This annual event features thousands of ingredients, raw materials, and formulations from over 700 ingredient suppliers in over 39 countries. Many exciting and intriguing technologies made it into the final selection, including actives targeting wrinkles via neurocosmetics and fat cell volume increase via stem cell activity. Advanced technologies stemming from somewhat familiar concepts in molecular biology, such as DNA repair and microbiome, came into the spotlight this year due to new testing and research ethodologies.
The Cosmetogenomics - Cellular Genetics
The impact of the environment on the health of human genes has recently emerged as a major aspect contributing to aging. Numerous studies have been conducted on identical twins, highlighting that about 20 to 30 percent of life expectancy is due to genetic factors, and the remaining 70 to 80 percent is caused by the environment.1 People are slowly starting to understand just how much the environment alters the function of genes expressed in the skin. The discovery of the epigenome, which controls the expression of genes and manages genetic information influenced by the environment, offers endless possibilities in both corrective and preventative formulations. One of the finalists in the Innovation Zone category, Silab’s Epigenomyl®, incorporates very unique cosmetogenomics principles by focusing on regulating the environment’s interference and revitalizing skin cells from the DNA to the epigenome. It works with the epigenome by protecting the two factors responsible for proper DNA transcription and the mechanisms involved in the activation or repression of gene expression. Epigenomyl is a nature-inspired molecule, rich in calendula flower oligosaccharides, capable of limiting modification to the epigenome, which results from the passing of time and external factors; in other words, erasing bad memories the skin has acquired with exposure to less than favorable environments. In turn, this allows skin cells to better adapt to stress and live longer. Clinical studies show that 100 percent of volunteers improved their perceived age by an average of three years and, with regular use of this ingredient, smoother skin, micro-relief, reduced wrinkles, and increased skin tone were demonstrated.
Paving the Way for Cosmetogenomics
Targeting cells’ genetic material is not entirely new to the industry. Many skin care professionals are still having difficulty wrapping their heads around telomere-induced aging and senescence, concepts that preceded cosmetogenomics in skin care. Renovage® by Sederma, has been a popular choice for over a decade in addressing DNA health and cellular lifespan. It is a biomimic molecule that protects against stress by telomere stabilization and DNA maintenance. As skin ages, cells enter a nonfunctional phase, the senescence phase, that is defined by a cellular biological clock, the telomere. Telomeres cap the DNA and with each division they shorten until they become too short, at which point cells can no longer divide and enter the senescence phase. The rate of cell replication is lower in elderly people and this finding is consistent with shorter telomeres. In in-vitro studies, Renovage increased the life span of fibroblasts by one-third by maintaining the telomere and DNA function. Renovage improves tissue quality by optimizing cell interactions and rebalancing cell functions, thus, improving multiple signs of aging.
Another advanced ingredient that shaped the way for cosmetogenomics science is Fucogel® by Solabia. Fucogel is rich in fructose, which has an exceptional affinity for the membrane receptors of keratinocytes. Fucogel can also regulate the histone code by stimulating sirtuin-1, a protein that plays a vital role in controlling cell processes such as DNA repair and resisting oxidative stress and cell death. Fucogel presents an interesting category of multifunctional ingredients – contributing to the physical and sensory aspect of the product and improving feel and moisturization, coupled with remarkable, biological activity such as improving the longevity of proteins and regulating inflammation markers.
The gold award for the Innovation Zone Best Active Ingredient was presented to Brightenyl®, a skin brightening and tone-normalizing ingredient recently launched by the Swiss manufacturer, Induchem. This award was presented to Induchem primarily because of the innovative mechanism of action that Brightenyl employs, which explores a newly discovered layer of skin, the stratum microbium™. This layer exists just above the upper, physical barrier of skin, the stratum corneum, and under the hair barrier where an incredible number of beneficial microorganisms reside. Until recent DNA analysis technology became available, an estimated 50 to 90 percent of existing skin microorganisms could not be cultivated in a laboratory. Recent DNA studies revealed that the skin’s microbiote contains genes of highly-selective enzymes called alpha glucosides. These enzymes can be used to activate cosmetic ingredients and increase their efficacy on the skin. Once Brightenyl is applied to the skin, the microbiote activates the ingredient via alpha glucosides, which causes Brightenyl to penetrate the skin and successfully target the seven major causes of skin complexion disorders, providing skin photo protection, redness correction, brightness increase, and an even skin tone.
Negotiating Defense Strategies with Microbiome
Collaborating and communicating with the microflora on the skin is not an entirely new concept. Rhamnosoft, a polysaccharide derived from bacterial fermentation consisting of rhamnose and galactose, has been widely recognized by the skin care industry as a skin microflora balancer. It is well known that certain interactions between the microflora and the environment can throw off the equilibrium and balance in the lower layers of the skin, causing stress and aging. When the equilibrium of the microbiome is interrupted, the microorganisms secrete bacterial polysaccharides for self-protection, which, in turn, form a film on the surface, shielding them from aggressors. These protection-providing microorganisms were shown to recognize sugar groups such as rhamnose or galactose, which can attach themselves to the membrane receptors of aggressed keratinocytes. By lowering the inflammatory responses of the keratinocytes, Rhamnosoft soothes the skin and improves skin comfort and resilience.
Many polyethelyne-bead alternatives, such as particles of various nuts, shells, and seeds, including palm ivory, as well as natural polymers like polylactic acid, have started to emerge over the last year. At the moment, natural alternatives to polyethylene are often much more expensive; as cosmetic giants start moving toward phasing out and removing polyethelyne beads from their formulas, many natural and cost effective alternatives will become more readily available. This year’s winner of the bronze award in Green Ingredient Awards is CelluloScrub by French manufacturer, Lessonia. CelluloScrub is derived from sustainably-grown wood pulp and it can be broken down by microorganisms, just like a leaf after falling to the ground. This ingredient performs like polyethylene but is 100 percent renewable and biodegradable.
1. Munoz–Najar, U., and Sedivy, J.M. (2011). Epigenetic Control of Aging, Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, 14, 241-259.
Mia Hartmann, R&D Chemist at YG Laboratories, is a dedicated skin care developer, formulating high-performance products. She applies a fresh, innovative perspective to the cutting edge technologies of the personal care industry. Hartmann is a part of YG’s educational team, dedicated to researching and educating clients, peers, and skin care professionals on ingredient technologies. She is also a devoted member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and strives to share her excitement for advances in high performance skin care.