Application/Category Sponsored by
Mary Begovic Johnson
(INCI: Water (aqua) (and) Butylene Glycol (and) Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract (and) Xanthan Gum) is manufactured by BASF. It was developed in collaboration with CNRS to renew skin elasticity through the reinduction of LOXL synthesis. LOXL was found by the two to be the key to regulating the assembly of microfibrils and tropoelastin (soluble elastin) that make up elastin. While microfibrils and soluble elastin continue to be synthesized throughout life, LOXL dramatically decreases from the age of 18. The insoluble nature of the assembly is required for its functionality. Increased levels of LOXL in the skin causes the assembly of microfibrils and tropoelastin, leading to improved mechanical properties of the reconstructed skin.
Mary Johnson is a principal scientist at P&G, where she has been for 15 years. Her focus is on the development of anti-aging technologies, as well as the design and testing of skin care products. She is also the director of the Olay Professional Alliance for Skin Care Innovation.
Before joining P&G, Johnson spent 18 years in the pharmaceutical industry in new drug discovery. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and she is the co-author of a chapter on cosmetic anti-aging ingredients in the Textbook of Aging Skin. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees of science from the University of Dayton.
While the past two decades have brought major advances in anti-aging skin care, like Juan Ponce De León, companies are still in search of the fabled Fountain of Youth. Procter & Gamble (P&G) researchers, including Mary Begovic Johnson, principal scientist, may have come closer to finding it in cellular bioenergetics. As she explains, the role of this discipline in skin’s appearance has been identified, along with ingredients that can restore energy to cells.
Johnson defines cellular bioenergetics as “the living energy in the cell.” She furthers that “it is the way energy is produced and consumed and the key to life.” It has long been known that energy consumption and production take place in the mitochondria, which convert food into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy molecules, producing free radicals as byproducts. While cellular bioenergetics research has initially been linked to aging diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, it has made its way into skin research with P&G’s acquisition of the Seahorse Extracellular Flux (XF) Analyzer, an in vitro metabolic measurement device. The company purchased this device after becoming interested in how levels of the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) affect skin’s appearance.
The device allowed Johnson and fellow researchers to look at energy production in living cells in a stable state, and to challenge those cells by mimicking the environmental stressor.
“What we found is that the levels of NADH and NADP(H), [the two markers for energy in cells], is lower in aged cells than in younger cells,” explained Johnson. “When we challenged those cells with hydrogen peroxide, the mitochondria were damaged and produced less energy, and the older cells recovered much more slowly compared to younger cells.” Her team concluded that energy production is lower in older cells and declines more rapidly with aging.
The team also utilized a 2-photon imaging technique to non-invasively measure NADH and NADP(H) energy levels in the skin of 80 Japanese women, ages 21-68. During the tests, NADH and NADP(H) molecules fluoresced, showing more energetic skin.