IFSCC 2014 Explores Social, Psychological and Sensorial Aspects of Beauty

PARIS, October 27-30, 2014—As one might expect from an event centered around beauty and staged in Paris, the 28th Congress of the International Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) was nothing less than fabulous (see Photo Gallery). And with iconic sponsors L’Oréal, Chanel and LVMH Recherche headlining the social events, attendees were given a taste of premium French luxury.

However, the glamour and fanfare was deeply rooted in science, as IFSCC and Société Française de Cosmétologie (SFC) President Claudie Willemin expressed during her opening remarks and at the press conference. In addition, pre-conference sessions covered predictive methods and regulations for product development, setting the framework for discussions in the days to come.

Opening Ceremony

“This congress is all about the science behind cosmetology,” said Willemin during the opening ceremony, who added this year’s Congress would highlight “new areas of interest, including the psychology and well-being of cosmetics, as well as environmental concern.” Specifically, presentations ranged from biochemistry and mechanisms of cells and skin, to sustainability, beauty and society, sensoriality, and equipment and methods.

Regarding methods, eye tracking emerged as an interesting approach to understanding evaluator perception. “It is important to understand this new topic of human behavior, and to see how well-being is linked to research,” said Willemin. In relation, the term neurocosmetics was referenced throughout the sessions as the discipline relating consumer reactions to cosmetic products.

Also during opening remarks, Gérard Redziniak, chairperson of the IFSCC Congress Steering Committee, provided statistics and a preview of the congress, including: 1,200 pre-registered attendees, 464 posters and 72 podium presentations—selected by 71 international experts from 750 total submissions. He added, “and for the first time, more than one-third of submissions came from academia.” Alongside the podium presentations and posters were 65+ exhibitors, displaying their ingredients, services and more.

Matthias Fekl, French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism, and French Nationals Abroad, then painted a landscape of the cosmetics industry in France, noting “it is very important to France. It contributes to exports in a major way; some 50,000 jobs within France are directly related to the cosmetics industry. There is also a long tradition of beauty and luxury in France, and Paris is a global image of this.”

Next, to set the tone for the week’s sessions, Christine Petit, PhD, chair of genetics and cellular physiology at the College of France, spoke on the senses and their role in perceiving beauty. She quoted Blaise Pascal, who described beauty as “a harmonious relation between something in our nature and the quality of the object that delights us.” She covered the five basic senses but added two more: proprioception, or a sense of what surrounds us, and balance. Petit noted that while vision/sight remains the predominant sense for most, audition is becoming more important.

“Sensory cells have become optimized from evolution,” said Petit, who gave examples such as elephants, which can hear in the infrasonic range, and bats and dolphins, which hear in the ultrasonic range. “However, perception in daily life is about multisensorial integration,” she said, explaining how pleasure receptors in the brain are activated by music.

As sponsor of the IFSCC opening ceremony, L’Oréal presented Jacques Leclaire, scientific director of research and innovation, to give an overview of company strategies. Topics included 100+ years of science as the foundation for beauty, and consumer needs at the heart of innovation. “Beauty for everyone is a matter of beauty for each,” he said, adding “this is a permanent quest to which the industry must respond.”

Leclaire transferred this sentiment to the beauty of our planet and socially responsible practices—a theme L’Oréal took ownership of throughout the congress. Lastly, Leclaire emphasized the company’s partnership with UNESCO and longstanding “For Women in Science” campaign, which on Oct. 9, 2014, was extended to campaign “For Girls in Science.”

The evening closed with a live jazz band and singers performing traditional French music, which progressed throughout the evening according to decade. Ballroom and swing dancers added some flair, and the performance concluded with a discotheque scene. After the ceremony, attendees filed into the exhibition area for cocktails, and were presented silk scarves as souvenirs from L’Oréal.

Beauty and: Life Science, Color

Life science: On day one, concurrent sessions addressed life science and color. In the life science track, the keynote lecture from Bernard Dominique, of L'Oréal R&I, discussed ‘omics technologies for the discovery of new skin targets and treatments. This talk was followed by presentations on the influence of oxygen levels on microRNA expression patterns before and after UV irradiation; modulating seborrhoea; inhibiting adipogenesis; the activity of epidermal keratinocyte stem cells in infancy; and chemokine neutraligands to combat atopic dermatitis.

