Assessing the Contributing Attributes of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cutaneous Aging by Eurofins

19 January 2021

In the world today, the increase in life expectancy is leading to a real demographic shock: in 2018, the number of people over 65 exceeded that of children under 5. To best serve this growing population, it is important to understand their needs to offer personal care/cosmetic products that specifically meet their expectations.
Skin aging is a physiological process influenced by 2 types of factors, each with specific cellular mechanisms and clinical aspects.
  • Intrinsic factors are mainly age-related; with variable expression according to genetic factors and hormonal status (i.e. oestrogenic deficiency induces a loss of 30% of collagen in the 4 years following the menopause). At the cellular level, the length of telomeres at the ends of chromosomes gradually shortens resulting in cellular alterations in function.  DNA repair capacity and proteins such as P53 decrease resulting in less cell renewal.  Clinically, we observe on non-photo exposed areas, a skin that is thinned, drier, withered, less pigmented, and less toned.
  • Extrinsic factors are mainly UV exposure-related, which induces lesions at the epidermis (UVB) and dermis (UVA) but also includes pollution (ozone) exposure, alcohol and tobacco use. At the cellular level, these factors are a source of free radical production (i.e. oxidative stress), with deterioration of DNA and repair systems. Clinically, a solar elastosis is observed on photo exposed areas resulting in skin that is rough, yellow, flabby, atrophic with deep wrinkles and irregularities of pigmentation.
Whatever the skin aging factors are, the clinical scoring of skin density, dryness, firmness, wrinkles/ fine lines, complexion homogeneity/pigmented spots, and complexion radiance allows for the assessment of products focused on improving these aging parameters.
  • Biometrology is a fiels of non-invasive evaluation technics focused on skin’s innate biophysical responses using various imaging and applied energy technologies .Prime examples of these are Laser Doppler, Corneometer, Ballistometry and Ultrasound to name a few.  Data are obtained with precise controls which are based on reproducible, calibrated and controlled processes of data collection.  The application of skin metrology spans from normal healthy skin function to stressed and even pathological conditions. Because the skin is a highly variable organ designed to acclimate and respond to environmental stresses both acute and chronic, tracking these changes, to understand or correct the aging process, is paramount to the development of any new technology.
Several bioengineering methods have been proposed to objectively, precisely, and non-invasively measure skin aging, and to detect early skin damage that is sub-clinically observable, in order to support new product development: computerized imaging, biophysical instrumentation looking at color, firmness, roughness and density all tie together for a global picture of skin function.  Application of skin metrology can be used to even screen subjects prior to the initiation of studies to identify appropriate users, and/or those prone to adverse reactions based on their pre-existing skin conditions.
  • Cosmetic products play a growing role in the well-being of individuals as they age. As early as 1994, WHO defined an individual’s health as a complete state of well-being – not only physical but also psychological and social collectively. This triad is particularly true for seniors who care less about their physical appearance than their physical condition and quality of life (general form, mood and attractiveness).

Today, advertising and new product developments highlight integrative beauty that sublimates beauty at any age. Anti-aging claims are abandoned in favor of pro-aging, creating new opportunities for growth.  As a result, it becomes essential to assess the impact of cosmetic products on the emotional aspect. Emotions can be understood through 3 components: expressive (behavioral), visceral (physiological) and subjective (psychometry). This last component is very often employed in cosmetics, due to its ease of use and its relevance. Thanks to standardized and objective questionnaires, subjects are asked to document and quantify the intensity of their emotional engagement (joy, relaxation, excitement, etc.) or the frequency of well-being situations.

Understanding the mechanisms behind skin aging has led to creative technologies design to slow down the signs of aging, accompany physical changes and promote sense of well-being.  Developing studies that encompass the physiological/biophysical, behavioral and subjective aspects of skin care product performance to understand the relationship between mechanism of action and consumer perception are key to successful product development. Adopting standardized processes as part of a comprehensive testing protocol not only contributes to a better reliability of research results, but also allows for the industry to properly peer review published results.
By developing and using cutting-edge measurement tools and methods, we at Eurofins are applying our expanding knowledge of skin and skin measurement science to help create new therapies, as well as making current ones more effective.

Read the complete FOCUS#3 : Focus#3 Anti-aging Clinical Testing.v2




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