Fifty not out

While skin ages at different rates, once people hit their 50s their skin could really do with a bit of extra assistance. John Woodruff explains why and how to provide it


While skin ages at different rates, once people hit their 50s their skin could really do with a bit of extra assistance. John Woodruff explains why and how to provide it

Previous skin care technology features in SPC have looked at pre-natal and post-natal skin care, skin care for babies, toddlers and teens, then for the 25s to 55s. This time the focus is mainly on older skin. Some people age more quickly than others, particularly if they don’t heed advice about the effects of solar radiation, but eventually all will show signs of advancing years.

As people age skin becomes drier, thinner and more wrinkled, spots and growths appear and skin tends to heal more slowly if injured. The collagen and elastin fibres that keep skin firm weaken and it looks loose, becoming thinner and loosing fat so that it looks less plump and smooth. While all these changes are taking place, gravity is also at work, pulling at the skin and causing it to sag. To add to the misery of ageing, dry skin may be flaky and itchy, especially in cold, dry, windy climates. Seborrhoeic dermatitis may affect areas of skin with a high concentration of oil glands, such as the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, behind the ears and the middle of the chest.


Skin growths and pigment spots caused by years of sun exposure become more common with age. They may range from harmless age spots, properly called lentigines, to skin cancers that require treatment. Red or brown scaly spots called actinic keratosis may become skin cancers that eventually need to be removed surgically. Squamous cell carcinoma typically develops on the rim of the ear, the face, the lips or the back of the hands. These skin cancers can destroy normal tissue and squamous cell cancers occasionally spread to internal organs. If left untreated, squamous cell carcinomas can be aggressive.

The most common form of skin cancer is a basal cell carcinoma. It usually appears as a small, shiny bump or red bleeding pinpoints on the head, face, nose, neck or chest. It is more common in older, fair skinned people with blonde or red hair and blue or green eyes. Untreated, these skin cancers can bleed and crust over. They grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body. When treated early, squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers have a 95% cure rate.

Malignant melanoma is a less common but more serious form of skin cancer. This skin cancer usually appears as a dark brown or black mole-like growth with irregular borders and variable colours. Men over the age of 50 are at the highest risk for melanoma, but it can affect anyone of any age. Melanoma is more likely to strike people who had severe childhood sunburns. The most frequent sites for melanoma are the upper back in men and women, the chest and abdomen in men, and the lower legs of women. Any change in an existing mole or the rapid appearance of a new mole could be a sign of melanoma and should be examined immediately by a dermatologist. Melanoma can spread to other organs and can be fatal.

Some of the conditions described are medical conditions that can only be treated by the medical profession while others may benefit from cosmetic applications. Prevention is always better than cure and daily application of SPF15 moisturiser from childhood inhibits the visible signs of ageing. Such products were not available until the last 20 years but regular application from now on will at least delay further deterioration.

Sun care products featured in the April issue of SPC and further information may be found in the review of the in-cosmetics innovations seminars in this issue (p44-46). However, since publication of the sun protection article NuLastic Silk MA, a crosspolymer of C4-24 Alkyl dimethicone/divinyldimethicone formed in-situ with isononyl isononanoate has been introduced by Alzo International. It can solubilise and hold up to 25% organic sunscreens in a gel and has a skin feel unique to silicone elastomers. Sunscreens containing phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid had to be neutralised to a pH of 7+ to avoid crystallisation when using traditional alkaline agents. From Symrise comes news that if neutralised using its Bioactive

L-Argine it is possible to formulate at pH 6 and above and clear gels may be formed without risk of crystal formation. SolarSil PSF [INCI: Undecylcrylene dimethicone] from Hallstar is a photostabilising silicone fluid, which enhances the photostability of BMDBM by quenching the triplet excited state and improves the feel and spreadability of sunscreen formulations.


Moisture levels decrease with age which causes problems because the presence of sufficient amount of water in the stratum corneum (SC) is required to enable normal functioning. If the upper layers of the SC contain less than 10% of water, the skin loses its smoothness, suppleness and healthy appearance, resulting in the perception of dry skin. Also the activity of specific hydrolytic enzymes that play a predominant role in normal desquamation of dead skin cells from the SC surface is inhibited in dry skin. Moisture content of the SC is dependent on environment humidity, the skin’s ability to replace water lost by evaporation and the intrinsic ability of the SC of retaining transepidermal water. Interrelated mechanisms provide a broad and complex way of keeping skin hydrated, but these become less effective with age.

Fortunately, improving the moisture content of skin falls within cosmetic possibilities and there are many materials with moisturising properties. A material from CLR, called DayMoist CLR, comprises aqua, hydrolysed starch and Beta vulgaris root extract. Just 1% of DayMoist CLR significantly moisturises the skin for at least eight hours and 3-5% increases the concentration of the skin’s natural moisturising factor, or NMF, and provides 24 hour improvement.

