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Let’s clear up some questions around hyperpigmentation

Consumers expect natural, safe products that calm and protect melanin-rich skin from unwanted spots

As more consumers share their stories of being underrepresented in and underserved by the beauty industry, the gap in personal care for melanin-rich skin is more pronounced than ever.

From the enduring Black Lives Matter movement to social media influencers, consumers broadly echo the demand for more diversity and representation in society as a whole, but also in beauty specifically in terms of the availability of effective, natural and safe products for all skin tones and types.

Published On: 04/27/22

Until relatively recently, consumers with melanated skin would be hard-pressed to find makeup with enough pigmentation to show clearly on skin, products that didn’t leave a chalky finish, or foundations that could remotely match their skin tone. Not to mention the lack of products that provide effective care for hair with a curly or coily texture.

13.4% of the United States’ population is made up of Black Americans, but 22% of the nation’s total personal care spending comes from Black Americans.
Only 19% of American consumers feel represented by advertising campaigns (Mintel).
68% of US consumers would like to see diversity in beauty advertising as it reflects real life (Mintel)

The beauty industry has made some progress since then - advertising campaigns are sometimes more diverse and beauty companies are continuously striving to introduce new shades and formulas catering to a broader range of skin tones and types.

BASF Care Creations has also been making progress toward a more inclusive beauty industry by developing solutions for common concerns such as Moisture & Mattification in Melanated Skin.

The needs of melanin-rich skin, with all of its beautifully unique traits, are distinct from lighter skin tones in many ways — and they are still frequently overlooked by the beauty industry.

In skincare, hyperpigmentation is one of those distinct concerns, but the new data uncovered by BASF makes it possible for formulators to more effectively address the issue.

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How does hyperpigmentation happen?

Contrary to a common skincare myth, sunscreen is a very important part of the skincare routines of consumers with melanated skin. That’s because melanated skin has the highest tendency to synthesize melanin for protection, making it prone to developing dark spots in response to the sun’s rays.

The appearance of spots on the skin is called hyperpigmentation, a commonly cited concern of consumers with melanated skin. Besides external aggressors like the sun, it is also directly linked to inflammation, which is often expressed as acne or signs of aging.

Acne is another common concern in melanated skin. This is because, compared to lighter skin tones, sebaceous glands tend to be larger and produce more sebum in the face, leading to concerns of acne and oily or shiny-looking skin. Sebum production releases free fatty acids (FFA) such as oleic acid, which leads to melanin production and pigmentation.

When it comes to aging, inflammation also increases with age and induces KGF production. A protein involved in skin repair, KGF increases melanin production by inducing melanosome transfer.

While the sun, acne and aging are the most common culprits in hyperpigmentation, increased melanin synthesis can also result from all kinds of other internal or external factors.

Developing a naturally sourced solution

With all that in mind, BASF developed an ingredient that works fantastically to help minimize the appearance of hyperpigmented spots.

It is 87% natural and contains extracts of papaya, guava, and a flowering plant called saxifraga sarmentosa. All three are packed with antioxidants, which can prevent the look of aging in the skin.

A two-pronged approach to testing

BASF tested the results of its ingredient in two in vitro tests using two new in vitro models. One targets hyperpigmented spots resulting from aging, while the other looks at spots caused by acne. The results were promising, so in vivo tests were to follow.

A clinical in vivo study with these ingredients used a combination of expert evaluations, photographs and self-assessment. The age-related hyperpigmentation study assessed volunteers with Fitzpatrick phototypes between III and IV, while the acne-related study looked at phototypes IV to VI.

In both studies, the appearance of spots related to aging and acne were visibly reduced after 28 days.

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Inclusivity: It’s not optional

43% of younger consumers strongly agree the beauty industry should be more inclusive (Mintel).

The call from consumers is clear: It’s time for the beauty industry to provide a wider range of safe, inclusive, natural choices for all skin tones and types. Critically, these solutions should be tested for efficacy on the skin tones and types they are targeting.

BASF believes in creating skin and hair solutions for all, and we strive to provide such solutions to help formulators meet market demands. Contact us to request a sample of our new ingredient tailored to hyperpigmentation claims.

+ Contact BASF