As a living organ, skin has complex needs that are known to change as we mature and also from day to day. Sleep, diet and exposure to environmental stresses all play their part. The changing nature of skin needs in the short and long term has recently been a major focus of discussion among a bespoke online community of beauty experts created by DSM.
This forum of beauty professionals from eight regional markets further reports that skin is no longer routinely seen as having one, static, condition, i.e. oily, normal or dry. Awareness is growing that one individual’s skin can have multiple, even conflicting needs at the same time.
Managing conflicting needs can be difficult. Consumers describe struggling to keep oily skin hydrated without causing greasiness or breakouts, for example. And often their bathrooms are overflowing with numerous products each designed to solve one specific problem.
The growing demand for double-duty products
Insights from the DSM community suggest consumers are increasingly looking for customizable products they can personally adjust to current skin requirements. Such products give their users more control over their skincare without increasing the number of products filling their shelves.
Another promising approach is for each product to have the capacity to meet divergent needs. Such products are not yet seen to be widely available but are strongly desired across markets. At the same time however, there is skepticism about products claiming to meet more than one need, especially when a single ingredient claims two distinct benefits.
For double-duty ingredients to be credible, three factors are important:
- Users need to understand how the dual benefits are connected. Western consumers in particular may look for more education about how their skin works, e.g. “Oily skin can get worse when it is dehydrated, this is why…”
- It is crucial to achieve the right balance and mix of ingredients to tackle dual skin needs holistically.Single ingredients can be powerful, but this raises concerns about harshness, especially in Europe.
- Claims must be substantiated, as insights such as this show: “For me, the proof is in the pudding. I rarely buy things sight unseen or reviews unread! I would have to hear that the product performed to standards above or equal to using the ingredients separately (through influencers, etc.)”
The multiple needs of aging skin
One aspect of skin care crying out for a response to diverse needs is skin aging. All skin shows signs of aging over time, but there is considerable confusion about when to start using anti-aging products and what's appropriate across demographics.
What's more, DSM's research has uncovered that the nature of these signs can vary considerably from one part of the world to another.
In the context of skin aging, most people think first of wrinkles, especially in the USA and Western Europe. However, in Asia and in China in particular, people have different anti-aging priorities. When a DSM Insights Team travelled to China they found that women there are much more worried about,enlarged pores and dull, uneven tone.1
Enlarged pores in mature skin tend to develop after the age of 30. This is related to biological aging and the accumulation of damage from UV rays. Both these factors weaken the skin’s natural collagen, leading to sagging skin and larger looking facial pores. This condition is different to the seborrhea of adolescence and therefore needs a different skincare approach.
An uneven tone can culminate in age spots, which appear on more exposed areas of the body such as the face, hands and décolleté as skin ages. Age spots are caused by long-term exposure to sunshine which increases melanocyte activity in the skin causing an irregular amount of melanin to be produced.
Although enlarged pores and age spots trouble many people, consumers seeking solutions often try a vast array of products, only to find them ineffective. Certainly, until now no single skin active has been shown to address both these problems at once.
Rising to the dual challenge
Now researchers at DSM’s Personal Care have generated evidence suggesting the company’s branded hydroxystearic acid (BEAUACTIVE) combats conspicuous facial pores and age spots at the same time. In an eight-week, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, a visible difference could be seen after just four weeks.
This hydroxystearic acid is produced with a biotechnological process that fulfills both the company's high standards on sustainability and the principles of Green Chemistry2 due to the use of a plant-derived source (oleic acid), a highly efficient biocatalyst (oleate hydratase) and a water-based, energy-efficient process.
Transformational formulation delivers bonus benefit
The versatile bioactive is suitable for use in applications as diverse as transparent sun protection sticks, oily serum, gel-to-milk cleanser and O/W night creams.
It also meets the requirements of another currently hot trend: transformational beauty products. These products feature innovative textures that change consistency during use, from liquid to foam, oil to foam, gel to cream, lotion to milk or mousse to lotion, for example.
In the case of BEAUACTIVE, DSM’s prototype formulation Transforming Power Cream transforms from an easy-to-apply, semi-solid, enriched cream to take on a fresh, melting texture for a new sensory experience.
1Global DSM Survey on 468 women, 2014
2 Anastas, P. T.; Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press: New York, 1998, p.30