Activity guaranteed part 2

John Woodruff continues his search for new cosmetic actives and highlights the wide variety of claims being made for them.


John Woodruff continues his search for new cosmetic actives and highlights the wide variety of claims being made for them

Despite difficult trading circumstances there is no shortage of new active ingredients being offered to the cosmetic industry. Following on from the first Activity guaranteed feature, which appeared in the June 2009 issue of SPC (p30-35), a further selection is presented, again without author comment but in each case suppliers’ claims are backed by documentary evidence that is available from them on request.

According to Active Concepts the pace of ageing has been linked to longevity genes that have evolved as a response to deteriorating environmental conditions or stress. Sirtuins, or silent information regulator proteins, are proteins that regulate important biological pathways in cells. There are several different classes of sirtuins but the proteins were named after the first SIR gene discovered in yeast. Increasing the expression of these genes inhibits stress induced apoptotic cell death and research indicates that an increase in the expression of SIRT1 promotes the long-term survival of our cells. Resveratrol has been shown to increase SIRT1 expression to promote longevity.

According to ISP recent research demonstrates that SIRT3 is a mitochondrial sirtuin that stimulates production and regeneration of mitochondrial antioxidants and has a link to extended life span in humans. Mutations that regulate the expression of SIRT3 were found in long-lived individuals suggesting that it can be involved in life extension. Dynachondrine ISR focuses on mitochondrial ageing by targeting SIRT3; it stimulates cytochrome C oxidase resulting in a durable energetic increase, necessary for high metabolism performance and protection without inducing oxidative damage. Ex vivo and in vivo tests with Dynachondrine ISR demonstrated visible end benefits such as a better skin structure, increased moisture level and improved appearance.

The majority of new actives are derived from botanical sources. An example is Bio-functional Buriti extract from Beraca. This is a specially formulated extract with nourishing and soothing properties that can be used in a wide range of personal care applications, particularly those aimed at dry, damaged and sensitive skin. The extract contains natural polyphenols, terpenoids and tocopherols. Jojoba Illuminate from the Desert Whale Co is derived from the saponification of jojoba oil that functions as a primary emulsifier and increases skin hydration and conditions the hair. It is a combination of jojoba fatty alcohol and jojoba soaps provided in a paste-like form.

Xeradin from Provital is a functional moisturising ingredient from Salvia sclarea cultivated under xeric conditions to achieve the desired adaptogenic mechanisms. Xeradin is an active moisturising agent that increases the level of skin moisture without altering its barrier function. It is claimed to give an immediate and long lasting moisturising effect. Arch Personal Care offers PhytoTerra Organic Maté as a powerful antioxidant containing 18-20% polyphenols and offering peroxidase-like protection.

Structurine Bio from Silab is an active ingredient obtained from sweet lupin. It is rich in oligosaccharides and glutaminated peptides and improves the synthesis of structural proteins and epidermal lipids. It is designed to maintain the integrity of the stratum corneum and to restore the barrier function and is recommended for all repairing, regenerating and hydrating care products.

Osilift Bio from Silab is derived from Avena sativa (oat) kernel extract to provide a very high molecular weight network of complex sugars linked by hydrogen bonds that adhere to the skin surface in a continuous and cohesive biological lifting film. When topically applied it causes a significant and immediate tightening of the skin and may be used for instant if somewhat temporary wrinkle removal. An alternative is Biomyox; a botox-like active derived from watercress that causes muscle cell relaxation.

A new peptide from Active Microsystems is AMS Leucidal Liquid, a ferment filtrate that is claimed to have antimicrobial and moisturising properties. It is also suggested that it has anti-viral properties making it of interest for hygienic hand wipes and gels.


Stem cell research is providing some of the greatest medicinal advances of recent times. Embryonic stem cells can differentiate into any type of cell in the body and adult stem cells are primarily responsible for maintaining and repairing body tissue. Both the dermis and epidermis are in a constant state of replenishment and renewal and there are stem cells in an area of the dermis referred to as the follicular bulge that are capable of differentiating into keratinocytes and epithelial cells. The dermis is also capable of exhibiting neuronal and immunological activity.

Active Concepts has focused on modulating hematopoietic stem cells, which can differentiate into many different types of cells. Hematopoietic stem cells originate in the bone marrow but migrate to areas including the dermis at points of damage and then differentiate into different cell lines to regenerate tissue. Active Concepts claims a unique and natural botanical extract that is shown to exhibit proliferative effects on hematopoietic cells. ACB Stem Cell Factor is a fermented extract made from gooseberries, sweet marjoram, green tea and sea buckthorn. Fermenting the plants with yeast increases the bio-availability of the phytocompounds, which include polyphenols such as catechins and EGCG and the flavonoid quercetin. These are potent antioxidants that are shown to increase cellular longevity and provide protection against reactive oxygen species. A study on behalf of Active Concepts showed that ACB Stem Cell Factor increased proliferation of the hematopoietic stem cells by 58% compared to the untreated control.

From ISP and also claiming to extend cell life is Chondricare IS, which is said to provide an innovative approach to the theory of mitochondrial ageing. This product enhances mitochondrial aconitase, energy synthesis and mtDNA protection. Modulating the two activities represents a breakthrough strategy for an innovative anti-ageing skin care approach, claims ISP. Aconitase has the capacity to switch from energy synthesis to protection of mtDNA as an adaptive response to changing environmental conditions and stresses.


