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Phyto Complexes

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As the quest for natural ingredients is growing, the interest in phyto-cosmetics is raising. Phyto in Greek means plant and phyto-cosmetics are products based on natural plant extracts or containing predominantly ingredients derived from plants such as polyphenols, vitamins, etc. Since I started working on ingredients development 15 years ago, I focused my attention on natural extract, especially those rich in active molecules, preferably from the same chemical family (1, 2). My grandfather introduced phyto-cosmetics in Italy in the early 30s and I read some of his early publications. In particular, I was intrigued by how he described the power of ingredients families or phyto-complexes when compared to single ingredients from the same family. In the late 50s he published together with my uncle, at the time a young chemist in Milano, a paper on beta carotene where he highlighted the capacity of carotenoids as a family to have a more powerful effect than single moleculebeta carotene on a series of skin benefit (beta carotene was used at the same concentration of the phyto-complex).

We know that plants are often mobilizing different isoforms, variants of same molecule to create a more effective and sophisticated response to a particular need. Molecule families are common, they often work in synergies and there are evidences that molecules belonging to the same family can protect each other against oxidation, so increasing stability of the phyto-complex. Phyto-complex is not a new definition neither a new concept, but I think the recent understanding of the importance of a multifactorial and synergetic approach when formulating a product for cosmetic applications has brought a renovated interest into this strategy and into phyto-complexes.

While in the last 50 years the approach to treatment was a reductionist approach based on single purified molecules (often compared to a plant extract with little efficacy), more recently a comprehensive approach based on plant extract fractionation and enrichment has proven to be as effective as single molecules, and often more stable in finished formulations. Phyto-complexes are also the basis of modern aromatherapy, where complex composition of essential oils showed therapeutic values to treat conditions associated to diseases (3). Moreover, studies have shown that encapsulation of polyphenols phyto-complexes were able to increase wound healing (4). Interestingly, when single molecules where combined with their phyto-complex, the complex acted as an enhancer to increase molecule bioavailability, and helping stabilizing the molecule itself (5). Numerous experiments have shown the phyto-complex superior to the single molecule in mechanisms meant to reduce inflammation, such autophagy (4) and apoptosis (5). Carotenoid such as lycopene was significant inferior in anti-oxidant activity when compared to tomato seed phyto-complex (6, 7).

Finally and intriguing, combination of phyto-complexes from different parts of the same plant was superior to single plant part extracts when used for healing (8). In conclusion, evidences exist to support the use of phyto-complexes instead of (or in combination) with single molecules from the same family. The use of phyto-cosmetics and phyto-complexes will grow in the next years as more experimental evidences on their stability and efficacy will be established.

 

Tomato Seed Oil (TSO) is superior to Purified Lycopene (Lyc) in inhibiting ROS production (Ref 8)

 

References

  1. Ebrahimi SN, Gafner F, Dell’Acqua G, Schweikert K, Hamburger M. Flavone 8-C-glycosides from Haberlea rhodopensisFriv. (Gesneriaceae). Helvetica Chimica Acta, 94 (1): 38–45, 2011.
  2. Germani F, Dell’Acqua G. An extract from blueberry processing by-product (press cake) inhibits blue light induced physiological changes and increases radiance in human skin, Poster IFSCC Milano, 2019
  3. Scuteri D, Morrone LA, Rombolà L, Avato PR, Bilia AR, Corasaniti MT, Sakurada S, Sakurada T, Bagetta G. Aromatherapy and Aromatic Plants for the Treatment of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease: Clinical Evidence and Possible Mechanisms. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2017:9416305, 2017
  4. Moulaoui K, Caddeo C, Manca ML, Castangia I, Valenti D, Escribano E, Atmani D, Fadda AM, Manconi M. Identification and nanoentrapment of polyphenolic phytocomplex from Fraxinus angustifolia: in vitro and in vivo wound healing potential. Eur J Med Chem 89:179-88, 2015
  5. Hasa D, Perissutti B, Dall’Acqua S, Chierotti MR, Gobetto R, Grabnar I, Cepek C, Voinovich D. Rationale of using Vinca minor Linne dry extract phytocomplex as a vincamine’s oral bioavailability enhancer. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 84(1):138-44, 2013
  6. Lascala A, Martino C, Parafati M, Salerno R, Oliverio M, Pellegrino D, Mollace V, Janda E. Analysis of proautophagic activities of Citrus flavonoids in liver cells reveals the superiority of a natural polyphenol mixture over pure flavones. J Nutr Biochem 58:119-130, 2018
  7. Ettorre A, Frosali S, Andreassi M, Di Stefano A. Lycopene phytocomplex, but not pure lycopene, is able to trigger apoptosis and improve the efficacy of photodynamic therapy in HL60 human leukemia cells. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 235(9):1114-25, 2010
  8. Müller L, Catalano A, Simone R, Cittadini A, Fröhlich K, Böhm V, Palozza P. Antioxidant capacity of tomato seed oil in solution and its redox properties in cultured macrophages. J Agric Food Chem 61(2):346-54, 2013
  9. van Vuuren SF, Viljoen AM. In vitro evidence of phyto-synergy for plant part combinations of Croton gratissimus (Euphorbiaceae) used in African traditional healing. J Ethnopharmacol 119(3):700-4, 2008

 

About the Author

Giorgio Dell’Acqua, PhD, is a cosmetic scientist and a consultant for the personal care industry. A graduate from the University of Rome, Italy, he worked for 15 years as an investigator in applied medical research in Universities such as Mount Sinai Medical School in New York and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Moving to the private sector in 2000, he has spent the last 19 years as an executive and cosmetic scientist in the personal care industry. He is specialized in skin and hair care ingredients, finished product development and technical marketing. He has helped bring more than 200 successful active ingredients and finished products to market and has authored more than 60 publications in medicine and cosmetic science. From last 10 years he has been writing and lecturing on natural cosmetic ingredients, sustainable supply chain, and helped sourcing, developing and bringing to market many natural ingredients. Some of his recent product development activity has focused on food by products to cosmetics, prebiotics and postbiotics to skin, and adaptogens for skin and hair care. He is an award winning speaker on natural ingredients and a regular columnist on sustainability and cosmetic science. He is also the chair of the Scientific Committee for the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists and its scientific blogger.

Sunscreen Monograph Proposed New Rules and its Impact on Formulations

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Introduction

In February of 2019, the FDA stunned the cosmetics industry one more time by publishing proposed rules for sunscreens in the Federal Register.  As indicated by its name, these are only proposed rules but historically companies have implemented proposed rules into their formulations to be proactive.  The FDA used the argument that since the issuance of the original Final Monograph in 1999, the use of sunscreens and exposure to UV filters substantially increased.  It was important for the Agency to re-evaluate sunscreens based on current scientific understanding and extend safety assessments for such topical products to include chronic use.

 

What are the changes

The biggest change that the proposed ruling brought was the reduction of the number of Category I (Safe and effective) approved sunscreens that can be used in the US.  The FDA reduced the number of sunscreens in Category I from 16 to 2.  These two sunscreens are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide and they are approved at a level of 25% in formulations.  In addition, the FDA classified paminobenzoic acid (PABA) and Trolamine Salicylate as Category two II (Not safe and effective) which means that these two sunscreens can no longer be used in sunscreen formulations.  The remaining 12 sunscreens namely, Cinoxate, Dioxybenzone, Ensulizole, Homosalate, Meradimate, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Padimate O., Sulisobenzone, Oxybenzone, and Avobenzone were classified as Category III (Additional data needed to confirm safety and efficacy).  These 12 sunscreens can be used in formulations until the FDA categorizes them into Category I or II.  From a formulation prospective, the FDA decreased the number of sunscreens to 14 until further action.  The FDA did not address the percentage at which those sunscreens can be used specifically, but probably a good fall back would be to use them at the levels published in the 1999 Monograph.  The proposed rule does not address the sunscreen active ingredients that are being evaluated under a TEA (Time and Extent Application).

