From food science to skin care: Innovative serum targets root cause of pigmentation

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

From food science to skin care: Innovative serum targets root cause of pigmentation
Singaporean beauty start-up 28Cubed has created an innovative solution to skin brightening with the help of food science knowledge.

Bioscience company, NamZ, founded 28Cubed after decades of work in the food science industry.

Innovative approach to brightening

“Since 2014, our team of food scientists found that certain molecules with similar structures to those targeting skin cell melanin production pathway are actually found in food ingredients. This discovery took us into researching how melanin is produced within the body and how it's affected by external factors.” ​said director of 28CUBED, Yang Zhongdong.

Almost two decades of research led them to creating Po3, a patented combination of three common and safe food-based molecules: maltol, sodium saccharin and theobromine.

While most brightening products bleach the skin’s surface or target the metabolic pathway with ingredients like niacinamide, Po3 targets both the metabolic and signalling pathway.

This way, it targets the root cause of melanin production by influencing new skin cells to produce less melanin. By targeting both pathways, Po3 offers consumers an alternative solution as well.

“[28Cubed] is for the women who feel like products in the market are not working, offering a new solution to an age old problem,” ​said Heidi Tan, assistant marketing and communications manager.

Tan elaborated: “When consumers use a product that only works on one pathway, there may be no effect if that pathway does not work for them. When it works on two pathways, it offers another solution. So if it doesn’t work on one, it might work on another.”

The Light Serum works around the skin’s 28-day rejuvenation cycle from the moment skin cells are formed till it sheds off the surface.

“Our food science aspect is novel because it works inside out. The serum targets pigmentation from within, so when new skin cells emerge, pigmentation is a lot lighter, and younger looking,” ​Tan commented.

Created with Asia in mind

Po3 was created with Asia in mind. Since 2014, it has been tested in five clinical trials in China, India, Indonesia and Singapore.

The firm tested the formula in Indonesia where heat and humidity levels are higher than other South East Asian (SEA) countries to ensure it suited the harsh regional climate.

CEO and co-founder of NamZ Christopher Langwallner stressed that clinical trials met with rigorous scientific standards.

“We compare out technology against leading market benchmarks, not just a placebo. We also conducted tests on moisturised skin to ensure that any efficacy observed was not due to exaggerated improvements on dehydrated skin.”

He added: “We are here to shake things up. [We are] a straightforward brand that puts transparency and authenticity at its heart.”

Standing out from the crowd

The Light Serum is housed in a delivery system designed to increase convenience and decrease contamination.

A week’s worth of serum is stored in replaceable cartridge and dispensed via a device that delivers the exact dosage with the click of a button.

Administering the exact dose is another key factor of the Light Serum, Yang explained.

“When you apply a serum, there is a threshold to the dosage amount of active molecules that is going to work on skin cells. We studied the average size of human face, neck and the back of hand to come up with the molecules required, hence the exact dosage.”

Tan commented that the device is not just convenient and clean, it also differentiates the product from the sea of products in the market. “No one wants a normal push or pump delivery any more. Innovations and creativity help us stand out from the rest.”

Strong sustainability message

28Cubed is driven by a strong sustainability angle, added Yang and Tan.

For instance, all three components of Po3 are found in common food ingredients such as coffee, caramel, chocolate and tea.

“These three molecules are abundantly available. We are not taking away resources from nature. This is the eco-friendly aspect of the brand,” ​said Yang.

Tan added: “There’s an eco-aspect to everything. ​The formula also does not contain preservatives, parabens or silicon to reduce eco waste. The cartridges are recyclable, the packaging is certified by FSC. When customers order the refills, they can opt not to order with a box, and it will come in an organza bag.”

Expansion plans

Currently, 28Cubed is available in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia through its website.

The company is aiming to expand its marketing efforts with events, workshops, roadshows and Key Opinion Leader (KOL) partnerships to counter its lack of retail presence offline.

This is important, as the brand has a unique product that needs to be seen and experienced by consumers, agreed Tan and Yang.

In the future, after expanding further into SEA, the company has its sights on Europe and the US well. “In five years, we hope to be international with a longer list of products,”​ said Tan.

She elaborated that the company is actively working on expanding the product line to include a moisturiser, sunscreen and eye cream that feature Po3.



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