Revolutionizing beauty: How longevity science is transforming skin care

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

 "The conversations surrounding aging are undoubtedly changing with brands, and even the media, moving away from communication which focuses on eradicating all signs of getting older, and instead promoting the notion of being in harmony with one's age, its visible signs, and its effects," said Eleonora Mazzilli, Trend Localization & Business Development Director for North America at BEAUTYSTREAMS. © Klaus Vedfelt Getty Images
"The conversations surrounding aging are undoubtedly changing with brands, and even the media, moving away from communication which focuses on eradicating all signs of getting older, and instead promoting the notion of being in harmony with one's age, its visible signs, and its effects," said Eleonora Mazzilli, Trend Localization & Business Development Director for North America at BEAUTYSTREAMS. © Klaus Vedfelt Getty Images

Related tags longevity Skin care Skin health

In this exclusive CosmeticsDesign Q&A, we explore the impact of the longevity trend in cosmetics and personal care product formulations, including the rise of Blue Zone-inspired ingredients, and the future direction of health-span beauty.

In recent years, the cosmetics and personal care industry has been profoundly influenced by the concept of longevity. Groundbreaking scientific advances in understanding the biological aging process have led to unprecedented funding and interest in longevity science.

This includes areas like stem cell therapy, gene editing, and regenerative biology, which are now informing the development of innovative skincare products aimed at rejuvenating and repairing human cells. The industry's focus has shifted from merely combating visible signs of aging to promoting overall skin health and vitality.

This shift is reflected in a new wave of products backed by experts from diverse medical fields, translating cutting-edge research into practical applications for skincare. As a result, the market is seeing a growing emphasis on preventive care and healthy aging, changing the narrative from eradicating signs of aging to harmonizing with them.

To learn more about how health-span beauty is impacting the cosmetics and personal care product formulation space, we interviewed Eleonora Mazzilli, Trend Localization & Business Development Director for North America at BEAUTYSTREAMS, who  provided her insights into how this burgeoning field is reshaping the market.

CDU: How has the concept of longevity influenced the cosmetics and personal care industry in recent years?

Eleonora Mazzilli (EM)​: Fueled by the increasing scientific understanding of the biological aging process, funding in aging and longevity science has reached an unprecedented high. Discoveries in the field of longevity research, including stem cell therapy, gene editing technology, senescence studies, epigenetics, regenerative biology, and biohacking, have unlocked opportunities for skin care brands to address aging at its core and offer products that recharge, revitalize, and repair human cells while boosting health span.

We’re seeing skin care taking on a new dimension, thanks to the superpowers of medicine and science. A new wave of skin care brands and products is emerging, backed by a new breed of practitioners hailing from specialties beyond skin, among them cancer surgeons, biomedical materials scientists, and specialists in molecular biology.

These brands are helping to bridge the gap between science and skin health by translating medical findings into practical applications for high-performing and derma-safe skin care products. Medical research, discoveries, and technologies are guiding innovation and are being applied to evidence-based skin care science.

Using this science, brands are redefining the skin care industry by bringing cutting-edge advances from the fields of biology, regenerative medicine, and biotechnology to explore new ways of achieving healthy and youthful skin. In today's beauty market, the pursuit of longevity is evident in the shift towards products and treatments that promote skin health and vitality over time.

Although anti-aging has been a historically leading skin care category, the concept of caring for the body and skin from the inside out and leaning on preventive care has gained traction in recent years. The notion of healthy aging is growing significantly within the beauty industry and is altering the premise behind classic anti-aging marketing.

The conversations surrounding aging are undoubtedly changing with brands, and even the media, moving away from communication which focuses on eradicating all signs of getting older, and instead promoting the notion of being in harmony with one's age, its visible signs, and its effects.

CDU: What are "blue zone" ingredients, and why are they gaining popularity in cosmetics and personal care formulations?

EM​: While the lifespan in a large majority of nations is increasing from year to year, the health span – years in which individuals live without chronic and/or age-related conditions – doesn’t increase at the same rate. To achieve the goal of increasing health-span, the beauty industry can learn from so-called Blue Zones: regions around the world such as Ikaria in Greece, Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California, USA, where people tend to live longer, healthier lives due to a combination of physical activity, lifestyle, diet, and social factors.

Taking a holistic health and wellness approach, brands implement the habits and elements (nutrition, supplements, sleep, physical activity, self-care, and mindfulness) that promote longevity in Blue Zones into their product and service offers. Brands can also capitalize on the Blue Zone-inspired movement by creating products that incorporate the healing power of ingredients found in these regions where people live longer, like plants, herbs, or superfoods, to promote youthfulness and longevity.

CDU: What scientific advancements have been made in understanding the relationship between ingredients and graceful aging?

EM​: Longevity-centric ingredients that boost cell function, slow signs of aging, and extend health span are gaining momentum in both topical and ingestible formulations. Longevity scientists are becoming more interested in sirtuin proteins, whose effects on aging were first discovered by Leonard Guarente of MIT in 1991.

These proteins are involved in the life cycle of cells – including skin cells – and act to delay cellular senescence and extend the organismal lifespan, promoting a healthy longevity. As sirtuins’ activity declines with age, these proteins need to be stimulated by activators to slow down biological aging, improve stress resistance, and keep the brain healthy.

As a trending compound drawing much attention, NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is known to play a crucial role in the body’s functions and is known to slow down the effects of aging by activating SIRT1, a sirtuin enzyme often referred to as “the longevity gene.” As a naturally occurring molecule found in all living cells, NAD+ is critical in regulating cellular aging and maintaining proper functioning of the body. NAD+ levels decline with age and research has shown that raising levels of NAD+ can enhance longevity, boost energy production, and improve cellular functioning.

