• Product
  • Supplier
  • Inquiry


    Home > Chemial News > Cosmetics Industry News > Discovery and Application of Functional Cosmetic Ingredients

    Discovery and Application of Functional Cosmetic Ingredients

    Echemi 2020-09-16



    Development of COSMECEUTICAL

    Cosmeceuticals are basically classified as functional cosmetics, which also means that the ingredients contained in the formula must come from the list of ingredients that are generally considered safe, otherwise products containing non-cosmetics catalog ingredients or pharmaceutical ingredients will be classified as drugs. The easiest source of new cosmetic ingredients is plants. Plants are rich in endogenous antioxidants because they must survive in an environment rich in ultraviolet radiation. Plant extracts are also generally considered safe and meet the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for substances added to over-the-counter (OTC) formulations. It is generally believed that an orally safe substance can be considered safe when used topically. This idea has rekindled people's interest in herbal preparations, which are the basis of many cosmetic functions.

    The search for new herbal ingredients also makes it a long-term trend to collect flowers, seeds, roots, leaves, branches and berries from plants all over the world. However, the composition of plant extracts is affected by the season of picking plant materials, growth conditions and plant processing. Once the possible functional cosmetic active ingredients have been identified and synthesized, they are usually applied to fibroblast cell culture, and the supernatant is placed on the gene chip to find the up- or down-regulation of key skin media. For example, this ingredient may down-regulate matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), resulting in reduced collagen degradation, providing data for anti-aging claims. Sometimes the ingredient is further tested in rodent models to confirm the expected skin benefits. Then put the active ingredient in a suitable carrier and conduct clinical research. Human clinical research paved the way for successful introduction to the market through ingredient licensing arrangements.

    Concerns about cosmeceutical products

    Although cosmeceuticals (Cosmeceuticals) represent the future of skin care, there are also some issues worth considering. Not all plant extracts are good for the skin. In addition to beneficial anti-inflammatory drugs, many plants also contain toxic metabolites, irritants or allergens. For example, the clematis, known as Tanacum Parthium in botany, is a perennial flowering plant with anti-inflammatory ingredients in its leaves. The leaves contain oils, such as terpinene and linalool; flavonoid antioxidants; and sesquiterpene lactones. Butterolide is a skin irritant substance and must be removed before use.

    In addition, take into account that plants grow slowly and may be over-picked, causing endangered plants. Many plants that grow in the tropical rain forests of Brazil are being over-harvested for cosmetics, which has caused a new problem called sustainability in the production of skin care products. The focus of sustainable development is to ensure the safety and continuous reproduction of all plant materials. Although many consumers want "natural" plant-derived ingredients because of health concerns, using highly specific synthetic plant ingredients may be more environmentally friendly and will reduce the incidence of allergic or irritant contact dermatitis. Another solution is to develop plant cell cultures called biogenerators to ensure that plant components must be developed while protecting plant materials from extinction.

    Classification of Cosmeceuticals

    The number of ingredients that can be used to make cosmetics is only limited by the imagination of cosmetic chemists. Because the regulation of cosmetics is relatively limited, the potential uses of cosmetics are also unlimited. Cosmetics can improve skin luster, minimize acne, create plump lips appearance, optimize skin texture, improve hair luster, reduce nail brittleness, shrink facial pore appearance, create skin brightness, improve the appearance of stretch marks, improve pigmentation and evenness Skin tone etc. If a functional product can be sold, it will be created. This article focuses on the more traditional uses of cosmetics related to skin care, including acne and anti-aging uses.

    1. Anti-acne cosmeceuticals (Cosmeceuticals)

    Various skin care preparations have been launched on the market, and these preparations are not in the field of prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. Oral and topical antibiotics and tretinoin constitute treatments that are limited to prescriptions. Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur are the main ingredients in the treatment of acne, and these ingredients are effective ingredients at the concentrations specified in most over-the-counter drugs. The unregulated acne category of cosmeceuticals generally uses ingredients such as natural salicylic acid in willow bark, sulfur and tea tree oil to suppress acne.

