Stress killer: Why Asian consumers are ready to tackle anxiety-induced skin ageing – Lucas Meyer Cosmetics
The firm coined the phrase to describe the adverse effects that stress and anxiety have on the skin.
And while these are global problems, Frederica Lam, regional marketing manager APAC, Lucas Meyers Cosmetics, believes there is high potential for anti-stress and anti-anxiety skin care products in Asia.
“From an Asian perspective, the Asian nations have experienced increasing urbanisation and have been embracing technology in the past decades. This is making life more fast-paced and is why more people are getting stressed. If you look at reports, Asian cities are always among the topmost stressful cities in the world.”
Lam added that it believed the concept of anxi-ageing would have a very profound impact on the Asian consumer.
“Asians hardly talk about anxiety, in fact in can be a touchy subject they don’t communicate much about its effects. Instead, they rely on remedies, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, to improve physical health and appearance. However, there are not many remedies for mental wellbeing.”
With increased awareness of mental health and the positive effects on activities such as meditation and yoga in Asia, Lam believes more consumers will seek out “remedies” to deal with the superficial effect of stress and anxiety.
“Stress and anxiety are beyond COVID-19. Asia is gradually opening up to the idea of mental health and how to deal with it in a positive manner.”
IFF Lucas Meyers Cosmetics recently launched the active ingredients IBR-Chill. It was developed by IBR, an Isareli-based subsidiary that came under the IFF banner as the result of the firm’s acquisition of Frutarom in 2018.
The company developed the ingredient as a response to the ever-increasing stress and anxiety levels associated with a fast-paced modern lifestyle.
It is estimated that extreme stress causes people to age twice as fast. It activates skin immune cells, which produces a “cascade” of stress hormones, explained Dr Shlomo Krispin, IBR product line manager.
“Eventually, this leads to the release of cortisol. When cortisol gets to the skin, it activates the skin immune cells, and triggers them to release the key stress mediator, corticotropin-releasing hormone.”
Krispin elaborated that corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) was the same key stress mediator that initiates the central stress response. “That's amazing because it shows that what's happening in our brain is also happening in our skin as well.”
Once CRH is released, it binds to its receptors, keratinocytes, which activates Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), a “master regulator of inflammation”.
“It tells keratinocytes to start producing pro-inflammatory cytokines. As a result, we have an increased blood flow to the inflamed area and superficially, we will see redness on the skin. There will also be an activation of a matrix metalloproteinases. This would lead to a loss of skin firmness, loss of elasticity appearance of wrinkles – signs of accelerated ageing,” said Krispin.
The firm discovered that the pink rock rose, an evergreen shrub found in the Mediterranean, was able to block the CRH receptor.
“If you block the receptor of this key stress mediator, you can keep stress and anxiety away. In turn, you prevent the activation of NF-κB, the inflammatory response, and ultimately you prevent the accelerated ageing of the skin.”
Through several in vitro and ex vivo studies, the company was able to prove that IBR-Chill could reduce CRH receptor (CRH-R1) activity by 88%, as well as block NF-κB by 92%.
Additionally, it had an effect on some key stress mediators such as Interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β), which it was able to block by 75%.
Furthermore, the firm conducted a study on 30 female subjects aged 35 to 60 years of age.
“We really wanted to challenge our active, so we recruited people experiencing high levels of stress in their lives. We based it on psychological questionnaire evaluation and also the measurement of the cortisol levels in their saliva,” said Krispin.
After 28 days, signs of stress-induced inflammation were reduced and strengthen the skin resilience against skin stressors. “It fights the signs of anxiety and ageing, meaning you get a very nice smoothing effect on your wrinkles in the corner of the eye, improvement in elasticity and firmness,” said Krispin.
According to Krispin, the effects of IBR-Chill was similar to the effects of meditation on the skin.
“It’s been shown that when you practice meditation, you can shut down the signs of cellular ageing as a result of stress. It shuts down the activation of NF-κB, just like we’ve shown how IBR-Chill can. It’s really meditation for your skin in a bottle.”