Spreading Clean Beauty

Cosmetic science: innovations pushing the field towards new frontiers

The advancement of cosmetic science in recent years has been unstoppable, as collaborations between commercial brands and ingredient providers have steadily moved towards a scientific understanding of cosmetics.

While science is often regarded as a series of ‘aha!’ moments in the minds of solitary researchers, the truth is science works thanks to a collaborative approach. In the context of cosmetic science, it’s gatherings like the IFSCC Congress where true breakthrough innovations can be shared among peers. 

Often referred to as the Nobel Prize for cosmetic science, this congress put together by the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists often sets a standard for what innovation in cosmetic science will look like in the coming years. 

What does the 33rd IFSCC Congress say about the current state of cosmetic science? Taking place in Barcelona (Spain) from 4th to 7th September 2023 and under the theme ‘Rethinking Beauty Science’, here’s a look at some of the most current and relevant scientific topics in the sector as seen from Provital’s perspective and the innovations we present at the Congress. 

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The IFSCC Congress: a blueprint for the future of cosmetic science

The International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists is a federation dedicated to international cooperation in cosmetic science and technology. Gathering 51 Societies representing 81 countries, it has set high standards of scientific and educational qualifications and is composed of 16,000 members. As such, it can be argued that it offers a realistic picture of what the most advanced cosmetic science endeavors look like today, and includes the participation of worldwide known brands such as L’Óreal and Shiseido.

As science and innovation stand at the core of our business practices, at Provital we have contributed to IFSCC congresses and conferences since 1992, first participating at the 17th Congress at Yokohama (Japan). 

Today, we are bronze sponsors of the fair and take pride in showing a strong commitment to our shared strategic vision: scientific positioning in the cosmetic market is an essential choice for us as an active ingredient manufacturer. This participation is crucial as networking in the cosmetic science community is essential for all R&D&I departments. As we understand it, collaboration is key for scientific advancement, and building bridges among peers guarantees a steady path forward.

IFSCC Congresses can be described as 3 days packed with cosmetic science knowledge. In the case of the 2023, current leading trends in technology, scientific research and added value to cosmetics aligned in the program as follows: 

  • Rethinking Science: Skin, oral, sun, and hair care: breakthrough technologies for cosmetic developments promoted by recent scientific research. New substances, new functions, new efficacies, new evaluation techniques.
  • Rethinking Beauty: Texture, odor and color, multi-sensoriality. A strong added value to cosmetics, its impact on uses, consumers, and marketing. Cosmetic and beauty product experiences backed up by technology.
  • Rethinking Nature: Responsible cosmetic development, through a look of the lessons offered by nature and what needs to be done to guarantee safer cosmetic products

Provital’s innovations presented at the 33rd IFSCC Congress

Provital has always made the most of this coming together of experts in cosmetic science, and our participation in 2020 proves it, as our poster on Senolysis got the TOP10 qualification in Yokohama, Japan (31st IFSCC Congress).

That time, we presented the poster “Sensolysis, a cutting-edge strategy for healthy skin aging activated by Althaea Rosea stem cells”. As such, our research targeted the revolutionary field of cellular senescence, which studies the deleterious consequences on tissue functionality brought about by this process, which today is considered one of the hallmarks of aging. Our cosmetic science research presented at the Congress allowed us to identify a plant ingredient (Althaea Rosea stem cells extract) that displays senolytic activity (i.e., selective elimination of senescent cells) in human dermal fibroblasts (HDF) models.

Following this line, we found the 2023 IFSCC Congress to be the perfect occasion to communicate our main innovations in product efficacy. From skin’s circadian rhythm to Artificial Intelligence and plant microbiome, take a look:


Our first innovation targets cellular senescence as a blooming field for outstanding discoveries. As the accumulation of senescent cells over time is correlated with visible signs of advanced skin age, we aim at developing an ingredient that targets the elimination of skin senescent cells.

