The Latest Research In Cosmetic Chemistry

Keep Calm and Carry On. It’s always been the British way to face adversity. The demeanor came in handy when the UK Society of Cosmetic Scientists hosted the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) in September.

The IFSCC Praesdium

Just when the UK Society was confident that the Congress would go on as covid cases abated, the UK fell into mourning over the death of Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, during the Queen’s funeral services, the IFSCC suspended all activities out of respect. Despite the challenges, the Congress attracted 761 on-site attendees and 127 virtual delegates. But whether in-person or online, participants could peruse hundreds of posters and attend dozens of podium presentations.

IFSCC President Eva Ramos welcomed attendees during the opening ceremonies, before turning the podium over to IFSCC President-Elect Tony Gough. He noted that the IFSCC has grown to include 50 societies representing 80 countries. The Congress has grown, too, with podium presentations on subjects ranging from delivering efficacy and well-aging to neuroscience and cutting-edge technologies.

“With 761 onsite and 127 virtual delegates able to live stream the sessions or watch on-demand, IFSCC 2022 had an excited buzz,” said Gough. “It brought together 88 podium speakers from 18 countries, which included 11 world-renowned keynotes, 317 posters, 16 sponsors and supporting organizations, 30 exhibitors and seven media partners in the heart of London—at a moment when the eyes of the world were on our capital city, giving delegates the opportunity to say that they were there, and witnessed ‘The Queue’ — such a British phenomenon!” 

IFSCC 2022 Steering Committee Chair Judi Beerling said organizers were delighted with the Congress.

“As the first in-person IFSCC Congress since 2018 the Society of Cosmetic Scientists UK & Ireland faced many challenges in committing to host IFSCC 2022, starting with the not insignificant question of whether or not people would be able to travel to our event and ending with the need to rapidly re-arrange our Opening Ceremony, because the venue, Central Hall Westminster, was commandeered to be the press center for coverage of the Queen’s State funeral!”

Gough and Beerling noted that although nothing could beat the in-person networking where many new connections were made, IFSCC 2022 was designed as the very first hybrid IFSCC Congress, giving companies greater flexibility and, hopefully, making the science presented available to more cosmetic scientists and researchers.

“In addition to having had a packed three-day program during Congress, our delegates can still enjoy online access to all podium lectures, posters and the full Congress Proceedings until December 21 in the Attendee Hub, giving huge value for money,” explained Beerling. 

Moreover, if non-attendees feel a bit of “Congress-envy,” organizers have a post Congress offer whereby you can purchase access. Visit to gain access to the highly popular sessions on Skin Health, Protection and Well-Aging, the Microbiome, Neuroscience, Sensory Science, the Omics, Sustainability and many more. There, users can listen to experts from all over the world, view all the posters and download the full scientific papers that underpin their presentations.

“It has been a real pleasure to be involved in organizing IFSCC 2022,” said Gough. “Science thrives on collaboration and debate—and there is nowhere else that this happens in our industry on such a scale and with research as the main focus.”

Beerling and Gough recalled the entire Congress experience came to a crescendo at the Gala Awards dinner in Battersea Park. There, Congress awards were presented (see sidebar). After that, attendees were treated to superb “Best of British”’ entertainment with a live band.

“We, of course, thank all our sponsors, exhibitors and delegates that helped make the 32nd IFSCC Congress, London such a success,” said Beerling.

The Congress opened with a keynote by Rachel Watson, University of Manchester. She described skin aging as a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. She reiterated the findings of other researchers, noting that aging significantly impacts the biomechanical function and structural composition of skin.

“The exposome consists of exposure to UVR, pollution and modifiable factors; such as smoking, diet, poor sleeping habits and perception of stress,” noted Watson.

In contrast, clinically chronic UVR exposure results in skin laxity, wrinkle formation and altered pigmentation.

“Skin laxity and wrinkle formation is underpinned by changes to the collagenous and elastic dermal matrices driven by direct photochemistry and by cell-mediated remodeling,” she explained.

In her research, Watson found intrinsically aged buttock skin is significantly less resilient (P<0.1), has reduced elasticity (P<0.001) and exhibits signs of skin fatigue (P<0.001) and hysteresis (P<0.01) compared to young buttock skin. At the same time, photodamaged forearm skin displays severe loss of resilience (P<0.001) and elasticity (P<0.001); while fatigue, hysteresis and viscous “creep” (all P<0.001) are exacerbated.

But what intrinsic and extrinsic factor negatively impact skin, there are materials that can rejuvenate it. Jin Woong Kim, Sungkyunkwan University, explained how application of Euglena gracilis-derived extracellular microvesicles fabricated through microalgae extrusion led to unprecedented skin regeneration. Kim began his presentation by reviewing the growing popularity of exosomes, which he described as a highly active, biocompatible, endogenous carrier. He reviewed exosome isolation techniques developed by Exodrop (plant exosome from leaf) and Amorepacific (lactobacillus exosome).