In addition, the FDA proposed changes to the types of dosage forms that can be used for sunscreen products.  For Category I, they proposed the following dosage forms: oils, lotions, creams, gels, butters, pastes, ointments and sticks.  The FDA proposed Category I status for sprays subject to testing for inhalation and flammability.  Powders were classified as Category III pending additional data.  All additional dosage forms including wipes, shampoos, body washes, towelettes and others are considered as new drugs.

Broad spectrum testing was also changed.  In most parts of the world, the Critical Wavelength is used to measure broad spectrum.  The FDA is proposing to use the UVAI/UV ratio of 0.7 or higher as a standard for all sunscreens of SPF 15 or higher.  The FDA had previously proposed to make the ratio 0.9 or higher but realized that it is impossible to achieve such ratio with the portfolio of approved Category I sunscreens available in the US.  The new ratio seems reasonable but now manufacturers must perform two tests for global products, the UVAI/UV ratio and the Critical Wavelength.

Final formulation testing and labeling requirements have changed as well.  The FDA proposed to label products with the lowest SPF number achieved in in vivo testing to eliminate the variability associated with such testing.  The FDA also raised the maximum labeled sunscreen product to SPF 60+ and they attributed their decision to the lack of evidence that higher SPF product could bring meaningful clinical benefits.  The FDA proposed to label sunscreens products with an SPF 30 or higher in increments of 10 (i.e. SPF 30, 40, 50 and 60+).  They also proposed labeling sunscreens with SPF 15 to 29 to be in increments of 5 (i.e. SPF 15, 20, and 25).  The FDA also brought attention to products that are labeled SPF2 to SPF 14 and proposed that such products be removed from the market since they do not bring any adequate protection to consumers.

Sunscreens-insect repellant combination products are proposed to be classified as Category II due to incompatibility between FDA and EPA labeling instructions.  In addition, the FDA believes that combining DEET with certain sunscreens may increase cutaneous absorption of either or both.

 

What is the impact

In this proposed ruling, the FDA addressed so many safety concerns that companies and consumers suspected for years.  Many sunscreens used in the US are no longer used in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world due to their safety profiles.  However, these markets have alternative sunscreens in their portfolio that they can use to formulate safe and effective sunscreens.  In the US, such large portfolio of approved Category I sunscreen does not exist, so I would like to urge the FDA to speed the approval of all the molecules awaiting approval in the TEA process.  This will enable US formulators to have the same tools that their counterparts in the rest of the world have.  In the meantime, I am sure that formulators will use their creativity and start adapting their new formulations to the guidelines set forth by the FDA.

 

About the Author

Dr. Hani Fares started his career in personal care studying the effect of solvents on sunscreen chemicals.  His interest in skin drug delivery especially from polymeric matrices grew during his graduate work at Rutgers, where he completed his Ph. D. in Pharmaceutics.

Dr. Fares worked at Block Drug and GlaxoSmithKline where he held positions in research and development in the areas of skincare and oral care.  After that, he joined L’Oreal where he held several positions of increasing responsibility leading to AVP of skincare.  He is currently the Senior Director of skincare and oral care at Ashland Specialty Ingredients.  Dr. Fares is the author of many publications, and patents and made many presentations in national and international meetings in the areas of suncare, skincare, and oral care.

 

Development of Color Products – From William Perkin to Urban Decay

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Russian Red. 999. Ruby Woo. Pioneer. Androgyny. No. 1.

 


What do these words call to mind?

Beauty product enthusiasts the world over will recognize these iconic shade names currently inhabiting their purse. (The author tips her hat to the product developers and marketers at Dior, MAC, L’Oreal, Chanel, and Jeffree Star.)

At the risk of taking the technology for granted, what went into creating the iconic colors?

Accidental experiments, bold defiance, an enterprising mind, good taste, shrewd manufacturing, and hours of color matching in the product development laboratories.


A Short History Lesson: Accidental Chemistry Makes Mauve

In 1856 over Easter vacation, 18-year-old William Perkin set out to isolate quinine from coal tar. Perkin was student of great German organic chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann at London’s Royal College of Chemistry. Quinine is a valuable compound with valued anti-malarial properties. However, any chemist who knows its chemical structure would not have attempted this approach. During Perkin’s time however, the structure of benzene was not even understood.

Chemical structure of quinine and benzene

Embarking on what some might call a fool’s errand, Perkin attempted to chemically isolate the compound. With an artist’s eye, he stumbled upon mauve instead, or “aniline purple”, through a series of serendipitous experiments.

Mere luck would not have been enough to produce entire libraries of color additives manufactured today. Against his professor’s recommendation –(proof that we should always make final judgement calls for ourselves rather than obey advice without discernment)– Perkin commercialized his discovery. With the financial support of his father, a construction contractor, he developed the processes for the production and use of the new aniline purple dye. In 1857, Perkin opened his factory at Greenford Green near London. From modest beginnings, the synthetic dye industry and its relative, the pharmaceutical industry, was born.

Despite falling short of his original goal (R&D scientists and research leaders: take note!), Perkin discovered the world’s first synthetic dye, opening up an entire chemical industry and painting the mass markets with bedazzling color.

Each time we swivel up a beloved tube of lipstick for application, we pay homage to Perkin. Our ability to make style statements with color products was enabled entirely by Perkin’s accidental discovery in 1856, shrewd manufacturing, and business development.

 

Color Additives for the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry

Perhaps the most tightly regulated in the cosmetic industry, these ingredients play an important role in making products visually appealing for consumers. With the right product, it empowers the consumer to make artistic statements of her choice through color products, unencumbered.

Modern day color additives have come a long way since 1856, and safely used for more than 150 years. Color additives are used to liven up a product. As industrial research brought science into industry, the industrial colorist was a profession that developed alongside industrial design after World War I. American designers and artists worked together on the design of tasteful and attractive goods to promote culture and civility to a nation that had become overwhelmed with unsophisticated immigrants from largely rural regions of southern and eastern Europe.

For manufacturers, the mass production of different colored goods posed other challenges. The need to predict which colored products would be attractive to the masses required market research, upkeep with Parisian fashion trends, and an understanding of consumer psychology. After World War II, the epicenter of mass market fashion moved to New York, where consumers exercised -and still very much do today- the power of choice over color for self-expression.

In broader contexts in business, color is used to liven a brand or company through its logo, to create instantaneous product recognition, set the visual tone and impression, or even influence consumer psychology. As such, judicious choice and use of color in products, advertisements, and on live consumer lips and faces, can pose as effective marketing campaign strategy to increase a company’s awareness and presence in the marketplace.

 

Judicious use of color even in a company logo can make a difference to a company’s brand, by igniting consumer emotion. Image source: https://www.fastcompany.com/3028378/what-your-logos-color-says-about-your-company-infographic

 

Technology Advancements Empowers the Consumer as Artist

Since the advent of brands like Urban Decay from the 1990s, bold colors have emerged on the cosmetic market, like a relentless catwalk and lightshow of color. Greens, blues, the blackest black, pinkest pink, and everything unicorn, iridescent, pearlescent, glow-in-the-dark, and in-between have become mainstays of any cosmetic product line aiming to market itself as exciting and cutting-edge.

 

Image source: www.urbandecay.com

Owing to technological advancements, consumers no longer have to choose between long-lastingness, comfort, payoff, or value. Oftentimes, a large palette of color options accost her, with the option of layering more than one color over her lips, eyelids, lashes, or face, to achieve her desired shade and look.

 

Less is More?

Presented with the sleuth of options, studies on the paradox of choice by Professors Barry Schwartz and Sheena Iyengar come to mind. While more isn’t always better, in the world of cosmetic products and beauty trends today, more DOES mean more. The wide array of color options delights the beauty consumer.

Today, this consumer is as complex in skin tone, gender, political association, and values, and expects her beauty products to reflect her multidimensional nuanced identity just as effectively. Variety in color and shade options (particularly in skin-matching tones for foundations) have been in long-time demand. Consumers asked, and beauty companies have listened.

