Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Neurocosmetics: the future of skincare?

With the rising trends of veganism and plastic reduction, UK-based luxury vegan skincare brand Vida For You looks like it could be a good shout. Made with sustainable, ethically-sourced, and cruelty-free ingredients (including no parabens and no gluten), it's focused on by-products of food production and inspired by the Mediterranean. The packaging is also eco-friendly, as it's fully recyclable and plastic-free. 

So far, so millennial.

But in a truly modern twist, Vida For You also claims to be part of the neurocosmetics revolution.

To a non-scientist like me (and I suspect many makeup fans), this can be tricky to get one's head around. So a little bit of Googlerummaging comes up with this:

Vida For You is of course not the only neurocosmetic range (although I suspect they might be among the first to also be vegan). AO Skincare makes clear links on their page between emotional stress and the effect of this on the skin - and how their neurocosmetic approach can "ensure skin stays healthy and youthful for longer." Taiva is also currently using patented neurocosmetic formulations such as Neuraguard and Neutrazen, which allegedly stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis, soothe irritated skin, and protect skin from UV light.

But the first mention I found of neurocosmetics comes to us all the way from 2013. The researchers - Morganti et al - emphasise the nano element of neurocosmetics - namely, their ability to penetrate multiple skin layers. They also provide handy background information, such as the basis of neurocosmetics not just in traditional Chinese medicine, but also in our nervous, immune, cutaneous and endocrine systems. Of course, our brain communicates with our skin, via the activity of various peptide-signals, in order to cause mitosis (cell generation) and apoptosis (cell degeneration). We've all heard of penta-peptides thanks to various skincare adverts, so this is all starting to sound familiar - and more than mere flimflammery. 

Nanoparticles of substances such as hyaluronic acid (yep, you've heard of that one too) present in neurocosmetics help to neutralise negative environmental signals (such as UVA/UVB). It appears that "brain and skin may be influenced by ingredients that activate many processes of cellular protection and regeneration, slowing down or stopping the premature cell apoptosis".

Two years after the appearance of this research, Gabrielle Moro and Pierre-Yves Morvan gave a webinar further linking the ageing of neurons to the ageing of the skin. Further to this, also in 2015, industry expert Belinda Carli commented on the increasing use of "feel good" chemicals that then "prolong cell life and/or regulate inflammatory responses" - promoting the idea of skin wellness, and tying in well to Vida For You's idea of enhancing the healthy appearance of the skin, while reducing fine lines and combating sensitive skin issues.

Vida For You's products claim to use ingredients that can stimulate the brain/skin signal exchange, which are also known as pattern-referred adaptogens. These adaptogens can affect the skin and respond to external stress and pressure by increasing internal protective forces, stimulating the immune system, and having a positive effect on the wellbeing and health of the user.

Founder Eddy Emilio said: “The mind-body connection is not a new philosophy and the relationship between emotions and skin reaction has been recognised for decades. The key to this exchange is neurotransmitters and the messages sent between the skin and the brain, so by activating or reducing this action our products are able to directly influence skin behaviour. Consumers will see dramatic differences in the overall wellness of their skin, including reduced sensitivities, wrinkle reduction and an overall rejuvenated glow, while bringing back their natural balance to help ensure skin stays healthy and younger for longer.”

In short, it sounds like this could be just what the current generation is looking for: ecological, ethical and effective skincare that meets individual needs, and all via veganism.

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