Ashland innovates with anti-pollution technology

An image of a lady running in traffic to demonstrate Ashland’s anti-pollution marketing campaignA growing global trend toward urban lifestyles and city living is leading to increasing concerns about the effects of atmospheric pollution on skin. According to Ashland, which is represented in South Africa by IMCD, pollutants may adhere to the skin and the particulate matter may penetrate to induce skin sensitivity. In turn, this may accelerate the visible signs of ageing with collagen breakdown, discoloration, and skin’s barrier being compromised.

Ashland’s consumer science team in Shanghai recently conducted a double-blind clinical study on the anti-pollution active, Elixiance biofunctional. This ingredient is rich in polyphenols quercitrin and miquelianin, and can provide skin protection benefits following 70 days of exposure in an urban environment with high levels of air pollution.


Proven effective for improving skin’s glow


Anne-Francoise Clay, marketing manager, skin care biofunctionals at Ashland, comments: ‘We chose Shanghai, China, as the location to conduct the double-blind clinical study. This is because our goal was to evaluate the qualifications of Elixiance in an urban environment known to have relatively high levels of fine particulate matter (less than 2.5µm, known as PM2.5), at certain times of the year.’ (See Table 1.)

Air Quality Index (AQI) in Shanghai

Age Group Application Time PM2.5 O3 AQI
18-35 August 25 to November 6 62 76 84
35-65 November 9 to January 8 98 29 105

Table 1

Elixiance was used at one percent in a skin care formulation for the study. Ashland researchers found that, in comparison to a placebo application, a 74 percent increase in luminosity L* value after 28 days, and a 49 percent increase in ITA° value were noted for all 59 volunteers. These individuals ranged in age from 18 to 65 and live in Shanghai, while the values indicate an increase in skin luminosity and skin clarity, respectively.

Dealing with sensitivity issues

Skin sensitivity is another concern often raised by experts and consumers regarding prolonged PM2.5 exposure.

‘As part of this double-blind clinical study, Ashland tested some volunteers for signs of recovery from skin sensitivity. A lower level of a* value and Interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 α) is associated with reduced skin sensitivity. Elixiance at one percent was associated with an observed decrease in both the a* value in 40 volunteers and IL-1 α in the stratum corneum of a subgroup of eight volunteers, as compared to the placebo side,’ Clay adds.

Support for anti-pollution claims

As consumers look for advanced personal care formulations to protect themselves from the impacts of atmospheric pollution, they may select products that offer specific claims, such as anti-PM2.5 effects. Ashland’s Elixiance biofunctional is a natural and sustainable extract of the Peruvian pink pepper tree, which helps to protect skin from the negative effects of atmospheric pollution. This has been demonstrated by recent in vitro and in vivo studies.

Clay adds: ‘In Asia, where the anti-pollution skin care market is well established, formulators can utilise the results of these studies regarding Elixiance to help support anti-PM2.5 claims. In the rest of the world, formulators now have the option to create truly unique skin care products that include the benefits of anti-pollution.’

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