According to the Switzerland-based ingredients supplier, skin stem cells play a crucial role in skin rejuvenation, helping the skin to maintain epidermal homeostasis, repair wounds and regenerate hair.
However, stem cells age over time and lose their stem cell potential, diminishing the skin’s ability to repair itself and maintain epidermal homeostasis. This ageing of epidermal stem cells is accelerated by daily stresses for example UV light.
An increased understanding of the importance of skin stem cells is creating a stronger market for skin stem cell protecting cosmetics, Rahn claimed.
‘Big market potential’
“We see a big market potential: the protection of stem cells as the key cells of youthful skin is one of the major innovation drivers in preventive anti-ageing medicine which also has found its way into the personal care market,” Stefan Bänziger, manager for the development of actives cosmetics, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
New testing methods created as the science develops have allowed the company not only to investigate newly developed actives but also ingredients already in the portfolio.
The two actives that were found to most convincingly protect epidermal stem cells, Defensil and Celligent, were already present in the company’s range and outperformed some of the uncharacterised compounds that the company had set out to test.
Stem cell research was in infancy
Bänziger explained that the reason the performance of these actives on stem cells had not been studied before was the lack of sound testing.
“Both Defensil and Celligent were developed several years ago. At that time, cosmetic stem cell research was in its infancy - sound scientific test systems were not yet available,” Bänziger explained.
Defensil was designed for sensitive skin products due to its strong anti-inflammatory activity but the company now claim it can also help protect skin stem cells following UV damage.
Similarly, Celligent can also help protect stem cells from UV damage, according to the company as well as having protective qualities against UV induced DNA damage.
New testing methods can measure whether the stem cell potential or function is protected upon stress such as UV light, by looking at whether the stem cell can still differentiate or proliferate, Bänziger explained. This is particularly relevant for the in vivo situation, he said.