Science behind LAST

Neurocosmetics – Scientific Dossier

While skin is the largest organ of our body, the brain is the most important one. They are both interconnected – the skin contains no less than 800,000 neurons, 11 meters of nerves and around 200 sensory receptors per cm. Covering the skin with a product of particular fragrance, colour, temperature or texture awakens our senses. The recent research goes even deeper, determining cosmetic active ingredients designed to penetrate the epidermis and work on a neurological level, formulating the whole new concept of neurocosmetics.

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The skin, as a system for the surveillance of environmental changes (heat, humidity, etc.) and perception of the environment (body limits, recognition of the non-self and objects, touch, etc.), produces stimuli that, through mediators, are transmitted to the nervous system. Among mediators, there are neurotransmitters – chemical messengers, naturally synthesized by nervous fiber endings, that are also produced by skin cells: keratinocytes, melanocytes, fibroblasts, etc. and the immune system. The release of neuromediators can be induced by physical, chemical, or even emotional stimuli. Among the 200 neuromediators currently known, about 25 have been found in the skin. Some examples include neuropeptides such as substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and bradykinins; neurohormones such as melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); catecholamines; enkephalins; endorphins; and acetylcholine.

The most innovative approach to functional skincare

The term „neurocosmetics” was first officially used in 2007, during the annual meeting of North American Society of Cosmetic Chemists. It is based on the approach known as NICE (Nervous, Immune, Cutaneous and Endocrine systems) and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It develops the concept that both brain and skin may be influenced by the ingredients that activate many processes of cellular protection and regeneration, either soothing or stimulating, reducing inflammatory and unwanted reactions or modulating certain receptors (p.e. defensive cellular nets) – in consequence accelerating or slowing down the pace of the aging process. “Neurocosmetics are nontoxic, bioactive topical products that contain ingredients designed to work at a neurological level, and not elsewhere” – Vito Rizzi.

Multidimensional spectrum of neurocosmetics’ activity

Neurocosmetics aim to preserve, over time, the physiological and functional skin characteristics of the area where they are applied. Following the complex research by V. Rizzi, J. Gubitosa, P. Fini, P. Cosma published in Cosmetics 2021, the broad, multidimensional spectrum of neurocosmetics’ activity, can be divided into different types of action:
• Anti-aging: referring to all ingredients that – via different pathways – combat the skin aging processes, preventing and fighting the signs of aging, revitalizing senescent skin, promoting the elimination of toxins, improving microcirculation, and reducing the number and the depth of wrinkles;
• Antioxidant: ingredients that capture and inactivate free radicals at the skin level, reducing the “oxidative stress”;
• Anti-wrinkle: ingredients that counteract the onset of wrinkles;
• Depigmenting: ingredients that lighten the skin color;
• Eudermic: ingredients that invoke a feeling of wellbeing when applied on the skin;
• Eutrophic: this refers to substances that nourish the skin and improve its appearance;
• Soothing, anti-redness: exhibited by ingredients able to soothe pain and reduce skin redness in cases of mild inflammation, counteracting irritation, and bringing relief to stressed skin;
• Regenerating: ingredients with eutrophic properties, promoting cell regeneration, and providing the necessary elements for skin development and maintenance over time;
• Toning, “lifting”: this concerns ingredients that restore skin tone and firmness by acting at both the epidermis and dermis levels, encouraging the typical turgor of young and healthy skin.

Raising beta-endorphin level in skin

Beta-endorphin is a peptide neurotransmitter produced in the central nerve system, where it causes an analgesic effect. It reliefs pain, produces euphoria, reduces stress and strengthens the immune system. By acting on the central and peripheral opioid receptors, β-endorphins inhibit the transmission signals via nervous cells from the source of the pain (nociceptor) to the spinal cord. Thus, endorphins, due to their connections with the brain’s “pleasure centers”, generate euphoric feelings when binding to the opiate receptors. Moreover, β-endorphins also bind their receptors to immune system cells; they seem to be involved in the fine-tuning of the immune response.

It was recently confirmed by several research groups – that betaendorphins are produced also in skin cells and do improve it’s appearance. They can not only release the neurotransmitters giving sensation of pleasure, well-being and relaxation but are also involved in accelerating tissue regeneration, redensifying skin and wound healing. They enhance the barrier function of the skin, increase its resistance to stress and in particularly to pollution. While beta-endorphines are usually synthesised in response to physiologic stressors like pain or during exercise – inducing betaendorphin biosynthesis means actually activating it without the external factor.

Our active ingredient derived from the Rhodiola rosea L. root, belonging to the family of Crassulaceae, stimulates the production of ß-endorphins in the skin due to two active compounds: Rosavins (Rosavin, Rosin and Rosarin) as well as Flavonoids and chlorogenic acids.

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It induces ß-endorphin biosynthesis by stimulating central and peripheral receptors, thus improving general mood and physical condition (in vitro efficacy). Its antioxidant properties protects against free radicals-induced damage. Lishmanov et al. studied the effects of a Rhodiola rosea treatment by measuring Skin Repair Serum’s levels of ß-endorphin:

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Bigliardi et al. (2002) showed the involvement of the skin’s β-endorphins in communication with peripheral nerve endings. The authors reported that keratinocytes positive for β-endorphin staining are clustered around the terminal ends of afferent C-fibers, which signal the sensations of warmth, cold, or pain to the central nervous system. Moreover, the authors described the β-opiate receptor as being expressed in the dermis and epidermis nerve fibers. It has been supposed that keratinocytes can communicate directly with the nervous system due to the opiate receptor system; hence, this should open potential therapies for skin diseases—for example, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

dr n. med

If there isa one thing that can trick me into buying another skincare product, it would be the potential deep moisture effect. My naturally very dry skin seems to have an unlimited thirst and for a very long time I thought it’s almost impossible to find a product that would satisfy its needs. Then it turned out I invested in some of the best hydrating products on the market – I just didn’t know how to use them.

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