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Research about the development of a protecting and soothing skin-care regimen for the relief of replicative senescence and skin damages caused by environmental pollution and UV radiation
by using lutein and zeaxanthin extracted from corn seed oil inside the EXCornSEED project

logoexceed 300x256 - The effect of pollution on skin and eye health | Dr Lauranne Official Partner EXcornsEED Project

The effect of pollution on skin and eye health

Air pollution can harm us when it accumulates in the air in high enough concentrations. Millions of people live in areas where urban smog, particle pollution, and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns. The skin is exposed to numerous environmental assaults that can lead to premature ageing. Of these agents, perhaps none is more ubiquitous than the ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths of sunlight and artificial indoor lightening. The primary immediate defence against environmental skin damage is the antioxidant capacity of the skin. Therefore, bolstering the antioxidant defence system of the skin is a potentially important strategy for reducing environmentally induced skin damage.

How environmental factors such as UV radiation and pollution can affect the skin
The primary purpose of skin is protection; it provides a physical barrier against radiation, toxic chemicals, and water exposure, to protect the internal organs. In carrying out this function, the skin encounters inevitable harm which leads to the signs of skin ageing, that we are familiar with: wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tone and patches, loss of volume and skin tone. We know that both internal and external factors lead to skin ageing; internal factors include smoking and excess of alcohol, and external factors include sun exposure ( UV radiation ) and environmental pollution. There are different theories on how exposure to pollution can lead to skin damages, the most widely accepted is the theory of free radicals and oxidative stress. This states that the accumulation of free radicals damage and oxidative stress creates a cascade of intracellular damage, which impairs cellular processes that allow skin cells to divide in order to grow and repair themselves.

Oxidative stress and free radical theory
It is commonly accepted that UV radiations and photo-ageing cause the majority of visible signs of ageing. When UV radiation comes into contact with the skin surface, it initiates the production of free radicals and the formation of ROS (reactive oxidative species). ROS are quite reactive, unstable molecules because of their unpaired electron. They will attach themselves to anything, in an attempt to steal the last electron needed to stabilise themselves. This process causes intracellular chaos, which leads to inflammation, affecting the cell itself and causing collateral damage to the tissue.

 Chemical pollutants

Microscopic particles are released into the atmosphere every second from fires, power plants, construction sites, motor vehicles. These tiny chemicals create an invisible toxic film on the surface of the skin. The microscopic size of the particles allows them to easily penetrate the skin pores, till the deeper layers of the skin, to eventually target the skin cell nucleus. They create a cascade of intracellular damage.
This mechanism also triggers a phenomenon known as replicative senescence: a process of cellular ageing, where the cell can no longer replicate. This is a natural process, but it can easily be triggered prematurely by the effects of UV radiation and environmental toxins, both available indoor as well as outdoor.
A collateral effect of exposure to UV radiation and pollution is an overall skin degeneration, where inflammation and dehydration of skin cells appear. This causes collagen breakdown and damages to the lipid layer of the skin, thus impairing its barrier function, which manifest itself in the loss of elasticity, firmness and volume.
Also the ozone has an impact on skin ageing and can trigger exacerbations of pre-existing skin conditions. Studies suggest that the ozone, like any other chemical pollutant, first targets the stratum corneum and start to penetrate down to the dermis, inducing epidermal damage and inhibiting the skin barrier function. The inflammatory aspect of ozone damage has been associated with a flare-up in skin conditions: urticaria, eczema, dermatitis, and other eruptions.

 Air pollution increases Dry Eye Syndrome and other ophthalmic symptoms Environmental conditions appear to have a very significant effect on the ocular surface. There are very high levels of subclinical ocular surface changes among persons living in highly polluted areas. Due to the constant contact of the pre ocular tear film, cornea and conjunctiva with the surrounding air, toxins have direct access to these ocular structures and can abnormally change them. Clinical studies suggest that the quality of environmental air can result in premature break- up of the pre ocular tear film and corneal epithelial damage. This can lead to significant ocular irritation and discomfort. An history of redness, irritation, foreign body sensation, lacrimation, blurred vision, photo-phobia and eye strain is usually reported by most of patients. Ophthalmic discomforts are an under-recognised problem that causes daily sufferings. Eye dry syndrome is detected in 1 over 6 patients living in urban areas and spending most of their time indoor, where recirculated air makes the environment not only dry, but also micro-biologically contaminated. The unfortunate mix of dry air and contamination is responsible for a steady increase of eye diseases, from the basic eye redness and irritation, to dry eye syndrome, covering a wide range of eye infections, like blepharitis, and allergic reactions too. Simple efforts in home and offices, like maintaining humidity indoors and using a high-quality air filter are to be considered part of the overall management of eye diseases, but are not enough. Protecting eye annexes by means of anti-oxidant and film-forming topical ointments is strategic in preserving our eyes’ health.



UV radiation, ozone and other chemical pollutants can all cause premature ageing by the activation of free radicals and matrix metalloproteinases, and oxidative stress. This leads to intracellular inflammation and the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Damages can be minimised by effective cleansing, application of anti-oxidants and application of sunscreen. The same rule applies to ophthalmic symptoms caused by polluted indoor / outdoor air.

