Shiseido collaborates closely with many external organizations in its advanced research on skin aging. We know that the basement membrane connecting the epidermis and the dermis helps to maintain the functions of the skin. But ultraviolet rays accelerate enzyme production in the epidermis, destroying the basement membrane, secondarily causing abnormalities in epidermal turnover and in the dermal structure. Shiseido identified this as the cause of early aging and of accelerating facial wrinkle formation. We developed compounds to suppress enzyme breakdown and restore the basement membrane. Many of our products contain these compounds.
It has been established that ultraviolet rays promote angiogenesis ( i.e.the formation of blood vessels ) in the dermis. These blood vessels are conduits for inflammatory cells that damage the structure of the dermis, leading to wrinkle formation. We then focused our attention on a compound that inhibits endogenous angiogenesis and are anticipating its development into a new anti-wrinkle treatment.
Whitening cosmetics are medicinal cosmetics that prevent pigment spots and freckles by suppressing melanin formation. Beginning with arbutin in 1990, we went on to develop four more original whitening agents : L-ascorbic acid 2-glucoside, tranexamic acid, vitamin C ethyl, and, most recently, potassium methoxy salicylate (4MSK). Shiseido has established an unshakable lead not only in the Japanese whitening product market but also the global brightening product market by strategic utilization of these agents. In recent years, we have deployed DNA microarray technologies and modern drug discovery techniques to further develop innovative whitening agents.
Melanin inhibition with potassium methoxy salicylate
Shiseido has been working on a comprehensive program to clarify the mechanism by which hair grows. These efforts culminated in the release of “Flowline Live-X” in 1998. Both products acquired legions of loyal customers and proved enormously popular. In 2004, we found that adenosine, a naturally occurring substance in the human body, could promote hair growth. In 2005, we developed a new hair restoring lotion “ADENOGEN” which includes adenosine. Shiseido will continue its cutting edge research into hair and hair growth for the development of new hair-restoring compounds. This involves elucidating the mechanism of hair damage by nanotechnologies, investigating andro-genetic alopecia by DNA microarray techniques, and trying to regenerate hair follicles.
Many reports show that solar UV-A and UV-B are related to cancer and skin aging. A sunscreen must first of all block UV rays, but many other features including feel and water resistance are also important. As part of its ongoing research into developing reliable sunscreens, Shiseido has made advances with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which block UV-rays. Advances with zinc oxide led to the creation of sunscreens free of white streaks. Shiseido was swift to identify the superior features of zinc oxide. In 1999, we developed ‘Flower leaf zinc oxide’, transparent and with outstanding UV-blocking capabilities. We later achieved further advances with zinc oxide and surface treatment technologies to improve protective performance and usability. Improvements in crystal structures led to ‘HP Flower leaf zinc oxide’ and then ‘WP Coat HP Flower leaf zinc oxide’, which is both waterproof and easily washed off.
Shiseido developed a new formula that, unlike most cleansing oils, maintains its transparency and efficacy even when used on wet hands, and has a clean refreshing feel. When mixed with water, the microstructure of Shiseido’s new cleansing oil changes to an anomalous bicontinuous phase and, when washed off, to a micellar solution, providing the feel and performance that customers have long sought from cleansing products.
Shiseido is exploring ways to make cosmetics containers out of plantderived, biodegradable polylactic acid, reflecting our commitment to environmentally friendly manufacturing. We are working on an advanced polylactic acid with outstanding heat and impact resistance, as well as molding and moisture barrier features. While using containers made of this material for our own products, we also aim to offer this technology to food, appliance and other companies.