‘Omics’ is a general term to the collection, characterization, and structure-function relationships delving into the pools of biological markers and studying their behaviour.
It can provide information on the potential activity of chemistries applied to skin, ingredients and formulations and many skin care claims are generated from this. For example, if a product claims to inhibit tyrosinase, this is proteomics; or if a claim is made on the reduction of MMP enzymes mRNA, this is genomics (gene expression).
Omic techniques have been used in skin care for over a decade now and are the basis for many claims, and CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com caught up with skin research consultant Dr Nava Dayan who says that if there is better understanding of a product’s effect on the skin then better products can be designed for safety and efficacy.
“It is of key importance for a professional in the industry to constantly learn and delve into benefits and limitations,” she says. “Years ago we were under impression that by conducting gene expression panels we are able to understand effect and make activity claims.”
“Now we know that the fact that a gene is expressed only points towards a possibility, not necessarily activity.”
Dr Dayan explains that for activity, the mRNA needs to be translated to a protein and the protein should be in an appropriate cellular environment to allow for the correct structure and post translational modifications.
“This means that gene expression can be skipped altogether or, if used, should be conducted with the appropriate proteomics and functional proteomics assessments,” she explains.
Omics can be used to develop an understanding on the effect of interaction of chemistries with the body biology, and Nava says that claims can then be made if there is full acknowledgement and communication of the study limitations and results.
“For a claim to be truthful, honest, and scientifically savvy, R&D and Marketing must be aligned at the early stages of protocol development so the study is well designed for the desired claim and funds are wisely spent,” she tells us.
“This is research, so often times we do not receive the anticipated results or we obtain results that we find difficult to explain. However, if the study is well designed, in most cases, we can understand and interpret the results and able build an exciting library of information that can be used.”
Depending on how the study is designed and what occurs during, a variety of claims can therefore be made such as for skin moisturisation, anti-ageing, barrier properties, as well as tolerability of the ingredient or formulation.
“My core expertise is skin absorption and delivery and I find it essential to understand the physical interaction of the composition with the barrier and integrate this knowledge into the study,” says Dr Dayan.
“I review the project objective combining biology and physics. If one skips this stage they can find themselves with great biological data that has no true value since the compound of interest does not reach the biological site of action.”
Dr Dayan will be discussing omics and the skin microbiome, and the methods used in their research, in more detail in a workshop at the upcoming in-cosmetics event, which takes place in Paris this year on April 12-14.
“I sometimes find that the limitations of the methods are not acknowledged enough and studies may be poorly designed. Certain companies make claims based on very limited, sometimes irrelevant information,” she adds.
“I hope that this workshop and my talk will provide key tools for better understanding how to utilize these techniques. It is doable but proficiency is essential.”