The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) presented several scientific posters and research findings at the 25th​ World Congress of Dermatology (WDC) in Singapore.

As detailed in a company press release regarding the announcement, the presentations reflected “a strong portfolio of prestige beauty and skin care brands effectively translating biological learnings and progressive research efforts into meaningful innovation, including better methods to care for and protect skin​.”

For a brief overview of the poster presentations and key takeaways on the research findings, we spoke to Sarah Vickery, PhD, Vice President, Scientific Communications & Translational Media at ELC for her insights.

About the poster presentations, Vickery shared that “the science presented by ELC R&D and our brand laboratories at WCD represents a robust portfolio spanning emerging research areas that support skin health and longevity​.”

Further, she added, through the process of sharing the company’s research and clinical determinations, ELC’s “researchers across basic, translational, and clinical sciences are providing insights into aspects of cosmetics formulation and design that range from investigating cellular pathways important for skin cell function, mechanisms of action of specific ingredients, and quantification of the clinical benefits of our formulas​.”

‘First-of-its-kind controlled clinical study confirming impact of regular use of moisturizer to mitigate skin aging’ stated ELC

This poster presentation, titled “The benefits of regular use of moisturizer to skin aging prevention: a six-month evaluator blinded, randomized, and controlled clinical study​,” was presented by Hao Ouyang, PhD, Executive Director, Clinical Sciences at ELC.

The company’s press release explained, “moisturizers are routinely used to treat dry skin conditions and are considered the basis of skin care, but the long-term standalone benefits of consistent application have not been fully demonstrated with randomized controlled trial clinical studies​” until this point.

In the study, Vickery explained, the ELC Clinical Sciences team, led by Dr. Ouyang in Shanghai, China recruited a total of 160 participants. Criteria for participation included that the subject were women between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-five, currently had dry skin, and were in Sijiazhuang in Northern China. 

Further, Vickery shared, “the participants were split into two groups, where one was asked to use moisturizer twice per day during the entire six-month study and the other was asked to keep their incidental use habit for the six-month study​.”

Clinical assessment made during the six-month study period included “skin hydration by clinical grading of facial dryness and instrument measurement at different locations; clinical grading of facial lines/wrinkles; and barrier integrity was assessed by two key measurements, including transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and stratum corneum adhesion​.”

In the presentation, Dr. Ouyang concluded that “the study found that regular application of a moisturizer not only improved skin dryness, but also improves skin barrier cohesion – or strength – and reduces the appearance of facial lines compared to incidental use​,” Vickery said.

‘Findings indicate sirtuins, or longevity proteins, play a key role in regulating skin mechanobiology and promoting youthful skin properties and function’ shared ELC

This poster presentation, titled “The importance of Sirt2 in regulating mechanobiology of the skin​,” was presented by Nadine Pernodet, PhD, Senior Vice President, Bioscience and Lead Scientist Estée Lauder Research Laboratories.

The company’s press release explained that in this study, “Estée Lauder researchers examined the role of sirtuins (SIRTs) or ‘longevity proteins’ – a class of enzymes synchronized to circadian rhythms that regulate protein expression – in promoting youthful skin properties, and its findings build on the team’s previous results that showed SIRT activity in skin cells is linked to environmental stressors, including UV and ozone​.”

About the study, Vickery said, “for over fifteen years, the Estée Lauder brand has pioneered investigations into the role of Sirtuins in skin​.” Further, she added, “through this work, Dr. Pernodet and her team are harnessing the understanding of pathways and targets critical to skin longevity, which will aid in the further development of approaches to slow or reverse visible aging in skin​.”

In this study, Vickery explained, Dr. Pernodet and her team determined that “one SIRT protein, SIRT 2, plays a key role in skin fibroblast function by helping to regulate mechanical tension and the interaction of skin cells with the extracellular protein matrix​.” Further, she shared, “activation of SIRT2 also increased skin cell area – a hallmark feature typical of younger skin cells​.”

Researchers therefore confirmed through the study’s findings that “treatment with SIRT 1, 2, 3, and 6 activators helped to rebuild protein structure and increased collagen production in mature skin cells, while the combination of SIRT 1 and 3 activators increased elastin and fibrillin production in ex vivo skin samples​,” said Vickery.

In her presentation, Dr. Pernodet concluded that “taken together, all four activators exerted different effects to preserve the mechanical properties of young skin​,” Vickery shared.                                                                                                                

‘Clinical findings determine topical serum provides anti-aging benefits equal to a laser treatment,’ ELC said

This poster presentation, titled “A topical cosmetic serum with a targeted, triple action approach provides anti-aging benefits equal to a single laser treatment​,” was presented by Kristine Schmalenberg, PhD, Executive Director, Clinical Sciences at ELC.

The company’s press release explained that this study was “a Clinique-led clinical trial [which] evaluated a combination of ingredients that supported natural skin repair versus a single laser treatment​.”

Vickery further shared that the ELC Clinical Sciences team in Melville, NY, led by Dr. Schmalenberg, conducted the study to “assess and compare the efficacy and tolerance of a topical serum formulation containing signaling peptides and a retinoid, hydroxypinacolone retinoate, used over the course of sixteen weeks on forty-two women, with a comparison to a single ablative laser treatment on twenty-nine women​.”