As we’ve mentioned above, our first incursion led us to identify Althaea Rosea stem cells as inductive of the selective elimination of senescent cells in vitro. In this new chapter, we investigate its anti-ageing efficacy in an in vivo study evaluating the effect of this novel active by instrumental analysis and by the estimation of the apparent visual age via Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools.

The results show that Althaea Rosea stem cells produce a clear rejuvenating effect in vivo, significantly improving the radiance, elasticity, and the thickness of the skin, promoting a decrease in volume and depth of wrinkles and a reduction in the estimated age. The latter was revealed both by analysis of periocular wrinkle depth measure (“x-year less effect”), through a cutting-edge apparent age estimation made using Artificial Intelligence tools. 

All in all, these results, together with our previous in vitro study demonstrating the senolytic activity on senescent human dermal fibroblasts, have led us to develop an active ingredient with skin anti-aging properties based on the selective elimination of senescent cells.


Our next innovation takes us to previously unexplored territories. Recent works highlight the impact of blue light exposure on circadian rhythms and, consequently, some skin functions (including signs of facial fatigue and aging). 

Our cosmetic science research seeked to look more deeply into the cumulative small disturbances that affect the biorhythm of skin cells. As such, we observed primary human keratinocytes exposed to blue light, observing a desynchronization in phase and amplitude of the curves part of their circadian cycle. 

The work presented in IFSCC shows our study of the effect of a postbiotic ingredient (Lactococcus lactis ferment lysate, LLFL) to revert this desynchronization. As such, keratinocytes treated with LLFL were able to restore expression rhythm of both genes Clock and Cry1 closer to non-irradiated cells, returning both gene expressions to basal levels after 24 h. 

As part of our sharing in the IFSCC congress, we also highlight how a positive modulation of genes controlled by the circadian clock that are important in the protection of skin aging also takes place, including Mtr1, Sirt1, Nqo-1 and Hmox1.

Upcoming hair science

Cosmetic science efforts in the hair care segment are increasingly focusing on hair protection from certain environmental factors (UV, blue light irradiation, air pollutants), and damaging hair products or treatments. This trend can be understood as a direct response to growing consumer demand for more natural cosmetics without harmful chemicals. 

Our next innovation looks at these issues and aims at solving them through active-based natural ingredients extracted from marine macroalgae. Our associated active ingredient will be launched very soon! 

Another key effort to innovate in cosmetic science and hair care has led us to explore hair fiber damage. More specifically, we’ve looked at how damaging treatments and products open the scales of hair cuticles, bringing about disastrous changes to its structure and composition and making the hair more porous and hydrophilic. 

Our research has led us to unveil an innovative fruit extract that is able protect the lipid surface and prevent, thus, the damage caused by chemical factors to nourish, condition and improve the general appearance of hair.

Plant endophytes for the future of beauty

Amongst the exciting innovations in the field of natural cosmetic science, the exploration of endophytes is particularly interesting. These symbiotic microorganisms living inside plants and promoting beneficial effects on their growth and development presents an enormous potential to produce bioactive phytochemicals and, as such, can become an interesting source of high-valued natural compounds, while preventing the overexploitation of their host plants. 

This provides a fascinating possibility to alleviate serious environmental problems such as land overuse and loss of biodiversity, while making brands and consumers able to access the neverending positive cosmetic applications of plant-based natural ingredients.

As we are proud to share at IFSCC congress, at Provital we have successfully developed a novel platform for the isolation and biotechnological production of plant endophytes as a sustainable source for natural and traceable active cosmetic ingredients.  This represents a new flagship technology by Provital, and a launch pad for many future high quality active ingredients with sustainability and efficacy at their core.

All these innovations point towards the same direction: at Provital, we are committed to push the boundaries of cosmetic science, aiming at generating a sustainable industry that can provide ingredient efficacy while minimizing our environmental impact. 

This approach has led us to take part continuously in IFSCC efforts, often taking a leading position in many of the breakthrough research initiatives that make cosmetic science advance.

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