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Research report

Research report

The researchers are dedicating themselves every day to research activities for customer satisfaction.
We asked them about their research outcomes.

Report file Vol.3
A new stage in skin-brightening research: the “self-clarifying function”

Q.Can you explain what you mean by “A new stage in skin-brightening research”?

 

I really wanted to create a completely new skin-brightening technique unlike any of the conventional products available at the time. Until then, mainstream skin-brightening research had been trying to find ways to prevent melanin production from melanocytes (cells that produce melanin). We took a totally different approach and focused on the skin’s innate ability to “self-clarify”. This led us to a completely new perspective on skin-brightening research.

 

Q.How did you discover the skin’s self-clarifying function?

Fig. 1. Receiving a top award at the IFSCC Fig. 2. Quest for a breakthrough in South Africa

Over the course of more than 60 years of skin-brightening research, we have successfully developed some extremely advanced techniques, particularly for preventing melanin production. Our work in this field garnered us a top award at the 2012 International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) in South Africa (Fig. 1). This was the first time in the decades-long history of the IFSCC that skin-brightening research had received such an award, and it felt like skin-brightening research was finally receiving global recognition. However, I was also troubled by the thought that we had reached our limits in terms of skin-brightening research in preventing melanin production and that further developments were unlikely. So, after the conference, I set out on a journey through the African continent to give myself time to rethink skin-brightening research from scratch (Fig. 2). Africa is thought to be the cradle of humankind; from this place our human ancestors spread to all corners of the globe. In Africa, I gained a renewed sense of human strength and vitality and realized that there must be a way to develop skin-brightening techniques that maximally utilize our innate abilities. This led me to discover the “self-clarifying function”, by which our skin naturally brightens itself.

Q.What exactly is this self-clarifying function?

Fig. 3. Electron microscope images  Fig. 4. Cross-section of epidermis

After melanin is produced in melanocytes, it is transferred to the surrounding cells in the epidermal (surface) layer of the skin. The melanin granules accumulate in the epidermal cells of the bottom layer, and form clusters called melanin caps (Fig. 3). These melanin caps cause changes in appearance such as pigmentation spots and discoloration.
However, as the epidermal cells mature and move up toward the surface of the skin, these melanin caps disappear. Why does this happen? According to our research, the epidermal cells break down the melanin caps and the melanin granules forming the caps also vanish. In other words, our skin has a natural ability to brighten itself (Fig. 4). We discovered the details of this process and named this capacity “self-clarifying function”.

Q.Is there a way to enhance this self-clarifying function?

Fig. 5. Effects of SC liquid on epidermal cells

We have been working to develop an ingredient that enhances skin’s self-clarifying ability to brighten itself. Known as SC liquid, it is extracted from a component of the loquat leaf. We found that applying SC liquid to epidermal cells not only promotes the breakdown of the black melanin caps, but it also helps remove each melanin granule one by one (Fig. 5).

Q.Talk about where your research is going to go from here.

 

Discovering this method of enhancing the skin’s natural brightening capacity in addition to existing techniques that prevent melanin production represents a significant stride in our skin-brightening technologies. Moving forward, I want to consider what other approaches to skin brightening are out there and seek the next path for dealing with new challenges.

 
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