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Taking action: active ingredients make a difference in today's skin care products.

"YOUR FACE TELLS A STORY ... and it shouldn't be a story about your drive to the doctor's office," actress Julia Roberts told Elle magazine in a recent interview. Each day, more and more women are discovering novel skin care products that improve their complexions without going under the knife or getting injections. One way to up the ante of a skin care product is with active ingredients that improve its efficacy and make the consumer come back for more!

After all, skin care is a major part of the personal care market, and it's a category that's continuing to expand. But growth also means change, and in this competitive area, it's more important than ever to stay on top of the trends and cater to all ages--from teens who want clear skin to Baby Boomers looking to improve aging complexions.


Prestige skin care sales increased 7% in first half of 2010, according to NPD Group, Inc., Port Washington, NY. All segments posted positive growth in first half (January-June) 2010, except for the body segment (down 5%).

The biggest skin care category winner during the first half of the year was sets and kits, up 17%. The face category had the second highest growth with an increase of 7%.


Anti-aging captured the lion's share of the facial skin care market, with 61% for the first half of 2010. In the face category, anti-aging outperformed the overall segment performance, up 9%, compared to first half 2009. Of anti-aging dollars, the majority was spent on a facial moisturizer (44%), according to NPD.

"These positive results reflect consumers' continued appetite for high quality skin care and the prestige shoppers' loyalty to the prestige channel and the brands they love and trust," said Karen Grant, vice president and global industry analyst, The NPD Group.


"The results so far this year are quite encouraging, especially when we see that total skin care has not just surpassed the results of the recessionary year 2009, but has almost surpassed the pre-recession year of 2008. New launches (excluding gift sets) are up almost $20 million more than first half 2008 and specialized facial treatment products are up almost 60% compared to 2008. These achievements are signs that 2010 will be the year of prestige skin care," added Grant at NPD Group.

However, total sales of skin care products in mass slipped 1% to $2.17 billion for the year ended Oct. 3, 2010 in supermarkets, drugstores and mass market retailers (excluding Walmart), according to The SymphonyIRI Group of Chicago, IL. Sales of facial anti-aging products were nearly flat at $788.6 million, while acne treatment sales rose 2.6% to $380.6 million. Facial cleanser sales jumped 2.3% to $565.7 million, while facial moisturizers slipped 6.3% to $244.9 million. Sales of anti-aging products for the body fell 3% to $27.8 million, according to SymphonyIRI.

Karen Doskow, industry manager, consumer products, Kline and Company, sees the professional skin care market, which accounts for 20% of the global skin care market, as a sector for opportunity.

"Despite the economy, marketers kept focused levels of launches this year and invested in new product technology that treats specific skin care conditions," Doskow said.

According to Doskow, the professional skin care market is set to outpace the general skin care market in the next five years.

Mintel's Global New Product Database (GNPD) reports that the U.S. anti-aging skin care market is experiencing a boom in sales despite a poor economic atmosphere. Growth is mostly driven by the increasing number of women in the U.S., particularly Baby Boomers, who are known to be very interested in health and well-being.


One skin care trend on the rise is the "nu natural," according to Nica Lewis, director of Mintel Beauty Innovation. This "new vision" of natural is less focused on certification and more focused on results, efficiency and safety. Claims such as "free from" and "sustainable" will appear more in products that simultaneously contain synthetic actives like peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides or collagen. Beauty manufacturers will further explore simple formulas, such as infusions and fluids, but they'll formulate them with a new generation of phytochemicals, anthocyanins and fermented actives, said Lewis.

Stand and Deliver

Before cosmetic chemists start to formulate a skin care product, they must understand exactly what the product is intended to do; i.e., the end benefit for the consumer, according to Peter Foltis, director of scientific affairs, skin care, L'Oreal USA, Clark, NJ.

"It is equally imperative to know the target consumer," he told HAPPI." The active ingredients will impart some consumer perceived benefit to the skin. This can range from moisturization, fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, firming, even skin tone/radiance, photoprotection, etc. How we accomplish this depends on what actives we choose."

Foltis noted the most effective skin care products contain an optimized mix of several active ingredients, preferably acting by different mechanisms.

"This allows us to use lower levels of ingredients compared to using a lone active," he said. "This is particularly important with those consumers with sensitive skin--and goes back to our knowing the target consumer's needs."

"Today's skin care is very much benefit driven," said Dr. Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York. "The level of scientific research performed by skin care companies is extraordinary, including genomic studies and peptide studies as well as cell culture techniques. Research and development sections of cosmetic companies devote much time and money to the study of active ingredients as well as delivery systems because actives in skin care deliver benefits."

