Intelligent materials for the stimulated release of cosmetic bioactive compounds

Dip coating technique
[Article published in the Microscoop-CNRS magazine Special edition No. 21 – October 2021]

Several laboratories are working on the use of intelligent materials to create a new generation of cosmetics with what is known as stimulated release. Ultimately, the consumer will be able to actively or unconsciously manage and trigger the release of a cosmetic active compound.

stimulated release of cosmetic bioactive compounds

The Nanomedicines and Nanoprobes team (NMNS – EA 6295 University of Tours) specialises in the preparation of nanosystems, i.e. nanometre-sized molecular assemblies. It has worked on the development of temperature-sensitive polymer nanovectors, targeting hair care in particular. Thanks to a chemical modification, this polymer binds strongly to the keratin in hair. Therefore, by using it in a cosmetic product, the consumer will be able to trigger the release of the cosmetic active compounds by means of a heat source, such as a hair iron or a hair dryer. Their incorporation into a hair spray and the possibility of reactivating the system through a new application of the heat source remains to be studied. These nanovectors will be able to encapsulate cosmetic hair colouring or hair care active compounds such as those developed by the industrial partner BioEurope.

Research has also been carried out to develop nanovectors targeting skin that has been damaged by UV rays in particular. A polymer that is sensitive to the level of skin stress has been developed. In this case, it is when the skin receives a certain dose of UV that the cosmetic active compound (here, an antioxidant) is released…