the forum. In a presentation titled “Stress on skin microflora: Probiotic extract manages the skin microbiota,” Dr. Jean-Yves Berthon, CEO of GreenTech shared his insights.
“Human skin is a complex barrier organ that provides an ecological niche for a wide range of microorganisms, and bacteria are generally considered to be the most important organisms in this ecosystem,” Dr. Berthon explained. “The complex dialogue between them is necessary for healthy skin and efficient skin barrier.”
By using molecular tools like metagenomic techniques, it is possible to investigate and characterize the relationship between skin microbiota and the human skin barrier. An active ingredient, Lysate from probiotic Lactobacillus pentosus was then introduced. It has proven skin care benefits such as maintaining equilibrium in commensal skin microbiota and strengthening the functional barrier, according to Dr. Berthon. When asked about the emerging applications of live bacteria in cosmetic formulation, he warned that regulatory compliance and product consistency must be considered carefully before such products make it to the market.
For other scientific fields, psychology is also the one increasingly cited by today’s cosmetic research. And it was also touched on by Shang Xiang of Exsymol during his presentation “Treatment of epidermal damages due to cortisol generated by psychological stress.”
Researchers are closely monitoring animal test ban developments around the world. In recent months, legislation to ban animal testing has been passed in Guatamala, Australia and Korea. With animal tests on cosmetics coming under increased scrutiny in China—and related regulations might come out sooner rather than later—seeking alternatives seems inevitable for manufacturers and suppliers alike. This is why a presentation titled “Human reconstructed skin and epidermis (RHE) for R&D of actives and finished products,” by Dr. Robert Zhao of Episkin Academy China, drew great interest from the audience.
The conference addressed so many topics and yet so much more remains to be explored; perhaps the only limitation to future research and development is legislation and regulation.