SEPAWA CONGRESS 2019

‘At the limit between cosmetics and dermatology’: Merck to launch cornflower extract for skin care

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

The cornflower extract can be used in curative and preventative skin care formulations, says Merck's senior scientist (Getty Images)
The cornflower extract can be used in curative and preventative skin care formulations, says Merck's senior scientist (Getty Images)

Related tags dermocosmetics Inflammation anti-inflammatory atopic dermatitis skin protection

German pharmaceutical major Merck will launch a powdered cornflower extract next year that reduces skin inflammation and supports ‘skin calming’ and ‘skin defence’ claims for cosmetics products in Europe.

Developed in cooperation with French firm Green Pharma, the extract took several years to refine and will launch onto the market early next year.

Curative and preventative skin care

Presenting the new ingredient to attendees at the SEPAWA Congress in Berlin last week, Merck senior scientist Dr. Christophe Carola said studies showed the extract could prevent “chronic inflammation”​ of the skin.

The cornflower extract, Carola said, worked by down-regulating certain biomarkers important in the inflammation process but could also suppress skin irritation. Use of the extract in final cosmetic products, therefore, could be considered in two ways: as a curative for stressed skin or a preventative for stress-prone skin, he said.

Inflammation is going to take more importance in the future’

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe after his presentation, Carola said: “Everything to do with inflammation is going to take more importance in the future, I think, and [cosmetics] is definitely going to be closer to dermatology.”

This cornflower extract, he said, was certainly “at the limit between cosmetics and dermatology”​ but skin conditions like atopic dermatitis were also becoming “bigger and bigger in cosmetics”.

Carola said the water-soluble extract had been tested in Merck’s formulation lab and should work in a variety of cosmetic formulations.

Cosmetics for skin conditions

Dublin-headquartered Integumen recently unveiled its Labskin AI psoriasis model​ that it said would fuel a “breakthrough category”​ in cosmetics, enabling companies to test and bring to market products that targeted the microbiome of diseased skin.

Recent EU-funded research​ also showed the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) for use in topical skin care products to treat diseases like atopic dermatitis.

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