Active ingredients in a skin care product can convey multiple benefits to optimize the skin's natural biology, noted Dr. Lieve Declercq, executive manager biological research, Origins/Estee Lauder Companies, Europe & Asia." At Origins, we carefully select active ingredients so that they work in orchestrated tandem with the skin's own processes to optimize their performance or send signals to kick-start a repair process. By including powerful active ingredients (for example, the Rose of Jericho and Padina pavonica within a moisturizer in the Make A Difference collection), we can revive dehydrated skin and visibly repair past damage for long-lasting benefits."


All in all, when it comes to actives, it is important to look at which active ingredients the product contains and in what amounts the actives are being used.

"Essentially, active ingredients are what make the product work," said Michelle Young, USANA Sense educator/spokesperson, Salt Lake City, UT.

What's On-Trend?

Clinically tested botanical actives are very popular in skin care, noted Young. Botanicals such as chamomile, green tea and gotu kola are big right now, she added.

"Sense's Rice Bran Polisher, for example, contains papaya enzymes and unique rice beadlets that remove dull, dry skin to reveal a natural glow," she said. "Also, vitamins like A and E are often found in top-selling skin care products."

Antioxidants--either natural or synthetic--have shown a very wide range of activity, from improving skin radiance, skin texture, diminishing the appearance of hyperpigmented spots, fine lines and wrinkles as well as a photoprotective effect complementary to SPF products, noted Foltis of L'Oreal. Examples include vitamin C as well as plant-derived ingredients such as polyphenols from grapes. For more on the benefits of antioxidants, read the Anti-Aging & Cosmeceutical Corner column in this issue.

Graf agrees that vitamins are popular actives, along with antioxidants, botanicals, peptides and skin lighteners and brighteners.

"Vitamin A, or retinoids, are very well studied and have a regulatory effect repairing the skin on a molecular level," she said. "A number of different retinoids are found in the over-the-counter market including retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl palmitate. Vitamins C and E are extremely effective antioxidants, which are soothing and protective to the skin and potentiate the effects of sun protection.

Graf continued, "In addition, vitamin C stimulates collagen production in fibroblasts which gives it a dual role as protector and rejuvenator. Vitamin C is also a skin brightener as it inhibits tyrosinase in melanin production."

"We notice an increasing demand for natural actives to become more popular as skin care ingredients, as more potent and highly efficacious plant extracts become available," said Declercq of Origins. "Today, it is possible to reach a high level of scientifically proven performance with a cosmetic product based on natural ingredients, in such a way that it offers a true natural alternative to more aggressive procedures ... without the downsides."

According to Declercq, Mimosa tenuiflora--used in Origins' new Starting Over Eye Cream--comes to mind as an example of a powerful active.

"We found that an extract of the Mimosa tenuiflora tree bark increased natural collagen synthesis by 52% within 24 hours in vitro. We chose to combine the collagen-boosting powers of Mimosa tenuiflora bark with fennel seed extract, which zeros in on tense-looking skin around the eye region."

Other ingredients that are popular are "derm-inspired," said Foltis, noting that polysaccharides in general and more specifically, hyaluronic acid (HA), are quite effective.

"Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, a high molecular weight polysaccharide (sugar), and a major component of the extracellular matrix in the dermis but is also in the extracellular spaces of the epidermis," he explained."HA has a profound hydrating effect due to its hygroscopicity-it can bind 1,000 times its weight in water."

Anti-Aging Ranges

One of the trends for 2010 is skin care targeting a specific age group--especially aging Baby Boomers. And what better way to attract their attention than with complete regimens for a full-on attack on wrinkles, sagging and discoloration?

For example, Avon's latest anti-aging creation is Anew Platinum, a new line for women 60-plus that recaptures the look of youthful contours, according to the company. The direct seller tapped actress Jacqueline Bisset as the face of the campaign.

At the heart of the products--a serum and night cream--is Paxillium Technology. Paxillin, a key skin protein, is critical in helping retain the full, expanded, youthful shape of skin cells. Avon developed Anew Platinum Night Cream and Serum formulas with patent-pending Paxillium Technology designed to help stimulate the production of Paxillin by up to 60%, according to the company.

Another collection targeting Boomers is Lumene Premium Beauty, available at CVS. Enhanced with Arctic sea buckthorn nectar, the skin care range is designed for those 50 years old and over and combines Scandinavian sea buckthorn with a "Tri-Peptides" compound. According to Lumene, it utilizes Hippophae rhamnoide to create a protective network of 16 natural antioxidants to safeguard skin against free radicals and harmful environmental influences.

