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Rethinking anti-aging. Epseama skin rejuvenating seaweed active
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Rethinking anti-aging: turning to a superfood of the sea to reinvent skin rejuvenation

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Clariant Active Ingredients pioneers a fresh approach to anti-aging with the launch of seaweed-derived active Epseama to tackle the true causes of skin aging. 

Consumers’ fascination with slowing down the aging process shows little sign of waning. Indeed, the global anti-aging products market size will grow by $17.2 billion from 2019 to 2023 [1]​, with the increasing older population between the ages of 30 and 45 and motivation to look younger among the key drivers for this expansion.

In addition, consumers across the globe are more and more concerned by the origin of the ingredients entering into the composition of their cosmetic products. Natural ingredients from ethical and environmentally-responsible origins are now what they are looking for.

New target: long non-coding RNA nc886

Commonly known causes of aging are the genetically-determined factors (chronoaging), extrinsic factors like UV exposure (photoaging) and chronic inflammation (inflammaging). They can affect the way genes are expressed and translated into proteins, causing the decay of skin structure.

To treat the root cause of aging triggered by these three factors, a new player was discovered to modulate these mechanisms: the long non-coding RNA called “nc886”. RNA with a size superior to 100 nucleotides play important roles: though they are never translated into proteins, they serve to regulate information in the cells. Recently, “nc886” was recognized as a key regulator of Protein Kinase R (PKR). This protein is known for inducing premature aging in various diseases and organs. nc886 physically deactivates PKR. Targeting nc886, and its contribution to skin aging, would lead to a unique holistic anti-aging approach.

Through an extensive screening test, the brown seaweed Laminaria japonica​ was identified as the best nc886 inducer.


A treasure from the sea

Epseama is an innovative anti-aging ingredient derived from the brown seaweed Laminaria japonica​ (also called kelp or kombu), whose composition is rich in vitamins and minerals and is known as a “superfood of the sea”. It is farmed off the coast of a South Korean island through sustainable and responsible aquaculture practices. 

Subsequent research by Clariant Active Ingredients and its South Korean partner BioSpectrum into the unexplored impact of nc886 in the skin demonstrated a correlation between aging and the level of nc886 expression. In particular, thanks to an in situ​ hybridization method performed on skin explants from young to mature skins, it was shown that after the age of 40, nc886 expression in skin decreases in an exponential way. Also, UVB exposure strongly inhibits the expression of nc886. A direct consequence is an increase in the levels of MMP-9, a metalloproteinase that degrades collagen IV, one of the major components that maintains dermal-epidermal junction structure and integrity. As a result, skin structure is impaired. It will lose its resistance and elasticity and hence visible signs of aging will appear. Therefore, a proper expression of nc886 is fundamental to ensure proper rejuvenation of the skin.

Proven rejuvenation

Epseama has proven to be the best candidate for skin rejuvenation through in vitro​, ex vivo​ and clinical tests as it targets chronoaging, photoaging and inflammaging at once – the three important players in aging and the cause of drastic alterations to skin structure, pigmented spots and impairment of the epidermis thickness, for example.

It gets to the heart of these problems by addressing the real cause of aging and reverting its natural course. It does so by boosting nc886 production in order to inhibit the production of MMP-9 and therefore prevents collagen IV degradation.  It also boosts collagen IV production so that the junction between the epidermis and dermis is strengthened. In addition, Epseama induces the production of collagen VII and XVII, as well as the production of laminin 5, a protein that helps to form anchoring complex by binding to collagen VII and collagen IV. This results in an improved communication between dermis and epidermis and a strengthened structure, proof of Epseama’s rejuvenation potential.

Epseama also heightens keratinocytes proliferation by improving the synthesis of CD44 hyaluronic acid receptors, a marker of skin homeostasis involved in the transmission of cell signals. This enhances epidermis thickness.

In addition, to fight inflammaging, Epseama inhibits the maturation of caspase 1 that is normally activated via PKR and usually goes along with photoaging.


Holistic anti-aging benefits

Its performance is confirmed in clinical trials on 19 women over 50 after only four weeks. Difficult to remove nasolabial wrinkles are smoothed - reduced by 19% in volume and 10% in roughness after only four weeks. Spots are decreased by 10%, for an improved complexion homogeneity. Also, skin moisture levels are increased by 14.2%.

Julie Droux, Senior Technical Marketing Specialist, Clariant Active Ingredients, comments: “By 2050, the over-60s are projected to make up over 21% of the global population[2]. This, together with the increasing middle-aged population, presents a big opportunity for personal care to contribute new approaches to aging and wellness. Understanding the biological processes that influence skin aging processes makes us better placed to focus our innovation on advanced ingredients to delay it. Ideally supported by a natural focus and good traceability that fit with consumer preferences. By uniquely targeting nc886, Epseama offers formulators a new source of rejuvenation erasing age-related and photo-related signs, tackling the true causes of skin aging with an ingredient derived from the sea​.”

“Sea” for yourself…

Formulators and brands can sample Epseama at work in the silky-textured day cream Sc[ai]turalist – Seamless Rejuvenating Cream. ​As an example of formulation, it combines Epseama’s rejuvenating powers and additional ingredients from Clariant Active ingredients’ range for a holistic approach to aging well. With Epseama, the industry can develop efficient skincare products directed at the true causes of aging.

[1]​ Technavio Report Global Anti-aging Products Market 2019 – 2023 accessed via

[2]World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision ​United Nations accessed via

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