In the study, she explained, “clinical grading of efficacy and tolerance was conducted at baseline, day ten, and weeks four, eight, twelve, and sixteen. VISIA-CR imaging (a system that captures high quality, standardized facial images) was conducted at baseline, day three, day ten, and weeks four, eight, twelve, and sixteen​.”

Vickery confirmed that researchers determined “no statistically significant differences in tolerability between the groups were observed​.” Further, she added, the Clinical Sciences team found that “treatment with the topical serum achieved parity or statistically significant improvement in all measured anti-aging parameters compared with a single laser treatment​.”

Additionally, the company’s press release concluded that “the topical product improved the appearance of global lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, as well as skin tone evenness, texture, smoothness, and firmness – suggesting efficacy in combatting visible signs of skin aging​.”

3D skin models ‘will aid the discovery and development of new materials that affect glycation’ ELC determined

This poster presentation, titled “Anti-glycation and anti-sallowness effects of certain materials in 3D skin equivalent models​,” was presented by Tom Mammone, PhD, Vice President, Advanced Technologies, Bioscience at ELC.

As explained in the company’s press release, “one cause of skin aging and a sallow complexion is glycation – a chemical modification that occurs on sugar molecules and leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs)​.” Further, the release added, “AGEs can be detected using measurements of auto-fluorescence at different excitation/emission wavelengths within the UV and blue spectrum​.”

About the study, Vickery shared that “studies into glycation have typically been challenging due to a lack of models, and our work in this space is new and useful as we can measure both skin glycation and color change together​.” In this study specifically, she shared, “ELC scientists from our Bioscience team [were able to] leverage epigenetic insights into longevity and health span, as well as interrogating the molecular pathways underlying skin physiology, inflammation, and aging​.”

Additionally, she said, in this study, which included members of the ELC Bioscience team from Melville and Shanghai in collaboration with UK-based Hexis Labs, “in vitro, state-of-the-art skin models were used to investigate the potential of multiple ingredients to reduce browning in response to a glycation agent​.”

Researchers used 3D skin models in the study to examine “the anti-glycation properties of six compounds to determine their capacities to reduce auto-fluorescence in 3D skin models​,” the release stated. In the study, “the compounds were tested topically in a dose-response study over seven days, revealing that GlcNAc, DE, vitamin C and E were most effective in demonstrating significant reduction of AGE auto-fluorescence compared to skin models treated with glycation agent methylglyoxal alone​.”   

Researchers concluded that “these results reveal that the anti-glycation capacity of compounds used in skin care formulations may be associated with the reduced appearance of skin sallowness​.” Further, added Vickery, “this method will aid the discovery and development of new materials that affect glycation​.”

‘Findings suggest facial cream provides effective treatment for improving barrier integrity and strength regular daily use’ said La Mer

This poster presentation, titled “The effect of a multi-ingredient facial cream on skin structure, function, and appearance: evidence from ex vivo and clinical studies​,” was presented by Jaime Emmetsberger, PhD, La Mer’s Max Huber Research Labs Lead Scientist.

As Vickery explained, this La-Mer clinical study “evaluated the effect of a topical cream containing Macrocystis pyrifera ferment on skin barrier, redness, and aging parameters, supporting ex vivo findings on the formulation’s ability to enhance extracellular matrix protein and hyaluronic acid production​.”

Research was conducted on participant with a range of skin tones, confirmed the company’s press release, and “the Macrocystis pyrifera cream improved skin barrier recovery and resilience, mitigated visible redness (erythema) in addition to irritation and demonstrated a reduction in hallmark signs of aged skin in U.S.- and Asia-based populations​.”

When undertaking the study, researchers relied on a “histological assessment of ex vivo human skin explants [which] suggested that topical application enhanced key extracellular matrix proteins and hyaluronic acid, corroborating in vivo results​.”  As detailed in the release, the study’s findings suggested that the Macrocystis pyrifera cream ​“provides an effective treatment for improving barrier integrity and strength as well as signs of aging parameters and skin appearance with regular daily use​.”

Moving forward

The poster presentations and clinical results put forward to this year’s WDC were the result of over seventy-five years of ELC’s “formulation authority, and [the company] is deeply integrated into the scientific community, regularly presenting at leading events and publishing in peer-reviewed journals​,” shared Vickery.

Additionally, the organization “has a commitment to advancing women in STEM, and within its own operations, all of the company’s R&D and innovation laboratories worldwide are led by women and more than half of its scientists, engineers, and technical professionals are women​,” which was represented in this year’s presentation cohort.

This year’s results were particularly exciting and encouraging, she added, giving rise to hopes for further innovation and discoveries to come. For example, Vickery concluded, “the clinical studies performed in both Melville and Shanghai boost our confidence that our products and our approach to cosmetic formulation can make a significant difference in the appearance of skin over time​,” and are therefore of significant importance to manufacturers and formulators of cosmetic and personal care products.