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special actives


Among others you find here publications about high-tech actives, liposomes, nanoparticles, enzymes and active agents of corneotherapy.


Enzymes and fermentation

Enzymes play a central role in our lives – not only within our bodies, but also on the surface of our skin and in our diet. Bacterial and fungal cultures with their enzymes have been used for food fermentation since time immemorial. Can skincare benefit from this?

Phytohormones – border crossers in cosmetics

Plant isoflavones – also known as phytohormones – are exogenous organic compounds and are particularly used in anti-ageing skin care.

Strong protectors – stabilising antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals. To do this, they should be as stable as possible. Read here how this can be implemented in the development of topical preparations.

Biopolymer – Hyaluronic acid in skin care

It is found in the eyes, skin and joints and is generally found in many tissues of the human body. In total, each of us contains about 15 g of this disaccharide polymer, which can bind many times its own weight in water: Hyaluronic acid – it is indispensable especially in the cosmetics...

From A to K - Vitamin dictionary focussing on skin care

Besides minerals and omega-3- and omega-6-fatty acids, the vitamins are a group of vital substances for the human metabolism that can only be orally ingested or topically absorbed. Dr Lautenschläger, chemist, has compiled a list of the most important vitamins for the skin care.

Hot and spicy - paracress, chillies, mustard and Co.

Nutrition and skin complexion are inextricably linked to each other. From time immemorial a multitude of food components have been applied directly onto the skin. That holds true for vitamins, lipids and a variety of other endogenous and herbal substances. However, who would have thought that...

Fire and fire brigade - functioning of free radicals and antioxidants

Free radicals and antioxidants can be explained with the example of fire and fire brigade. Although fire actually is dangerous, it is beneficial when under control. Antioxidants can limit the damage when they are used in the right context. Superfluity of them is useless and even counterproductive....

Hyaluronic acid & polysaccharides - for skin hydration and wrinkle reduction

Hyaluronic acid is a chain-shaped molecule composed of repetitive sugar-like units. Over the years hyaluronic acid has developed into an almost indispensable component in cosmetic preparations. And news continue to roll in.....

Pigment disorders of the skin: causes and remedies

No matter whether dark or light skin - our skin colour is genetically determined. However there are other factors too that influence the complexion such as UV radiation or cosmetics.

Cosmeceuticals - phospholipids

When it comes to cosmeceuticals, often the classics prove to be the highly efficient products and not the new substances freshly out of the retort. Besides vitamins and essential fatty acids, also the phospholipids rank among the classics.

Phosphates: the power suppliers for skin and hair

Life without phosphorus, that is unthinkable! Plants solubilize phosphate-containing rocks and soils with the help of their acids and then resorb the phosphoric acid contained therein. Humans ingest the element via food chain.

Anti-irritant agents

The tolerance of cosmetic preparations is an ongoing issue - among consumers as well as among manufacturers. Skin condition, subjective feeling and the objective properties of substances play a role in this context.

Flavones and isoflavones - the all-rounders among active agents

With their broad range of applications multifunctional active agents are particularly interesting for skin care. Besides vitamins, polyphenols have a large potential. Their most prominent representatives are flavones and isoflavones.

Antimicrobial peptides

Acids and barrier lipids of the stratum corneum (horny layer) are the skin's first line of defence against infections. However, they also are the basis for a typical microbial colonisation (skin flora). The skin flora contains harmless but also facultative pathogenic germs. Peptide structures...

So small and subtle - nanoparticles from solid to liquid

The ingredients of nanodispersions can partly replace pharmaceutical active agents - often with the same efficiency.1 Hence they are ideal base substances for cosmeceuticals.2 

Saponins in skin care

Saponins are one of the most diversified substance classes in nature. Quite a number of saponins already have a long tradition of practical application and are well-known from folk medicine. The following article covers the different structures and effects of saponins.

Antioxidants and radical scavengers - too much is too much

Antioxidants and radical scavengers belong to the most common components of anti-aging preparations. The trend towards appropriate food supplements and cosmeceuticals still continues.