Skinmimics from Evonik Goldschmidt is claimed to have proven benefits for those older than 50 and to revitalise dry, mature skin by optimising the total epidermal water management system. It repairs the skin’s own water protection barrier and activates its natural moisturising system. It also increases the glycerol and water transport mechanism and contains the recently identified cell signalling sphingosine molecules in a ready-to-use multi-lamellar concentrate that can easily be incorporated into cosmetic formulations. Its INCI listing is ceteareth-25 & glycerin & cetyl alcohol & behenic acid & cholesterol & ceramides & caproyl phytosphingosine & caproyl sphingosine. Several studies provided insight into the complex lipid architecture underlying the skin’s barrier function and it appears that Skinmimics resembles the lamellar and lateral SC lipid structure of alternating broad/narrow/broad sequences of bilayers.

Aquasense is a concentrated hydroglycolic extract of Angico (Piptadenia colubrina), standardised in total polysaccharides from Chemyunion Quimica. It is claimed to provide an immediate and progressive moisturising effect and to promote a two-fold increase in the glycerol index in the stratum corneum at the onset of application. It improves the skin barrier function and reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL), resulting in long-term cellular hydration.

It is a hydro/glycolic extract of Piptadenia colubrina peel and 2-5% is recommended for products intended for topical application.

Also from Chemyunion, Relievene SK is an extract of the plant species Rhodiola rosea that is able to reduce skin dryness and discomfort. It shows antioxidant activity through reducing cell membrane damage and is able to improve skin appearance through maintaining the extracellular matrix of the skin, by increasing epidermal thickness and by increasing levels of proteins which bring comfort to the skin. Its INCI composition is shown as Carnosine & Rhodiola rosea root extract & alanyl glutamine and its recommended use level is from 0.1-1%. These materials and all others mentioned in this feature have published efficacy data and safety assessments available through their suppliers and distributors.

Actives introduced at in-cosmetics 2008 by Lucas Meyer include Sculptessence, an aqueous glycolic extract of Linum usitatissimum (flax seed) that can absorb up to 30 times its weight in water, and Heliofeel, a mixture of glyceryl stearate citrate, polyglyceryl-3-stearate and hydrogenated lecithin derived from sunflower phospholipids that is Ecocert registered as a natural emulsifier and has a moisturising action.


Older skin is generally more sensitive and the trend towards using natural materials is also more apparent with the older consumer. These two demands mean that natural emulsifiers that avoid the use of ethoxylated materials are preferred and as they often provide lamellar structures their ability to deliver actives to the epidermis is enhanced. Alain Thibodeau, B&T, delivered a paper at in-cosmetics 2008 on biomimetic liquid crystals as skin barrier restructuring agents. Thibodeau stated that the integrity of the SC barrier consists of keratinocytes embedded within a lipid-rich matrix. Its integrity ensures protection from environmental insults and prevents excessive TEWL. The tridimensional organisation of this lipid-rich matrix allows it to exist in the form of a lamellar crystalline phase.

B&T has developed skin compatible liquid crystals that biomimic, chemically and structurally, the organisation of the skin extracellular lipid matrix. Topical application of a formulation containing 2.5 - 4.0% of biomimetic liquid crystals achieves a significant increase in skin hydration. Olivem 1000 Crystal Skin is a complex combination of fatty acids that has the distinctive property to self-emulsify in hydrophilic or lipophilic environments. Olivem1000 Crystal Skin is chemically similar to the skin surface lipid composition, has Ecocert approval and represents a unique biomimetic restructuring agent for restoring and maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier and for providing emulsifying properties.

Evonik Goldschmidt suggests Tego Emulprot as a PEG-free emulsifier based on natural milk and sugar for forming o/w emulsions. With Ecocert approval, it is used at 2.5-5% to emulsify 20-35% of esters and natural oils. It is a mixture of sodium citrate, hydrolysed milk protein, xanthan gum, Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (guar) gum and magnesium stearate that thickens, emulsifies and stabilises oily phases and makes it possible to produce emulsions with soft and creamy textures. Also Ecocert approved, Tego Care LTP [INCI: Sorbitan laurate & polyglyceryl-4 laurate & dilauryl citrate] is used for low temperature o/w emulsification and is effective at relatively low levels.

Lipomulse Luxe from Lipo Chemicals is an emulsifier blend that combines outstanding stability with exceptional soft, silky skin feel by forming liquid crystal structures. A key sensory attribute when incorporated into an emulsion is that it produces an immediate and noticeable improved feel during spreading of the emulsion on the skin, as well as during continued rub-in. The response is an elegant, soft feeling sensation that persists long after the product has been applied. The emulsions have a very fine texture with a luxurious shiny appearance.