Additionally, the optimal effect of the Premium Beauty products is based on the synergy of carefully selected peptides: acetyl hexapeptide-3, palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. This peptide compound has a three-dimensional effect on skin, according to the company: it firms and revitalizes skin that has lost its suppleness; reduces existing lines, and prevents the appearance of new ones; and relaxes skin tension. Products include a rejuvenating day cream, night cream, serum and eye cream.

For skin "hungry" for the nutrients and active ingredients, nutraceutical trailblazer Scott Borba is set to debut the Borba collection of skin care exclusively for Wal-greens next month. The range features superfruits such as camu camu and acai berry in an Age-Defying 4-in-l Cleansing Treatment, Deep Repair Night Creme and Skin Lightening Spot Treatment.

"When I conceived this brand, I set out to create a comprehensive collection that not only addresses the broadest topical skin concerns in a serious way, but also will address the causes of internal skin issues, too," said Borba.

Also in the mass market, at Target and Whole Foods, natural skin care purveyor Weleda is launching Pomegranate Firming Facial Care--a system of four products proven to prevent and reverse the visible signs of aging, according to the company. Utilizing pomegranate seed oil, which is harvested from organic pomegranates grown in Turkey, each product contains a high level of antioxidants, flavonoids and essential fatty acids. The range includes a facial serum and eye cream, among others.

Kinerase, the clinical skin care brand owned by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, is also expanding its portfolio with Dr. LeWinn by Kinerase, a mass market anti-aging collection. Dr. LeWinn by Kinerase features 10 products--including cleansers, moisturizers and daily treatments--that utilize Kinerase's signature patented kinetin, along with other anti-aging ingredients including Osilift, Eyeseryl and Sepiwhite. The collection will be available at select Walgreens and Walmart stores nationwide beginning in February.

L'Oreal Paris launched Youth Code, a four-item anti-aging line that the company calls the first range in the mass market to use gene-boosting science. The collection includes a day-night cream, a serum, a day lotion with SPF 30 and an eye cream. L'Oreal claims that after four weeks of use, the collection "significantly diminishes the signs of aging."

GenActiv technology, the company said, is the secret to Youth Code, which has two key ingredients. There's Biolysat (a lysate of bifidobacteria that is obtained by a fermentation process of Bifidus bacteria), which acts at the epidermis level and tells genes to act faster in the recovery process. Then there's adenosine, a molecule that is found in skin cells that acts at the dermis level to produce collagen.

A Single Solution?

Of course, marketers are still banking on single SKUs that may be the next "must have" item to achieve superior skin.

Consider La Mer, which recently introduced The Eye Balm Intense, a treatment that helps accelerate skin's natural renewal process to revitalize the fragile eye region. At the core of the product is the Marine De-Puff Ferment, an energy-rich red algae that undergoes an extensive bio-fermentation process, according to La Mer.

Partnered with tourmaline minerals, these ingredients are embedded in a gel that expands and contracts to deliver ingredients deep into the skin's surface. Additionally, a Marine Peptide Ferment includes a powerful anti-aging marine algae and peptide complex, according to the company.

Vichy Laboratoires recently debuted Aqualia Thermal Eyes Roll-On, an anti-aging treatment featuring a combination of plant-derived escin; horse chestnut, to promote micro-circulation; dextran sulphate, known for its decongestant properties to fade the intensity of dark circles; and hyaluronic acid, which has the capacity to retain up to 1,000 times its water volume.

At the heart of Aqualia Thermal Eye Roll-On is Vichy Thermal Spa Water, which is recognized by the French Academy of Medicine for its soothing, fortifying and regenerating action.

Hyaluronic acid is also imperative in Guinot Paris' new Acti-Rides Flash Wrinkle Eraser System. It contains an exclusive active ingredient complex proprietary to Guinot called Derm Liss, which is comprised of hyaluronic acid to improve coetaneous suppleness and elasticity and restore moisture, as well as Dynalift, which forms a firming and enveloping film over the skin's surface for a micro-lifting effect.

Acti Rides Flash's active ingredients also stimulate the production of elastic fibers, restoring density to the dermal layer and reinforcing the network of elastic fibers, according to the company.

Peter Thomas Roth will expand its Un-Wrinkle line next year with new Un-Wrin-kle Creme. A powerful patent-pending blend of nine wrinkle-relaxing and anti-aging peptides and neuropeptides highly concentrated at 29% are infused into this intensive moisturizing creme, according to the company. The "breakthrough" new BoNt-L peptide works in synergy with the Un-Wrinkle blend to reduce the depth of expression and fine lines while increasing youthful elasticity and bounce.