Retinoids and their use in cosmetics

Although already veterans among the cosmetic active agents they are the number one active agents among the cosmeceuticals: retinoids. This naturally occurring substance class is omnipresent in our daily skin care, our medical drugs and our daily nutrition.

Frankincense - the resin with healing power

Frankincense ("Boswellia") has become rather important in various cultures and religions: the resilience of the tree growing in the Asian and African semi deserts is legendary and the tribal knowledge on the mystic and healing powers of its resin fills entire libraries. Today's science still...

Asking the expert: Any potent active agents to treat excessive sweating?

Persons with hyperhidrosis certainly have already tested the one or other active agent. We interviewed Dr. Hans Lautenschläger on profuse sweating, on potential natural compounds and the pros and cons of aluminium free deodorants.

Approved skin lightener - tranexamic acid is effective against pigmented spots and redness

In the medical field, tranexamic acid is a reliable haemostatic agent during surgery and in the case of accidental injuries. In medical cosmetics, tranexamic acid is used for skin treatments: already small amounts can bleach pigmented spots and reduce redness - also in combination with...

Alkaloids in cosmetic applications

Hot and spicy, reviving or even intoxicating - we are talking of alkaloids. If you now think of nicotine, caffeine or cocaine in this context, you are quite right. However, the family of alkaloids is more diverse and also makes a significant component in skin care preparations.

Vitamins in cosmetics

While many other cosmetic active agents experience their ups and downs, vitamins continue to be in vogue. They are essential components of natural and of physiological cosmetics.

Flawless skin - active agents and active agent systems

A radiant complexion is the beauty ideal per se. Light or dark spots are annoying and can be quite a nuisance if they are well-marked. The cosmetic sector offers a large variety of active agents to take remedial action.

All made of sugar - Glycosides in skin care products

What does a lump of sugar have in common with hyaluronic acid, algae extract or the so-called AGE deposits in atrophic skin? They all belong to the family of glycosides - a substance class that can be found in a whole variety of cosmetic preparations.

Phospholipids - the all-rounders

What does an element like phosphorus that rather is associated with the match industry have to do with skin and cosmetics? As a matter of fact, most of the processes in which the substance is involved take place without becoming aware of them. It is not exaggerating to say that phosphorus and...

Vitamins in cosmetic products - just additives or added benefit as well?

Vitamins belong to the most frequent components in cosmetic products. With their positive image they always are useful for marketing purposes - even when added to a rinse-off product where they will not remain on the skin. By the same token, specific vitamin-containing products are beneficial in the...

The water balance in our skin: moisturizers & Co.

The term moisturizing cream has different meanings according to whether we are in the English-speaking world or the German-speaking part. Two terms are essential in this context: moisturizers and emollients. Information on common features and on the way how they influence the water balance of the...

Extinguishing the flames - anti-inflammatory active agents

If we speak of anti-inflammatory active agents in the cosmetic field, we predominantly deal with a prevention of local irritations caused by contact with everyday substances, micro-organisms or by mechanical stress or micro lesions. Accordingly, it is not a matter of a therapeutic use of active...

Skin whitening agents from A to Z - a summary

When you cut an apple and leave it uncovered, it will quickly turn brown. This brown colouring originates from the oxidation of the polyphenols of the apple with atmospheric oxygen assisted by the enzyme phenoloxidase. Lemon juice with its high content of antioxidant vitamin C can impede this...

Biodegradable lamellar systems in skin care, skin protection and dermatology

ABSTRACT: The following review comprises background, literature and applications of biodegradable lamellar systems, their characteristics and limitations. The article is focussed on phosphatidylcholine containing preparations like liposomes, nanodispersions and derma membrane structure.

Antioxidants - an overview

During the past years, no other active agent class has attracted more attention as a cosmetic ingredient than the group of antioxidants with their radical scavenging properties. Now it is time to draw the balance and compile an orientation guide as to the large variety of active agents.

Let it grow again - on actives and active systems to stimulate hair growth

Beautiful hair is considered as an expression of vitality. Yet, what can be done if a hormone-related hair loss strikes at an early age already? Since ages people have used tricks and tinctures to reactivate its growth - to no avail though. Now, there are new findings that may raise hope.