The market today has made progress since the era of limited shade range housed in drugstore-branded compacts, where nary a tester was in sight for the consumer to choose a shade that matched her skin tone. “Nude” can mean many different shades. Brands such as Beauty Bakerie were founded upon this very premise of inclusion, turning shade names upon its head. Where brands used to start shade naming from light to dark, Beauty Bakerie makes it a point to call its darkest shade, “1”.

 

Jackie Aina, influencer known for pushing companies towards shade diversity and racial inclusivity. She demonstrates Too Faced’s pigmented emulsion foundation product in a range of new shades. Image source: https://www.glamour.com/story/jackie-aina-too-faced

 

Advent of Color via the Chemical Industry, Social Media, and Business

The evolution of consumer tastes tracks the ubiquitous use of social media and the rise of the beauty blogger voice,, both of which continue to drive demand volumes and trends today. Continued delivery of chemical and formulation innovation is what enables the fashionistas’ envelope-pushing on what is considered wearable and trendy. Contrapuntal to the international beauty companies’ main-stream product development approach, the rise of indie brands and the use of direct selling (e.g. Glossier) have sprung up to fill market whitespaces from the supply side. From the formulator’s standpoint, innovation has liberated what is possible in performance and payoff to meet the ever-growing consumer demands for “new”. Consumer force and industry innovation, very much lubricated by social media, has progressed hand in hand dramatically in the last decade.

The consumer voice has gained a significant amount of power in the beauty and consumer products industry today. The onslaught of small beauty brands has forced larger beauty conglomerates to innovate, push daring and imaginative color products, or buy up these small brands in an effort to be more competitive.

Development of technology by material suppliers continues to facilitate the creative explosion of color products. Raw ingredient suppliers in Europe, Asia, and the Americas push the boundaries of surface functionalization, particle, colloidal, material and formulation development, designing polymers and optimizing production capabilities to enable supply and production of novel raw ingredients. The advancement of technology and manufacture production has put high-performing value products directly into the consumers’ hands, democratizing beauty and lowering the cost of self-expression.

With the glut of products and trends, it remains to be seen where the push-pull conversation between consumer and company will take us. It is an exciting time to observe how raw ingredient suppliers and product development companies big and small will respond to market forces.

 

References

[1] https://www.sciencehistory.org/historical-profile/william-henry-perkin

[2] Rydzewski, R. M., Real World Drug Discovery

[3] https://www.sciencehistory.org/distillations/magazine/colors-run-riot

[4] https://medium.com/marketing-and-entrepreneurship/the-psychology-of-logo-color-in-how-consumers-view-your-brand-d3afe84f2bdb

[5] https://www.fastcompany.com/3028378/what-your-logos-color-says-about-your-company-infographic

[6] https://hbr.org/2006/06/more-isnt-always-better

[7] https://www.glamour.com/story/jackie-aina-too-faced

[8] https://www.wsj.com/articles/celebrities-like-kylie-jenner-are-upending-the-52-billion-beauty-industry-1543401001

[9] https://blogs.wsj.com/cmo/2015/06/09/bethany-mota-overtakes-michelle-phan-as-youtubes-top-beauty-producer/

[10]  https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sophie-bianchi/beauty-bloggers-zoella_b_11566248.html

[11] https://www.wsj.com/articles/small-cosmetics-brands-make-over-the-beauty-market-by-targeting-millennials-11556296365

[12] https://www.wsj.com/articles/glossier-tops-billion-dollar-valuation-with-latest-funding-11552993200

 

About the Author

A polymer chemist in the personal care industry, Dr. Diane Lye is a product developer and formulator, translating novel raw materials into stable color, SPF, and skin care actives-containing consumer products. She studies the physicochemical properties of raw ingredients and finished formulas to map the consumer experience onto quantifiable entities.

Dr. Lye cut her fundamental scientific teeth by working on the design, synthesis, and bulk property characterization of main-chain block copolymer materials with supramolecular self-recognition end groups with the Weck Lab at the NYU Molecular Design Institute. She has 10 academic publications in her time in academic institutions, and developed a market commercialization assessment and plan for a dermal technology in conjunction with NYU Stern and NYU Langone.

Protection from Artificial Visible Light (and not just Blue Light)

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One of the most relevant cosmetic-industry trends in recent years – “blue light protection” – is also one of the most widely misunderstood; this article will help dispel some of the mysteries surrounding the concept of skin damage from exposure to digital screens.

 

Blue light is not the whole story

“Blue light” is a catchy phrase that is easily recognized, probably because ambient light from TV screens tends to appear “bluish”. According to Esther Ingliss-Arkell (Gizmodo, 2012), “As you go down a dark street at night, you won’t just see televisions lighting up windows and making them blue. You’ll also see a light bulbs lighting up windows to make them yellow. Have you ever noticed those light bulbs making every room you enter at night a deep shade of yellow? No, of course not. Your eyes adjust and see it as more white. Light bulbs are about 3200° K, and so are yellow when looked at briefly from someone who has other things to compare them to. TVs, on the other hand, give off shades of red, green, and blue which combine to have a color temperature in the 5500° to 6500° K range. That’ll make them look bluish for someone walking on the street and comparing them to yellow streetlights and yellow house lights. It will also make them blue if someone is sitting in a room illuminated by a light bulb and looking at a room illuminated by a television.”

A recent study by Gattefossé examined eight different devices (Apple iPhone 4S, Apple iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4, Apple iPad 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Samsung Galaxy Note2, DELL screen U2312MHT, DELL screen E7440) with a high spectral resolution spectrophotometer, and found that the artificial visible light (AVL) from all of these screens is composed of three distinct peaks in the spectrum, corresponding to blue, green and red light in equal parts (See Figure 1).

Figure 1. Peaks represent the dominant wavelengths emitted by the devices tested.

Therefore, any study of potential damage from artificial visible light (AVL) must cover the full spectrum of blue, green and red, not just “blue light” alone.

 

AVL is not like sunlight, and does not cause the same damage to the skin

As we all know, sunlight produces UV radiation that can damage the skin via the generation of free radicals; we protect ourselves against UVA and UVB rays by using sunscreens (with organic and/or inorganic filters) that act to prevent DNA damage that can result in age spots, deep wrinkles, dry skin and potentially skin cancer. But AVL is in the visible spectrum and does not carry the same potential for damage – so it cannot be treated in the same manner! In other words, while AVL causes some generation of free radicals in the skin, these free radicals are NOT the main driver of damage (see below), so a simple sunscreen or free radical scavenging ingredient (antioxidant) will not sufficiently protect your skin from AVL-induced damage.

 

So what does AVL actually do?

Gattefossé conducted a human genome microarray-based gene expression analysis, and found that the pathways related to mitochondria and cell cytoskeleton were significantly affected (down-regulated) (See Figure 2). These pathways are critical to the normal function of the skin:

Mitochondria are responsible for cellular respiration (taking in glucose and oxygen, and releasing energy in the form of ATP)

The cytoskeleton is a network of filaments which not only supports the plasma membrane and gives the cell an overall shape, but also allows the cell to move and mediates communication across the entire cell

Figure 2. The expression of genes related to mitochondria and cytoskeleton is significantly decreased in fibroblasts exposed to AVL (*** p<0.001)

Therefore, exposure to AVL damages the energetic machinery of skin cells and weakens their mobility and communication properties, resulting in increased cellular fatigue. Exhausted and isolated, fibroblasts are less able to produce key matrix components and less functional to interact with their environment, hindering proper matrix remodeling process. In plain English, your skin will look duller, faded, with less vitality and “glow”.

 

Protection against AVL – This is not a passing trend!

Protection against AVL, also referred to as “digital pollution”, is becoming a critical part of today’s personal care routine. Gattefossé’s Lauren DelDotto said, According to a recent study, the time spent on smartphones by millennials is estimated at 3.2 hours a day = 22 hours a week = 49 days a year1. Another report records that US consumers own 4 digital devices on average and spend 60 hours a week consuming content through digital media2.” And these figures are only for leisure activities and do NOT count time spent in front of screens for work activities.

