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How we move into the future areas of skin care

Epigenetics. Behind this impressive-sounding concept is a research field through which our Beiersdorf researchers in collaboration with renowned institutes want to develop promising new ingredients for the skin care of tomorrow. These kinds of new ingredients could in the future, for example, help the skin counteract the skin-aging process caused by environmental influences, or ideally totally or partially reverse it.

Dr. Thomas Raschke (r.) and Dr. Marc Winnefeld
Dr. Thomas Raschke (r.) and Dr. Marc Winnefeld

The link between environment and body

“Epigenetics is a kind of link between the environment and our bodies, our genome,” explains Dr. Marc Winnefeld, Manager Applied Skin Research. “Here epigenetic modifications among other things are involved in the interpretation of genetic information. That means that depending on external factors certain genes can be activated or deactivated, which of course, can have an effect on the appearance of the skin.” It’s not surprising which environmental influences are positive or negative, but rather that with epigenetics we now have a new mechanism that explains how an individual lifestyle can affect our genes influencing, for example, skin aging. The good thing about epigenetic modifications is that they are partially reversible.

Skin-relevant processes can be reactivated

Very simplified, that means for skin-relevant processes: After impairment, they can in principle be reactivated – for example with the help of epigenetic active ingredients. “We have tested a large number of natural ingredients and extracts to identify those actives that show epigenetic activities,” Winnefeld continues. “Currently we are working with model substances that have to be further optimized.”

New ingredient discovered – and what comes next?

Ultimately these substances identified by our researchers have to be successfully integrated into a cream. And this can be a challenge, as Dr. Thomas Raschke, Lab Manager Prototyping Face, knows well. His development team supports the research labs to identify new ingredients. Until an active ingredient is successfully formulated into a new skin care product a lot of experimental work and know-how is required. “For example, the solubility of the ingredient in the formula is one important aspect. Good solubility is a prerequisite for good biological activity in a product. Natural ingredients are also often heavily colored so, we have to find a way to mask this color to develop a white cream,” says Raschke.

A look behind the scenes in skin research and formula development

Marc Winnefeld and Thomas Raschke offer a peek into their work and their teams in this video.

Further new fields of Beiersdorf Research & Development

In addition to epigenetics, research into the microbiome and sustainability are among the new fields of skin research and product development at Beiersdorf. In the coming months, we will be presenting further examples from these areas.

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Diana Lühmann

About the editor: Diana Lühmann

Since 2014, Diana has been responsible for R&D Communications at Beiersdorf. Prior to that, she was editor-in-chief of the Beiersdorf intranet and responsible for various HR, Brands, digital and strategic communications topics and projects. For our blog, Diana dives into the fascinating world of research and development and takes us with her to peek behind the scenes of our skin research.