Award-winning innovations in mood-boosting skin care
Our contribution to the SDGs
This story is an example of Clariant's contribution to SDGs 3 and 12.
The face is a window to the soul. As social animals, humans are very adept at reading moods and even signs of illness or well-being just by the look on someone's face. Eyes play a big part, but so does the skin. Flushed or pale, vibrant or dull – how we feel is almost instantly expressed in our complexion. The existence of such a brain-to-skin axis is backed up by science and even helps explain why some skin conditions can have mental origins. As studies show, however, this also works in reverse: healthy skin can positively affect our mood. This led Clariant to develop its holistic concept dubbed »The Joyologist.« It involves skin care formulations and entire beauty routines that soothe the skin and the mind.
»Self-care is hugely important, especially in a world full of troubling news that affect our mental well-being,« says Amandine Werle, a marketing specialist for Clariant Actives & Natural Origins and one of the minds behind The Joyologist. »Consumers look for ways to take better care of themselves, and beauty rituals are big part of that. Treating your skin with products that provide sensations of comfort can help improve the mood by stimulating the release of feel-good molecules such as serotonin and melatonin. This, in turn, positively impacts the skin and starts a virtuous cycle.«
Roots and sunshine
Rootness® Mood+ is one recent innovation by Clariant that takes full advantage of this effect. It is based on a natural active ingredient obtained from the roots of Sanguisorba officinalis using patented Plant Milking technology. The plant, more commonly known as the great burnet, is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its hemostatic, astringent properties and to help promote healing. (»Sanguisorba« literally means »blood stauncher« in Latin.) However, Rootness® Mood+ makes use of a different effect: as trials have shown, root extracts from Sanguisorba officinalis help trigger the skin's photoreceptors and promote the uptake of vitamin D.
Vitamin D plays a key role in the production of certain hormones. Around 90% of the human daily requirement in vitamin D is produced in the skin and triggered by exposure to sunlight. That is why natural light provides essential health benefits, from warding off seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to improving sleep. However, with modern lifestyles tending towards ever more time spent indoors, it is estimated that around 75% of the world's population is already deficient in vitamin D.
Proof in the lab
The idea behind Rootness® Mood+ is to use root extracts from Sanguisorba officinalis to enhance the beneficial effects of sunlight on human skin. To test this idea, Clariant's research team, based in Toulouse, France, first treated skin explants in the lab with Rootness® Mood+ under artificial sunlight. They found that specific photoreceptors and transporters for vitamin D within the cells were activated, and that it also led to an increase in serotonin and melatonin by 55% and 120%, respectively.
A subsequent clinical study enrolled 36 female participants between ages 30 and 50, all reporting low mood and presenting a dull facial complexion. »The trial was conducted as a double-blind study by a contract research lab as an independent third party using two randomized groups,« explains Adam Buso, formulation specialist for Clariant Actives and Natural Origins. Twice daily, one group of participants applied a product containing 1% Rootness® Mood+ to their entire face, while the other group used a placebo. Over the course of about a month, the researchers documented skin and mood effects using questionnaires, visual assessments, lab tests, and even an electroencephalography (EEG) device that measures certain brainwaves related to relaxation.
A boost on the go
The effects were astounding: relaxation levels, as recorded by the EEG device, increased by 279% for the study group, while there was no change observed among the control group. »This mood-boosting effect is equal to that of a yoga session,« Buso explains. 73% of volunteers reported feeling refueled after using the product containing Rootness® Mood+ compared with 50% using the placebo. There were visible improvements to the skin complexion and a significant decrease in carbonylated proteins, a group of stress-related compounds found in the outermost layer of the skin that are known to cause a dull complexion.
Based on these findings, Clariant has developed the »Feel-Good Magic Stick.« This aqueous gel stick makes it particularly easy to apply Rootness® Mood+ whenever you feel the need for a boost in well-being. The stick contains additional actives such as B-Circadin, which helps re-synchronize the skin cell's biological clock, and HerbEx Curcuma Extract, which increases the skin's stress resilience.
»While our stick is something you can use any time and on the go, we also have solutions that target the need to relax more deeply, for example, after a long and busy day,« says Bruna Aline Da Silva Merigiolli, formulation specialist for Clariant Actives and Natural Origins. She was involved in developing what Clariant calls the »Forget-It-All Relaxing Mask.« The main active ingredient here is Clariant's Beracare CBA a unique blend of copaiba oil and passion fruit seed oil.
Copaiba oil is extracted from the resin of the copaiba tree native to Brazil. »It is particularly rich in β-caryophyllene, a phytocannabinoid known to interact with the skin's endocannabinoid system,« Merigiolli explains. This allows it to modulate cellular signals to reduce irritation and calm the skin. According to recent trials, it does so even more effectively than cannabidiol or CBD-based products, which have recently grown in popularity but are derived from actual cannabis plants and are increasingly scrutinized by regulators. Plus, the actives found in Beraca CBA also help to rebalance the sensitive skin microbiome by down-regulating certain bacteria linked to inflammation. »The Joyologist,« with its holistic approach to skincare and mood-boosting science, proves that beauty really is more than skin deep.
Sanguisorba officinalis - sustainably sourced from the root
In the wild, Sanguisorba officinalis is found on grasslands, its distinctive deep red flowers blooming throughout June and July. However, the sought-after tormentic acid derivatives are only present in the roots. That is why Clariant’s partner Plant Advanced Technology cultivates the plant under aeroponic conditions, which leave the roots exposed. Using the patented Plant Milking technology, we can stimulate the roots and produce concentrated extracts much more sustainably. Plant Milking requires less land and reduces water consumption by about 90% compared to traditional cultures. The greenhouses, located in France, constitute a controlled environment and eliminate the need for pesticides Plus, Plant Milking allows for three harvests per year without destroying the plant to get access to the roots.
Rootness® Mood+ and Beracare CBA were both awarded the BSB Innovation Award 2023. Plus, Rootness® Mood+ won an award in the technology category at this year’s Cosmetic Ingredients & Technology Exhibition Japan (CITE).