Skin science: Top stories on cosmetic science and formulation in the APAC beauty space

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

We dive into our most-read stories on cosmetics science and formulation. [Getty Images]
We dive into our most-read stories on cosmetics science and formulation. [Getty Images]

Related tags Formulation Science

In this round-up, we dive into our most-read stories on cosmetics science and formulation, including research on brown seaweed extract as eczema treatment, Asian herb research on skin whitening, COVID-19 pressure on sunscreen testing and more.

1 – Seaweed saviour: Marinova highlights ‘unmet needs’ in the market for skin microbiome-friendly atopic dermatitis treatment

There is a gap in the market for skin microbiome solutions to help treat atopic dermatitis​, claims biotechnology company Marinova, for which it believes its brown seaweed extract could play a major role.

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, a widespread condition characterised by dry and itchy skin.

While there are treatments for atopic dermatitis available in the market, Tasmania-based biotech firm Marinova believes there is a gap in the market targeting the skin microbiome.

“Broadly, atopic dermatitis is quite a complex illness where there's a multitude of factors that contribute to it… and there's an unmet need, particularly in the skin microbiome space,” ​said Dr Damien Stringer, operations manager, Marinova.

2 – Too complex: Chinese team questions ‘quality and value’ of Asian herb research on skin whitening

A team of researchers from two Chinese institutes have questioned the validity​ of the existing research undertaken on Asian herbs for skin whitening applications, concluding that the ingredients were “too complex to obtain reliable results”.

Despite being fraught with potential hazards, skin care products with whitening claims continue to thrive in the Asian beauty market because fair skin is still considered the ideal of beauty.

According to a 2019 report by Grand View Research, the global market size of skin whitening in 2018 was $8.3bn. In the largest product segment – the cream category at 53% -- China, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea, emerged as the top five-ranked countries in terms of sales.

The high demand for skin whitening solutions coupled with the increasing concern for product safety, has led to a raft of research into traditional Asian herbs and potential skin whitening properties.

3 – Burning issue: How the COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on sunscreen testing processes

COVID-related delays and demand for planet-safe products are among the challenges​ that sunscreen makers will have to tackle in terms of testing.

John Staton, the Scientific Adviser of Eurofins cosmetics and personal care solar testing facilities, noted that testing sunscreen typically comes with certain challenges brands have to be prepared to take on.

“At this point in time, there's really no option but to test [SPF] on human backs and then there are some in vitro methods under development at ISO. It also involves broad spectrum tests, which can be in vivo, and there are some other methods now for in vitro that most companies would use because it’s cheaper to perform and quicker.”

Eurofins is an international laboratory provider that offers a full range of testing services for various industries, including beauty and personal care.

4 – Smell and skin: Shiseido says masking age-related malodours can keep skin looking youthful

A new study by Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido has discovered that masking the scent of nonenal, an age-related malodour, can prevent skin cell damage and skin thinning​.

According to a 2001 study​ published by Shiseido in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, nonenal is an unsaturated aldehyde detected only in subjects over 40 years old.

The same study concluded that nonenal tends to increase with age and hypothesised that it could be the culprit behind age-related change of body odour.

Nonenal has been described​ as an ‘unpleasant greasy and grassy odour’. ​In Japan, this unique odour has been dubbed kareishū​, which translates to ‘ageing odour’.

5 – Science driven: Latest FANCL anti-ageing innovation inspired by study confirming key role of IL-1RA protein in wrinkle formation

A study by Japanese cosmetics firm FANCL has confirmed that protein IL-1RA plays a key role in wrinkle formation​ and has developed a cosmetic formulation with vitamin C to target it.

Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) is a key protein for ageing regulation. According to FANCL, it is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that increases and normalises during inflammation and is a protein that also promotes cell proliferation.

According to previous studies, FANCL confirmed that IL-1RA is involved in the mechanism of preventing cell proliferation that causes ageing. By studying the skin of subjects in their 40s, the firm found that IL-1RA decreases with age and has a positive correlation with skin elasticity.

Based on the former study, the firm aimed to investigate the possibility that IL-1RA in the stratum corneum was indicator of the increase or decrease of wrinkles formation.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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