South Beach Symposium

South Beach Symposium

February 14, 2020
3 min read

Cosmeceuticals for aging patients: ‘What is old is new again’

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The use of cosmeceuticals for anti-aging is not a new concept and is a skin care category that has seen significant continued growth, according to a speaker at South Beach Symposium.

“What is old is new again,” Diane S. Berson, MD, dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said during her presentation. “For years, we have recommended retinoids and retinols for our aging patient population. We have told them that if they are only going to use two things in their skin care regimens, that it should include a sunblock in the morning and a retinol or retinoid at night. As skin matures, it becomes more fragile, and at night, skin needs to be repaired with ingredients that stimulate collagen production. Treating patients with mature skin is going to become more and more a normal part of everyday practice for us as dermatologists.”

Sun protection, skin repair

Sun protection is a key component of skin care at any age, according to Berson, and even more beneficial with a bioactive ingredient added.

“A cosmeceutical ingredient that has become very popular in sun protection is photolyases, which can be specifically found in Isdin sunscreen,” she said. “Photolyases are DNA active repair enzymes that essentially repair mutations in UVA radiation-induced damage and thymidine dimers. They have also shown a beneficial effect on UVA light-induced telomere shortening, are exogenous and liposome encapsulating to the skin. Photolyases are absent in humans but are naturally found in plants and animals exposed to UVA light.”

In terms of skin repair, cosmeceutical ingredients that are commonly recommended include retinoids, growth factors, stem cells and peptides.

“These are all ingredients that will stimulate collagen production, and we will soon hear about more ingredients that stimulate repair in the near future,” Berson said. “One product in the pipeline contains a pro-oxygen technology from Cutagenesis. Oxygen improves wound healing and stimulates collagen. This product is like hyperbaric oxygen in a tube of cream.”

Newer-generation retinoids have also recently entered the cosmeceutical market.

“Altreno lotion is a retinoid lotion formulation that has a nice vehicle, which we know is key because when a product has a nice vehicle, patients will use it,” Berson said. “Patients are not only using this product to treat acne, but it also effectively treats photodamage. Altreno has a micronized, controlled-release vehicle, is hydrating, and spreads and absorbs quickly on the skin. Men and women both love it.”


In addition to retinoids, Berson said growth factors stimulate collagen production and promote skin repair.

“Collagen repair growth factors act as chemical messenger cells that are essentially regulatory proteins that attach to cell surface receptors and are responsible for advanced wound healing and vascular neogenesis,” she said. “Growth factors induce collagen and glycosaminoglycan formation and increase the thickness of collagen and the grenz zone.”

Sources of these growth factors include cultured human cells, genetically engineered microorganisms from bacteria and yeast, adipose stem cells and plant stem cells.

“Of note, collagen repair growth factors cannot be synthetically created,” Berson said.

New kids on the block

For lightening of pigmentation in the aging patient population, Berson recommended two new products: tranexamic acid and cysteamine hydrochloride.

“These two ‘new kids on the block’ are used for hyperpigmentation,” she said. “Cysteamine hydrochloride is an antioxidant that initially had a very bad odor but has since been reformulated and no longer smells bad. This product can be irritating at first, so it is recommended that patients are started on short-contact therapy and can then eventually increase use to longer durations and eventually as a maintenance therapy.”

Another new area in cosmeceutical skin care that has seen significant growth is sustainable and clean skin care.

“We will continue to have patients ask about these products,” Berson said. “The sustainable skin care industry is a multibillion-dollar global market in which 80% of the global population is interested in sustainability and using products that are hydrating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-based and antimicrobial. However, caution is recommended with use of these products as some patients may have allergic reactions, irritation and photosensitivity.”

Cannabinoids for skin care are yet another new area with increased popularity, according to Berson.

“A lot of new data are coming out on topical cannabinoids for skin care,” she said. “Cannabinoids have been used successfully for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne as the product contains anti-inflammatory properties. We will be hearing a lot more about these cosmeceuticals in the very near future.” – by Jennifer Southall


Berson D. Skin care innovations for the aging patient. Presented at: South Beach Symposium; Feb. 6-9, 2020; Miami Beach, Florida.

Disclosure: Berson reports she has relationships with numerous companies, including Allergan, Revance and Valeant.