Marine ingredients – an ocean of possibilities

Kinga Kulon and Carole Boury from BASF Beauty Care Solutions talk about the advantages of marine ingredients as cosmetic raw materials and present two new active ingredients based on algae

EURO COSMETICS Magazine • Marine ingredients – an ocean of possibilities • Kinga Kulon and Carole Boury • Kinga Kulon and Carole Boury
Carole Boury
Marketing Manager,BASF Beauty Care Solutions
Dr. Kinga Kulon
Business Development, BASF Beauty Care Solutions

EURO COSMETICS: Why are marine ingredients a popular resource for cosmetic products?


Kinga Kulon: At BASF, we often take inspiration from nature when developing new active ingredients. It is hard to envision more intricate yet simple designs, than those we have around us. Now, a closer look at our planet reveals that around 71 percent of its surface is covered with water – and about 97 percent of the Earth’s water comes from the ocean. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the ocean is a promising source of innovation.
But there are also very specific trends in the personal care sector to which marine ingredients provide an effective response. For one thing, they offer a natural and sustainable solution to cosmetic manufacturers. Algae, for example, regrow faster than any plant on land. What’s more, consumers trust marine ingredients because they are well known to them from other sectors such as the food industry.


EURO COSMETICS: What benefits can marine ingredients offer in skin care products?


Carole Boury: Algae contain quite a number of valuable components such as polysaccharides, essential amino acids, vitamins, proteins, and antioxidants. When used in skin care, their benefits include helping keep the skin moisturized and supporting protection against free radicals such as those induced by UV radiation, which cause premature aging. In addition, algae extracts may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, thereby revitalizing the skin.


EURO COSMETICS: What are BASF’s latest innovations in this field?


Carole Boury: We have recently launched two new bioactive ingredients that harness the power of different algae species.
Sacred Patch® takes advantage of the precious algal extract sacran.
This ingredient is inspired by the millennia-old Japanese beauty ritual of bathing in volcanic waters, the epitome of relaxation and physical and mental health for the local population. Sacred Patch® is designed to promote emotional wellbeing while addressing common signs of sensitive skin.
Seanactiv™, our most recent addition to BASF’s bioactives portfolio, is based on the marine algae fucus vesiculosus, commonly known as bladderwrack. It grows in the clear northern hemisphere waters of Nova Scotia, and when compared to other seaweed plants, it contains the highest level of fucoidan. This polysaccharide protects the alga from external stresses. Our bioactive compound capitalizes on the strengths of fucoidan and helps quickly revitalize the eye contour within the first week of application.

EURO COSMETICS Magazine • Marine ingredients – an ocean of possibilities • Kinga Kulon and Carole Boury • Kinga Kulon and Carole Boury
Figure 1: Evaluation of the emotional impact of Sacred Patch® in a cream. Results after first application compared to a placebo. Scale from 1 (does not match the board at all) to 7 (completely matches the board).


EURO COSMETICS: Why did you choose sacran as the basis for Sacred Patch®?


Kinga Kulon: Sacran is a polysaccharide produced by the bluegreen alga Aphanothece sacrum – or Suizenji Nori, as it is called in Japanese. This miraculous single-cell creature is half-alga, half-bacteria, and belongs to the cyanobacteria, the first primitive organisms to bring oxygen to the Earth.
While sacran has long been known for its soothing properties, our researchers recently discovered that the polysaccharide can also help stimulate in vitro the release of oxytocin, a neuropeptide known to play a key role in social bonding, attachment and empathy.
This makes it even more valuable for use in skin care, since consumers are increasingly looking for products that trigger positive emotions.


EURO COSMETICS: What are Sacred Patch®’s most important properties?


