Called Cynergy NK (nutritional keratin) and Cynergy TK (topical keratin), the new offerings are intended to help companies develop 'vertically integrated' anti-ageing solutions, consisting of both a topical and an oral element.
Keratin is a structural protein that is a main constituent in skin, hair and nails. It is normally non-soluble, but the New Zealand biotech company has developed a method of extracting it from wool in a soluble, digestible form by separating wool fibre into its constituent keratin parts without destroying the different fractions.
The first supplement ingredient based on this technology - Cynatine FLX - was launched a year ago, and uses a fraction with an amino acid profile shown in pre-clinical tests to have a role in joint health.
VP business development Fertram Sigurjonsson told NutraIngredients.com that the Cynergy fraction contains copper and zinc, which have been studied for their role in promoting healthy skin both when applied topically and taken orally. Moreover it also contains enzymatic antioxidants superoxide dismutase and glutathione-dependent peroxidase, recognised free-radical scavengers.
The company says that Cynergy can improve skin elasticity, hydration and skin cell antioxidant activity, and that these claims are backed up by human data.
"The two products together become greater than as individual components, so they synergize - hence the name Cynergy," said Sigurjonsson. "Our offering to consumers is a natural, renewable and bioactive solution to the dilemma of which materials to select for integrated skin health solutions. Cynergy allows customers to select an integrated vertical solution for premium skin care."
Some branded products already exist on the market that combine an oral and a topical component, such as Ferrodan's Imedeen and Procter and Gamble's Olay/Olay Vitamins. But neither of these contain keratin.
"The benefits of a natural, bioactive, renewable single product range changes the game for beauty products," Sigurjonsson added.
New Zealand biotech company Keratec was formed three years ago to commercialise the outcome of 20 years of research funded by the wool growers' consortium into how they could add value to their core commodity by breaking into more industries besides clothing.
Prior to the launch of Cynatine FLX it was already making some keratin from sheep's wool available to the cosmetics industry through an exclusive worldwide agreement with Croda International.
A recent report from Datamonitor suggested that consumers are willing to pay a premium for cosmeceutical products - both oral and topical - that stem the effects of ageing.
"There is a growing appetite amongst consumers for non-surgical treatments with comparable effects," said author Lawrence Gould.
He forecasts the overall European cosmeceuticals market to be worth US$4.4 billion in 2009, growing 5 per cent from today. This includes all cosmetic products containing at least one bio-active ingredient for the skin.
Dietary supplements for skin health enjoyed their first dedicated trade show last September at Inside Beauty, part of Health and Beauty America.