The skin care industry is tapping into the power of regenerative medicine, harnessing the benefits of science-backed ingredients to formulate next-generation products. Peptides and exosomes are key ingredients which are being explored as part of a new approach to defying aging, enhancing skin health, and triggering cellular repair. Exosomes – emerging bioactive substances involved in multiple biological and cellular activities of the skin – hold enormous potential as therapeutic and cosmetic ingredients to promote cell regeneration, enhancing the skin’s innate healing capacity.

Epidermal growth factors – polypeptides developed to speed up wound recovery and stimulate skin growth – are praised as a “silver bullet” in helping skin regenerate to combat the effects of aging; after aesthetic treatments; or to recover from sun damage.

CDU: Can you provide examples of innovative products or formulations that embody the concept of graceful aging?

EM​: With the emphasized focus on living both longer and in better health, we are witnessing that brands are opening new territories of expression to preserve skin and brain health as a person ages. The DERM MD brand, created by Dr. Anthony Rossi, a board-certified dermatologist at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is a medical-grade skin care line rooted in science, targeting issues that cause skin sensitivity and aging.

The brand’s BioTheriac Complex, blending a biomimetic sea anemone venom peptide with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, helps calm hyper-reactivity and signs of skin irritation while treating visible signs of aging by delivering plumping hydration and gentle hyperpigmentation correction. This complex stems from Rossi’s discovery of the connection between the protein TRPV1, premature skin aging, and skin sensitivity.

TRPV1 is one of the proteins responsible for regulating body temperature and the sensation of pain from scalding heat. Rossi found that the overreaction of this protein can also stimulate the production of enzymes known to break down collagen, thus accelerating the visible signs of premature aging, with the skin becoming more sensitive, and the visible effects of premature aging becoming more pronounced.

The skin care brand IDEO was born out of the work of Dr. John Blass, who was inspired by research into Alzheimer’s disease that identified malate as a key chemical compound in keeping cells metabolizing at a healthy speed. Blass created his skincare line to specifically target malate. Using the brain as a model and a metaphor, Blass hypothesized that what works in the brain would work on the skin.

This informed the creation of the brand’s RMA Complex, a blend of “resveratrol, maleate, and antioxidants that effectively penetrate [skin at the level of] mitochondria to refuel its metabolism,” which powers the IDEO Skin Memory Serum. The serum, the brand says, is informed by brain-aging research to aid skin cells in regaining their youth memory and relearning youthful behavior, to resolve skin aging issues.

CDU: How are consumers responding to the health-span beauty trend?

EM​: With the global population living longer and growing older, the consequences of aging are gaining more attention than ever, and the pursuit of a longer and healthier life is an aspiration shared by many. High-level research, compelling scientific developments, and investments in longevity science are all leading to perspectives on aging being challenged, raising hopes for healthier longevity.

The notion of aging has long been considered in the context of a purely biological and medical definition, but today’s new take proposes a more holistic solution which tends to blur the boundaries between beauty, health, and well-being, which are relevant for all groups of society, regardless their age. Lifestyle, diet, self-care, and at-home devices are now widely regarded as fundamental aspects of healthy and mindful aging and living and have sparked considerable interest among all generations.

Health anxieties have triggered a shift in consumers' attitudes, leading many toward a preventative rather than curative mindset. In turn, this preventative attitude filters through to skin health and well-being.

Consumers are increasingly seeking out solutions infused with ingredients known to help slow, or even reverse, aging while simultaneously enhancing one’s health and vitality. They expect brands to focus on predictive and preventive approaches with proactive and personalized care targeted at maintaining skin health, preventing skin conditions, and supporting healthier lifestyles.

CDU: Where do you see the future of health-span beauty heading in the next 5-10 years?

EM​: The longevity industry is rapidly growing and will continue to influence skin care and wellness in the near future. The concept of longevity has become increasingly integral to the beauty industry, shaping consumer preferences, product development, and global trends.

From curated skin care formulations to age inclusive color cosmetics to holistic wellness practices, every category is impacted by the race for longevity which will continue driving innovation and shaping the future of beauty for years to come. The surge in diagnostic tech innovations in recent years opens new opportunities for the skin care industry to assess and support skin's health and well-being.

Digital technology, offering a detailed picture and analysis of skin health and skin metrics, could inform the future of hyperpersonalized skin and body care. Advancements in tracking and measurement tools will change how the health of skin and body, alongside well-being, are monitored and improved in the years to come.

Wearable technologies that can track lifestyle, environmental exposure, and molecular information in real time are fast becoming tools to map and help prolong the span of good health. The discovery of biomarkers that measure various bio-signals from the skin and body is proving to be a key area of research in predicting skin diseases and monitoring overall health.

Advancements in deep learning techniques and AI algorithms now allow experts to identify, analyze, and interpret skin conditions with a high degree of accuracy, pointing to the possibility of innovation in skin and body health monitoring and diagnosis. As part of health-span implications, we expect to see a surge in cognitive care needs.

According to cognitive research, accelerated brain aging can lead to a variety of health issues, including a rise in mental health disorders, impaired mental function, and a heightened risk of neurodegenerative conditions. Today, there is increased awareness that better mental health starts with better brain health, and that the brain, just like any other part of the body, needs to be exercised and cared for.

Brain health will become the newest frontier of health-span beauty with well-being products and tools designed to enhance brain performance and cognitive function, while supporting mental health, coming into the spotlight. We can also expect to see a rise in brain-tracking devices and wearables, brain sensors, and brain-computer interfaces that enable an early diagnosis and personalized treatment of cognitive decline.

We expect to see brands address aging with holistic approaches to health through lifestyle coaching, tips, and tricks on how to integrate physical activity into everyday life, supplements, and inter-generational community building, offers that are all mutually beneficial for both the brand and the consumer.

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