(1)  http://www.tns-sofres.com/publications/les-millennials-passent-un-jour-par-semaine-sur-leur-smartphone

(2) http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2014/the-us-digital-consumer-report.html

The use of digital screens is a permanent part of our lives and will only increase. Think about what you do as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning – before eating, showering, dressing or preparing for work, you pick up your smartphone and check out what’s been happening, thus receiving an immediate and direct dose of AVL before you even get out of bed. Consumers are beginning to be concerned about this, and are looking for ways to protect themselves.

A recent Gattefossé consumer study conducted in both Thailand (to gauge consumer reaction from the Asia Pacific/Eastern market) and in France (for reaction from the European/Western market) found over 80% of the subjects found the concept of screen-light protection “seducing”, and over 90% of the subjects found the concept “brings novelty and differentiation to the facial care offer”.

Figure 3. Consumer test conclusions on the AVL concept and novelty.

 

Conclusions

If you are developing a product line with “blue light protection”, you need to keep these important facts in mind:

  1. Blue light is not the whole story – you must test against the full spectrum of artificial visible light (AVL), equal parts blue, green and red wavelengths.
  2. AVL is not sunlight – and you cannot protect against AVL the same way you protect against the sun’s rays. UV filters and antioxidants will not be effective against digital pollution; you need an active that protects against the actual effects of AVL – disruption of the mitochondrial network and disorganization of the cellular cytoskeleton.
  3. The “trend” is here to stay – screens are getting larger (100 inch TV, anyone?), more prevalent, and most people use multiple screens at the same time. Consumers are receptive, and eager, to incorporate AVL-protection into their normal skin care routine.

 

 

About the Author

Ben Blinder – Senior Director, Gattefossé

Ben Blinder is the Senior Director for Gattefossé USA – Personal Care Division, where he is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the cosmetic business for Gattefossé in the US and Mexico. Ben holds a chemical engineering degree from Lehigh University and has been working in the personal care industry for 32 years, with extensive experience in strategic and long-range planning, sales and technical management, and new technology search/discovery.  Ben also serves on the NYSCC Scientific Committee.

Basis for and Clinical Importance of Stratum Corneum Acidification

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While long suspected to be an important regulator of cutaneous antimicrobial defense, the ‘acid mantle’ of the stratum corneum is also a critical regulator of three additional, critical functions – permeability barrier homeostasis, integrity/cohesion (desquamation), and restriction of pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling (i.e., dampening of inflammation) (1,2). The pH of normal human stratum corneum ranges from 4.5-5.5, with the lowest levels occurring in darkly-pigmented individuals (3).

 

The epidermis renewal time is about 28 days, during which a pH gradient is formed. For several decades, it was assumed that the low pH of the stratum corneum resulted from the deposition of sebaceous gland-derived free fatty acids (FFA) on the skin surface. But it is now evident that secreted sebaceous gland products are not required for stratum corneum acidification, and may have limited impact on pH, as it has been observed that sebaceous gland-impoverished skin sites are as acidic as adjacent, sebaceous gland-enriched sites (4). Instead, pH acidification is achieved by several endogenous pathways including by-products of keratinization (filaggrin processing accounting for 0.5 unit of the bulk pH of the stratum corneum) (5), synthesis of FFA from phospholipids by the secretory phospholipase A2 (contributing to »one unit of SC bulk pH) (6,7), and the sodium-proton exchanger NHE1. In addition, the contribution of melanosome transfer in reducing skin pH, further increases skin acidic mantle in dark pigmented skin compared to light pigmented skin (3).

 

Skin surface pH is an essential component for a functional skin barrier. It provides antimicrobial defense, and regulates stratum corneum desquamation (8). Indeed, the upper layers of the epidermis carry several enzymes which activity is pH-dependent such as lipid generating enzymes, working best at acidic pH, that supply the lipid envelope of the stratum corneum (ceramides and phospholipids), or extracellular serine proteases, which are responsible for corneocytes shedding, that work best at neutral to alkaline pH (9). In addition, these proteases also play a role in skin inflammation, as they can process and activate inflammatory precursors such as IL-1α and IL-1β (10,11).

 

The importance of skin pH has also been highlighted in pathologies like ichthyosis vulgaris or atopic dermatitis, which depict dramatic barrier function impairment. In both diseases, the stratum corneum pH is increased by approximately 0.5 unit compared to healthy skin.  This increase has been correlated with: 1. mutations in the Filaggrin protein, impairing its degradation in smaller components associated with pH reduction) and, 2. excessive serine protease activity, leading to excessive desquamation, cytokine cascade and inflammation) (5,11,12).

 

Age also seems to play a role in stratum corneum pH. Aged human stratum corneum (50-60 years old) displays a higher pH than in a younger skin, with proven adverse consequences for both barrier function and stratum corneum cohesion. This age difference has been linked to decreased expression/activity of the sodium-proton exchanger NHE1 and the secretory phospholipase A2 in aged individuals (13).

 

In all cases, providing exogenous acidification has shown clinical benefits. Several rat and mouse models mimicking atopic dermatitis, fragile neonatal skin or an aged phenotype have been employed to demonstrate that defects in the barrier function maturity and stratum corneum cohesion can be corrected through restoring a normal skin pH (13–15). Moreover, in the case of atopic dermatitis, exogenous stratum corneum acidification has also been reported as beneficial in further preventing the ‘atopic March’ associated with aeroallergen-induced asthma (16).

 

In conclusion, the importance and clinical benefits of maintaining a low skin surface pH are becoming increasingly evident, especially in inflammatory dermatoses such as atopic dermatitis as well as aged skin, where the use of reduced pH emollients and cleansers should be strongly recommended to maintain a skin barrier in good condition.

 

References

  1. Chuong CM, Nickoloff BJ, Elias PM, Goldsmith LA, Macher E, Maderson PA, et al. What is the « true » function of skin? Exp Dermatol. 11(2):159‑87, 2002
  2. Elias PM. Stratum corneum acidification: how and why? Exp Dermatol 24(3):179‑80, 2015
  3. Gunathilake R, Schurer NY, Shoo BA, Celli A, Hachem J-P, Crumrine D, et al. pH-regulated mechanisms account for pigment-type differences in epidermal barrier function. J Invest Dermatol 129(7):1719‑29, 2009
  4. Man MQ, Xin SJ, Song SP, Cho SY, Zhang XJ, Tu CX, et al. Variation of skin surface pH, sebum content and stratum corneum hydration with age and gender in a large Chinese population. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 22(4):190‑9, 2009
  5. Gruber R, Elias PM, Crumrine D, Lin T-K, Brandner JM, Hachem J-P, et al. Filaggrin genotype in ichthyosis vulgaris predicts abnormalities in epidermal structure and function. Am J Pathol 178(5):2252‑63, 2011
  6. Mao-Qiang M, Feingold KR, Jain M, Elias PM. Extracellular processing of phospholipids is required for permeability barrier homeostasis. J Lipid Res 36(9):1925‑35, 1995
  7. Ilic D, Bollinger JM, Gelb M, Mauro TM. sPLA2 and the epidermal barrier. Biochim Biophys Acta 1841(3):416‑21, 2014
  8. Elias PM. Structure and function of the stratum corneum extracellular matrix. J Invest Dermatol 132(9):2131‑3, 2012
  9. Hachem J-P, Roelandt T, Schürer N, Pu X, Fluhr J, Giddelo C, et al. Acute acidification of stratum corneum membrane domains using polyhydroxyl acids improves lipid processing and inhibits degradation of corneodesmosomes. J Invest Dermatol 130(2):500‑10, 2010
  10. Hansson L, Bäckman A, Ny A, Edlund M, Ekholm E, Ekstrand Hammarström B, et al. Epidermal overexpression of stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme in mice: a model for chronic itchy dermatitis. J Invest Dermatol 118(3):444‑9, 2002
  11. Cork MJ, Robinson DA, Vasilopoulos Y, Ferguson A, Moustafa M, MacGowan A, et al. New perspectives on epidermal barrier dysfunction in atopic dermatitis: gene-environment interactions. J Allergy Clin Immunol 118(1):3‑21; quiz 22‑3, 2006
  12. Hatano Y, Man M-Q, Uchida Y, Crumrine D, Scharschmidt TC, Kim EG, et al. Maintenance of an acidic stratum corneum prevents emergence of murine atopic dermatitis. J Invest Dermatol 129(7):1824‑35, 2009
  13. Choi E-H, Man M-Q, Xu P, Xin S, Liu Z, Crumrine DA, et al. Stratum corneum acidification is impaired in moderately aged human and murine skin. J Invest Dermatol 127(12):2847‑56, 2007
  14. Fluhr JW, Man M-Q, Hachem J-P, Crumrine D, Mauro TM, Elias PM, et al. Topical peroxisome proliferator activated receptor activators accelerate postnatal stratum corneum acidification. J Invest Dermatol 129(2):365‑74, 2009
  15. Fluhr JW, Crumrine D, Mao-Qiang M, Moskowitz DG, Elias PM, Feingold KR. Topical liver x receptor activators accelerate postnatal acidification of stratum corneum and improve function in the neonate. J Invest Dermatol 125(6):1206‑14, 2005
  16. Lee H-J, Lee NR, Kim B-K, Jung M, Kim DH, Moniaga CS, et al. Acidification of stratum corneum prevents the progression from atopic dermatitis to respiratory allergy. Exp Dermatol 26(1):66‑72, 2017