A focus on nerves - on intended and adverse effects

In our private and professional life, we come across quite a few things that literally get on our nerves and also under our skin in the true sense of the word. We feel how we break into perspiration, how we blush or turn pale. Also cosmetic products have an effect on our nerves.

No crinkle-look - an arsenal of anti-wrinkle agents at choice

There may be regrets though that those characteristic faces furrowed with wrinkles and deep lines are less common today. However, media and commercials talk us into a concept of beauty that lays emphasis on smooth skin. What can you do to preserve the skin smooth and supple?

Growth factors - the body's own peptides control various cell functions

Peptides have become a topic of intense biochemical research since they control a multitude of regulatory functions in the body. Also the growth factors are an object of research since they regulate the development of young organisms and initiate repair mechanisms and healing processes in the later...

Vitamins in cosmetics

While many other cosmetic active agents experience their ups and downs, vitamins continue to be in vogue. They are essential components of natural and of physiological cosmetics.

Trace elements - tiny helpers for a healthy life

They only occur in minute amounts in the human body. Nevertheless, a decline in trace element concentration causes severe deficiency symptoms. Read more about their function, effects and their significance in the cosmetic field in the following.

Nanoparticles - sizing up skin care

I recently read an interesting article, passed to me by my Australian colleagues. It's a long way from Germany to Australia but the issues raised in the article "I'm as Mad as Hell....." by Danné, published in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Professional Beauty, resonated with me so strongly I felt...

Moisturizers for the skin care

The term moisturizer generally stands for moisturizing creams. The present overview will inform on components that influence the skin hydration.

A comparison - pharmaceutical and cosmetic active agents

Medical drugs or cosmetics? Once the cosmetician realizes, that a skin condition demands more professional competency than she can provide in her institute, she recommends visiting a dermatologist. We compare pharmaceutical and cosmetic active agents.

Fragrances, vitamins and hormones - the ABC of terpenes

They are a main component of natural essential oils - terpenes. The chemical compounds are primarily used as aromatic or flavoring substances in perfumes and cosmetics. Yet, they are also major intermediate products of the human metabolism.

From biochemistry - the ABC of steroids

Steroids can be found in food and skin care products, in pharmaceutical drugs and last but not least even in our own body. They have effects on heart and blood circulation, fat metabolism, sexuality and skin condition.

The ABC of fatty acids

We come into contact with fatty acids day in, day out as they are elements of our daily nutrition and skin care. Already the syllable „fat" reminds us of calories and even more disagreeable is the idea of something like "acids". Fatty acids have more influence on our health than we generally assume,...

Omnipresent and multifunctional - amino acids in skin care

Amino acids are indispensable from the vegetable and animal kingdom including men through to microorganisms like bacteria, fungi and viruses. There is no life on earth without these basic elements. Why and which specific amino acids are vital for the human skin is described in the following.

Nanoparticles in cosmetic products - good or bad?

New developments create anxieties and raise questions. First and foremost because it lacks information and experience. Frequently hearsay is the only source of information available. Nanoparticles are not the same kind of quantum leap as the first steam locomotives were, though. The following...

The Use of Liposomes from Soya Phospholipids in Cosmetics

This article shows that on the one hand the development of the liposomes technology offers great chances for many new cosmetic products (which are very desirable from the consumer's point of view), but that on the other hand the cosmetics developer has to deal very intensively with questions of raw...

Liposomes in Dermatological Preparations Part II

In Part I, some theoretical background on the structure of liposomes and their probable mechanisms of action on and in the skin were reviewed. Part II will discuss in more detail the utilization of liposomes in dermatological and cosmetic formulations. Appropriate uses are suggested, and some...

Liposomes in Dermatological Preparations Part I

Liposomes or liposomal aggregation may have played a role in the formation of the first cell membrane on Earth. Immediately after the discovery of liposomes by Bangham, there was intense research in the pharmaceutical industry concerning their parenteral application, but without a decisive...

