Science Nature Beauty

The changing perceptions of aging

For thousands of years, people have been applying mixtures on their skin to either protect it from aging or to look younger. This concept of ‘hope in a jar’, where people became open to trying a cosmetic product as long as it helped them to look younger or preserve their youth, has withstood the test of time, until only recently.

A proactive attitude towards healthy aging

Many consumers are still looking for that miracle, though they are ever fewer. We are seeing a clear shift in the paradigm. As cosmetic scientists know, it is easier to slow down the aging process of skin than to make older skin clearly look and feel younger. This is what the consumer has now also come to realize.

We are now in the midst of a movement where the thinking and perceptions around aging are changing dramatically. As cosmetic scientists, we need to adapt to these changes and those we expect to occur in the future. The anti-aging market will continue to be the most important segment for the skin care industry, but we will probably have to rename it. The ‘anti-times’ are definitely over, and the focus will soon start to shift to ‘well-aging’.

Consumers accept the fact that they are aging, yet at a younger age they have a proactive attitude in the sense that they try to age as healthily as possible. As consumers get older, they also accept a wrinkle or two, though they want to be and look as healthy as possible. In addition to this, if they are healthy and look healthy, they will feel healthy too, associating this experience with a positive state of well-being.

The fact that aging is a concept which is more accepted now than in the past, does not mean that consumers will start to reduce their use of skin care products. They will still have a need to take good care of their skin and protect it, yet they may have a smaller focus on fighting age-related skin issues. Skin care formulations, as well as the related marketing concepts and communication with consumers, will also change.


New needs of efficacy and safety

At CLR, active ingredients are always developed with the evolving consumer in mind. Already in the 1950s, CLR started to develop active ingredients with real scientific proof as, in post-war Europe, when normal life resumed for consumers, the use of skin care products coupled with the demands for the efficacy of these products, rose strongly. Although life had been difficult for many years, when life returned to normal, consumers wanted to take extra care of themselves once again. At the time, CLR became instantly successful because of the quality and efficacy of its products.

Over the last 70 years not much has changed when it comes to the mentality of developing effective ingredients in line with market demands, which are constantly evolving. Nowadays, consumers want skin care products to work for them. The concept of ‘hope in a jar’ has evolved into ‘expectations from the jar’. Expectations do not end with efficacy, though. Consumers want the cosmetic products, including the active ingredients in the formulation, to be safe, natural, sustainable etc.

By law, cosmetics need to be safe. When it comes to natural claims, there is room for debate, but this is not a concern for the consumer. They have their demands and the cosmetics industry need to take them seriously. This includes CLR as an active ingredient supplier. Efficacy and safety have always been a top priority for the company, while sustainability, with topics like fermentation and upcycling, were already a focus from the outset when CLR established itself as an active ingredient supplier.


Global consumer movements

Skin aging is a result of the accumulation of damage in the skin and the skin cells. Skin is exposed to many external stresses which can have damaging effects. At a younger age, we are able to take care of the problems by repairing the damage, but, with age, we increasingly lose this ability. Essentially that is what the essence of aging is; we lose the ability to deal with these problems and our immune capacity is depleted. If our immune system is capable, it will deal with problems effectively in a way which is essentially ‘under the radar’. When we lose immune capacity, we not only experience problems with repairing damage, but also our skin becomes more sensitive – and what was hidden before now becomes pronounced, leaving skin inflamed, irritated and looking unhealthy. These processes obviously have a large impact on the wellbeing of the consumer too.

In order to provide a good solution for the modern consumer it is not enough to provide them with a product which reduces wrinkles and firms the skin. These might still be important features for many consumers, but the above needs to be addressed as well. With the experience CLR has with developing active ingredients for the evolving consumer, some interesting approaches can be recognized.


Products for the microbiome

Since the 1970s, CLR’s focus has been on supporting the skin’s immune capacity. Probiotic bacteria were fermented and then lysed to obtain metabolites and cellular constituents of beneficial bacteria. When applied on skin, immune strengthening effects could be seen and quantified. On the basis of this technology, products such as ProBioBalance CLR™ and ProRenew Complex CLR™ were developed.

ProBioBalance CLR™ compensates for the suppression of immune capacity of the skin after exposure to UV light. It soothes and calms the skin and induces cellular repair mechanisms, which include autophagy. ProRenew Complex CLR™ supports skin cells in building skin and skin renewal. Skin becomes healthier and better moisturized with this active ingredient. Interestingly, the skin microbiome profits from this as well. This was proven in a large study together with three universities.


Botanical products

CutiBiome CLR™ and AnnonaSense CLR™ provide the skin with the means to gain and maintain absolute balance. CutiBiome CLR™ gives support to skin when it is out of balance and unhealthy. It will help in regaining the balance in skin and the skin’s microbial composition. The skin microbiome is now recognized as playing an inherent part in the health and quality of our skin and will play an integral role in skin care in the future. AnnonaSense CLR™ supports skin’s most important tool, the endocannabinoid system, to provide it with health. It potentiates this system, making skin healthier, less irritated and less reactive.

Products such as MPC™-Milk Peptide Complex and Phytosan™ K will provide cosmetic scientists with a means to fight wrinkles and firm skin.

Modern consumers rightfully demand more from their skin care product than a miraculous ‘hope in a jar’. They expect not just anti-aging claims but reliable and safe solutions with proven efficacy.



Harald van der Hoeven

Director Product Design & Development