Lipid researchers at Aarhus University have developed a new ingredient in the laboratory, that can make creams more effective. They are collaborating with one of the world’s largest producers of skin care products, which has now taken out a patent for the invention.
Mainly two basic types of skin cream are available on the market. One formula is based on water-absorbing molecules and the other is based on lipids that lie outside the skin as an extra protective layer.
These formulas are used by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries to gene-rate skin care lotions that can treat dry and sensitive skin.
Under the skin with new lipids
For years, researchers have been hunting for different new ingredients that can make skin creams more effective. In the search for novel skin care ingredients that mimic the lipid matrix in the epidermal skin barrier, a research team has found a lipid capable of improving skin care lotion efficiency, potentially leading to healthier and younger-looking skin.
Postdoctoral Fellow Bianca Perez is developing new types of lipids for skin creams that help prevent transepidermal water loss.
“Our aim is to identify new types of lipids that mimic the lipids in the outermost layer of the skin and act as a kind of extra protective barrier. These lipids must be able to pack in a very tight molecular structure preventing water loss from the body,” she says.
Some lipids have actually already been found and are currently being used in skin care moisturisers, but they are relatively expensive to produce.
The university’s lipid researchers have therefore been invited to work in close collaboration with the multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to develop effective new low-cost skin lotion ingredients that can thus benefit more people.
Patent for new ingredient
After several hundred hours of laboratory work, Bianca Perez has now discovered a novel lipid that appears to be so promising that GlaxoSmithKline has applied for a patent.
“It looks as though we’ve discovered an ingredient that can generate a highly occlusive skin care lotion providing an extra barrier to the outermost layer of the skin. At the same time, the lipids are cheap to produce and can also be manufactured in one single process that protects the environment,” says Dr Perez.
The lipid researchers at Aarhus University are among the best in the world, and Dr Perez has specialised in characterising the physicochemical properties of lipids as potential ingredients to generate highly occlusive skin care lotions.
In her research collaboration with Glaxo-
SmithKline, she has also been working on developing a new synthetic pathway to yield other lipids potentially relevant to achieve improved moisturising properties.
However, Dr Perez is not yet able to promise whether or not the results of her lipid research can lead to new beauty products in the cosmetic industry.
“Whether we can hope for miraculous anti-age products? I can’t really say. However, we can expect creams with really good moisturising properties. And as dry skin is prone to ageing, it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” she says.
PHOTO TOP: A new ingredient for miraculous anti-age products? Perhaps. Bianca Perez carries out research into lipids, and she has developed novel lipids for more effective skin care lotions. This can have great significance for the effect of the moisturisers of the future. (Photo: Lars Kruse)