Science Nature Beauty

Climate change matters

Climate change is a topic that affects us all. It is a big worry for people and the effects are already noticeable.  Since 1880 the average yearly temperature, worldwide, has increased by 1 °C. In some places, especially around the north and south pole, the average temperature has increased much more strongly. The majority of warming took place in the last 45 years. Climate change will lead to longer droughts, rising sea levels, more severe rainfall during shorter periods of time and shorter winters.

Consumers’ mentality is changing

We humans, the species which has had the largest impact on the environment and consequential climate change are increasingly questioning the impact we have on the climate ourselves. We are all consumers and always have consumed and will continue to consume products. Many of which are not always sustainable and without impact on our environment. This is changing. Many consumers have changed their mentality and some have even drastically changed their lifestyles. They are critical of the lives they live and the products they consume. Vegetarianism and veganism are examples of lifestyles which have grown in popularity because of this. The Euromonitor International’s Lifestyles Survey 2019 reports: 60% of consumers are worried about climate change and 54% think they can make a positive contribution in the world with their purchases. An overwhelming majority (92%) of young people are concerned about what the future may hold, so it’s no surprise that they are leading the fight for the environment.


Brands are faced with big challenges

When it comes to sustainability, consumers not only take a closer look at what is contained in their skin care products and how they are packaged, but also who is behind the products.

They demand transparent and honest communication. They want the products they buy to be sustainable and responsible. And they want them to be so in an authentic way as they need to believe that a brand really cares and shares their values. Having a strict corporate ethics and being transparent about raw material sourcing, supply chain and social responsibility is a must-have for brands that want to connect emotionally with consumers. Consumers want to make a purchase decision that makes them feel better – this includes doing something good for the environment.

A skincare brand cannot afford to ignore the concerns of the consumer, it needs to provide them with products which work. Climate change will have an important impact on consumers, their behavior and their skin and the skincare industry needs to start preparing for that.


The effects of climate change on our skin

The impact of the sun will be immense. Global warming will lead to shorter winters and longer droughts. The UV-index, i.e. the intensity of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface, will, by 2100, be increased with 4% in tropical regions and up to 20% in higher latitudes. With the short winters and mild weather people will show more outdoor activity and be exposed to sunlight significantly more than in the past. The likelihood of developing sunburn will be up to more than 3-fold. Skin photoaging will be increased and the risk of developing skin cancer will be clearly higher. For the skincare industry this means that UV protection will become even more important than it is now. Skincare products addressing the photoaging process will also grow in importance.

Global warming will mean that consumers who live in higher latitude, like Europe, US, Canada, China, Japan and Korea, countries were a large portion of the world’s consumers live, will be exposed to higher temperatures. It is expected that many people, during work or at home, will be exposed to a dry air-conditioned environment, something these people have not experienced with this intensity up until now. A dry air-conditioned environment has a large negative impact on skin health, barrier function and hydration level.

Higher temperatures will also lead to more problems with acne, skin sensitivity and related psychological problems. The skincare industry should provide products to stop these vicious circles or at least, reduce the likelihood for the vicious circles to start.

Shorter periods with more severe rainfall will increase the likelihood of flooding which can have devastating implications. This includes the fact that the skin will be exposed to pathogens which can easily lead to infections. The skincare industry can play an important role in this context, as it will be able to support the skin microbiota in their battle against pathogens. Scientific literature also reports that higher ambient temperatures have an important negative impact on our skin’s immune competence. The skin is, first and foremost, the outside physical barrier of our body, but it is also an immunological barrier. Together these 2 main functions of skin provide our body with essential protection against outside stresses and strains. If the immune competence of our skin goes down, its ability to adapt and deal with problems is reduced. This is important in the defense of our body, but also in the skin’s aging process.


CLR, into the future

The cosmetic consumer is looking for orientation in a flood of choices and wants to make a purchase decision that is good for the skin and the environment and often needs help in making that decision.

At CLR, we are aware of our responsibility and ensure that our active ingredients make their contribution to formulating products that are not only good for the consumer, but also for our planet. CLR has a holistic and well-founded approach to responsible research. It has been said “With land and water in scarce supply, it is plain wrong to grow crops that can be used as food for beauty products instead” and we fully agree with this statement. In the future we want to reduce our use of natural resources as much as we can.

We are also looking into the use of waste products from other industries to obtain our active ingredients. This is something which you would call ‘upcycling’, valorization of material which would otherwise be discarded. The sustainability of the production process used in obtaining the final active ingredient obviously plays a hugely important role as well. Upcycling is only worthwhile when the whole process is sustainable. This is an approach we have had with our product AnnonaSense CLR™. This product originates from waste from a company which produces juice from Cherimoya (Annona cherimola). We use the residue pulp as a raw material which we extract and filtrate until we have our AnnonaSense CLR™. It is really interesting to see that we get such a powerful product out of waste. AnnonaSense CLR™ provides biological homeostasis and equilibrium to skin, making it clearly less irritated and sensitive. It provides well-being and improves quality of life, just from industrial waste and sustainably produced, making it the perfect match to the needs of skin which is exposed to climate change.

Another important strategy for us is the use of probiotic bacteria in producing our active ingredients. Here too, we minimize the use of natural resources. We start with a probiotic inoculum with only a few probiotic bacterial cells and during the fermentation process the number of cells starts to grow. In the end we have 1 billion probiotic cells per milliliter of water after which we lyze (i.e. destroy) the cells and obtain all the molecules the probiotic bacteria have been producing during the fermentation process. Our added value at CLR lies in the fact that we know how to influence the probiotic bacteria during the fermentation process, in order for them to produce metabolites which have added value for human skin. We have been doing this since the 1970s and we will continue to perfect our skills into the future. Biotechnology is the future. We are 50 years ahead of the industry and want to keep it that way.

All in all, at CLR Berlin, we want to deliver our customers with efficacious, safe and sustainable active ingredients which fit all the needs of the contemporary and future consumer. This is how we do it and why we do it.



Harald van der Hoeven

Director Product Design & Development