Interview with Professor Edith Filaire

Professor Edith Filaire, Scientific Director

Beauty and sustainability: how do these two concepts work together at Greentech?

Increasing demand for beauty products is coupled with the rising awareness for environmentally friendly products. Rising consumer awareness for the side effects of chemical content in cosmetics is driving the manufacturers to introduce natural products. Natural cosmetics include a large variety of skin care, hair care, color cosmetics and fragrances contained in shampoos, body lotions, creams, lipsticks and essential oils among others. Technological innovation has shaped up the production of these natural cosmetics.

Moreover, for a number of years now, naturality has emerged as one of the major trends in cosmetics. A naturality that on the one hand is reflected by the way in which the ingredients are designed (according to extraction methods taken from "green chemistry") and on the other hand in the ethical and sustainable choice of the selection of the raw material. 

For many years, Greentech Group has been a company strongly committed to research on plants as a source of innovation and efficiency. This naturality is part of our DNA. We contribute, amongst other things, to the establishment of the type of supply chain in order to guarantee a fair income for local producers, with the associated benefit of perpetuating the supply chain and the quality of the ingredients produced. Our raw materials are "sourced" in a transparent, ethical and sustainable manner, all in accordance with the development of fair trade and respect for local workers.

Moreover, the development of organic plant extracts, eco-design of products, reduction of the environmental footprint, social commitment and protection of biodiversity are very important focal points at Greentech Group.

What is the importance of hair care in Beauty?

Throughout times, hair has been regarded as a symbol of beauty. Hair has a great importance for the representation of a person’s self-esteem, as it provides countless information about the personality of each person. Moreover, the retention of the hair fiber structure is essential in order maintain good strength as well as shine and softness. 

In Europe, scalp care increased between 2% and 5% during the first half of 2019, with anti-aging and hair loss prevention as the key drivers, and health/wellness fueling the charge. It also seems that hair products with anti-pollution and environmental protection will create a wider space in the future market. Moreover, naturality, microbiome and anti-pollution are the main words when focusing on hair, natural actives for hair-growth and shine being very important. Generally speaking, consumers are seeking protection against the harmful effects of air pollution on health while being mindful of the environmental impact of their hair beauty habits. This makes natural protection products more appealing.

Perhaps, one of the biggest realizations in the field of hair science during the past 10 years is the fact that in real life, hair breakage and damage to the cuticle sheath rarely occur by the action of unrealistically high value forces. Instead, they occur due to fatigue failure; i.e., from the application of repetitive small forces.

Every day, hair is  exposed to exposome, leading to external and internal damage of the hair shaft and therefore impacting its beauty.  The term exposome was first introduced by Wild (2005), who described it as the totality of exposures to which an individual is subjected from conception to death. A redefined definition was provided by Miller and Jones (2014), who said that exposome should be considered as a cumulative measure of environmental influences and the subsequent associated biological responses of an individual throughout its life. More precisely, three broad exposome domains, often overlapping with each other are proposed to classify environmental exposures within the exposome.

These domains are as follows:

1) the general external (wider influential factors, such as social capital, urban-rural environment, and climate);

2) the specific external (chemical contaminants, infectious agents, occupation and lifestyle); 

3) The internal exposome includes internal chemical environments determined by internal processes (e.g. metabolic and inflammatory), as assessed through evaluation of proteins, lipid mediators, xenobiotics, and their metabolites through ad hoc omics tools. The internal exposome is specific to each subject because it depends on age, physiology, body morphology, health status, and the genome among others. 

Nowadays, there is a growing awareness of the role of the totality of environmental exposures and their endogenous response as it is imprinted across the lifespan in shaping disease risk and disease development. The effects of exposome on hair are rare. Nevertheless, even if the exact etiopathogenesis of graying remains incompletely understood, white hair is predominantly influenced by genetics, cigarette smoking, UV radiation… Exposome can also induce alopecia, which is the most common form of permanent hair-loss in both men and women with an increasing prevalence with age. It is also important to know that exposome induces deleterious effects on microbiome. 

What are your actives that fight against the exposome and which are based on the concepts of naturality?

After providing natural solutions from the marine and plant world to protect the skin from these deleterious effects, the R&D department of the Greentech Group has focused on hair loss (alopecia) using a systemic approach including the study of the Wnt / β-catenin cell signaling pathway, key pathway of the hair cycle, and the study of the scalp microbiota. 

The scalp is a hot and humid environment, rich in sebum, which is why it contains many yeasts, particularly from Malassezia species involved in the occurrence of dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and alopecia. Among these bacteria, the most common are C. acnes and S. epidermidis but there are also local populations that synthesize vitamins and nutrients essential for hair-growth. The link between alopecia and imbalance of the scalp microbiota has not been investigated enough, according to Greentech.

Thanks to a metagenomic study, Greentech has characterized the scalp microbiota of people suffering from alopecia, and has evaluated molecules that are found in the plant world and could modulate this microbiota. As a result, HAIRILINE® was born.

HAIRILINE® reduces the C. acnes/ S. epidermidis ratio, which is strongly increased in the case of alopecia, causing micro-inflammation. Also, it rebalances the M.globosa and M.restrica ratio.
In vitro studies have shown that HAIRILINE® has a significant impact on the inhibitors of the Wnt pathway, the key of hair growth. These results are reflected in user satisfaction: 77% of users observed a slowing down of hair loss while 81% noted an acceleration of hair growth.

The use of natural antioxidants from plants such as polyphenols have been shown to protect hair from lipid peroxidation and protein degradation induced by UV exposure (Chen et al., 2013). Among natural antioxidants, phenolic compounds such as shogaol and gingerol (6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, and 10-gingerol) possess high antioxidant activity. Other polyphenols such as honokiol and magnolol, two major components of the genus Magnolia, are bioactive constituents of the traditional Chinese medicine that have anti-oxidative properties (Chen et al., 2019). Greentech Group developed ZORYALYS®, an active ingredient titrated in these molecules. Through the penetration to the heart of hair, it protects the integrity of hair protein structure, acts against carbonylation and limits keratin alteration. The hair is stronger and shinier. 

Finally, several natural molecules have demonstrated interesting properties through their pro-melanogenic activity. For example, flavonoids (such as naringenin) and flavonoid glycosides (such as quercetin glucosides) have been shown to stimulate melanogenesis pathways in melanocyte cell models. Resveratrol and terpenoids have also been identified as potential up-regulators of the melanogenesis process. 

Among natural terpenoids, Greentech identified the active component Picroside II, an iridoid glycoside, as a very interesting candidate to target physiological process identified as contributors of the gradual loss of hair pigmentation. Thus, ARCOLYS® was developed. By using a psychophysiological approach, it was highlighted that our ingredient enables the hair to regain health and beauty. At the same time, self-esteem and positive emotions are increased. 

To summarize, the hair exposome concept addresses hair disorders from an innovative perspective, analyzing the influences on hair health holistically, instead of treating signs of hair damage independently as it has been done hitherto. Generally speaking, this concept aims to open new opportunities to develop dynamic and global solutions against the stresses to which the hair and scalp are subjected.

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