Skin and the Microbiome
In a recent study, BASF scientists examined the composition of the skin microbiota of individuals with sensitive compared to non-sensitive skin. The analysis revealed changes in presence and abundance of common and specific bacteria strains. For the first time, a droplet-based microfluidic technology (DBMT) developed by Biomillenia was used to isolate these bacterial strains in culture. The microbial library thus obtained can be used to identify and test active ingredients with the best potential to restore the balance of the microbiota of sensitive skin.
To develop and test neurocosmetics that help to improve the interactions between the skin and the nervous system and thus contribute to reducing signs of aging or skin stress, accurate skin models are needed. Together with NETRI, a French startup and expert in rapid prototyping of organs-on-chip, BASF succeeded for the first time in growing an innervated epidermis on a chip. Compared to existing innervated epidermis or skin models made by classical coculture, the novel neuroskin-on-chip technology better mimics the real innervation physiology of skin. It thus facilitates and improves the testing of high-performance neurocosmetic active ingredients.
How people rate the efficacy of skin care products is highly dependent on skin hydration and skin biomechanics. Therefore, a key metric to optimize performance is to better understand the effects of biomechanical stress developed in the stratum corneum during desiccation. To investigate the influence of cosmetic ingredients’ drying stresses, a team of researchers from BASF and the lab of Prof. Reinhold Dauskardt at Stanford University examined skin care formulations that included different emollients with widely varying properties and molecular structures. The results indicate that by careful selection of emollients and other ingredients, skin drying stresses can be reduced, and skin-wellbeing promoted.
To better understand the relationship between aging and changes in the skin microbiome, BASF researchers conducted a study with younger and older cohorts. It revealed significant differences in the populations of Lactobacillus strains. L. crispatus in particular could be identified as a “youth bacterium”: it was abundant in younger skin, but not detectable in the hollow wrinkle of the older cohort. These results paved the way for the development of a probiotic for applications for healthful aging. The research team succeeded in developing a product that ensured the survival of the bacteria when included in suitable cosmetic formulations. This makes the ingredient the first to be based on skin-native and live bacteria. Its anti-aging efficacy has been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo versus placebo.
Combatting Age-related Changes of Scalp and Hair
With increasing age, the structure of the scalp and its ability to regenerate change. As a result, hair loss may occur, negatively affecting self-confidence and well-being. BASF scientists developed a holistic anti-aging approach for scalp and hair follicles based on a temperance strategy with three main objectives: moderation of scalp sensitivity by protecting the epidermal barrier, balancing the microbiota, and moderating the excessive immune response. For this purpose, plant extracts were selected for their TRPV1-antagonist properties and the best extract was studied for its effects on the above-mentioned parameters. In this way, a plant extract could be identified that is suitable to help counteract age-related changes of scalp and hair.
Interactive Matrix for Skincare Products Targeting (anti-)Pollution
Pollutants are varied in terms of both nature and the effects they can have on the skin. Cosmetic skin care products need to be formulated and claims substantiated accordingly. The Anti-Pollution working group of the German Society for Scientific and Applied Cosmetics (DGK) developed a publicly accessible, interactive matrix containing information on air pollutants, some of their effects on the skin, cosmetic ingredients and applications, and relevant methods for evaluating efficacy. The matrix is not intended to be complete, but to facilitate a better understanding of factors that may be involved and how to address claim support challenges when developing relevant skin care products.
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