 

About the Authors

Carine Mainzer, PhD – Scientific Support Manager, Silab

Before joining Silab in 2016, Dr Mainzer was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Dermatology at University of California San Francisco under the supervision of Dr. Peter Elias and Dr. Yoshikazu Uchida, where her work focused on the communication between inflammatory cells and cutaneous cells under bacterial challenges. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Lyon (France) in 2014 with work focused on the involvement of the Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 on epidermal differentiation and aging. Dr. Carine Mainzer has been within the cosmetic industry since several years now, working notably with Johnson & Johnson Consumer France, Natura and Silab. Her current position offers her the opportunity to continue applying her scientific expertise to the research problematics of the cosmetic industry in various domain around skin.

 

Peter M Elias, MD. – Dermatology Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Dermatology, University of California

Dr. Elias, Staff Physician, San Francisco VA Medical Center and Professor Emeritus, University of California San Francisco, is in part responsible for the present wealth of knowledge on the structure and myriad functions of mammalian stratum corneum.  His pioneering research since the 1970’s has dispelled the myth of the stratum corneum as a “dead, keratinized, basket-weave” structure, to establish the iconic “brick and mortar” model.  The stratum corneum is now viewed as a metabolically active, two-compartment composite that functions as a biosensor. The resultant “outside-in” concept of the barrier as a prime mover in the pathogenesis of cutaneous disease has also been a highlight of his work, with the paramount role of skin barrier dysfunction in disease pathogenesis now widely recognized. Over the past 40 years, his lab has been the destination for over 100 young investigators from around the world, a trend that continues to enrich the field of academic dermatology with an armamentarium of techniques and disciplines on epidermal structure and function.  Dr. Elias mentors his vast network of associates and postdoctoral fellows, past and present, several of whom have achieved leadership roles in academia and industry the world over.  His oeuvre comprises over 650 scientific publications, including several books that he has either edited or co-edited.

Naturality

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In a world becoming increasingly eco-conscious, the word naturality has become part of our regular if not daily vocabulary. But this word, that may sound trivial at first sight, harbors different meanings and applicability, depending on the individual employing it.

 

In the last few years, nature has been in the center of the conversations especially from an environmental perspective with climate change issues being a worldwide concern. In an effort to improve our impact on the planet but also on ourselves, consumers have started to shift their habits with an increasing demand for naturalness, locally sourced beauty products that are respectful of the environment and of human health.

 

This phenomenon is not just a trend, it has become a lifestyle, synonymous of healthiness, that has been observed in industrialized countries for some years now not only at the personal care level (1), but also in the food industry, textile, automotive, etc.….

Most of the established personal care companies now carry a sustainability program. To name a few: J&J with their citizenship and sustainability approach; L’Oréal with their Sharing beauty with all (SBWA) program; or Natura Brasil, founding member of the Union for Bioethical Trade (2-4). In the past years, new brands have appeared with a strong imprint in naturality, that is not only reflected in their actions and products but also in their name: Yarok, which means “green” or “pure” in Hebrew, develops organic and sustainable hair care products; Ajali, a brand from Nigeria, which name means “red earth” or “sand” in the local language, produces handmade natural cosmetics with local ingredients from West Africa and in tight partnerships with local farmers (Mintel 2018). China is also joining this movement with companies sourcing natural ingredients (Maysu) pushing for a change in consumer’s habits. According to a Mintel survey, 45% of Chinese women are planning to use in the next few years products with natural herbs or plants (1).

 

Similarly to the brands, cosmetic ingredients suppliers with a chemical, biotechnological or natural ingredients profile have joined the movement and communicate more and more about the implementation of naturality in their products. As explained recently by Monique Simmonds from the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens (5), plants have an aura that have fascinated individuals for years, especially because plants are very clever and have developed several ways to adapt and protect themselves from harmful situations, making them attractive materials for consumers.

In the quest of mastering nature and offering natural materials that would bear the strength of Mother Nature, but be safe and respectful of our planet, suppliers have to follow some specifications and be knowledgeable about local and global cosmetic regulations, which can sometimes alter the choice of the raw material. For instance, in some countries, certain plants are considered as medical drugs and thus cannot be used to develop a cosmetic ingredient. Additionally, sourcing natural resources is also subjected to local laws on biodiversity preservation (the Nagoya protocol) (6-7).

A great example for sourcing naturally-derived products is the Amazon forest that carries exotic plants with a variety of beneficial actions, but which supply needs close monitoring to avoid both plant toxicity and species disappearance. Interestingly, one approach followed more and more, and advertised by companies and raw material suppliers, is the collaboration with local populations to cultivate and/or supply local plants in a respectful way.

Lastly, another aspect associated with naturally-derived products is the variability they can present. Unlike chemically synthesized molecules, easily reproduced from one batch to another, products coming from nature evolve and change according to environmental challenges. This applies for any supplier elaborating naturally-derived raw materials and it is especially true for those developing natural active ingredients.

Mastering nature requires some tricks to guaranty the efficacy, the safety and the reproducibility of naturally-sourced ingredients. Thus, the right questions should be asked from the beginning: which plant has been selected? It is important to carefully identify the plant of interest, starting with its correct name (often Latin based). What is special about this plant? Does it bear specific features that could help with its identification and could perhaps relate to its functionality? Botanical and chemical-physical analyses can be helpful to assist answer these questions and avoid confusion or falsification. This is the case for Ophiopogon japonicus and Liriope spicata, two plants that look alike when non-flowering, but that bear a specific analytical profile. Another question to address is the origin of the plant. Where does the plant come from? How has it been sourced? Is the plant coming from a wild harvest or has it has been cultivated? And finally, is the plant available in large quantities enabling an industrial scale production? All considerations that have to be acknowledged when working with natural raw material sourcing.

 

Today, naturality is one essential criteria of a cosmetic product that is pushed by eco-conscious consumers and offered by most of the actors in our field. Mastering Nature requires rigor with a long list of requirements to be considered to deliver high-quality and effective products. As the number of naturally-derived products keeps on growing, one major challenge that remains will be to sustain constant innovation while developing naturally-based products.