    White Willow Bark Extract

    White willow bark contains salicylic acid, the prerequisite component of salicylic acid, which can inhibit arachidonic acid-mediated inflammation (similar to aspirin). Salicylic acid can dissolve the keratinous membrane and the keratin plug that clogs the hair follicle, and can also inhibit the reproduction of acne bacillus and Malassezia.


    Sulfur therapy is the oldest treatment for acne before benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Sulfur is a known antibacterial and antifungal substance, a yellow non-metallic element, and has been used to treat various skin diseases for centuries. A Roman physician first described the use of sulfur mineral baths to treat acne in an early medical document called deMedicina.

    Tea tree oil

    It is the most commonly used herbal oil to treat acne. Tea tree oil is obtained from the Australian Melaleuca alterniflora tree and contains several antibacterial substances, including terpinen-4-ol, α-terpineol and α-terpinene. It looks like a light golden oil with a fresh smell of camphor. Tea tree oil can be used for medicinal purposes such as antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial.

    But tea tree oil is toxic by mouth. When tea tree oil is used locally in low concentrations to treat acne, it does not cause toxicity problems. But tea tree oil can cause allergic contact dermatitis. A study in Italy conducted a patch test on 725 subjects, testing 1% tea tree oil and 0.1% tea tree oil respectively, 6% of the subjects tested positive for undiluted tea tree oil, and 1 received The subjects had an allergic reaction to 1% tea tree oil, and no subjects had an allergic reaction to the 0.1% dilution. Therefore, the incidence of allergic reactions to tea tree oil depends on the concentration.

    2. Anti-aging cosmeceuticals (COSMECEUTICALS) ingredients

    So far, the most important use in cosmetics is to improve the appearance of aging skin. This may be due to the lack of prescription and over-the-counter drugs for this purpose, because except for tazarotene and retinoic acid, these two have been shown to improve aging. There are actually no other drugs besides skin drugs. Although there are colored cosmetics that temporarily improve the appearance of the skin, as well as prescription retinoic acid that is less aesthetically pleasing, it will cause peeling in the first few weeks of use and may also cause a burning sensation, but the lack of over-the-counter medicines to improve skin aging remains on the market Blank. Cosmeceuticals may be a new category of "Hope in the jar"; this article also summarizes the science behind the ingredients currently used to achieve ideal skin.

    2.1 Peptides and proteins
    2.1.1 Carrier peptide

    Protein has a long history of use. One of the earliest modern cosmetic additives introduced was hydrolyzed animal protein. Steaming and denaturing the cowhide to obtain hydrolyzed protein. The hydrolyzed protein is combined with the sealant petrolatum and mineral oil as a humectant, attracting water to the epidermis and stratum corneum captured by the sealant. With the advancement of cosmetic technology, other protein sources have also been used, such as poultry protein, beer protein, egg protein and caviar protein. The source of protein is not as important as the size of the protein, because smaller molecules are the first choice for better skin penetration and aesthetics.

    With the development of the concept of skin penetration, new engineered proteins are developed and affect skin function on a more basic level. These proteins are formed by selected amino acids with the purpose of achieving specific functional goals and obtaining more accurate labeled peptides. The first peptides introduced are carrier peptides, suitable for the anti-aging skin care market for wound healing. On the basis of the carrier peptide, the next step is to develop a signal peptide, which aims to simulate the natural body structure and turn on or off the production of endogenous proteins. Then developed neurotransmitter peptides that block the release of acetylcholine, and produce enzyme-regulated peptides that directly or indirectly inhibit enzyme functions.

