Formulating with Naturals—Anti-aging Actives

To fight the seven signs of aging as outlined by P&G’s recent Olay Total Effects campaign, a formulation must address: lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, visible pores, uneven skin tone, uneven texture, dullness and dryness. Addressing these signs should start with a vehicle that moisturizes the skin by providing both an emollient film to enhance skin’s natural barrier to water loss, and sufficient humectants to help retain that moisture in skin, to plasticize the stratum corneum (SC). That vehicle’s composition should also optimize the delivery of natural actives from the formula, an expertise exemplified by the late Johann Wiechers, PhD.1

To provide consumers an anti-aging benefit, finished products and ingredients must ameliorate both firmness and lines and wrinkles. The loss of firmness, attributed primarily to the loss of underlying dermal support, is both a sign of skin aging and a cause of most lines and wrinkles. Thus, improving this underlying matrix to enhance skin’s appearance should be a key feature of anti-aging product performance.

A few databases and compendia are helpful in researching botanicals and phytochemicals for new leads and claims substantiation.2–4 For example, the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary & Handbook, 14th Edition, lists more than 2,500 plant species as botanicals, with more than 250,000 known vascular plant species in existence. Since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) S.784 in 1994, use of herbs, botanicals and their constituents as potential dietary supplement products has risen in popularity.5 This acceleration in the research and marketing of botanicals invigorated the personal care segment that previously had relegated botanical extracts to promotional ingredients—where they still remain in many products. However, with increased consumer demand for reducing the appearance of facial aging, phytochemicals and their source plants have gained credibility as skin care actives.

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