At Beiersdorf Analytics, as part of his doctoral thesis, food chemist Bernd Enthaler devised the new method, called MALDI imaging, to develop a deeper understanding of the skin and its metabolic processes.
"The method opens up new possibilities for analyzing skin samples. It will help us to increase our knowledge of the skin and to use this knowledge for the development of innovative skin care products,” says Enthaler.
The MALDI Imaging method combines chemical, physical and image analysis techniques together in a way that yields new information about the biology of the skin.
"With MALDI Imaging hundreds of the substances that make up the skin like proteins and lipids can be simultaneously captured in a measurement. This makes it possible to precisely map the composition and condition of the layers of the skin," adds Enthaler.
According to Beiersdorf, if healthy and problem skin samples are compared using the method, the material differences, or "biomarkers", associated with the different skin conditions can be recognized on a molecular level and their distribution can be represented in an image.
Furthermore, the newly developed method is not just limited to the comparison of two skin samples: "Up to 100 skin tissue samples can be compared with one another in one experiment," says Enthaler.
“By understanding the metabolic processes in various skin conditions new starting points can be determined for targeted skin treatment. Through the imaging of the biomarkers it might also be possible to evaluate the success of the treatment directly in the skin sample itself.”
It is the latest skin care development from the cosmetics company’s R&D team, having teamed up with a German university in February to contribute to further develop understanding with new skin care and anti-ageing products in mind.
Together with researchers of Charité University Medicine Berlin they were able to demonstrate the existence of an inner clock in human skin cells, which controls skin regeneration amongst other things.
Enthaler B et al.: MALDI imaging in human skin tissuesections: focus on various matrices and enzymes. Anal Bioanal Chem. 405(4): 1159-70, 2013.