Anti-aging is the fastest growing segment in skin care with experts predicting the global skin care market will hit $196.67 billion dollars by 20241. The global skin care market is divided into face and body segments, with face split into anti-aging, sun protection, and skin lightening.
The demand for higher efficacy anti-aging creams is expected to help the face segment grow significantly faster than the overall skin care market in the future. Currently the best anti-aging products can reduce fine line/wrinkles by approximately 50 percent and lighten skin as well as prescription 4% Hydroquinone.
Signs of skin aging
Anti-aging formulations are moisturizer-based products claiming to make consumers look younger by reducing, or preventing signs of skin aging. These signs include:
- skin sagging
- solar elastosis
- poor texture
It is important to remember that FDA defines cosmetics as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.”2
Recent FDA warning letters suggest they will be much more aggressive in the future about cracking down on claims made by the industry. Cosmetic claims made for anti-aging products need to be linked to moisturization and the appearance of skin, not how actives work.
Good moisturizers can reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 30 percent and significantly improve skin firmness and elasticity without the use of any “actives”. This highlights the importance of developing a good base formulation in which to add your active to help maximize effectiveness.
Skin-aging formulation history
In the 80s, Avon launched one of the first anti-aging products on the market containing stabilized Ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Ascorbic acid is very unstable in water and needs to be formulated into anhydrous vehicles for optimum stability.
During the next 30 plus years, numerous stable vitamin C derivatives were developed such as Magnesium/Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Ethyl Ascorbic acid and Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Ascorbates are believed to act as antioxidants, stimulate Collagen formation, and lighten skin. Currently Ascorbates are used mainly in skin lightening products or in combination with other anti-aging actives to boost performance.
The Retinoic acid revolution
In 1986, Dr. Albert Kligman clinically demonstrated that a prescription acne cream, Retin-A, containing Retinoic acid could significantly reduce skin wrinkling and improve the overall appearance of skin. This was one of the first large, well-designed studies demonstrating that a topically applied product could improve photoaged skin.
Retinoic acid is believed to work by increasing cell turnover, preventing collagen breakdown, and thickening the epidermis. However, it can cause irritation in some subjects.
In 1995, Renova cream containing .1% Retinoic acid became the first drug approved by FDA to treat photo-aged skin. Johnson and Johnson launched the first clinically effective OTC products containing stabilized Retinol, a less potent form of Retinoic acid, in the 90s under the ROC and Neutrogena brands.
Retinol is a much milder form than retinoic acid that when topically applied is oxidized to Retinal, which is further oxidized to Retinoic acid. The challenge in formulating with Retinol is to get good stability and efficacy while minimizing skin irritation. It also needs to be stabilized against UV for daywear application.
Currently there are numerous Retinol mimics that have been developed using genomics to model which genes are up and down regulated by Retinol. These mimics have good clinical efficacy when used alone or in combination with Retinol and have better stability with less irritation. Retinol to this day remains as one of the top performing and best documented skin repair actives currently available.
The introduction of alpha hydroxy acids
The era of modern anti-aging products began with the launch of products containing alpha hydroxy acids. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like Glycolic and Lactic acid, work by promoting cell exfoliation and cell turnover. AHAs revolutionized the skin care market when Avon and Neoteric (Scott’s Liquid Gold) launched Glycolic acid based products in the early 90s. The sales growth of these products was phenomenal and by 1994, sales of these two products alone totaled $300 million dollars. By 1996 more than 45 companies were manufacturing over 200 different AHA-containing products.
This began the modern trend of developing performance based anti-aging skin care products that deliver consumer perceivable benefits backed by objective clinical data. AHAs helped create the current prestige mass-market anti-aging skin care category.
Sederma in 2000 launched Matrixyl® (Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4), a peptide-based active ingredient and one of the first anti-aging ingredients with 30-day in-use clinical efficacy data versus a placebo control. Previously, suppliers rarely did these types of studies which are commonplace today.
In 2015, Matrixyl received the 25 Years of Innovation Award, recognizing the product that has had the greatest impact on the Personal Care ingredients market in the last quarter-century.3
Peptides: multi-functional skin care actives
Peptides are differentiated from proteins based on size, with peptides normally containing less than 50 amino acids and typically less than 10. Peptides act as messengers to signal skin to produce different types of tissue to promote healing. Applying peptides tricks skin into thinking that it is injured and needs to make additional types of proteins. Signaling peptides typically contain an active amino acid sequence that can induce or inhibit the formation of a specific type of protein.
Peptides are multi-functional skin care actives that can reduce wrinkles, treat acne, improve skin tone/elasticity, and lighten or tan skin. They currently are among the most popular actives used in anti-aging products today because they are easy to formulate, potent, and are very cost effective on a use basis (typically <20ppm). A well-formulated peptide-based anti-aging product combined with other actives can have comparable performance to Retinol without being as irritating.
- High demand and growth due to aging population demographics
- Development of more natural-based actives
- Less new actives are being developed due to the need for global ingredient approvals. This has led to the development of more synergistic active combinations.
- Greater use of genomics and in silico computer modeling to develop new skin repair actives
- Greater focus on better delivery of skin care actives. Current actives can vary up to 400 percent in efficacy in responder subjects versus the average results. Most of this difference is due to poor bioavailability in non-responder subjects.
- Greater use of devices and oral supplements combined with topicals to improve efficacy
- Grand View Research: Skin Care Products Market To Reach $196.67 Billion By 2024
- FDA: How U.S. Law Defines Cosmetics
- Matrixyl Inside: Sederma’s Matrixyl®recognised with the 25 Years of Innovation Award
The views, opinions and technical analyses presented here are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of UL, ULProspector.com or Knowledge.ULProspector.com. While the editors of this site make every effort to verify the accuracy of its content, we assume no responsibility for errors made by the author, editorial staff or any other contributor. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior authorization from Prospector.