Exclusive Interview

Self-esteem and wellness now the core focus for anti-ageing segment, suggests expert

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Self-esteem and wellness now the core focus for anti-ageing segment, suggests expert
Consumers are demanding products that tap into a more holistic idea of ‘healthy ageing’, suggests the Chief Research & Innovations Officer, Neal’s Yard Remedies, in this interview.

Mitarotonda will be speaking on ‘Beyond natural – New frontiers in green formulation​’ at Workshop room G104-G105 on Tuesday, 17 April, 09.00 – 12.30 at in-cosmetics Global​ in Amsterdam.

We caught up with the expert for Neal’s Yard Remedies on the latest trends, demands and responses being seen in the anti-ageing segment, including the potential being seeing in microbiota-related science and ‘neurocosmetics’.

Why are we seeing a shift in the way anti-ageing is marketed, and how is this impacting at the formulation level?

I think we are all coming to understand that ageing is not only about the way we look externally, but as research shows to be equally importantly, about how we “feel” and how we interact with the environment.

There is also an element of social engagement. In this context, the “brain-skin axis” seems to play a major role: negative stress has an impact on the quality of our skin through endogenous Cortisol production.

Studies have shown the impact of cosmetics on self-esteem, in regulating emotions in stressful situations and even on endocrinological and immune reactions.

It is obviously all driven by our brain: medical literature has been produced about the effect of “mindfulness” on health and wellbeing. A 2017 study published on Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience has linked mindfulness to healthy ageing.

Then comes the “third pillar”, the gut.

The idea that microbiota is regulating all sorts of physiological activity is getting stronger and more substantiated on a daily basis. Good bacteria versus bad bacteria, probiotics, prebiotics.

However, we need to consider that back in 2010, Experimental Dermatology published an article titled “Is there a gut-brain-skin axis”.

This article linked gut microbiota to brain activity and ultimately skin quality. And in 2011, a study on PNAS showed that emotional behaviours in mice was regulated by the ingestion of Lactobacillus strains.

Formulation is embracing the holistic approach, with products being launched addressing not only the physical signs of ageing (e.g. wrinkles), but also delivering benefits on a more emotional level.

Can the scent of your anti-ageing cream make you feel calmer, more relaxed? Clinical trials show it is possible.

Finally, the still niche segment of cosmetic products targeting the microbiota, this is a new level of cosmetic science.

What are the challenges and opportunities facing the segment at the moment?

Challenges can be seen as opportunities to create innovative technologies and products.

I think there are plenty of solutions to be found in terms of ingredients, formulation, compliance and methodologies to prove product efficacy.

Take the “microbiota” trend as an example.

How do we introduce live microorganisms in cosmetic products without infringing the EU Regulation? How do we pass a Preservation Efficacy Test without “killing” the good bacteria that are supposed to benefit our skin? Should a product containing live bacteria (which is supposedly good) not be seen as microbiological, spoiled and potentially harmful?

How do we differentiate between “good” and “bad” bacteria? How do we prove the efficacy of products claiming to have been designed to “enhance the skin’s microbiota”?

How do we prove that products containing prebiotics are actually only “feeding” the good bacteria, thus enhancing their efficacy, rather than the bad ones?

What innovations and trends are we likely to see moving forward?

Neurocosmetics and microbiota seem to be on the rise. We have been seeing a host of new claims, such as anti-pollution, IR protection, Blue Light protection, etc. – even though these are not new, I would expect some innovation around ingredients able to deliver such effects as well as methods to substantiate them.

Finally, “all things green” has been constantly growing, so I would think that more innovative ingredients will be launched in the “natural” arena.

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