Skin care company claims a world first by using Heparan Sulfate

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

US-based start-up skin care company  Senté claims to be the world’s first skin care company to combine Heparan Sulfate (HS) as an active ingredient in its new Senté Dermal Repair Cream.

According to the company, the compound is the most biologically active of the naturally occurring glycoproteins in the skin and very important for the wound healing and cell rejuvenation process. For cosmetics purposes, its product line will be marketed with anti-wrinkle and skin whitening claims.

However, the complexities of this active ingredient has meant that it has been extremely challenging to combine in a skin care formulation, until now.

Low weight HS is key to successful formulation

“Our proprietary low molecular weight heparan sulfate has been formulated with a number of other synergistic factors that have the ability to maximize the effect of HS,”​ said Faheem Hasnain, Senté chairman.

“In addition, our low molecular weight HS has been scientifically proven to absorb throughout the epidermis and penetrate into the dermis very effectively, a crucial and beneficial factor. Senté has patent pending low molecular weight heparan sulfate included in its product line.”

The complexity and thus the challenge to formulating HS is the fact that it is a linear polysaccharide and in near proximity to bound extracellular matrix proteins, which means that the conventional compound cannot be synthesized in the laboratory.

“Only accurate and in our case low molecular weight HS proprietary bio-analytical methods can be used to isolate the product,”​ Hasnain explained. 

Faheem Hasnain, Santé
Faheem Hasnain, Senté chairman

The vital role HS plays in the skin's cellular structure...

The company wanted to incorporate HS into its formulation because of the vital role it plays in skin cells and that fact that it plays such a vital supportive role in all of the skin’s layers, particularly in the basement membrane and on the cell’s surface.

“HS binds and regulates the activities of many enzymes, growth factors (EGF, FGF, HGF) and proteins,” ​Hasnain explained.  “It binds the fibrous collagens - type I, III and V - and has the ability to fill space and either bind or organize water molecules. HS even has the ability to enhance the self-renewal of stem cells. Without HS, an organism can't survive. “ 

“We worked for about 18 months with a Swiss cosmeceutical product specialist company. The major obstacles in developing this formulation were being able to combine all the necessary factors with HS without losing the pharmaceutical grade quality, long-term stability and smoothness/appeal of the final product. “

Clinical trials for the ingredient back up cosmetic claims

Following on from the laboratory development, clinical trials were carried out to test the efficacy of the product, using 30 – 60 subjects for each study to assess the formulation, pre-clinical safety and absorption of the ingredient, together with the whitening, hydrative and anti-wrinkle properties.

The company says that the positive outcomes in the clinical trials have been used to provide the basis for its product claims.

The product targets all skin types and has been launched in the US market through dermatologist and aesthetic practices, with plans to evaluate its launch in markets worldwide in the future.

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