The market for “whitening”, “brightening” and “lightening” cosmetics is now worth 10 billion euros… and it’s still growing. Driven mainly by Asian countries, where they account for 30 to 45% of the facecare sector, they are now also a huge success in the West.
As hyper pigmentation in Caucasian skin is mainly linked to age, lightening products are positioned in anti-aging: issues of glow and brown spots are associated with more classic problems such as wrinkles and loss of firmness.
To respond to the needs of women who want skin that is radiant, uniform and blemish-free, Robertet offers active perfumes that have been tested and validated in the laboratory for their effectiveness in controlling the production of melanin.
Melanogenesis – how it works
Melanin is the substance that is responsible for colouring skin and hair, mainly to protect from harmful solar UV rays. This pigment is to be found in the deepest layer of the epidermis. It is produced by cells called melanocytes during a succession of biochemical reactions called melanogenesis.
Melanocytes produce melanin from an amino-acid called tyrosine, catalysed by an enzyme called tyrosinase.
This synthesis is going on all the time. However, it can be over-stimulated by different intrinsic and extrinsic factors, causing brown spots to appear:
- Stress, medication and hormone imbalance can stimulate the hormone α-MSH involved in the normal process of melanogenesis. It induces the production of melanin by over-stimulating tyrosinase.
- Tyrosinase is also stimulated under the effect of ultraviolet (UV) rays; the synthesis of melanin increases, producing a tan but also sometimes the hyper-pigmentation of the skin. The skin’s basic melanin content is therefore the result of a subtle balance that can easily be disrupted, fostering the formation of permanent pigmented patches of varying shades.
Regulating the over-production of melanin
The aim of skin-lightening cosmetics is to control the formation of melanin and to remove the pigment from existing patches, thus helping to re-establish skin balance and an even complexion.
Our target: tyrosinase
Tyrosinase is the key enzyme responsible for the synthesis of melanin in melanocytes. One action that helps maintain a balanced production of melanin consists in reducing the activity of this enzyme.
The Aromacosmétique laboratory focused its research on natural aromatics that are capable of inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase and thus curbing the production of melanin. The action of ActiScents® formulated with these raw materials contributes to maintaining melanin balance in skin and an even complexion. The process is reversible, however, as skin does not lose its ability to re-pigment itself.
An example of a lightening ActiScent®
Test on tyrosinase in B16-F1 melanocytes
Concentration required to reduce intracellular melanin by half
Types of test carried out Several natural aromatic extracts (here Extract No.1) as well as ActiScent® Quartz Rose (an active perfume formulated with some of the extracts) were tested to demonstrate their ability to reduce melanogenesis in the presence of alpha-MSH:
- Measuring tyrosinase inhibition in the mushroom Agaricus bisporus
- Measuring the inhibition of tyrosinase extracted from murine B16-f1 melanocytes and normal human epidermal melanocytes (NHEM)
- Measuring the quantity of intracellular melanin produced
This example demonstrates how one of our ActiScents® can regulate the synthesis of melanin.
This study will be rounded off with tests on reconstructed epidermises.