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DNA: Hard Evidence of Cosmeceutical Claims
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: May 4, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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Nearly 25,000 genes can be analyzed at once with the Affymetrix microarray, says Langerveld, who explained that this method typically is used first to examine a formula’s activities across the entire genome. The formula is then further refined to up-regulate or down-regulate specific genes, and those mechanisms are verified via the Real Time PCR method, which scans appriximately 180 genes. In one example, Langerveld tested a finished product manufacturer’s antiaging formula via the PCR method to validate its activity on collagen 1A1 and sirtuin, among 89 other genes, to support antiaging label claims.
Langerveld stressed the importance of choosing genes carefully for the Real Time PCR so as not to omit potentially affected genes. “You have to know what genes you are looking for. For example, if you choose 15 different collagens, you might miss a collagen that was changed by the ingredient or product,” said Langerveld.
Langerveld’s work thus far has focused on substantiating claims for cosmeceuticals and antiaging products. However, these methods could extend to new areas such as safety and toxicity. “It is very easy to generate a panel of toxicity-related genes or genes that trigger inflammation, [although] you would not want to turn on those genes.”
In addition to safety, the methods could aid in formulation work. “Formulators could use these methods to determine how much of a particular ingredient is needed to turn on a certain gene,” said Langerveld. “For example, some antioxidants are more powerful at lower concentrations. Formulators could look at several doses to turn on a particular gene and find the most effective dose,” said Langerveld.
Besides dosage amounts, combinations of ingredients could be tested to determine whether they act synergistically on genetic markers. The absorption of certain molecule sizes into the skin could also be substantiated via genetic mechanisms.