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DSM in Personal Care

Talking 2018 trends and beyond

Silke Adamietz, Marketing Communication Manager, caught up with Michele Marchini Global Market and Consumer Insight Manager and Sebastien Mongiat, Head of Application & Customer Support, after In-cosmetics global 2018 to find out more about the key trends they noticed and how DSM is responding to these.
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Silke Adamietz (SA): As a leading global event for personal care ingredients, in-Cosmetics is a real showcase for current industry trends. Which new developments have stood out for you this year, Michele?

Michele Marchini (MM): There was a full afternoon of workshops on the theme of New Trends in Cosmetic Technology. Three of the topics presented here could be especially interesting for DSM as they reflect some of our current focuses: sustainability, stress-induced skin ageing, and the skin microbiome.

SA: Well as all know, DSM prides itself on its work to manage sustainability. Did you pick up on any new perspectives?

MM: Yes, Giorgio Dell’Acqua, who is a consultant for the personal care industry, gave an insightful presentation called “Recycling natural by-products from food and agricultural waste into powerful active ingredients for cosmetic applications.”

I’m sure you’re aware that the volumes of food we throw away in the developed world has become a serious concern. In the US for example, 40% of the food supply is never eaten and 21% of household waste is food. A lot of fruit and vegetable products are made up of peels, seeds and leaves that we don’t eat, for example, only 40% of an artichoke and 44% of an orange are edible. However, these components could be reused in beauty products. Orange peel contains carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamins C and E, the water left over from olive oil production is rich in polyphenols and “blueberry press cake”, a by-product of juice making, is a good source of antioxidants. All these elements could be extracted for skin care applications.

SA: This sounds like a ripe area for innovation. Is DSM currently doing anything similar?

MM: Well, it so happens that one of the starting ingredients in our bioactive STIMU-TEX® AS  is spent grain wax. DSM’s STIMU-TEX® AS spent grain wax is extracted from spent barley grains which are a by-product of beer making. Brewers have been aware of the soothing properties of spent grains for generations and our bioactive has been designed to relieve sensitive and irritated skin.

SA:This also fits in with DSM’s wider approach to sustainability, doesn’t it?

MM: Absolutely. As you know, at DSM we believe in meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations. Our planet is the greatest resource we have and we strive constantly to work with it not against it. This really is borne out in our actions. Our vitamin production site in Scotland has received a CEFIC European Responsible Care Award in the environmental category for its sustainability program, and a recent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) confirmed that our Quali®-E brand has the lowest carbon footprint for vitamin E in the industry.

Then there is our ALPAFLOR® range of certified bioactives. Ecocert, Cosmos and Natrue certification covers our organic cultivation practices, our wider approach to sustainability and our commitment to fair trade with the Fair for Life certification. At our manufacturing site, we recycle extraction solvents, compost plants, use renewable electricity and have reduced water and energy consumption significantly. At the same time, our cultivation practices help protect against soil depletion and preserve the biodiversity of Alpine flora ensuring a sustainable supply of high quality plants. This is important as it provides mountain farmers with a profitable economic activity, with ethical pricing and working conditions.

SA: We as DSM Personal Care used the overall theme “Let DSM ease your stress” at these year’s show, as we see that stress and its effects on skin is becoming more and more another hot topic in personal care at the moment. What kind of insights did you come across?

MM: It’s widely acknowledged that the pace of modern life is causing stress levels to rise and I picked up on some interesting observations from Dr. Andrea Mitarotonda’s presentation “Is better-ageing the new anti-ageing?” He suggested that cosmetic products take a more holistic approach to anti-ageing by tackling the wider aspects, such as emotions and stress. To illustrate, he referred to the photographer Julia Hembree’s “Faces of the Sleep Deprived” project which paints an unforgiving picture of what that a lack of sleep can do to our appearance. He also talked about the “stress hormone” cortisol and the ageing effects high levels of this can have on skin. I found this interesting because insomnia can of course be a symptom of stress and we also know there is a proven link between sleep loss and rising cortisol levels2.

SA: So would you say that countering the effects of stress is going to become an important aspect of anti-ageing skincare?

MM: Yes, and of course DSM is already addressing that need with its new cosmetic ingredient BEL-EVEN™ which has been developed to keep skin cortisol levels balanced. Dr Mitarotonda emphasised that it’s about more than just targeting specific issues though. He carried out some experiments and found that users’ feelings of overall well-being increased when using certain personal care products: this means that the benefits can extend to consumers’ emotional well-being, beyond the specific impact on the skin of a product.  In general, it seems that the very act of doing something to nurture the skin is beneficial, because it means people are taking a little bit of time for themselves. Formulations and textures that are pleasant to use are key part of this as they can add to the sense of ritual, and this is certainly something we bore in mind with BEL-EVEN™. It’s surprising just how much impact simple solutions can have when people are time-pressured and stressed.

SA: It seems that the topic of the skin microbiome caused quite a buzz at this year’s in-Cosmetics too. Sebastien, you went to one of the workshops at the in-cosmetics show. Can you tell us more about it?

SM: Yes, the session title was “The Microbiome of the skin New avenues of research” and I identified two challenges. Firstly, how can we investigate skin microbiota? And secondly, what do the various microorganisms in the skin’s ecosystem actually do to the skin; how do they interact and what are their roles and functions? We need much more research into the skin microbiome, but this research needs a common language and effective study design (skin sample collection, processing and sequencing, data analysis, etc).

SA: So how is DSM preparing to meet these challenges?

SM: At the moment, DSM focuses on understanding more about the symbiotic interaction between skin and the microbiome and the effect different levels of bacteria have on skin barrier function. There is an intimate link between microbiology and the skin and our scientists are using their expertise in these areas to find out when and why microbes can either be beneficial or harmful to the skin, and what might trigger imbalances. We do not only focus our investigation to the most representative bacterial strains, but also extend it to less usual ones, which are integrated part of the microbiome diversity, that might affect the skin’s appearance too.

Alongside our scientific research, we’ve also been talking to beauty bloggers and beauty experts to get some insights on consumer views. This is a new topic and there is still a sense of confusion all round about how best to unleash the skin microbiome’s potential. As well as using all our findings to develop products to rebalance the skin microbiome and promote beautiful skin, we hope our two strands of research (scientific research and consumer insights research) will help educate and bring clarity on this exciting topic to both consumers and manufacturers.

SA: Thanks very much for your time.

1 https://www.behance.net/gallery/8679561/Faces-of-the-Sleep-Deprived

2 Leproult R, Copinschi G, Buxton O, Van Cauter E. Sleep loss results in an elevation of cortisol levels the next evening. Sleep. 1997 Oct; 20(10):865-70.