Nakanishi Miki, of KOSÉ Corp., showed that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, regardless of the donor cell age, improved skin damage caused by aging; although during the question/answer session, the audience raised concerns over the potential cancer risk from this approach, to which Miki replied the study was intended only for initial research. The remainder of the life science sessions covered epidermis-specific mesotrypsin to regulate desquamation, and hidden mechanisms of desquamation; insights on UV oxidation in hair; and a new high-throughput screening tool to assess cooling agents, among others.

Color: The color track opened with a keynote by Katsunori Okajima, of the Yokohama National University in Japan, on the effects of color and luminance for predicting age. He correlated test subject evaluations of photographs for qualities such as "sophistication" and "health" with specific spectral illumination ranges and found patterns. For example, illuminations in the 610-661 nm range were rated highest for "health," whereas “sophistication” was rated highest around 527 nm. Okajima concluded that modifying the luminescence distribution in skin changed the perception of age.

Next, Pierre Seroul, of Newtone Technologies, demonstrated hyper-spectral imaging of skin to capture separate layers of saturation, bilirubin, hemoglobin, epidermis depth and melanin. “The reflection of light from the skin tells us what’s in the skin,” he explained, which could be used to assess the efficacy of given ingredients on their targets. Future measurements are anticipated for carotene, eumelanin, pheomelanin and dermal melanin.

Emi Kakizawa of KOSÉ Corp. presented mascara to control the curve of eyelashes as a tool for “impression management.” According to Kakizawa, a softer, warmer look is desired at home and around family, whereas a more dramatic look is preferred for a stronger impression in the workplace. She showed how, within this range of extremes, one can render a “social impression score”—although measuring the “proper” curve for eyelashes posed a challenge.

Meeting this challenge, an idea was then inspired by the nautilus, whose shell forms in a natural algorithm, and this curve was used to develop a shape-control mascara. Based on particles having an acrylic core with a polyurethane shell—i.e., central, crystalline, “hard” segments coated in flexible polymer—the mascara imparted a curve to the lashes, making them appear longer. “With this technology, we can claim that our mascara can contribute to a person’s external and internal well-being and beauty,” concluded Kakizawa.

The remainder of the color track continued with discussions on aging in relation to ethnicity; cosmetics to improve smile lines; a hybrid functional powder foundation; methods to demonstrate soft-focus effects; stabilizing emulsions using cell-trap technology; developing pearl luster makeup using three-dimensional computer graphics; creating a formula to evoke glowing skin; and more.

Day one closed with a majestic French cultural night sponsored by Chanel, which gave some 800 attendees an exclusive view and private tour of the Louvre. Guests were led through world-renown sculptures and paintings, including the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Mona Lisa, among many others. The tour wrapped up with a special gift from Chanel, and fantastic dinner and spirits beneath the Louvre’s famous glass pyramid.

Beauty and: Society, Surface Shield/Physicochemistry

Society: Day two of the congress featured concurrent sessions on social responsibility and physicochemistry. In his opening keynote on beauty and society, William Russell of Columbia University urged the industry to make green chemistry and practices a part of everyday work.

Following him was Virginie D’Enfert of FEBEA, the French equivalent to the CTPA, who discussed the impact of the Nagoya protocol on cosmetics R&D activities. This protocol relates to controlling how genetic materials are sourced in order to maintain biological diversity. According to D’Enfert, countries such as the United States have not yet approved this protocol, although they will still face pressure from NGOs, so it may be best to proactively act on it, as Europe has done.

Discussions throughout the remainder of the track included: metabolite profiling of natural actives by a de-replication strategy; optimizing one’s carbon footprint; DNA meta-barcoding to identify plant compositions; securing the supply chain of plant raw materials; an enzymatic eco-extraction process to improve oil qualities; green chemistry to produce an ultra-mild polymeric surfactant; a natural solution against itchy scalp and dandruff; and more.

Physicochemistry: The keynote lecture of the surface shield and physicochemistry track featured Françoise Brochard, of Institut Curie France, who described soft matter models of tissue and “wetting living drops.” Talks disclosing new findings on the lateral packing of stratum corneum lipids; skin water flow; probiotic fractions to improve skin barrier strength; managing dry skin; the primary causes of wrinkles; and lipid organization in xerotic skin wrapped up the morning session.