 The market trend:

Consumers are taking air pollution concerns seriously and looking for cosmetic products that will protect their skin from its harmful effects.
As science builds its case, marketers are tracking consumers’ needs for anti-pollution products. Mintel reports that Chinese shoppers are leading the charge, thanks to high levels of air pollution in the country: “The term ‘PM 2.5’ (the abbreviation of Particulate Matter 2.5, which refers to air pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less) has become a marketing claim in Chinese skincare products.” Western consumers are also feeding demand for protective and healing skin- care products, making this a growing global trend. Premium Beauty News sums up the issue: “Protecting the skin from pollution has become essential, and consumers are expecting specific products to be developed.” UL’s Industry Analytics is showing parallel rises in searches for anti-pollution skincare formulations and ingredients. And a sharp increase for the term “anti- pollution” itself since 2012.


Our system: HR DEFEND range is formulated with natural ingredients.

Hr Defend Dr Laurannehina rome

Core ingredients are:

  •  hemp seed oil, cold pressed, edible type
  • lutein and zeaxanthin, vegetable carotenoids
  •  Omega Blue®
  • Transcutol TM

all formulations are parabens-free, PEGS free, fragrance – free, mineral oil and its derivatives free.

The following products have been formulated:



  • DUO INDOOR – bio elements protective against damaging indoor lights, recirculated air. ◦ Main ingredients: edible hemp seed oil, lutein, zeaxanthin, hyaluronic acid
  • DUO OUTDOOR – anti-smog, protecting also against environmental aggressions and UV radiations

◦ Main ingredients: edible hemp seed oil, lutein, zeaxanthin, bilberry, carnitine




  •  DUO POWER UP FOR MEN – detox and energizing treatment
    ◦ Main ingredients: edible hemp seed oil, ginseng, eleutherococcus, guaranà, caffeine, lutein, zeaxanthin


DUO EYE PROTECT – anti-oxidant, specific for eye and eye annexes health – preventing Dry Eye Syndrome, blepharitis and other ophthalmic syndromes
◦ Main ingredients: hemp seed oil, lutein, zeaxanthin, Arctic bilberry, TranscutolTM


HR DEFEND Kids 4-12


  • DUO Kids – moisture-lock treatment for skin dryness and rashes Main ingredients: hemp seed oil, corn oil, olive oil, licorice root extract – Parabens-free, PEGSfree, fragrance free


HR DEFEND toiletries

  • BATH OIL – 2-phases moisture- lock oily wash 300 ml main ingredient: hemp seed oil, almond oil , olive oil, corn oil – preservatives free, PEGS free,fragrance free
  • SIMPLYSOAP100g Natural soap with corn, hemp seed and olive oils pure extract, cleanses the skin thoroughly,helping in preserving the natural hydro-lipidic balance, thus avoiding skin dryness and stress. Suitable to all skin types. Hand-made.


Why lutein and zeaxanthin from corn seed oil in topical applications:

Lutein is one of the most well-known carotenoid, most having strong anti-oxidant capabilities. Most commonly known for its eye health benefits, lutein is a phyto-nutrient found in various foods including green leafy vegetables and egg yolk. As a dietary supplement, it has proven itself a superstar by reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration (ADM). Earlier studies on lutein supplementation showed that it bolsters the skin’s natural antioxidant production and helps protect against sun damage, lowering inflammations and improving skin and eye health.
Once consumed, lutein has antioxidant activities that help block the formation of oxidative stress, the primary cause of ageing and degeneration. Lutein is essential for forming the lens and retina of the eye, and protecting vision into older age. It does this, by absorbing UV light and other rays, within the spectrum that damages our eyes, such as blue light that’s emitted from technological devices. This is why researchers urge people to consume lutein and offer eye-disease prevention. Lutein, as well as all carotenoids in general, are proven immune system boosters, help prevent premature skin damage and skin cancer. Diets rich in carotenoids are beneficial for preventing UV light damage, which can lead to melanoma, aged-looking skin, wrinkles and skin thickening.
We absorb carotenoids best when we eat them as part of a meal that also has some healthy fats;

According to a study published in the Journal of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, you can diminish the signs of ageing, especially sun- or pollution induced wrinkles, by supplementing with lutein used in combination with a topical application.
In this study, conducted by the University of Naples and other institutes, researchers have conducted a 12 weeks treatment on 120 healthy female subjects, with an everage of 35 years and

this suggests that a carotenoid supplement can result in the same benefit than natural

carotenoids when combined with an oil.

mixed skin types.

The study found that skin lipids increased by 63% for the combined oral and

, by 46% for the oral lutein only, and 23% for the topical lutein only.

topical intervention

CONCLUSION: because lutein and zeaxanthin have proven to be extremely interesting for green cosmetic, it would be appropriate to derive them from the EXcornSEED project. Neverthless, it is

to be underlined that the ingredients actually available on the market bear a natural orange colour, which, very regrettably, when used in topical application does stain the skin itself, creating unpleasant orange-coloured spots. It is as such desirable that a colour-free lutein and

zeaxanthin ingredient may be derived from the EXcornSEED job.


Expected product official launch:

  • Depending from availabily of raw material ( corn seed oil extracts, namely lutein and zeaxanthin ) expected definitive study and formulation is scheduled from June to September 2019.
  • If raw material is made available in the desidered time limit, an official launch of the new range is planned by October 2019 in occasion of the STAMEGNA RETAIL MANAGEMENT beauty and personal care event, taking place in Miami, USA.
  • A second launch is planned, to be executed in November 2019, in occasion of the Beauty Meetings Retail Event, taking place in Dubai, U.A.E.The artwork design for external packaging has already been studied, and appears as follows:


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