New to the Olay skin care line is Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir, the company's first daily, leave-on nighttime moisturizer containing glycolic acid available on mass market shelves. According to the company, the product is "intelligently designed" to work with your body's natural nightly changes to gently resurface skin as well as a light chemical peel in seven days.

Besides smoothing creases and warding off other signs of aging, active ingredients are also useful in fading skin discoloration and tackling skin conditions such as acne. Therefore, an increasing number of marketers are formulating products that erase and treat, so to speak.

Clinique's reformulated clarifying lotions debut next month. According to the company, the dermatologist-revamped line will feature buffering agents--including hyaluronic acid, glycerin and trehalose--to make exfoliation more comfortable. Graduated levels of salicylic acid, a staple with dermatologists, are also present to aid exfoliation by removing dead skin cells, promoting optimal cell turnover. There are four formulas of varying strengths appropriate for very dry to dry, dry combination, combination oily and oily skin.

Products That Deliver

Skin-resurfacing products are also a big part of using active ingredients. Murad recently launched the Clean Scene line to address the daily skin care needs of teens and young adults. Formulated with the antioxidant-rich yumberry to keep skin balanced, Clean Scene offers five different products, such as a Craving for Clean wash and Gaga for Glow pore minimizer.

The pioneer of the home peel, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare launched an "Extra Strength" two-part treatment with an increased concentration of alpha and beta hydroxy acids found in the original formula, plus new anti-aging boosters, including willow bark extract and mandelic acid.

According to Carrie Gross, president and chief executive officer of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, New York, her company's definition of active is any ingredient that causes a change in the chemistry of the skin to achieve a reaction.

"These ingredients and treatment products can be an alternative to procedures in a doctor's office, such as heavy peels, lasers and surgery. The consumer is looking for results," she explained.

Another result-driven product is Glytone Acne Self Foaming Cleanser. Debuting in February, the SKU is an anti-acne multitasker that doubles as both a face wash and mask. A lower concentration of salicylic acid (0.5%) reduces dryness, irritation and exfoliation discomfort without sacrificing efficacy, according to the company. Self-foaming technology allows the cleanser to act like a mask when left on skin.

Skin by Monica Olsen, which is distributed in Duane Reade stores, launched Refine, a deep penetrating clay cleanser. According to the company, Refine deep cleans skin with kaolin clay, which stimulates circulation while gently exfoliating the surface. The formulation also includes other ingredients that complement the kaolin clay. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells against the effects of free radicals, while lemon peel aids in blood flow!

"Active ingredients are the basis for corrective claims," explained Dino Guglielmelli, president, Skin By Monica, Castaic, CA.

"If you wish to get results from your skin care regimen, then active ingredients in your products must be manufactured at the tested levels to achieve the desired results," he added.

Industry observers say antioxidants will continue to be popular anti-aging ingredients as new efficacy endpoints are discovered. Also on the rise are active ingredients that protect cellular energy production as well as those involving sirtuins to maintain circadian rhythms.

An Active Outlook

As hydration is such an important factor in overall skin health, materials focusing on epidermal lipid synthesis will be big in skin care for 2011, said Foltis.

Peptides will continue to be important and "highly specific" in skin care, noted Graf. Ingredients that increase microcirculation and brighten skin will also be an important trend, she added.

"I think skin care products will continue to become more natural," noted Young at Sense. "Merging science and nature is key ... as technologies advance, we will learn more about what we can do with the ingredients Mother Nature has given us."

"We see a rising trend for those high performing naturals that provide the efficacy and aesthetics of a true prestige product," agreed Declercq of Origins/Estee Lauder. "Actives will become more targeted toward a specific mechanism of action that has been identified to play a key role in the aging process or a skin parameter that varies between different ethnicities.

That is what makes it so fascinating to be a scientist in this field," added Declercq. "With every new discovery, we find a new active that better fits the skin's needs."


Melissa Meisel * Associate Editor

RELATED ARTICLE: Good as Gold: Estee Lauder Expands Re-Nutriv Skin Care Collection

In creating the Re-Nutriv skin care collection in the 1950s, Mrs. Estee Lauder worked in a secret vault and entrusted the complete formula to only one other employee. According to the company, she infused her creme with 26 of the world's most expensive ingredients and some of science's most powerful advances and packaged in a golden jar.

"Costly, yes, but how rewarding" was the message communicated in the first print ads for Re-Nutriv in 1958. It is even said to be the first skin care product to use resveratrol with its Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lifting Creme back in 2002.

Now, the skin care brand's latest incarnation is the new Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Collection. Inspired by epigenetics, Estee Lauder researchers developed something called "Life Re Newing Molecules." According to the company, this "extraordinary infusion" is the secret behind Re-Nutriv, helping to repair, recharge and restore skin's energized, radiant appearance. The products also feature black tourmaline, a charged mineral known for its energetic properties.