After lunch, Emmanuelle Lemery, of the Unités Mixtes de Recherche (UMR) Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), addressed the effects of surfactant physicochemistry on skin toxicity. Her in vitro work showed that higher levels of monomer produced higher CMC values, in turn relating to higher irritation and toxicity. “However, there were some contradictions,” Lemery noted, as some reactivity with surfactants increased even above the CMC. “We must improve our knowledge of given classes of surfactants with regard to skin toxicity,” she said. “There is no simple way to estimate the potential irritation of a surfactant. The only option is to make complete diagrams and conduct complete studies.”

Katinka Jung, of Gematria Test Lab GmbH, then spoke on free radicals in cosmetics and the skin. “We observed an increase in reported reactions from cosmetics in recent years, and aimed to determine if they were from allergenic or phototoxic effects.” A major driver became the question: What happens if a consumer applies a given product, then goes out in the sun? Jung's team induced the formation of radicals in various formulations, and via a “Radical Potential” (RP) method, measured them in vitro before and after radiation, with and without UV filters. The team found that when no peroxide elements were present, no radicals were generated. She therefore recommended that formulators, “add UV filters or antioxidants to reduce radical formation, apply efficient antioxidant technologies to formulations and rreduce the use of peroxides and raw materials that create free radicals.”

The afternoon session closed with talks on a tomato powder supplement for photoprotection and skin lightening; “UV” vs. “light” protection—in conjunction with a new “radical protection factor” (RPF) concept; measuring the water resistance of sunscreens on wet and dry skin; and silver and copper ions for skin care and antimicrobial benefits.

After the main conference sessions, L’Oréal hosted its own symposium dedicated to sustainability. Laurent Gilbert, PhD, director for international development of advanced research at L'Oréal, welcomed the audience, noting “consumers have come to expect sustainable products, but when they are asked if they purchase sustainable products, they say no. We need to ensure that consumers understand what a sustainable product is.” The symposium featured talks on green chemistry, sustainable innovation, end of life assessments of packaging and formulas, social responsibility, safe by design concepts, biodiversity and how to “innovate within innovation.”

Beauty and: Protective Strategies within Skin, Sensoriality

Protective strategies: The third day focused on protective strategies within skin, and sensory/emotional aspects of skin care. The session on protective strategies opened with a keynote by Philippe Humbert, of the University of Franche-Comté, who explored what constitutes the definition of "beauty"; how this has evolved and varies by region; and the roles of symmetry and asymmetry of the face, evenness of skin tone, and other attributes to quantify beauty.

“In the past, voluptuous features were considered beautiful, whereas today the trend is more sinewy. There is also a trend toward neotenic features, where people look more childlike, with large eyes and smaller chins.” Humbert noted that symmetry of the face and evenness of skin tone are common denominators among different regions. He also discussed geometric proportions and angles of facial features, used especially by plastic surgeons to create a vision of beauty. Humbert concluded with a discussion on ways to calibrate photographs and protocols used for testing to ensure comparable results.

Marc Feuilloley, of the University of Roven, France, covered skin communication and defense peptides in relation to microorganisms on the skin, and whether such microbes were implicated in sensitive skin syndrome. He found no significant difference in populations of bacteria on normal vs. sensitive skin; although he noted substance P affected bacterial virulence and impacted homeostasis on skin—and he alluded to other peptides with similar effects (not yet published).

Haruko Goto of POLA presented findings on antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in relation to acne flare-up and women's hormones. Her work showed how acne, which is often more prominent during the luteal phase of women’s menstrual cycle, increases in part due to an increase in progesterone levels. This in turn reduces the antimicrobial efficacy of AMPs and reduces skin's physical barrier function. “Human cells have the capability to produce [the AMP] hBD3, but this is reduced due to progesterone,” she explained. Her paper won the award for basic research.

Following a coffee break, the session continued with topics including the biological effects of UVA-1; the delta opioid receptor and skin differentiation; KEAP1 inhibition to improve skin antioxidant barrier and sun resistance; new 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors to address skin inflammatory disorders; a functional film to limit consumers’ exposure to fragrance allergens; and skin homeostasis and autophagy, among others.

