[interview] Anti-Aging for a Modern Market with Tomonobu Ezure, Ph.D., Shiseido

According to Research and Markets, the global market for anti-aging products was estimated at $ 34.2 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $ 47.8 billion revised by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.9% since 2020 to 2027. Wrinkle products, in particular, are projected to record a CAGR of 5.7% and reach $ 19.1 billion; the anti-pigmentation segment was revised at an adjusted CAGR of 4.1% for the next seven-year period.

I expect the focus will shift from morphology-based concerns to less well-defined sensations, such as glowing skin and the volume aspect of the skin. “

What consumer concerns are driving this growth? And what new directions could anti-aging skin care take? Tomonobu Ezure, Ph.D., chief scientist at Shiseido Ltd., shares his insights in this exclusive interview.

What are the concerns that you think are most important among consumers of anti-aging products today?

I think age-dependent changes in facial morphology are currently attracting the most interest in the anti-aging skincare field and are probably the biggest concern for consumers right now. One of the first goals for skin care was dryness of the skin, and later the focus shifted to wrinkles. Then, as the field developed, the focus again shifted to larger changes related to facial aging, such as sagging, loss of facial contour, nasolabial folds, and so on.

We have established definitions and evaluation methods for these changes and uncovered a variety of key factors in facial aging, all of which are related to the skin. These findings clearly showed that skin itself plays a pivotal role in facial aging, whereas facial aging was previously believed to be due to deeper facial structures (fat or muscle). Therefore, consumers can see that modern skin care products are reasonable as solutions for age-dependent facial morphology changes, as they target the skin.

See on file: Facial fat as a key anti-aging goal

Together, which ingredients or technologies address these product problems?

The range of cosmetic ingredients has expanded tremendously, based on the expansion of aging research into the life sciences and regenerative medical treatments. Active ingredients, such as senolytic agents, nicotinamide mononucleotide, stem cell-derived exosomes and so on, are attracting increasing interest. As information on anti-aging products and mechanisms is widely available in the media and on the Internet, consumers expect these products to be included in cosmetics.

How has the trend for minimalist / simple formulas influenced the development of anti-aging products?

This concept is very important for future cosmetic research and development, as it highlights a critical issue about cosmetics. Namely: how do cosmetic products work on the skin? As we know, the skin deteriorates with aging and there are changes in the blood vessels, sebaceous glands, sweat glands, and so on, which supply water and moisturizing factors to the skin’s surface. So, for example, applying moisturizing factors to the skin surface is more important for older people than for young people. Therefore, we can say that the meaning of minimal formula cosmetics differs according to the age of the consumer, as well as personal characteristics and the season. Therefore, I think solutions that focus on consumers’ individual skin condition could be the key to the next generation minimal skin care products.

As anti-aging products impart activity to the skin, how has the market concern for safe products affected product development?

The safety of cosmetic products is absolutely essential for producers and consumers, therefore the development of new active ingredients requires extensive and expensive safety tests. This has led to a growing interest in traditional active ingredients and natural products with an established safety record. One way to improve their effectiveness is to improve their penetration into the skin by using appropriate formulations and various methods can be used for this purpose.

What do you think are some of the latest and greatest breakthroughs in anti-aging product development? What new efficacies are they inspiring, or could potentially inspire?

The Congress of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) is the best venue to present discoveries in skin research. [In fact, Shiseido has] received four consecutive unprecedented awards at the IFSCC. For example, we have developed the Digital-3D skin, which [digitally] reconstructed all the internal structures of the skin … (2018), and then 4D-Digital skin, which allowed us to visualize the dynamics of the skin using a supercomputer (2020).

See related: Tomonobu Ezure, Ph.D., on Shiseido’s 3D skin scanning technology

Using these technologies, we have clarified the skin’s anti-gravity system, [or] “Dynamic belt”, which helps to prevent sagging caused by the deformation of the skin by gravity. I believe this anti-gravity system will be a very important target for a range of new skin care solutions, as age-dependent facial morphology change by gravity is one of the hottest topics in current skin care.

Where does anti-aging product development fall short? What are the “unknowns” in biology or chemistry that, if discovered, could make anti-aging products even better?

Advances in the life sciences are explosive, as I just touched upon, and the R&D style of applying cutting-edge research to skin care is common in the cosmetic industry. Hence, the range of products of this cutting-edge type is overwhelming for consumers. Therefore, I think the R&D trend will move in two main directions in the future.

One would be the development of a comprehensive, individualized service based on each person’s skin condition, including the cutting-edge solutions mentioned above. To establish this, a systematic range of services would be required.

The other direction would be solutions strictly focused on the skin itself, based on cutting-edge research. These approaches could generate great prestige and brand value for a cosmetics company, based on an original worldview of skin.

What are the future directions for anti-aging products?

We have seen how skin care goals have shifted from the surface of the skin to a concern for larger changes in facial morphology as we age. In the future, I expect that the focus will shift from morphology-based concerns to less well-defined sensations, such as glowing skin and the volume aspect of the skin. Of course, these are also classic goals, but it has been difficult to develop fully effective solutions, as it is difficult to find measurable skin parameters to evaluate these sensations. Therefore, I think new measurement technologies are needed to support fundamental breakthroughs in skin care R&D. Such technologies would also be useful for providing a science-based service to guide personal care by measuring skin conditions.

See related: Vlog of cosmetic research and development: “hair-raising” insights into anti-aging

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