    2.2 Cosmeceuticals that regulate pigmentation (Cosmeceuticals)

    Another popular market for cosmeceuticals is to improve pigmentation. With the removal of hydroquinone from over-the-counter drug markets in Europe and Asia, cosmetic chemists have focused on developing a substitute for hydroquinone that can improve skin tone. Hydroquinone is still the gold standard for the most effective pigment whitening ingredient, but health problems have arisen because it seems that oxidized hydroquinone is toxic to melanocytes, not just tyrosinase inhibitors. According to the evaluation data, 20 kinds of vitamins and plant ingredients have beneficial effects on blackening. Including vitamin C and its derivatives, high-concentration pure vitamin C is unstable and may cause slight irritation, but its permeability and bioavailability are much higher than its derivatives.

    Licorice extract contains glycyrrhizin and licorice flavonoids.

    Lipoic acid, kojic acid, aloin, arbutin, N-acetylglucosamine, etc.

    2.3 Antioxidant cosmeceuticals (COSMECEUTICAL)

    Antioxidants are one of the most popular cosmetic ingredients, because the main cause of skin aging is the oxidation of skin structure by high active oxygen free radicals in the environment. The wonder of nature is that the life-giving oxygen that people need to survive is also the oxygen that causes human aging. The main source of antioxidant ingredients is plant extracts, because all plants must protect themselves from the oxidation of ultraviolet rays. Antioxidant botany works by quenching singlet oxygen and reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide anion, hydroxyl radical, fat peroxidation free radical and hydroperoxide.

    At present, there are many plant antioxidants available on the market. These antioxidants can be divided into three categories: carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols. Carotenoids are chemically related to retinoic acid, while flavonoids have a polyphenol structure, which shows that they have antioxidant, UV protection and metal chelation capabilities. Polyphenols represent a chemical subclass of flavonoids. These antioxidants can be used alone or in combination in cosmetic formulations.

    to sum up

    1. Cosmeceuticals use over-the-counter ingredients (the "drug" and "makeup" homologous ingredients in the cosmetic raw material catalog) as functional cosmetics.

    2. Acne cosmeceuticals are based on plant ingredients, such as tea tree oil, white willow bark extract and sulfur. These ingredients can dissolve keratin, fight infection and inhibit inflammation.

    3. Anti-aging cosmeceuticals are based on plant extracts and peptides, aiming to mimic the protein fragments of the skin structure, and promote the improvement or regulation of structural proteins, functional proteins, cytokines, and cell functions in the skin.

    4. Pigment whitening cosmeceuticals contain plant extracts, which are used in key steps of the melanin synthesis pathway to interrupt the production of pigments.

    It is obvious from the previous discussion that most of the data supporting the efficacy of cosmeceuticals comes from plant-based substances taken orally by rodents. Oral is not equivalent to external use, and rodents are not equivalent to humans. It is unrealistic and unwise to extend too far. If this article is based on a double-blind, placebo-controlled human study of topical cosmetic applications, then probably at least two stages will be required.

    Obviously, before cosmeceuticals become mainstream medical aesthetic practice, more efficacy verification is needed. However, there are so few clinical data at present, probably because no one really wants to know what the plant extracts have affected. If a plant is found to increase dermal collagen, it will be a drug, not a cosmetic, and the sale of over-the-counter drugs will be banned. In fact, cosmetics manufacturers are on a delicate path.

    In addition, basic research is difficult to carry out. The ideal topical test should be to isolate an ingredient and add the ingredient to the moisturizing carrier to compare with the moisturizing carrier alone. The problem with the design of this research is that the moisturizing carrier is also an active substance. If you analyze the current efficacy claims, most of them are moisturizers. For example, a cream may claim to increase skin firmness by 38% after 48 hours of use. This claim is a moisturizing claim and is not entirely related to special cosmetic ingredients. Two parallel experiments in this blank control study may both show similar results. There really is no real placebo to compare.

    Share to:
    Disclaimer: Echemi reserves the right of final explanation and revision for all the information.

    Scan the QR Code to Share

    Send Message