Sensoriality: The sensory/emotion session began with a keynote by Arnaud Aubert, of the University of Tours, who discussed the contribution of cognitive neuroscience and behavioral science to cosmetics. His work was followed by talks on a global approach to assess emotions and well-being in cosmetics; a cognitive disequilibrium theory to understand user needs vs. behavior; and texture contributions of cosmetic active ingredients.

Eleonore Loescher of LVMH presented on the “emotion of aging.” Her work explored what test subjects in France and Japan viewed as ideal impressions of aging, and revealed that aging itself is a common fear. “Women filled out journals of responses to photographs of themselves at different points in time. These were arranged by type into ‘clusters’ and segmented.” She added that images were scored with positive or negative terminologies; for example, images that appeared joyful were rated more positively. She concluded, “Appearance, self-satisfaction and happiness clearly are correlated.”

Wolf Eisfeld of BASF showed preliminary studies using eye tracking and body language measurements, i.e., heart rate, breathing and brain activity, to follow the behavior of test evaluators charged with the assessment of shine on hair samples. He found that small imperfections in the alignment of hair strands and dust flecks were highly distracting to them, and that samples presented to the viewer’s right side were regarded longer.

Anthony Gallium of L'Oréal Recherche presented evaluations of hair movement—a key attribute sought in hair. Tests were made using standardized hair tresses in 2D and 3D, and parameters including friction, adhesion of fibers, swatch stiffness and weight were considered. He described this "movement mapping" of hair as a means to assess products. “The next step would be to include subjects' emotional responses to movements based on regional preferences,” he added.

After lunch, the session continued with studies to improve smile lines and skin smoothness; the emotional perception of scent; correlating consumer sensory expectations with instrumental measurements; and determining "joy of use" and preferences for cosmetics, among others.

The grand finale of this year’s congress was a closing gala held at the whimsical Musée des Arts Forains, sponsored by LVMH. Attendees marveled in the antique carnival setting, riding and playing obsolete carousels, merry-go-rounds and games, brought to life by animated opera performances, 3-D light shows, acrobatic feats and stilted actors in centuries-old garb. Upon exiting, attendees received an exclusive gift from LVMH as a souvenir.

During the closing festivities, winners for basic research, applied research and best poster were announced. Haruka Goto and Hiroshi Ohshima from POLA Chemical Industries, Inc. won the Basic Research Award for their paper, "Antimicrobial peptide human beta defensin-3 (hBD-3) as a key factor for acne flare-up during the premenstrual stage." The Applied Research Award went to Léopoldès de Vendômois Adélaïde and co-authors, of Alban Muller International, for the paper, “New Strategy for the Protection of Consumers: A Functional Film Limiting Exposition to Fragrance Allergens.”

Finally, Tomonobu Ezure and co-authors from Shiseido won the Best Poster Award for, “A Novel Approach to Anti-aging Facial Skin Care Through Reconstruction of ‘Dermal Anchoring Structures’ to Improve Facial Morphology.” Presented during the poster session by Ezure, the work explains how ultrasound revealed the presence of convex-shaped structures at regular intervals at the bottom of the dermal layer in skin. Decreases in these structures were associated with increases in sagging. Histological observations of facial skin indicated these structures consisted of collagen, hyaluronan and elastin aligned vertically to the dermal layer. Facial muscles were also connected to these structures, and interestingly, muscle movements designed to exercise these convex structures improved their retaining force on outer skin layers, reducing sagging.

Ezure et al. propose that targeting these anchor structures could therefore ameliorate age-related facial morphological changes and sagging. “So, does this mean regularly exercising the face by smiling will make you look younger?” Rachel Grabenhofer, editor of Cosmetics & Toiletries, asked Ezure. “No, it’s more strenuous than that,” he explained. “It’s more like tightening the lips together while frowning, and simultaneously trying to smile up into the cheekbones.”

The next IFSCC event is the 2015 Conference, to be held on Sept. 21-13, in Zürich, Switzerland. The 2016 Congress will be held in Orlando, USA; the 2017 Conference, in Korea; and the 2018 Congress, in Germany. For more information, visit www.ifscc2015.com/index/ifscc-conference/home-ifscc-con.html, or www.ifscc.org.

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