‘Intercellular courier’: Shinsegae touts regenerative cosmetics using microalgae-derived exosome tech

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Shinsegae International is developing regenerative cosmetics using microalgae-derived exosome technology. [Getty Images]
Shinsegae International is developing regenerative cosmetics using microalgae-derived exosome technology. [Getty Images]

Related tags skincare Stem cells South korea K-Beauty

Shinsegae International is developing regenerative cosmetics using microalgae-derived exosome technology based on its joint research with Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU).

The firm said it was applying this technology to its cosmetic brands, Yunjac and VIDIVICI. These new products can be expected to hit the market sometime this year.

Launching these new products would be the culmination of two years’ worth of research, jointly conducted by the Shinsegae International Technology Innovation Centre and Dr Kim Jin Woong of SKKU.

The research focused on finding a replacement for human-derived exosomes, which has gained interest in skin care areas such as wound-healing, and discovered a replacement within a microalgae species, Euglena gracilis.

The firm believes these microalgae-derived exosomes, extracellular vesicles (EVs), would be a good alternative to current exosomes used in skin care treatments, which are derived from human stem cells.

Finding a suitable alternative

While they have been shown to be effective, there are limitations in using human-derived exosomes, said the firm.

“In the case of human-derived exosomes, the production yields are low, controlling contamination and maintaining purity are difficult. All of which hinder commercialisation. In addition, in the case of human-derived ingredients, it was difficult to use them as cosmetic materials due to strict regulations regarding cosmetic safety standards.”

The firm said this species could be cultivated in large quantities without the risk of viral infection.

Euglena gracilis itself contains 59 different nutrients, including vitamins and amino acids, and is known to contain a large amount of beta-glucan, said the firm.

As such, it has properties such as immunity enhancement, skin regeneration, as well as antioxidant activity. “By optimising the beta-glucan content and particle size, we have developed a new non-animal exosome raw material with excellent skin regeneration effects.”

The researchers highlighted that the exosomes displayed “remarkable” ​wound-healing properties.

Fibroblasts treated with the exosomes showed a 20% increase in collagen production compared to those treated with beta-glucan alone.

Furthermore, the study observed an increase in protein expressions such as cytokeratin 10 (K10) and cytokeratin 14 (K14).

“As it promotes skin cell proliferation to produce collagen and increase the expression of proliferation-related proteins, it is expected that the production of cosmetics that are excellent for skin regeneration care will be possible if the material is used,” ​said the firm.

The company said that it has applied for domestic patents and international patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PTC) for this technology.

Moving forward, the company said it continue its research and study how it could be applied in other ways.

“This technique is expected to be applied to other cells, thereby enabling the design of new types of EVs that are applicable for skin treatments and care in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.”

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