 

 

References:

(1) Mintel Global Tends 2018

(2) Johnson & Johnson (2017). Citizenship & Sustainability Reporting. Retrieved from https://www.jnj.com/caring/citizenship-sustainability

(3) L’Oreal (2015): Sharing Beauty with all, the L’Oreal Sustainability Commitment. Retrieved from https://www.loreal.com/sustainability/sbwa

(4) Williams, T. (2015). Natura Cosmetics gets a sustainability makeover. Retrieved from https://www.businessforhome.org/2015/02/natura-cosmetics-gets-a-sustainability-makeover/

(5) Hollis, L. (2018). Trends in natural beauty. Retrieved from https://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Article/2018/10/10/Advances-in-Botanical-Actives-naturals-opportunity-interview-part-I

(6) Dorato, S. (2018). Chapter 1 – General concepts: current legislation on cosmetics in various countries. Analysis of Cosmetic Products (Second edition), p3-37

(7) CBD. Retrieved from https://www.cbd.int/abs/about/default.shtml/

 

Dr. Carine Mainzer joined Silab in 2016 as a Scientific Support Manager. Before joining Silab, Dr. Carine Mainzer was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Dermatology at University of California San Francisco under the supervision of Dr. Peter Elias and Dr. Yoshikazu Uchida, where her work focused on the communication between inflammatory cells and cutaneous cells under bacterial challenges. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Lyon (France) in 2014 with work focused on the involvement of the Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 on epidermal differentiation and aging. Dr. Carine Mainzer has been within the cosmetic industry since several years now, working notably with Johnson & Johnson Consumer France, Natura and Silab. Her current position offers her the opportunity to continue applying her scientific expertise to the research problematics of the cosmetic industry in various domain around skin.

Natural Sun-filters

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Solar Ultraviolet Radiations UVA and UVB are complete carcinogens. They both cause DNA damage and, in the process of DNA repair, mutations are generated at non-negligible rates. Some mutations provoke the so-called transformation in which a cell acquires unlimited replication potential and loss of growth control.

UV radiation is also known to be the single most effective factor of skin aging. This occurs via the elicitation of a strong inflammatory reaction that provokes multiple oxidative cascades as well as the release of Matrix Metallo Proteinases, the consequent disorganization of the elastic fibers and a massive deposition of elastin.

Since the early twentieth century it is known that sunburn is provoked by UVB and the cosmetic industry developed UVB filters to protect against it. For two generations, between 1935 and 1985, UVB filters were used to protect the skin. In spite of the use of these filters it was observed that the skin of sun-worshippers became sagging and accumulated wrinkles, as if something else than UVB could accelerate skin aging. Experiments performed in the late 80s and early 90s by casting UV radiation of defined wavelengths on the skin of hairless rodents allowed scientists to realize that skin sagging is the consequence of UVA irradiation (1). UVA was also shown to induce DNA damage when in the presence of Oxygen and transition metals (2), as is the case in vivo. The cosmetic industry therefore developed UVA filters.

The preparations of formulas to protect against UV radiation is not straightforward, insofar as the protection afforded by the filters is not proportional to their concentration, that is that in order to double the SPF of a formula one might need to increase the concentration of the filter by a factor of three or four, and the filters at high concentration affect the esthetics of the formula and might affect the health of the skin as well. In addition, the UVA filters agreed to be in the positive list of the FDA are unstable. Remarkably, the FDA opposes the addition to the positive list, of new, stable UVA filters that transfer energy to molecular Oxygen and produce singlet Oxygen, the most reactive of the Reactive Oxygen Species. The FDA is probably right: with Quantum Yields of singlet Oxygen generation that reach up to 0.09, these UVA sun-filters could safely be called photosensitizers.

There is a need for new, safe, non-expensive UVA filters. They can be found in nature, for instance as components of edible algae (3). Plants and algae are particularly interesting insofar as they are accessible to investigation and constitute a sustainable material for extraction or production. Porphyra umbilicalis (also known as Nori) is an alga growing on Asian coastal lines. It is used to wrap sushi pieces in Japanese cuisine. It contains relevant amounts of Mycosporine–like amino acids (MAA) which absorb UV radiation with a sharp peak in the UV-A region, centered at 334 nm. Its molecular weight is around 350 and its molar extinction coefficient at 334 nm is 44,000. This is to say that its K-value is similar to the one of Parsol 1789. Nori extracts can be used to dramatically improve the broad-spectrum absorption of sunscreens. Materials absorbing at 330-340 nm are also demanded globally, for products aimed at evening skin tone, because they absorb in the UV-A region known to provoke the immediate pigment darkening.

Oftentimes the process of extraction of the material of interest only offers a limited yield, as it is the case when the material of interest is unstable in the conditions of the extraction, but this is not the case for the MAA from Nori. The biomass is suspended and incubated in diluted acetic acid (~0.5%) (1:50 w/v) to avoid the extraction of large cellular polymers such as DNA and RNA. Upon separating the biomass from the extraction fluid, a second round of extraction and possibly a third round of extraction can be performed, so as to extract as much of the molecule of interest as possible, when this is compatible of the cost of the extraction itself. The extraction fluid is then concentrated and reduced to a powder state by the process of Spray-drying.

At this stage the extract is appropriate for being used in cosmetic formulas. The cost of extraction is minimal and the abundance of the biomass is such that the cost of the bulk of algae is negligible. This makes the MAA from Porphyra umbilicalis an ingredient of choice for new sunscreens. As a matter of fact, this MAA does not absorb in the UVB and as such, technically, it is not considered to be a sun-filter by the FDA and can therefore be used to boost the protection of broad-spectrum sunscreens.

 

References

1- Bissett DL, Hannon DP, Orr TV (1989) Wavelength dependence of histological, physical and visisble changes in chronically UV-irradiated hairless mouse skin. Photochem Photobiol 50 : 763-769

2-Audic A, Giacomoni PU (1993) DNA nicking by UV radiation is enhanced in the presence of Iron and Oxygen. Photochem Photobiol 57 : 508-512

3-Sinha RP, Singh SP, Häder DP (2007) Database on mycosporine and mycosporine- like amino acids (MAAs) in fungi, cyanobacteria, macroalgae, phytoplankton and animals. J Photochem Photobiol B 89 : 29-35

 

Paolo Giacomoni acts as an independent consultant to the Skin Care industry.  He has served as CSO of Élan Rose International (2015-2-2018), as VP of Skin Care R&D with Herbalife (2011-2014) and was Executive Director of Research at Estée Lauder (1998-2011). Dr. Giacomoni was also in charge of research and communications for Clinique and has conducted research on cell and surface biochemistry for best-selling products.  During his tenure at L’Oréal, as Head of the Department of Biology, and then as scientific attaché to the Director of Applied Research, he built a record of achievement through research on DNA damage and metabolic impairment induced by UV radiation as well as on the positive effects of antioxidants.  Dr, Giacomoni was one of the founders of the European Society for Photobiology as well as of the European Network for the Study of the Biology of Aging. He has authored 100+ publications and patents. He received his Ph.D., in Biochemistry from Université Paris VI, a Laurea in Atomic Physics from Università di Milano, and had Post-Doctoral Training at Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg, at University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI and at University of California, San Diego, CA.

 

 

 

Skin Microbiome

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As a skin biologist and researcher of technology in the personal care field for over 20 years, there are few times in one’s career that you experience a trend that has the legs to become a new playing field in science.  The skin microbiome strides made in recent years have truly been remarkable.  Not only have the number of products available addressing the skin microbiome exploded but the number of research papers and articles on the topic has captivated the industry.  Furthermore, it highlights the direction and utilization of systems biology as a tool by applying the learnings of microbiology, skin biology, biochemistry, genetics and ecology all into one discipline.  The field is still in its infancy and in constant transition as the methods and models being employed are still being optimized to reduce bias and improve precision and accuracy.

The single primary driver of this new frontier are the remarkable advancements in high throughput gene sequencing and the computational analysis required to handle massive amounts of data and put it into a meaningful perspective.  Not only can we identify bacteria faster and more cost efficiently, but now we understand through genetic comparisons that strains of a species can differ significantly resulting in the difference between health and disease under a variety of conditions.  This was one of many topics permeating throughout a recent scientific microbiome congress held in Boston pulling together forces within the industry to form a multi-disciplinary approach to the opportunities and advancements within this growing field.   Other topics included consumer education, regulatory preambles, biological target identification, microbiome relevance, host-biome interactions and advances in technology used to study the human microbiome.