RonaCare Luremin from Merck is claimed to have anti-ageing activity similar to retinol without any of the stability issues. The active ingredient is dihydroxymethylchromone, the chemical structure of which is related to the flavonoid backbone found in various plants used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine against an assortment of skin ailments. It is said to stimulate the synthesis of collagen while reducing the activity of collagenase and elastase. Also said to mimic retinol activity without its associated stability problems, Vitanol Bio from Silab is rich in galactomannans of alfalfa and protects and repairs the dermis by stimulating the synthesis of collagen I and by inhibiting the activity of metalloproteinases responsible for its destruction.

Heavy legs are the target of Cicads by Greentech, prepared by the metabolic induction of the microalgae, Porphyridium. Apparently 55% of women over the age of 30 suffer from heavy leg syndrome. It is characterised by a feeling of heaviness at the bottom of their legs and at ankle level, more particularly in the evenings. This pain is due to a vasodilation of micro-blood vessels which leads to a dysfunction of venous return and to blood stagnation in the bottom of the legs. According to Greentech it is possible to alleviate this symptom by inducing a constriction of dilated blood capillaries and this can be achieved by the topical application of marine active Cicads. It is a mix of oligosaccharides and oligoelements obtained by the metabolic induction of Porphyridium cruentum microalga.


It is now accepted that UV radiation from the sun causes skin damage and recent research by Symrise has identified another very important mechanism caused by UV activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). The AhR is a protein complex found in the cytoplasm of every cell in all vertebrates and its primary function is thought to be the metabolism of chemical species, either from food or from external sources. Transport of foreign chemical toxins by AhR activation results in oxidative stress and associated problems and Symrise offers SymHelios 1031 as an AhR antagonist to provide enhanced protection against photoageing when used in combination with UVB filters. It should also reduce UVB induced inflammation and immunosuppression, as well as protecting against photocarcinogenisis.

Celligent from Rahn claims protection of cells against UV damage following exposure to the sun and promotes active repair of skin that has been sunburnt. Rahn suggests that for sunburnt skin, Celligent helps the skin cells to repair damaged DNA by providing some of the precursors to the base nucleotides in the double helix that could have been damaged by UV radiation or free radicals generated by UV light. In this respect, repair is real time and the skin recovers faster compared to untreated skin. The faster the recovery, the less chance the cell has of mutating into a cancer cell so skin remains in better condition for longer, even after being sunburnt. It is a combination of carnosolic acid and ethyl ferulate, which are powerful antioxidants, and of uridine monophosphate, a biochemical nucleotide precursor.


Phospholipids are widely used for their emulsifying properties. In the aqueous phase, they are able to form specific structures depending on their type, the lipid-to-water ratio and the temperature. They have restructuring properties, film forming effects and reduce transepidermal water loss.

Capt-System is the name given by Lucas Meyer to a group of products designed to deliver a number of active materials utilising phospholipid technology to overcome common formulation problems. In this way folic acid is protected from photo-degradation by enclosing it in a liposome dispersion. Phytosphingosine is presented in a lamellar phase to enhance solubility, stability and bioavailability while CAPT-System Es-M Nature is a phospholipid gel system to enhance diffusion of escin and menthol in slimming and heavy legs products.

Not regarded as actives in themselves Nu-Lastic Surf polymers from Alzo International are an interesting delivery system for active ingredients. Building on its Nu-Lastic Silk technology, Alzo has taken its patented method of generating a continuous crosspolymer network in a solvent and activated it to hydrophilic materials. This results in an elastomer that incorporates aqueous active material in an oil soluble matrix. The Nu-Lastic Surf also allows better skin penetration by creating a film over the top of the active. For example a much stronger colour can be generated with DHA using Nu-Lastic Surf than a normal formulation. There are a number of variants available, each with their own unique properties.

A silicone crosspolymer is also the basis for Jeesilc C from Jeen International in which ascorbic acid is encapsulated in a dimethicone crosspolymer-3 network in a hydrocarbon solvent. The anhydrous gel network extends the stability of the L-ascorbic acid while offering superior aesthetics and spreadability.

Despite the difficulties of preserving products with materials that are not on the positive list of permitted preservatives allowed in the EU, the search for non-preservative methods of inhibiting microbial growth continues unabated. Spectrastats are materials from Inolex that are offered for this purpose. For example Spectrastat E contains no biocides or typical preservatives. Instead it uses multifunctional ingredients that have excellent efficacy as biostatic and fungistatic agents.

Paratexin EC5 from S. Black combines permitted preservatives that are Ecocert approved in an optimised combination of benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, benzoic acid and sorbic acid. It has broad spectrum antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi and may be used up to pH6.5.

There are many other new materials available to the formulator including rheology modifiers, special effect pigments and new emulsifiers. This feature has concentrated on those that lay claim to providing pharmacological activity or which may be directly associated with such claims. Many of the ingredients discussed are accepted by Ecocert as natural and a significant proportion are accepted for products claiming Ecocert organic approval. Those interested are advised to seek further information from the suppliers.

Featured Companies

Greentech (more information, website)
Rahn (more information, website)

See also