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AFRICA FOCUS


35


Azelaic acid: multifunctional active for African skin care


Lisanne Brouns - Azeco Cosmeceuticals, The Netherlands


Not all skin is the same. This is one of the key challenges in the development of a successful global cosmetic formulation. For example, the same skin disease can look very different in Caucasian versus African skin. Skin colour produces many variations in


skin care needs. All colours of skin possess melanin, but the differences arise from how the melanin is packaged within the skin. This difference in melanin packaging gives rise to light and dark skin. It is well known the pigmentation problems common in African skin are not usual in northern Europeans. Thus, issues of ethnicity and skin colour must be always considered when formulating skin care products for a global market. Light skin that does not tan well, does


in generally not respond to any injury with pigmentation problems. Injury can derive from many different reasons. For example from acne, sunburn, skin diseases such as irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, or from a traumatic scratch. Since melanocytes are felt to be an important part of the immune system, it is postulated that this hyperpigmentation is an immune response to skin injury, but the exact reason for this reaction is not still well known. So people with darker skin, including Asian,


Mediterranean, African and Hispanic people, in general claim frequent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is, for example, a more common cosmetic concern than wrinkling in these ethnic groups compared to people with a light skin. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation relates to darkening of the skin in response to injury. Thus, products designed for skin of colour must be carefully formulated to minimise any skin irritation, since postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is the inevitable result. In addition to the different skin colour


responses to injury, another important reaction pattern, known as follicular predilection, is unique to skin of colour. Follicular predilection refers to the presence of disease around the follicle present at the opening of the hair onto the skin surface, known as the follicular ostia.1 It is like an eczema, typical of African persons, that occurs around the follicular ostia giving to the skin a unique goose bump appearance. It is a type of eczema considerably more difficult to be treated. Mild skin irritation or full blown irritant contact dermatitis may also be present with this follicular pattern.


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In addition, we have to consider the


contribution of the hair to the physiology of the skin. Different hair architecture accompanies different skin colours. Caucasians with fair skin typically have from straight to slightly curly hair while African people with dark skin typically have kinky hair. Follicular skin problems are usually minimal in Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, and Mediterranean individuals where the oval to elliptical hair cross-section yields body hair that is straight to curly. Unique follicular problems, instead, exist in African people where the flattened elliptical hair cross-section yields tightly kinked hair. This tight kink predisposes the hair to ingrowing, especially on the face. Shaving of the beard cuts the hair at an angle


ABSTRACT


In this article, some specific characteristics of African dark skin are summarised together with the main features of the active substance azelaic acid. According to them it is concluded that azelaic acid is a multifunctional active that can find significant application in the formulation of skin care products intented for the African market. In addition, the preparation tips of a formulation (oil free serum) containing 10% of an ultra-pure, micronised, 100% obtained from sunflower oil ingredient are discussed.


July 2021 PERSONAL CARE


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