Four Key Science Trends to Watch out for in the Skincare Market

Four Key Science Trends to Watch out for in the Skincare Market

(Posted on 14/06/16)

The 2016 Anti-Ageing Skincare Conference took place in London last week on the 7th and 8th June at the Royal College of Physicians and Cornelius’ Daniel Whitby was lucky enough to attend.

The conference’s four sessions provided the key science trends to keep an eye on in the skincare market - watch out for these appearing in your products soon!

1. External factors and premature ageing                                    

It's not just the sun which prematurely ages skin, the effects of pollution, visible light, infra-red light and tobacco smoke on hair and skin ageing can be significant.

Although it is widely believed that 90% of skin ageing is caused by UV exposure (photo-ageing), scientists are now looking with greater interest in to what causes that important remaining 10%. 

The first keynote paper in this session was presented by Professor J Krutmann from Leibniz University in Germany and detailed a study, which has been conducted in Germany, assessing the effects of environmental pollution on skin. Six categories of pollutants were described and the research team focused on particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide. The study started in 1985 and showed evidence that PMs and nitrogen dioxide accelerated the formation of age-spots on the face. The research is now being repeated in China as age-spots are a huge trend in Asian skincare markets.

A further talk by Professor Tobin of Bradford University showed a link between smoking cigarettes (tobacco smoke pollution) and hair loss. 

A third presentation showed that visible light also contributed to premature skin ageing and penetrates the skin further than UVA or UVB rays. Visible light can be the cause of reactive oxygen species formation (ROS) leading to chronic inflammation.

What to watch out for: products claiming anti-pollution effects, particularly for those living in big cities. 

Market examples:

Dior’s One Essential City Defense “shields skin from city pollution” and offers triple anti-pollution action to ensure everyday skin is more resilient and glowing with youthful beauty.

Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream, enriched with extracts of purifying Moringa and nourishing Shea and mango, rids the skin of traces of pollution, detoxifies the epidermis and protects the skin from the harmful effects of pollution, restoring the skin's biological balance to preserve its natural qualities and youthfulness.

Ingredient suggestions: Apolluskin and Filmexel from Silab 

2. The rising importance of Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) mutation increases in skin which is exposed to sunlight; this can be used by scientists as a bio-marker of sun exposure. The damaged DNA is then involved in a vicious circle within cells where high levels of DNA damage lead to changes in mitochondrial function and increased free radical production that leads to more MtDNA damage and so on. Damage is also caused by infra-red skin exposure.

Market example: DermaDNA have a test kit and range of skin care products which can combat these effects. Expect to see more of these type of claims being made in the market place.

Ingredient suggestion: Mitokinyl from Silab

3. More on Epigenetics

This is an area of science which has proven to be quite niche for skincare products so far but the continued research indicates it is primed for an explosion into the market place. Professor Botchkarev from Boston University USA gave an overview of epigenetic regulation in skin cells and showed how our "epigenetic machinery" is affected by pollution and how this contributes to skin ageing.

Amongst the big players in the market, Unilever has been explicit about developing this technology into its products. In a recent interview Sara Vaughan, Unilever's VP for global communication, stated: "The company is now capitalizing on future trends like how science is evolving towards epigenetics to optimize DNA in the quest for longevity." 

Market example: Sisleÿa L’Intégral Anti-Age which incorporate a cocktail of innovative active ingredients which work against the visible signs of not only genetic and environmental ageing, but also behavioural ageing from lifestyle and habits.

Ingredient suggestion: Epigenomyl from Silab.

4. Cumulative Effects - the longer you use a product the longer it keeps giving! 

Cumulative product effects and, in particular how to generate and gather the data to support these types of claims, was the fourth big topic of the conference with a whole session devoted to claim support for anti-ageing products.

Market example: Last year’s Boot's No7 advert was the first ever cumulative effect advertisement cleared for broadcast in the UK.

To find out more about the ingredients mentioned above visit or contact

For more images from the event visit the Conference’s Facebook page.