The Euglena gracilis alga has a highly-flexible cell surface, enabling it to change shape from a thin cell up to 100μm long to a sphere approximately 20μm. 1,3-beta glucan from euglena gracilis can be used in a range of applications including wound healing, antioxidation and immune modulation. In tests these EG-derived microvesicles produced 17% more BrdU-positive cells than beta-glucan after 24 hours incubation. In wound-healing tests, the material had 40% improvement in cell migration.

“Our system enables the design of non-animal-derived extracellular vesicles that have considerable potential in the field of skin regeneration,” Kim concluded.

As the masks come off, the color cosmetics go on. Lip color sales have soared in recent months. Tsang-Min Huang, L’Oréal R&I, detailed how liquid-liquid phase separation enables the creation of a one-step, long-lasting color/shine lip gloss. He reviewed current long-wear technology that often results in a formula that provides shine and comfort with a compromise on wear; or imparts shine with a compromise on comfort.

Huang detailed a double-phase technology that provides long-lasting color with good adhesion, transfer-resistance and a thinner deposition with high color payoff. At the same time, the self-healing gloss layer is food ingredient resistant, self-leveling to maintain shine and is comfortable. It involves using the unstable dispersion of a pigmented internal phase and a clear/translucent external phase that is redispersed prior to application.

The solution is a unique and first-in-class, silicone-silicone unstable formula created to achieve one-step, long-lasting color and shine. The long-lasting shine/color is achieved by a good balance between polymer physics, phase separation kinetic and packaging design. Huang demonstrated the long-wear performance and shine retention via a series of in vitro evaluation and proven by a large-scale consumer test against lip gloss benchmark.

Oriflame researchers say they know what makes consumers positively glow. Cyril Messaraa, a principal scientist with the Swedish color cosmetics maker, noted that the term “glow” is used in many product claims, yet there is no concrete definition of it. To get a definition, Oriflame conducted a consumer insight study in several countries.

“Glow equals shininess, but not too much. It must avoid being oily,” explained Messaraa. “Oily or greasy skin has a different shininess that is unpleasant and unattractive. (Consumers) believe that glow is difficult to achieve on oily skin and therefore, the balance needs to be normalized before glow can be considered.”

According to the study findings, radiance and brightness are used as synonyms for glow, though radiance has more personality associated with it. Respondents said that while pigmentation doesn’t prevent glow, it does lessen its impact. They also said that skin care products are an authentic way to achieve glow, while hybrid and makeup products give temporary results.

Some more takeaways? In India and Indonesia, many women said whitening products are outdated or insensitive, though they noted it will take time to completely phase out whitening products. In contrast, in China, white, fair skin is still considered a beauty ideal. In fact, fair skin is more important to Chinese consumers than glowing skin.

“Glow is a great ambassador of holistic beauty claims,” Messaraa concluded.

Christopher Berkey of Stanford University explained how the exploitation of ingredient interactions can optimize skin care formulations. Specifically, he detailed how emollient selection affects cutaneous barrier and biomechanical function. According to Berkey, biomechanical parameters like stress are strongly responsive to formulation ingredients and affect the barrier function.

“Ingredients may interact synergistically to alter skin stress and modify consumer sensory perception,” said Berkey.

The 10 test formulas were composed of 15% emollient (10 types), 83 or 80% water, 0 or 3% glycerol, 1% sodium polyacrylate, 1% phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin and 0.05% sodium stearoyl glutamate. The Stanford researchers concluded that emollient, polymer additive and more ingredient choices have a combined impact on formulation efficacy, barrier function and consumer perception beyond texture, stability and other attributes. Further enhancing penetration of ingredients with more complex formulations presents more opportunities for delivering efficacy and reducing SC mechanical stress.

“Large emollients have the most enhanced efficacy when included in full formulation,” concluded Berkey. “Polymer additives can form surface films that increase stress and could be anti-wrinkling.”

Lionel Muniglia of Biolie detailed an enzymatic-assisted extraction process to create natural, organic active waters from food waste such as cucumber, pear and zucchini. According to Muniglia, these vegetable waters are multifunctional ingredients bringing water and nutrients to a formula, while boosting efficacy, like tyrosinase inhibition or antioxidant activity. The enzymatic-assisted extraction process starts with food industry coproducts, such as off-size or “ugly” vegetables. The process produces organic natural active waters for the cosmetic industry with limited energy consumption and a low amount of extraction wastes. The waste is valorized into energy due to anaerobic digestion or valorized with composting, giving back residual biomass to the ground to grow new plants.

“These natural ingredients help the formulator use less ingredients in the formula, following the emerging skinimalism trend, aiming for less ingredients and/or more natural and sustainable ones,” he concluded.

