Cosmetic solutions to overcome cell senescence

Cosmetic solutions to overcome cell senescence

While the ageing process is eventually inevitable, we can slow the rate at which our cells divide and therefore age – as well as the physical appearance of ageing – using cosmetic ingredients which target the process of ‘cellular senescence.’ There is a growing number of active ingredients which target this activity within the skin, from extracts to peptides and even stem cell technology. Read on to see how delaying cellular senescence is the next big buzz-word in antiaging skin care formulations.

What is cell senescence?

Within our skin cells, our chromosomes are part of the DNA replication process. At the ends of chromosomes are protective telomeres; but every time your cells divide, these telomeres shorten. When they have shortened enough, the cells will senesce – they will become dormant. In other words, your skin cells are only able to reproduce a certain number of times before their proliferation declines and they are no longer active. Obviously, to retain the appearance and features of youthful skin, we need to prolong the life of our skin cells for as long as possible.

This is why cosmetic active ingredients which are able to overcome cellular senescence are so powerful in anti-ageing cosmetic formulas.

How cosmetic active ingredients can overcome cellular senescence.

Different cosmetic actives can slow cellular senescence using various mechanisms:

  • Protecting telomere length: this is one of the most important ways to slow cellular senescence. Since telomeres shorten with every cellular division, if you can maintain their length, you can keep them active.
  • Reducing skin cell proliferation: by reducing the rate of proliferation, the number of cellular divisions can be slowed and senescence delayed.
  • Disguising markers of cell senescence: this in effect enables the cell to continue to be active.
  • Promoting autophagy (or cellular detoxification): supporting cellular lifespan by removing wastes or degraded organelles to improve cellular function.

When choosing your cosmetic active to delay cellular senescence, make sure you consider how it is providing that effect to determine the effectiveness of results your consumer will experience in conjunction with other active ingredients used in your formulations, and as part of your overall cometic product offerings.

Delaying cellular senescence: a difficult story to explain to consumers.

Cosmetic products are broadly defined by regulators as substances to be applied to the external surface of the skin in order to maintain or protect its’ appearance. Marketing claims made about cosmetic products must comply with this overarching definition, and must not make claims about the physiological activity occurring within a cell.

This means that explaining how cosmetic actives help preserve the appearance of youth by inhibiting cellular senescence is impossible to tell directly to a consumer.

While a cosmetic brand cannot market or otherwise direct consumers to the terms ‘delaying cellular senescence’ (or similar physiological functions), they can promote the visible results: a reduction in appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, improvements to skin suppleness and radiance, visibly denser looking skin, and an increase in skin firmness. The issue remains, however, that in a crowded anti-ageing marketplace, how does a cosmetic brand effectively explain just how their cosmetic formula differs, and potentially outperforms, a competitor brand not using anti-senescent active ingredients?

The answer is in marketing a return to a more youthful appearance of the skin: using terms such as ‘look X years younger within 30 days,’ or ‘restore the signs of youth,’ or similar terms, based on the clinical evidence you hold for the active ingredients and cosmetic formulation created. Since consumers understand, and commonly want, their skin to look and feel younger, this is a marketing message that resonates readily with them. Cosmetic actives that target cellular senescence make cells function as if they are younger to get the desired results. Hence, referring to a younger appearance or wiping years off their visible age helps a consumer connect their wants with the benefits provided by these products, without breaching cosmetic claim regulations.

Which suppliers have anti-senescent cosmetic actives?

Peptides with anti-senescence activity include, but are not limited to, the following cosmetic peptides:

  • Col-Frag Remastered (LipoTrue)
  • Progeline (Lucas Meyer Cosmetics)
  • PromaCare GSH (Uniproma)
  • WKPep Antiprogerin (Shenzhen Winkey Technology Co)
  • WKPep CLP2 Plus (SpecChem)

Understand more about peptides, proteins and collagen selection for cosmetic formulas with this video. Also learn how peptides work in cosmetic formulas here.

Extracts with anti-senescence activity include, but are not limited to the following cosmetic extracts:

  • IBR-Dormin (Lucas Meyer Cosmetics)
  • RejuveNAD (Mibelle AG Biochemistry)
  • Regu-Science (DSM- Firmenich Personal Care)
  • Sunflower Shoot Active (Mibelle AG Biochemistry)
  • Vitasource (Provital)

Get additional tips on how to use herbal extracts in cosmetic formulas here.

Stem-cell technology with anti-senescence activity include, but are not limited to, the following stem-cell based cosmetic ingredients:

  • Altheostem (Provital)
  • Centella Reversa (Vytrus Biotech)
  • PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica (Mibelle AG Biochemistry)

Remember to look at the efficacy data, inputs used, test conditions and components present when determining which anti-senescent cosmetic active is best suited to your cosmetic brand’s product story. As this is a continuously growing area of innovation, we are also seeing new anti-senescent cosmetic actives launched each year… so make sure you speak with your cosmetic ingredient suppliers and visit your nearest in-cosmetics exhibition to find the active solution best suited to your next formulation development.

Happy formulating!


Enjoyed this article? Get more by subscribing to our newsletter!

Feeling inspired to see ingredients and trends in action?

Then why not visit one of the in-cosmetics events around the world?


Belinda is the Director of Institute of Personal Care Science, leaders in on-line Internationally Recognised Training for Cosmetic Formulation and Regulatory Affairs. She holds a Bachelor of Natural Therapies, Diploma of Cosmetic Science and Certificate in Training and Assessment. She has written 5 books on Cosmetic Formulation from Beginners through to Advanced levels as well as Organic and Colour Cosmetic Formulations and Brand Management. Belinda provides training to all levels of industry, from Beginners through to Advanced Diplomas both on-site and via distance. She has also developed thousands of personal care formulations and document dossiers over the years. She specialises in training on innovative and compliant product developments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *