Understanding of skin biology may lead to improved topical NPD, study finds
15 Mar 2022 --- The creation of new peptide-based skin products and treatments may be possible due to a better understanding of skin biology, particularly the stratum corneum’s – the skin’s outermost layer – penetration profile.
This is according to researchers from the University of Nottingham in partnership with No7 Beauty Company, who analyzed the skin’s outermost layer, producing what it calls the “most detailed molecular map” of its structure.
“This research gives the chemical structure detail of the stratum corneum never seen before,” says David Scurr, lead researcher and principal research fellow in the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham.
“The information we were able to gather on the complex chemistry of this tough barrier layer has the potential to benefit research into fundamental biological processes, such as those associated with aging and disease in addition to improving the efficacy of topical delivery.”
Following topical application to the skin surface, the team accurately traced the penetration of No7’s peptide blend Super Matrixyl 3000 Plus and identified the peptides responsible for targeting photo-damage that occurs at the beginning of the aging process.
Analyzing the stratum corneum
The stratum corneum is the skin’s primary barrier when it comes to chemical transfers. Its principal function is to establish a barrier protecting the underlying tissues.
The researchers analyzed human skin tissue from the stratum corneum using the most advanced three-dimensional mass spectrometry imaging technology – the 3D OrbiSIMS instrument – to show molecular chemistry. The 3D OrbiSIMS instrument is used for biomedical imaging.
The 3D OrbiSIMS instrument method allows for molecular analysis of various materials, including biological tissues like human skin. Importantly, because of its high mass resolving capacity, chemical specificity, and sensitivity, it can be utilized to analyze in situ human skin samples and precisely map the molecular structure of the skin.
“Commercially, this research is very significant as this technique can offer an improved understanding of topical delivery and therefore lead to the development of more effective peptide-based anti-aging products,” adds Mike Bell, head of science research at No7 Beauty Company.
Showcasing the skin’s chemistries
During the study, researchers used ex vivo full-thickness human skin tissue samples were used, along with a single gas cluster ion beam, to both sputter through the skin and generate secondary ions, which were then analyzed using the Orbitrap (an ion trap mass analyzer) to create a depth profile.
This procedure revealed the stratum corneum’s diverse chemistries and 3D distributions and how they link to important biological processes like the cholesterol sulfate cycle.
Previously, No7’s day cream product gained popularity in the US as it provided better hydration at a lower cost than other competitors in the region.
Edited by Nicole Kerr
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