With all science comes controversy.  Areas of debate range from what defines a healthy microbiome to how diverse the microbiome should be and why our skin is losing its biodiversity.  Many claims and research point to our forefathers (hunter gatherer societies today) as having a much more diverse skin microbiome than modern man.  Thus, the prevalence of skin-related issues is markedly reduced in tribes living in the Amazon compared to that of our modern city dweller.  This loss of biodiversity has been linked to a significant increase in allergy-related disease.  Furthermore, the use of preservatives and complex ingredients in skin care products has been deemed suspect.  The relevance to other trendy areas within skin care can now be woven with a new perspective.  These include the role of pollution and the duration of solar radiation exposure.  Since the skin is the youngest organ in our body in terms of evolution, the sun and atmospheric environment plays a major role in its phenotype and function.  Research is now linking the evolution of our skin microbiome to the same influential environmental pressures.

The skin microbiome is the total sum of all microbes that live on or in the skin.  It is a highly dynamic entity that is analogous to a beehive in that it is responsive and adaptive to the many internal and external factors influencing its environment all simultaneously.  The exciting aspect of the skin microbiome is that it will force traditional science to think differently.  Application of environmental science theorems are now being placed into equations, hypotheses,  and experimental designs previously limited to a classical reductionist algorithm that one needs to understand the parts before understanding the whole.  This modality of scientific exploration has been dominated by the study of molecules explaining cells which, in turn, explains the function of tissues and helps us to understand how organs work and interact with in systems.

This is just part of the story.  Moving forward, we now must consider levels of organization that typically ended with an understanding of our own species.  With the skin microbiome, we need to consider the fundamentals of science from a more complex standpoint.  For instance, a full understanding of strain introduction within a species, population diversity with in specific organs, and communities of microbes between body sites are now combined with our classical understanding of skin biology to explain how this entire ecosystem influences our day to day function, health, and disease.  Truly, a new frontier awaits us.   I guess this is what the explorers Louis and Clark felt like starting their journey to the Pacific Ocean.

So where are we in this journey?  Researchers have characterized the human skin microbiome as both functional and site specific as it pertains to different regions on the body.  The two most distinct body environments are those with sebum and those without.  Compounding these areas are those under humidity, occlusion, and moisture and those that are not.  Of course, there are other microclimates on or in our skin including the follicular surface areas of hair, sweat and eccrine glands.  Understanding how each of these microclimates works at different stages of life, within ethnic groups, different geographical locations, and between the sexes is just the tip of the iceberg.

Areas of the skin that are rich in sebum have garnished much attention as these areas are most prone to acne as illustrated in work done by Prouty and Pappas.  It is within this area that we see some very interesting correlations with our skin actually regulating its own biodiversity.  Hair follicle-associated sebaceous glands secrete sebum, a highly complex lipid mixture that covers the skin surface and hair shafts. The functional versatility of lipids, combined with the wide array of sebaceous lipid classes, provide skin with a substrate that facilitates adaptation to diverse environmental situations, including interactions with microbes.  Analysis of sebum and its components have shown that a particular specific fatty acid called sapienic acid (16:1 n10), has been shown to be antimicrobial to Staphylococcus Aureus, the very species implicated in flare reactions in atopic dermatitis.  Furthermore, infection by Staphylococcus aureus is associated with a reduction in sapienic acid in the sebum of patients with atopic dermatitis, and topical application of sapienic acid is correlated with decreased bacterial load and reduction of symptoms. Taken together, this strongly suggests that sapienic acid functions as a “first-line” component of the innate immune system at the skin’s surface.

The beauty of this great journey is that it may explain and give way to an entirely new approach to skin care.  Host-biome interactions will be the focus of healthy immune development from birth to treating maladies such as atopic dermatitis, rosacea, acne, and dandruff, and body odor.  Learnings from the skin microbiome are migrating into oral and vaginal health arenas, changing the way we look at health and disease as well.

While research scientists unravel the complexities of the skin microbiome, the interest from within the industry is also buzzing with discovery and innovation.  There seems to be multiple avenues to enter this space and all have shown some level of promise in terms of delivering on claims.  We can certainly thank the yogurt industry for laying the ground work with the consumers.  From study data presented in Boston, consumers (especially Millennials) seem to get the concept of taking care of your skin the same way you take care of your gut microbiome.  Although, most consumers have a rudimentary understanding of microbiome, they are very willing to try products targeting it.  Reinforcing a healthier lifestyle, conforming to more natural-based hygiene practice or looking to change the way their skin behaves is all the motivation consumers need.

New technologies and innovation are taking form in a variety of ways.  Prebiotics seem to be gaining the most momentum in skin care as evidenced by the number of new prebiotic technology offerings seen at the last two In-Cosmetics shows. Prebiotics are those materials that feed, nourish, and/or manage the skin microbiome in some form or fashion.  Examples of prebiotics are polysaccharides, polyols, free fatty acids, fibers nitrogen sources, and lactic acid.  By focusing on prebiotics, many technology companies avoid the complexities of having to grow live cultures of bacteria to generate a second category called probiotics.  With this strategy, we see the use of live bacteria whether sourced from skin or other substrates like soil.  Some are using the very bugs found in yogurt while others are applying species said to be part of our microbiome during earlier times of human existence but were lost.

This category of products is the most complex and wrought with controversy.  Should live or dead microbes be used?  How do skin bacterial communities change with new species introduction?  How much biodiversity is too much?  All of these questions are being studied at every level of complexity.  Another branch of probiotics is now emerging by genetically engineering normal flora strains to secrete enzymes and factors needed to correct deficiencies in skin physiology.  A well-known condition called atopic dermatitis is characterized by inflammation, itch, a reduction in barrier function, and loss of moisturization.  Researchers are now programing Staphylococcus epidermidis, a commensal microbe (found to be reduced in atopic dermatitis) to secrete barrier-related proteins, enzymes to increase lipids, and antimicrobial peptides to reduce the Staph aureus load (which supersedes that of Staphylococcus epidermidis in atopic dermatitis).  Lastly, we have the category of postbiotics.  This group consists of fermentation products and supernatants from bacterial culture.  These materials are the next generation prebiotics.  Designed and targeted to shift to better microbiome health, an increase in biodiversity, and to provide a new way to achieve clean healthy beauty.

The journey to understanding the skin microbiome is well underway.  Nobody knows for sure where we will be in the next 5 to 10 years. The models and methods used to study the skin will advance and become more sophisticated as well, as the products and claims associated with these new discoveries develops.  It is exciting to see so many disciplines coming together to unravel the mysteries of our microbial populations and communities living and working with us in so many ways.  New levels of understanding will be achieved in exploring commensal and symbiotic relationships with our tiny friends.  The skin microbiome field will inevitably fall into sub-specialties where you have the folks looking to keep skin clean and free of microbes while others will look to preserve and propagate the populations of beneficial microbes to sustain and promote healthy skin. When it comes to research into the skin microbiome, we truly are the sum of all of our parts and then some.

Michael Anthonavage has 20+ years of experience in personal care product development and a career spanning background in skin biology. Michael has extensive knowledge in product development in the area of personal care product design and specializes in R&D to marketing translation. He is an engaging public speaker and product technology advocate with an ability to marry complex ideas and concepts to various consumer needs. Michael is currently the Director of Advanced Clinical Services at CRL. Michael’s previous positions involved R&D leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, Presperse and Vantage Specialty Chemicals.  Michael is currently on the NYCSCC Scientific Advisory Board and has a number publications and patents to his name.

Halal certification for personal care raw materials and products

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Muslims around the world used the word Halal for many years to describe a certain dietary regimen. The roots of the word originate from the Quran and Shariah and it typically defines how animals are slaughtered and restricts the consumption of certain animals, and alcohol.  In general, everything created by God is allowed as food with some exceptions.  These exceptions include pork, blood, animal meat that was not properly slaughtered, alcohol, intoxicants, and inappropriately used drugs.  With regard to fish, all fish with scales are allowed but animals that live both in water and on land like frogs are not allowed.  In addition to previously described restrictions, Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and body parts/fluids are not allowed.  For example, gelatin is not considered Halal if it comes from pigs or from animals that were not slaughtered properly.  Keratin and stem cells from human origin are not allowed as well.