Montanov o/w emulsifiers from Seppic are Ecocert approved and form liquid crystal structures that promote emulsion stability and also reinforce the skin’s lipid barrier to protect it against moisture loss. There are six in the range for various applications and to provide consistencies ranging from sprayable to a rich cream. As with all emulsifiers that form liquid crystal structures, there are special techniques recommended for the way in which they are incorporated.

Skin care, especially for the more mature, goes beyond sun protection and delivering moisture from a skin compatible emulsion. Antioxidants and free-radical scavengers are commonly recommended and ways and means of improving skin tone and elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles are claimed.


Rovisomes from Rovi Cosmetics is a skin delivery system based on liposome technology. They have a very high content of linoleic acid and a diameter between 100 - 300nm. They consist of an external lipophilic membrane, which surrounds the internal, hydrophilic nucleus. They may be loaded with active ingredients to be transported to the deeper layers of the epidermis with enhanced efficacy. Both lipophilic and hydrophilic actives can be loaded into the Rovisome. An example is Rovisome Q10, which contains the coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone, and its effectiveness is claimed to be improved by 27% compared to incorporating a similar quantity of ubiquinone in a control formulation. Another example is Rovisome Relax, which contains a blend of actives from green tea and green algae. In-vivo tests show it to increase skin moisture by about 30% over a two week period and to give a significant decrease in the amplitude of wrinkles.

Marine extracts form the basis of products from Biotechmarine in Brittany. Cellulosomes Eryngium is an extract of stem cells from Eryngium maritimum that is claimed to stimulate the neosynthesis of macromolecules such as collagen and elastin that are located in the dermo-epidermal junction, basal layer and upper epidermis. It is also said to stimulate cell renewal and proliferation, and to have a protective effect against free radicals and to reduce inflammatory activity, thereby reducing skin stress. In-vivo panel studies on mature subjects show improvement in skin tone, firmness and hydration, with noticeable reduction in erythema. It is supplied as a water-dispersible, beige coloured powder, free from preservatives and solvents.

Also from Biotechmarine, BioFA is a blend of plankton extract and Arginine ferulate designed to optimise the health and viability of skin cells by hydrating, energising and detoxifying. Detoxification of the cell is a key function in keeping cells healthy and BioFA helps eliminate oxidised proteins and therefore helps maintain cell viability, even under oxidative stress conditions. In-vivo studies on mature panellists showed that with BioFA used at a level of 1%, skin showed improvement in moisture, firmness and smoothness.

Exsymol of Monaco promotes marine extracts as the basis of Exsymer, a solution of Himanthalia elongate, Asaragopsis armata and Chondrus crispus that is said to improve skin hydration, to be an antioxidant and to have energising and anti-stress properties.


Also from Exsymol, Epidermolsil is silanetriol with hyaluronic acid that is said to exhibit similar properties to retinoic acid but without its potential for irritation and to be acceptable in the EU. An interesting concept from Exsymol is Silipearl, an aqueous dispersion of silanetriol and hydrolysed pearl amino acids that is said to improve the smoothness of the skin. Pearl powder contains high levels of amino acids and coupled with Exsymol’s silanol technology, water molecules are bound in water spheres to provide moisturising properties and the pearl powder is a source of bio-minerals.

Combining cosmetics with materials more commonly associated with jewellery is a sign that the older consumer is expected to spend more on cosmetic products. Active Concepts markets a number of powdered gemstones including diamond, emerald and jade and extracts of many others including tourmaline, rubies and sapphire. These materials are also provided with marketing stories. For example, according to ancient Egyptian legend tourmalines are found in so many different colours because they passed over a rainbow on their long journey up from the centre of the earth.

Perhaps less romantic, Active Concepts Bio-Chelate Copper is said to strengthen the bond between collagen and elastin, allowing the skin to remain strong and durable. ACB Bio-Chelate Gold and ACB Bio-Chelate Silver are recommended as anti-inflammatory agents and to heal the uncomfortable effects caused by ultra dry, red skin. ACB Bio-Chelate Malachite Powder consists of ground malachite that is fermented with Saccharomyces and spray-dried into powder form. During the fermentation process a biotransformation takes place to create a complex consisting of malachite coupled with Saccharomyces peptides. It has antioxidant benefits and is suggested for protecting the skin from environmental damage.

Goldencollagenine from Blagdon Speciality Chemicals marries peptides with the lure of gold to form nanoparticles. When used at 0.2-0.5% in anti-ageing products it is said to enhance collagen synthesis by 230%, to significantly improve skin elasticity and hydration and to reduce wrinkles.

Treatment of cellulite, skin tone and wrinkles will feature in a future article.

Featured Companies

Evonik Nutrition and Care (more information, website)

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