Kinga Kulon: Certainly, the most extraordinary benefit is Sacred Patch®’s positive effect on emotional wellbeing. Ex vivo, we were able to show that the ingredient can support the natural process of oxytocin release in human skin explants. This result was backed up by a placebo-controlled emotional test based on nine picture boards, each of which non-verbally expressed a specific emotion such as surprise, disgust, anger, or happiness. While applying the product, study participants with sensitive skin were asked to correlate the emotions they perceived to the visual stimuli. The results confirmed the positive emotional effect of Sacred Patch® immediately after application: 93% of the volunteers associated its use with tenderness, 90% with joy and happiness, and 61% with desire (Figure 1). Our active ingredient also helps soothe sensitive skin.
In an in vitro test, the sacran extract was shown to help reduce inflammation caused by pathogenic bacteria by 93% compared to an untreated control. Lastly, Sacred Patch® provides advanced moisturization thanks to our MicroPatch® technology.

EURO COSMETICS: What is BASF’s MicroPatch® technology all about?


Kinga Kulon: To harness the power of sacran, we have incorporated this valuable ingredient into a unique delivery system consisting of three biomacromolecules that build a mesh-like structure: pullulan, alginate and hyaluronic acid. They entrap the active ingredient and serve as a reservoir, ensuring a slow and prolonged release
of sacran, thereby extending its action. When applied, the patch forms an invisible film-like layer – like a “second skin” – that limits transepidermal water loss and therefore protects the epidermis from drying out. Sacran, entrapped in the patch, is ideal to support this effect. It has impressive water-attracting properties and helps increase the skin’s natural water retention capacity, keeping it hydrated.
The MicroPatch® technology, as we call it, builds on our dual expertise in natural macromolecules and the controlled release of active ingredients. Currently, we have four different MicroPatch products in our portfolio – Sacred Patch®, MicroPatch® Serine, MicroPatch® Caffeine, and Patch2O®. All of them use different biomacro-molecules and active ingredients depending on the desired effect, ranging from intense moisturization to anti-cellulite or soothing of sensitive skin. We are continuously refining this technology, and there will be more to come before long.

EURO COSMETICS Magazine • Marine ingredients – an ocean of possibilities • Kinga Kulon and Carole Boury • Kinga Kulon and Carole Boury
Figure 2: Illustrative pictures (parallel polarized) of the improvement in skin luminosity under the eye.
Day-to-day measurements before and after treatment with 1% of Seanactiv™ compared to a placebo.


EURO COSMETICS: Your most recent launch is Seanactiv™. What can we expect from this new ingredient?


Carole Boury: Seanactiv™ is a new active ingredient that specifically targets the eye area – a part of our body to which consumers have always paid a lot of attention. The eyes are the most visible part of our face and are thought to be the reflection of our soul and emotions. At the same time, they show signs of fatigue, stress or skin aging first.
By leveraging the power of fucoidan from the alga species fucus vesiculosus, Seanactiv™ has a quick and positive effect on diminishing both signs of fatigue and aging around the eye area. The ingredient offers a three-step action that has been proven by in vitro and in vivo tests. It helps both minimize the appearance of dark circles and wrinkles, and enhance the overall skin luminosity of the eye area. After just one week of application, it already visibly contributes to healthier, fresher, and younger looking skin. (Figure 2)


EURO COSMETICS: What does the use of algae as a cosmetic raw material mean for the marine ecosystem?


Carole Boury: Algae are photosynthetic organisms that can grow under extreme conditions. Due to the tides, fucus vesiculosus (for instance) spends as much time living underwater as it does out of water on rocks or sand, making it particularly resistant to different conditions and temperature variations. In addition, algae are very sustainable raw materials because they regrow so quickly and can be found in almost every ecosystem in the world.
Still, innovation must of course never be at the expense of sustainability.
Just as with plant-based raw materials that grow on land, marine ingredients must be harvested and processed responsibly in order to protect and preserve the ecosystem.
The alga used for Seanactiv™, for example, is harvested manually with a seaweed rake from a platform vessel from May to September, under government license and in line with good collection practices that ensure regeneration of the biomass. The thallus is also certified organic and is harvested according to its size, respecting the biomass collection quota per specimen. Through these methods, we can protect nature and at the same time sustainably harness the power of marine extracts for skin care ingredients.


EURO COSMETICS: Thank you for the interview.

Kinga Kulon
Carole Boury

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