Sabrina Leoty-okombi of BASF Beauty Care Solutions detailed a microfluidic technique to highlight specificities of microbite communities from sensitive skin. She noted that 50% of European women and 72% of Chinese women have sensitive skin. Focusing on the microbiota, BASF research found those with sensitive skin had 13% more Cutibacterium and 16% less Staphylococcus than normal skin. Furthermore, Bacillus, Acinetobacter, Actinomyces, Kocuria and Micrococcus were abundant in sensitive skin. In contrast, Ruminococcus and Anaerococcus were not detected in sensitive skin. BASF researchers also found that S. epidermidis and S. capitis were the most represented Staph species in non-sensitive skin.

Tomonobu Ezure, Shiseido, detailed the role that “ring collagen” plays in anti-aging skin care formulas. Using novel technology that he called “skin-mechanics reality,” Ezure revealed the role that 4D dynamics and “wrapping force” play in skin care. The technology enabled Shiseido researchers to demonstrate how ring collagen produces a tensional network that tightly “wraps” the facial skin around underlying structures, and thereby serves to retain the facial morphology, acting as an anti-deformation system.

“We also clarified that ring-collagen senses and modulates the skin physical condition in response to environmental changes via the Wnt16-PG system,” noted Ezure. “These discoveries provide a wide range of new targets and fundamentally change the concept of skin care.”

According to Ezure, ring-collagen can sense and respond to changes in intra/extra environmental conditions by modulating the tension. Further, loading the physical condition of young skin on aged skin can reconstruct the wrapping force of aged skin and rejuvenate facial appearance. This novel concept of “environmental transplantation” provides a completely new approach to facial rejuvenation, according to the speaker.

“The ring-collagen inducer Wnt16 could be targeted with drugs, and the new anti-aging skin care target of ORS cells might also be targeted with drugs delivered via fine hairs,” said Ezure. “Further, instead of the conventional approach of focusing on collagen amount and quality, we can proceed toward a collagen-targeting solution at the structure level.”

Audrey Faure-Grousson, L’Occitane Group, explained how red pepper capsaicin-free extract (RPE) can energize skin without irritating it. Researchers extracted red pepper powder with 98% ethanol for 30 minutes at room temperature. The extract was centrifugated and the precipitate was removed. Final extract was sterilized 15 minutes at 121°C. A 5% solution of RPE was tested on human volunteers with an acute skin irritation patch test and a repeat skin irritation patch test (HRIPT). In both tests, RPE did not induce any skin irritation on any of the 10 volunteers.

L’Occitane researchers created a cream containing 5% RPE. After four weeks of cream application, on one hand, complexion brightness was increased 13%, luminosity by 10% and transparency by 13%. At the same time, yellow shade declined 7% and olive shade by 9%.

“Interestingly, effect on luminosity, brightness and transparency occurred from one week of use, and was visible by more than 80% of subjects after four weeks of cream application,” noted Faure-Grousson.

Few external factors age skin faster than ultraviolet radiation. Daiane Mercurio, L’Oréal Research & Innovation, detailed results of a study evaluating in vivo and in real sun conditions the benefits of daily application of a sunscreen containing Methoxypropylamino cyclohexenylidene ethoxyethylcyanoacetate (MCE). An SPF 50+ formula, containing 1% MCE, reduced appearance of crow’s feet wrinkles, upper lip wrinkles, ptosis, texture of the mouth contour, upper lip texture and whole face pigmentation when compared to baseline and to the reference formula after one month. In addition, MCE sunscreen presented better results vs the reference for lateral facial pigmentation and upper lip pigmentation.

“We could prove that an efficient filtration/absorption extended in the 380-400 nm range, can lead to a higher performance for daily photoprotection routines,” said Mercurio. “These results translate in real sun exposure conditions, close to real life, the effective protection mechanisms described in controlled UV exposure conditions. These clinical benefits can be linked to the effective protection of MCE on some biological mechanisms, such as the prevention of oxidative stress and UVA-induced gene expression modulations.”

Neuroscience was in focus during Day 2 of the Congress. Keynote Speaker Baroness Susan Greenfield, Neuro-Bio Ltd., noted that touch releases endorphins and that for newborns, touch is more important than food in building connections with their caretakers. She cited a 1958 study conducted by Harry Harlow on Rhesus monkeys which found that connections develop as the result of a mother providing “tactile comfort,” suggesting infants have a biological need to touch and cling to something for emotional comfort. In order to develop normally, the monkey must have some interaction with an object during the first months of life.

Throughout life, touch, or more precisely, skin, plays many roles in overall health. Greenfield detailed a study linking Alzheimer Disease to psoriasis.