Electron-microscopical Detection of Liposomes in a Skin Treatment Gel

This study is an example for the quality control of a liposomal skin care gel and shows the compatibility of liposomes based on soya phospholipids with a gel forming agent of the xanthan type. The analysis described allows imaging of liposomes in their surroundings and demonstrates that the...

Comments concerning the legal framework for the use of liposomes in cosmetic preparations

Concerning cosmetics the same application criteria are valid for liposome formulations as for other comparable forms of application. The advertising claims for a deep acting liposome preparation must not be extended into the »drug« field. The argumentation becomes much simpler if highly unsaturated...

Hyaluronic acid - a legendary agent

Hyaluronic acid is a legendary agent in the true sense of the word and it is almost impossible to imagine basic skin care and the treatment of wrinkles and dry eye syndrome without it. However where there is light there is also shadow and more and more treatment procedures with hyaluronic acid...

Peptides - more than transmitters and hormones

Peptides play a major role in the development of anti aging cosmetics. They occur naturally and are quite often found as messenger proteins and hormones. Also their degradation products, i.e. the amino acids are key players in the field of cosmetic skin care.

Vitamin K for a healthy and beautiful skin

Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for the human body. Vitamin K belongs to the fat-soluble vitamins and naturally occurs in two different types, i.e. vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is mainly assimilated through vegetable food whereas vitamin K2 is formed by intestinal bacteria as e.g....

Specific active agents and bases in corneotherapy

The term corneotherapy was coined in the late nineties1) by Professor Albert M. Kligman. The basic idea of corneotherapy is that topically applied substances as e.g. moisturizers and lipids influence the biochemistry and physics in the horny layer as well as subsequent processes in deeper skin...

Precious load - transport of active agents

Within the field of skin care and dermatology active agents play the most important role. Appropriate transport systems ensure that active agents are transported to the areas where they are really needed.

Strong effects - phospholipids in cosmetics

Phospholipids are indispensable for the live organism and play an essential role for both health and nutrition due to a great variety of different functions. They also prove to be perfect base substances for cosmetic products.

Treatment of actinic keratoses with a new olibanum extract

Millions of vacationers deliberately expose themselves to excessive UV radiation. As a result, the risk of UV-related skin damage is rapidly increasing. Sun worshippers thus have to expect an increased risk for actinic keratoses (a carcinoma in situ). Most recent estimates prove that about 8 million...

Olibanum - embedded in nanoparticles

A substantial increase of inflammatory skin diseases such as neurodermatitis, psoriasis and actinic keratoses but also skin cancer has been observed worldwide. The serious barrier and cornification disorders involved can now be treated with frankincense, the lately discovered cosmetic agent.


INTRODUCTION: Publications about and patents on liposomes, along with their different chemical components, preparation, and use in skincare products have often been reviewed [1-4]. The reviews do not need any additional comments. Of interest are general questions, such as why liposomes should be...

High tech agents: new - improved - and more effective?

In skin care products, the essential sales argument on the manufacturers' side and the decisive factor on the part of consumers to buy the product are the active agents contained. Accordingly, the cosmetic industry is continually researching for new and better agents. What are their specific...

Enzymes - the silent brownies

Enzymes are substances of very special kind. They are the brownies in the metabolism of live organisms as they compose or degrade the substances involved. They take care of almost every single chemical transformation, silently, ecologically and without leaving any waste products. They can also be...

Encapsulated substances - the capacity of carrier systems

Liposomes and nanoparticles have a high affinity to the horny layer of the skin due to their composition. With the help of these carrier systems water and oil soluble substances can easier penetrate the skin.

Corneotherapy - ...more than just a surface application

Experience shows that besides their influence on the release of active agents base creams can have substantial effects of their own.

Active agents: liposomes, nanoparticles & co

Life can only exist in an atmosphere which provides protection against outside influences. Thus, monocellular living organisms are protected by cell membranes whereas multicellular organisms are provided with an exterior skin whose outermost layer, the epidermis also has a membrane-like structure...

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Revision: 27.05.2021