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Lifeblood Research: the correlation between microcirculation and skin aging is proven

Blood circulation gives life to the skin. Each vessel acts as a carrier of oxygen, nutrients and immune cells. They also regulate skin pressure and temperature.

As we all know, when circulation is optimal, skin looks strong, resistant and healthy. It's also clear that stimulating circulation, particularly through massage, improves skin radiance and texture. And women are not mistaken. A survey of almost 3,000 women in four countries showed that over 70 % of them believed that improving cutaneous blood circulation had an impact on the beauty of bare skin. Shiseido validated these insights scientifically before seeking to understand how to keep this circulation permanently afloat for ongoing skin benefits. Initial observations showed that good blood circulation significantly enhanced skin quality and its barrier function. Better still, there was a clear link between the vascular system and skin aging. These promising discoveries prompted the Japanese laboratory to devote a large part of its resources and energy to finding out more for over twenty years.

Here are its initial findings.

In 2000, the Lifeblood Research starts hand in hand with Cutaneous Biology Research Center (CBRC), the fruit of collaboration with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Hospital. With a particular focus on capillaries, the micro-vessels that are strategically located in the upper dermis, on the border with the epidermis, which they continuously irrigate.

The company's first focus was on abnormal blood vessels and their impact on skin quality. As early as 2002, Shiseido revealed the impact of UV rays on blood vessels. In excess, UV rays increase the production of VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), a "signal" molecule that leads to the formation of new, abnormal capillaries associated with an accumulation of inflammatory cells. The latter lead to the release of enzymes such as elastase, which degrade supporting fibers. The result: signs of aging, including wrinkles, appear prematurely.

In 2009, the Lifeblood Research is continuing with a new partnership with Seoul University of Medicine, which will add to our knowledge in this field. The aim of this collaboration is to decipher the impact of the passage of time on the decline of blood vessels. We have learned that, from the age of forty onwards, blood vessels show more deterioration, linked to a drop in the TIE-2 receptors expressed on the surface of vascular walls and involved in their cohesion. This phenomenon leads to excessive leakage from these vessels, depriving the skin of essential nutrients.

In collaboration with the University of Ajou (South Korea), Shiseido is pushing back the frontiers of cosmetics in 2017. Lifeblood Research with new tools. OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) has enabled us to observe for the first time in vivo the entire vascular network of the dermis. This unprecedented approach highlights the link between UV radiation, alteration of the capillary network and the appearance of pigmentary disorders. Hyperproduction of VEGF-A is implicated, as it induces malformations in the network that increase the release of a factor activating melanin production.

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Abnormal capillary network in pigmented areas

In 2018, thanks to a novel method that makes the skin transparent, researchers are able to observe the vascular network in 3D, its structure and organization, which have been badly damaged by UV rays. Pigmented areas show vessels organized anarchically, with numerous branches and an accumulation of macrophages suggesting the presence of inflammation. The same year, Shiseido observed in vivo age-related changes to the precious network, with a reduction in vessel density and diameter, leading to a slowdown in microcirculation.

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Vascular network malformation in pigmented areas and accumulation of macrophages.

In 2019, the company is taking a closer look at the characteristics of healthy vessels, highlighting that the very quality and structure of vessels deteriorate with age: well-structured and organized in young skin, thinner, fragile and disorganized in mature skin. At the same time, Shiseido discovered the involvement of the molecule Integrinα5, a protein present in vascular walls, in the good health of capillaries and its positive impact on the production of dermal support fibers. Around healthy vessels, collagen is denser.

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3D visualization of blood vessels in human skin.

20 years after the start of the Lifeblood ResearchIn 2020, Shiseido identified the link between blood vessels and skin elasticity, thanks in particular to two key factors: APJ and VE-Cadherin, both expressed in capillaries. When APJ levels are optimal, vessels appear strong and stable. VE-Cadherin, on the other hand, decreases with age, leading to thinner capillaries that impact skin elasticity.

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Link between high APJ expression and stable, strong capillaries.

From research to concrete solutions for the skin

As scientific discoveries have punctuated the Lifeblood ResearchThe Shiseido laboratory drew inspiration from this and developed application solutions. In 2004, Shiseido identified a chlorella extract capable of limiting the formation of new abnormal vessels involved in the appearance of wrinkles.

Later, an extract of cinnamon bark, increases the amount of TIE-2 receptors to strengthen capillary structure and prevent leakage of essential elements.

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To inhibit the production of VEGF-A, Shiseido has selected a flower extract, the Tormentillawhich blocks the formation of abnormal capillaries and the release of a factor that activates melanin production. Skin pigmentation is thus brought under control.

The company has also highlighted Ceraferment, a yeast extract, capable of increasing Integrinα5 expression to promote healthy capillaries and encourage optimal production of associated collagen. More recently, two plant treasures, the Houttuynia and Neem leaf extract were chosen for their ability to increase the expression of APJ sensors and VE-Cadherin, which reinforce capillary structure and stability.

By acting to maintain the health, strength and integrity of the skin's blood vessels, Shiseido aims to optimize the quality and beauty of the skin as a whole, from hydration to barrier function, from wrinkles to spots, from texture to radiance.

A universal approach. For everyone.

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