Gusang Kown, Amorepacific, detailed a method to measure the impact that cosmetics have on emotions. Using an 8-channel EEG headset and 100 healthy adults, researchers developed a windows application (Mindstream) to analyze data produced by the headset. Six fragrances were administered via a dispenser and each fragrance was emitted three times in random fashion.

Each trial lasted 15 seconds and participants filled out a questionnaire after each emittance. The algorithm was able to recognize changes in EEG when a participant reported inconsistent reaction to the same stimulus, as well as adapt to variability in brain activity among different participants.

“We can use this application in various steps such as product development, consumer surveys and marketing,” noted Kwon. “Further, this can solve the purpose of increased demands for a tailored beauty solution. This tool can help understand consumer behavior and mind in a novel way, thereby contributing to and providing multiple implications in the cosmetics industry, consumer neuroscience and sensory science.” 

IFSCC Congress Steering Committee Chair Judi Beerling, Society of Cosmetic Chemists (UK), has been named an IFSCC Fellow. She is the fifth IFSCC Fellow. Beerling has held many honorary roles in the Society of Cosmetic Scientists UK and Ireland over several decades. She was the president in 2008-2009, is an hnorary member and held the position of honorary treasurer and council member for a fourth time finishing in May 2016.

Prior to serving as chair of the steering committee for the 2022 32nd IFSCC Congress in London, Beerling was a member of the steering committee for the previous UK 2002 Congress in Edinburgh and was responsible for the much-enjoyed social events. She spent seven years on the IFSCC Praesidium, as honorary secretary and then treasurer, between 2004 and 2011.

An IFSCC Fellow recognizes members who have achieved full maturity in the profession as evidenced by a record of outstanding achievement in the field of cosmetic science, and leadership and service to the IFSCC.  This is an honorary designation with no duties or responsibilities required.

Other IFSCC Fellows include:

  • Dr. Luigi Rigano, Società Italiana di Chimica e Scienze Cosmetologiche

  • Dr. Fuji Kanda, The Society of Cosmetic Chemists of Japan

  • Dr. Robert Lochhead, Society of Cosmetic Chemists (USA-Canada)

  • John Staton, Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists

At the closing gala, the IFSCC presented awards to the best papers and posters presented during the Congress. The winners include:

Henry Maso Award: Maxime Légues, CTBiotech, The World’s First 3D Bioprinted Immune Skin Model Suitable for Screening Drugs and Ingredients for Normal and Inflamed Skin.

Basic Research Award: Elias Bou Samra, L’Oréal, Decoding Epidermis Reconstruction Through Time-Course Multi-Omics Data.

Applied Research Award: Christopher Berkey, Stanford University, Exploiting Ingredient Interactions to Deliver Optimal Performance of Skin-Care Formulations.

Poster Award: Paul Lawrence, Biocogent, Targeting Small Non-Coding RNAs to Diminish the Epigenetic Ravages of Aged Skin.

Due to the pandemic, the IFSCC didn’t hold a conference or congress in 2020 or 2021. But the Society didn’t forget the outstanding research that took place during that time. During the opening ceremony of the IFSCC Congress in London, organizers recognized the following research:


Maison G de Navarre Award:
Jin Hui Zoo, China

Johann Wiechers Award: Dr. Moe Tsutsumi, Shiseido, Skin Beauty with Gentle-Touch-Receptor Merkel Cells Restore Your Sense with Pleasant Scent.

Host Society Award: Luis Serrano, UNAM, Development and Characterization of a Co-Processed Cosmetic Excipient Based on Solid Lipid Nanoparticles and Talc for Makeup Preparations.

Poster Award: Dr. Tomomi Suga, L’Oréal, A Novel Technology for Cosmetic Transfer Prevention.


Henry Maso Award:
Dr. Ka-Heng Lee, Wipro Skin Research and Innovation, for his publication in the IFSCC magazine, From Molecular Characterization to Clinical Validation: Underlying New Science of Skin Glycation and the Skin Lightening Effect of Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol Mediated via an Anti-Glycation Mechanism.

Basic Research Award: Dr. Tomonobu Ezure, Shiseido, New Horizon in Skincare Targeting the Facial Morphology Retaining Dermal ‘Dynamic Belt,’ Revolution in Skin Analysis, 4D-Digital Skin Technology.

Applied Research Award: Dr. Sacha Salameh, L’Oréal, A Perfusable Vascularized Full-Thickness Skin Model for Topical and Systemic Applications.

Poster Award: Hisashi Mihara, Takasago International, How Can We Control Unpleasant Body Malodor Effectively—Development of Novel Fragrances Using the Olfactory Receptor Technology.

It’s not too early to start thinking about the 33rd IFSCC Congress, which is scheduled for Barcelona, Sept. 4-7, 2023.

The theme of the Congress is: “Rethinking Beauty Science.” Organizers are accepting abstracts until Dec. 1, 2022. Visit for more information.


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