Leading the way is the new Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Creme ($250, 50ml)--an "all-in-one super creme," according to Dr. Na-dine Pernodet, Ph.D. executive director of skin biology, research and development, The Estee Lauder Companies.

"It's is the first Estee Lauder creme to both repair and moisturize skin simultaneously, but it also provides a complete, holistic approach to lifting at every level--cellular, surface and manual," she said.

Other SKUs include the Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Serum ($200, 30ml) and Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Eye Creme ($100, 50ml). All three feature Phormidium rersicinum, an algae that has survived and thrived for more than three billion years, to support skin's energy and functioning; EGT, an amino acid and "supercharged" antioxidant and Laminaria digitata extract.

Also known as silketare, this ingredient is created through a patented process and comes from an incomparable sea plant that can only be harvested for a few months each year. Silketare helps boost SIRT-3, a "longevity gene" which plays a vital role in skin cell's mitochondrial function, according to the company.

"We have just begun to unlock the power of sirtuins to help the skin," said Dr. Dan Yarosh, Ph.D., senior vice president, research and development, basic science research, The Estee Lauder Companies.

"We have discovered connections among the new sirtuins in skin and key cellular functions, like energy and the DNA program, which are very exciting. We expect to continue to lead in the field of epigenetics and bring these new advances to the products we make."

More info:

RELATED ARTICLE: 1, 2, 3, 4 ... 37 Actives Debuts at Neiman Marcus

For those tired of layering on four or five products a day, Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas--the self-proclaimed "Derm-Scientist" who holds three Harvard degrees--created 37 Extreme Actives, an advanced skin care treatment.

According to Alexiades-Armenakas, 37 Extreme Actives, sold exclusively at Neiman Marcus for $295 a jar, is comprised of 37 of the most potent and effective anti-aging actives that cover all the major therapeutic categories of skin aging including DNA repair, anti-pigment, anti-wrinkle and much more.

"In 37, I microencapsulated the actives in various liposomes and prepared the cream formula so that penetration of actives is unhindered," she told HAPPI. "37 is an advanced cream technology that looks and feels like a cream but penetrates like a serum."

Necessity is the mother of invention, according to Alexiades.

"As one who both practices dermatology and conducts scientific research, I realized how unmanageable and confusing it was becoming for people with so many new active ingredients continually being developed such that you needed to buy multiple products every month and layer them on in order to do the most for your skin," she said. "Patients would dump the Bloomingdale's counter onto my desk and beg: 'Please tell me which of these is worth using and when!'"


The challenge was formulating a single product that contained all of these key proven ingredients or actives in a way that maintained the activity of and microtargeted each ingredient to its specified location in the skin, according to Alexiades. She did just that by creating microscopic packets addressed to the locations in the skin where each ingredient is designed to work.

"I call this 'rational skin care design,'" she said. "The ingredients are actively combined in a highly advanced cream technology, uniquely capable of suspending the greatest number and variety of actives and one that is friendly to all skin types and skin problems."

More info:

RELATED ARTICLE: Colorescience Pro Aims for a Perfect 10

Give skin a jump-start with the amplified Anti Aging Serum ($49) from Colorescience Pro. Formulated with a 10 peptide blend to specifically target fine lines and wrinkles, this radiance-boosting formula with hydrating hyaluronic acid makes skin look and feel younger, according to the company. Light-reflecting pigments diminish imperfections, improve the appearance of redness and brighten sallow tones. This potent combination encourages the skin's self-restorative capacity.

"Our Anti Aging Serum has a dynamic ingredient list," says company founder Diane Ranger. "In addition to the peptide blend, the serum boasts an anti-aging essential oil blend, aloe and the ever-important antioxidants. It's a fabulous way to prep and treat skin before applying our healthy, mineral makeup."

The 10 signature peptides are:

1. Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate: imparts smoothing and anti-wrinkle properties

2. Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5: stimulates collagen synthesis

3. Tripeptide-10 Citrulline: boosts, protects collagen

4. Tripeptide-1: boosts, organizes and protects collagen

5. Copper Tripeptide-1: generates new skin cells

6. Palmitoyl Oligopeptide: restructures and moisturizes

7. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7: anti-wrinkling and lifting effects

8. Acetyl Tetrapeptide-9: firms and plumps

9. Hexapeptide-2: lightens

10. Rh-Oligopeptide-1: stimulates cell proliferation

More info:
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Title Annotation:Active Ingredients in Skin Care
Author:Meisel, Melissa
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Date:Dec 1, 2010
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