In the last decade, the word Halal was used to describe not only foods but also personal care products as well as cosmetics and a variety of other marketed products. The demand for Halal products has continuously grown over the past few years and is expected to grow even further.  For cosmetics, raw materials as well as finished products are subject to certification.  As a general rule, during the Halal certification process the products should first meet all local guidelines in terms of safety purity and quality.  For example, if the product is under the FDA jurisdiction, it must meet first such guidelines and then be considered for Halal certification.  The certification process typically starts with an application, followed by submission of the documents related to sourcing of all raw materials and is typically finalized with an onsite inspection.  The onsite inspection considers factors like manufacturing, storage, packaging and transportation of such products.

In North America there are several agencies that certify raw materials and cosmetics products. The Halal Advisory group www.halaladvisory.com is one of such agencies and is located in New York city. Another agency of interest is the Islamic Society of the Washington Area known as ISWA www.ushalalcertification.com. This agency is located in Washington DC and like other agencies has an online application.  The Islamic Food and Natural Council of America (IFANCA) is located in Park Ridge, IL and has a web presence at www.IFANCA.org the agency grants Halal certificates as well. For European companies, The Muslim Food Board (TMFB) located in the United Kingdom issues Halal certificates under its division; Halal Certification Europe.  Applications can be submitted online at www.tmfb.com.

I hope this short synopsis will give the reader an overview of the Halal guidelines, and means to obtain certification for raw materials and finished goods. If additional information is needed to understand the Halal standards, one good resource is The Malaysian Standard MS 2200 Pat1: 2008 which describes the practical guidelines for handling Halal cosmetics.

Dr. Hani Fares started his career in personal care studying the effect of solvents on sunscreen chemicals. His interest in skin drug delivery especially from polymeric matrices grew during his graduate work at Rutgers, where he completed his Ph. D. in Pharmaceutics. Dr. Fares worked at Block Drug and GlaxoSmithKline where he held positions in research and development in the areas of skincare and oral care.  After that, he joined L’Oreal where he held several positions of increasing responsibility leading to AVP of skincare.  He is currently the Senior Director of skincare and oral care at Ashland Specialty Ingredients.  Dr. Fares is the author of many publications, and patents and made many presentations in national and international meetings in the areas of suncare, skincare, and oral care.

Naturals, Synthetics, and Safety – The Rise of Trends and the Fall of a Dialectic

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In 2018 the modern fragrance industry will focus on technology, the regulatory environment, and the creative challenges. One of the hottest topics and trends outside of these specific focuses in not just fragrance but all of cosmetics, industrially or independently created, is natural products and formulation, and one that has triggered a wide variety of dialogues and raises many questions for both consumers and producers.

Before recently, one would have to build a time machine to find a bottle of Kyphi, an Ancient Egyptian incense or wearable perfume thought to be a blend of cassia, cinnamon, mastic, mint, henna, and mimosa in a medium made from honey, wine, and raisins (though the precise formulation is subject to scholarly debate and varies). Now, you just have to contact a ‘natural perfumer’, many of whom operate on web-based commerce platforms and have built their businesses online through social media – a common gathering place for those who share similar opinions on the natural trend.

Many of these natural perfumers will advertise that their perfumes are composed using essential oils and absolutes as sources of fragrant compounds that have been ‘naturally’ obtained through steam distillation, tincturing, effleurage, hexane-free extractions, and so on. This would be in contrast to ‘synthetic’ compounds that are synthesized in a laboratory from other chemicals, some of which are not found in nature and so can only be produced by these methods.

But why is ‘natural’ so popular, and marketing based around ‘natural’ products so effective lately? It is because consumers are far more invested in their health and wellness as well as the health and wellness of the environment, which is a fair concern as both could potentially be impacted by the fragrance industry, as exemplified by studies on how some older synthetic musks could harm the defense systems of marine life1 and an increase in sensitivities to fragrances noted by the American Academy of Dermatology.2

However, I am not here to espouse the idea that ‘natural’ ingredients and products are a way of the future, even though naturalism has been an effective tool of marketing in order to capture an emerging niche in the cosmetics and fragrance market, nor am I here to indict any synthetic materials as potentially harmful. Instead, I wish to raise questions as to the validity of natural-synthetic dialectic, on which discussions around safety seem to be based amongst consumers of fragrances whether natural or synthetic or anywhere in between, when the line between ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ is becoming more and more blurred.

The ultimate catalyst for that blurring is the biochemists and bioengineers who have worked to develop cutting edge biosynthetic methods of producing fragrant compounds. This involves introducing novel, artificially designed genes into the genome of bacteria, which when provided the right starting materials will synthesize and produce fragrant chemical compounds, or utilizing enzymes which are able to perform a specific transformation.

Akigalawood, a captive ingredient of Givaudan’s, was produced utilizing the latter method. Their Biosciences Team found that the enzyme laccase, with processing using just water and salts, was able to transform a natural material into a new fragrant compound, never before available to perfumers and having profile similar to patchouli with hints of spicy pepper and agarwood. The former approach has seen much use as well, an example being Ginkgo Bioworks of Boston, MA having worked with Firmenich to engineer yeast capable of producing a complex mixture containing the compounds found in rose essential oil.

These developments make mince-meat of once common semantics and raise many questions that should be answered in the coming future. Is Akigalawood a ‘natural’ material if it was produced by an organism and not by chemical synthesis? Is linalool isolated from lavender oil by distillation ‘synthetic’, as it was produced using laboratory equipment? The discussion of what can be categorized as natural or synthetic by the consumer becomes quite complex once these considerations are made.

Further complicating the consumer discussion of safety and environmental friendliness is the fact that that ‘natural’ is not always better for the industry, consumer, and environment, counter to the ‘naturalistic fallacy’ which is the reason the trend for ‘natural’ cosmetics has seen the expansion it has. For example, sassafras oil is carcinogenic, the high levels of ketones present in sage oil are toxic, and furocoumarins in bergamot oil and atranol and chloroatranol in oakmoss absolute can cause skin reactions if not removed through laboratory processing.

Additionally, a consumer who fancies strongly rose-tinted glasses may also believe that natural materials are better for the environment, which is not necessarily true. Over-sourcing of sandalwood rosewood and agarwood has led to them becoming endangered and near extinction, and tragically the musk deer was hunted to near extinction for its musk pods to use as a natural perfumery material in the past.

In the eyes of IFRA, the regulatory body overseeing the safety standards and proper usage and amount recommendations for fragrance materials in cosmetics, it does not matter whether the material is natural or synthetic, as there are plenty of materials that are available only through chemical synthesis on their restrictions – it only matters to them whether it is safe, which is I believe the proper semantic framework to discuss ingredients and formulation for both the industry and especially the consumer, not the natural-synthetic dialectic brought about by consumer trends.

If anything, these misperceptions and trends founded on a now shaky dialectic and not overall safety signify that there is much work to be done on the relationship between company, consumer, and the environment. I believe firmly the focus of that relationship should be safety, transparency, and most importantly sustainability, rather than on the semantic category of the materials used in a formulation. Moving forward into the future of fragrance science, it should not matter whether a material falls into a certain category, but rather that it is safe for humans, animals, and the environment, and thankfully it appears we are moving in that direction. Finally, if there is an overwhelmingly positive aspect to the naturals trend, it is that it has sparked this discussion, and for that there should be gratitude.

References:

  1. Schwartz, M. 2004. Household fragrances may be harming aquatic wildlife, study finds. Stanford Report. Retrieved from https://news.stanford.edu/news/2004/november3/Perfume-1103.html
  2. Bouchez, C. Fragrance Allergies: A Sensory Assault. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/fragrance-allergies-a-sensory-assault#1

 

Matthew Brooks, Boston University, B.A. Chemistry 2019. A third-year student of chemistry at Boston University and fragrance consultant at Sephora, Matthew plans to enter the cosmetic industry upon graduation, where he hopes to work in product development and formulation. His recent areas of interest and study include natural products and organic chemistry, polymers and raw materials, ‘green’ chemistry, sustainability, and environmental protection.

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