An anti-aging cream will never replace surgery, which almost instantly erases the signs of skin aging. A cosmetic product is also not intended to treat, otherwise, it would be considered a drug. A cosmetic product is above all a sensory experience, with a hedonistic dimension that characterizes the field of cosmetology. That said, the consumer increasingly expects results from cosmetic laboratories, and more particularly in the anti-aging segment. Reduce or eliminate wrinkles, give radiance to the complexion, eliminate unsightly pigmentations, restore the elasticity of our 20 years to the skin, which undergoes the inexorable onslaught of time, stress, pollution, bad weather, such are the challenges that await cosmetic laboratories.
The results must be immediate, it is the time that demands it. Research allows, with the progress of nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, genomics and cell biology, to develop effective active ingredients and cosmetic forms which, beyond the original textures which are created, optimize the “anti-age “of the products.
To prevent or fight against skin aging, it is important to know the potential targets, on which the “anti-aging” ingredients will act. Ensuring proper hydration of the skin is the first step. Beyond the essential water intake through food, maintaining a sufficient level of hydration to ensure optimal mechanical properties (elasticity, firmness) can be obtained by the composition of ingredients of the cream used, in particular, vegetable oils, humectants (glycerin, sugars, glycols), but also specific active ingredients having an action on the mechanisms of hydration. Using natural polymers such as hyaluronic acid or collagen helps retain water in the epidermis.
Another strategy is to inhibit free radicals. These are molecular species, produced daily in the body, necessary to fight against external aggressions (viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, etc.). During intense exposure to the sun, through the action of stress, poor nutrition or the action of atmospheric pollutants, these molecules are produced in excess and accelerate aging. For a long time, the cosmetic industry has known how to produce free radical scavengers, whether antioxidants or antiglycants.
We will also find natural products that have an activity on the phenomenon of inflammation, the result of the action of free radicals and involved in the aging of the skin. To prevent this process, it is not enough to take care of the cutaneous tissues, it is also necessary to protect the structures which feed them and make them react by acting on the cutaneous micro-blood circulation and the innervation of the skin. As such, the development of molecules or plant extracts having an activity on these two structures gives interesting results.
Peptides for a “Botox-like” effect
But how can we restore the appearance of our lost youth to our skin? Research turns to peptides, these molecules made up of several amino acids, interconnected. They have interesting properties: acting on the expression of genes coding for the synthesis of pro-collagen, transmitting signals to other cells for the synthesis of proteins essential to the skin, transporting trace elements, necessary for the proper functioning of our cells, or even act at the level of the connection between the nerve cells of the skin in order to obtain sagging and therefore less visible wrinkles, what is called “Botox-like effect” in cosmetic jargon.
Finally, new generations of cosmetics must also combine active ingredients protecting cells from the effects of air pollution. They do not have a simple mechanical protection role vis-à-vis the environment but are fixed on cells by taking the place of harmful compounds present in the atmosphere. Natural molecules like polyphenols can have this type of action. The effectiveness of the product does not depend solely on the active ingredient which has been developed, but on the way it is incorporated into the formulation, on the form (free, chemical form, encapsulated), on the possible synergy with the other elements of the formulation, of the cosmetic form chosen (type of emulsion, gel, solution, complex formulation).