Last month, L’Oréal’s CEO Nicolas Hieronimus said daily UV protection was set to become “one of the most important growth drivers in the future” – for L’Oréal and the wider beauty market. And this was a space the international beauty major had long been a part of, in research and development terms, with numerous patents filed in the field and several breakthrough technologies launched, including its recent UVMune 400 filtration technology designed to protect all skin types and phototypes against ultra-long UVA rays.
Speaking to attendees at this year’s IFSCC Congress in London, UK, in September, Dr. Frederic Flament, global head of claims science and product performance evaluation at L’Oréal Research & Development, said daily photoprotection was certainly a “unique asset for the cosmetics field”.
UV exposure and photoageing signs – ‘relevant’ studies
Flament said L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation team had been mapping out the signs of photoageing of the face across the globe for some time, across different phototypes and ancestry, to understand what was impacted, from wrinkling to pigmentation etc. The team had already conducted large-scale clinical studies worldwide and was now finalising six-month photoageing studies looking at how daily use of a standardised UV protective system with an SPF 50+ value changed results.
“All human beings with UV exposure will present premature ageing, we all see that. But we know that, globally, the duration of exposure, the lifestyle and quality of photoprotection remains crucial in this development and the acceleration of the ageing process,” Flament said.
This was why L’Oréal was conducting clinical studies globally, amongst different populations and phototypes, he said. So far, studies had been completed in France and China and were just finishing in Africa. Findings indicated that use of a standard daily UV protection offered “significant improvement” to signs of photoageing, irrespective of skin type or phototype.
L’Oréal had also recently completed a study in Brazil, over a one-year period with 300 women across all skin phototypes. Findings from this study showed daily UV protection for a full year reduced pigmentation by 50% and wrinkle apparition by 30%. “When we go to this one-year time [frame], we were able to demonstrate it, whatever the skin tone, which is also very important at this moment – we are speaking about relevancy of our clinical study,” Flament said.
The one-year study length was also important, he said, when looking at UVA exposure specifically because these rays were present every day throughout the year, across all seasons.
Ultra-long UVA protection with MCE active
UVA exposure was therefore an area L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation team was increasingly interested in, particularly protection from ultra-long UVA rays that had the capacity to “penetrate very deeply” and were known to have important impacts in the skin.
L’Oréal had started working with a new UVA1 filter Methoxypropylamino Cyclohexenylidene Ethoxyethylcyanoacetate (MCE) – proven to cover the whole UV spectrum in published research by the beauty major.
“Covering all the UVA wavelength would clearly lead to benefits in anti-ageing. Our objective is clear: we want to demonstrate the interest to both the clinician but also the consumer in protecting broader than a classic filter technology,” Flament said.
L’Oréal’s research team in Brazil had recently conducted a double-blinded clinical study amongst 52 Brazilian women for one month, across phototypes 1-3, to compare daily SPF 50+ protection with the same formulation plus MCE at 1%. The study had been run as a split-face study, with results analysed by dermatologists and also consumers. Findings showed “significant differences” between both formulas, with the MCE formula slowing wrinkle formation and pigmentation of the facial skin according to professional analysis, and improving radiance and homogeneity according to consumers.
“I want to insist that it’s the first time we demonstrate, in real life conditions with a large range of phototypes, that protecting against long UVA, and here it was the max of the UVA spectrum, has an added value; a significant effect versus classical protection,” Flament said.
“We have a lot of results from in vitro [studies], but here we demonstrated it in real life, with real consumers,” he said.
L’Oréal had also conducted the same study amongst East Asian populations, across phototypes 3 and 4, yielding the same results, he said.
Looking ahead, the company now wanted to conduct one-year long clinical studies comparing MCE-containing formulas across all phototypes, “to be able to assess this added value and added benefits and also complete the mapping”.