New active ingredient stimulates the synthesis of lipids in the epidermis and rebalances skin microbiota. BASF establishes interdisciplinary innovation platform on skin microbiota
At this year’s Cosmetagora, BASF launched the first active ingredient for the personal care market that is able to rebalance the skin’s ecosystem: Relipidium reinforces the skin’s lipid barrier and defence by creating a favourable environment for a balanced skin microflora, which in return helps to preserve an optimal skin moisturisation.
To further explore the role of microbiota in a healthy skin barrier, researchers from BASF have established an interdisciplinary innovation platform. “We want to better understand the role of each micro-organism in skin beauty and build new skin models to study effects of active ingredients”, said David Herault, Head of Global Research and Development for Bio-Actives at BASF. To this end, BASF reinforced its research facilities in Lyon and engaged into partnerships with experts from public and private research institutes.
One of the first achievements of the research team, in collaboration with the International Center for Infectiology Research (CIRI), has been creating newly engineered skin models embedded with bacteria, which allow researchers to explore the interactions between active ingredients and skin microflora. “From therapeutic gut applications, to the treatment of atopic skin and acne, the use of prebiotics and probiotics raised awareness about micro-organisms’ potential,” explained Herault. “Based on an ecosystemic approach, we aim to develop ingredients that are capable to support a healthy skin microflora, taking into account skin disorders’ origin and microbiota dysbiosis.” Over the coming years, BASF intends to launch several active ingredients for cosmetic products that harness the innovation platform’s findings on skin microbiota.
The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is composed of terminally differentiated keratinocytes. These cornified envelopes are embedded in lipid bilayers that form the “bricks and mortar” of the epidermis. This impermeable barrier protects our skin and, at the same time, provides an optimum habitat for the skin’s microbiota. Once the skin’s microflora is impaired, the microbial balance of the skin is disturbed (dybiosis). Beneficial commensal bacteria are weakened, whereas pro-inflammatory bacteria can take advantage and flourish – endangering the barrier function. Damage of the skin barrier creates the conditions for water evaporation from the skin, as well as penetration of irritants and harmful substances from the outside: circumstances which promote dehydration of the skin. Dry skin in turn reinforces microbiota dysbiosis. The skin gets into a vicious cycle of dehydration.
To reverse dehydration and correct skin dryness, BASF has developed Relipidium. Based on in vivo results on microbiota, it is the first active ingredient that rebalances the skin’s ecosystem to restore the skin barrier and correct skin dryness: it stimulates the synthesis of lipids in the epidermis, thus speeding up barrier recovery and strengthening the skin’s defense. Relipidium rebalances the skin without negatively affecting skin microflora. It is obtained through bacterial fermentation – yeast hydrolysate, biofermented by lactobacillus plantarum – and contains no antibiotic or prebiotic activities. Relipidium has been demonstrated in vivo to significantly increase skin hydration by twelve percent and to allow an increase of the beneficial germ staphylococcus epidermidis by factor two, both within two weeks. Dry skin dysbiosis was rebalanced, the ratio of staphylococcus epidermidis versus the pathogenic germ staphylococcus aureus was increased by factor 2.3. Relipidium is incorporated into the final process below 30°C, or at room temperature for cold processing. The recommended dose is one to two percent.