Shiseido Develops Control the Volume of Hyaluronic Acid Technology

Shiseido Company developed “Shape-Shifting HA Technology” that controls the volume of hyaluronic acid (HA) to shrink hyaluronic acid and increase its penetration into the stratum corneum. Moreover, China boasts the world’s largest manufacturer of hyaluronic acid—Freda Pharmaceutical Group.

Shiseido Company, Limited (“Shiseido”) released news that it developed “Shape-Shifting HA Technology” that controls the volume of hyaluronic acid (HA). HA forms a water retention film on the skin surface and exerts a high moisturizing effect, but at the same time, it’s very large molecular size hinders penetration into the stratum corneum after application. With the new technology, HA shrinks via the addition of magnesium ions (Mg ions) and dramatically increases its penetration into the stratum corneum compared to normal HA. In addition, this technology re-expands the shrunken HA (“Compact HA”) via the addition of sodium metaphosphate, a type of chelating agent, resulting in the restoration of the original properties of HA and increasing the water content in the stratum corneum. Some of these research results were presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan on March 26, 2022.

Shiseido has been conducting this research under the Inside/Outside approach of our R&D philosophy “DYNAMIC HARMONY”. We aim to realize soft and dewy skin through the application of the Shape-Shifting HA Technology, the most advanced technology that controls the volume of high molecular HA to enhance its penetration and function in the stratum corneum.

HA is a biopolymer with excellent water retention capacity and known to indicate various biological activities other than moisturizing the skin. Since the amount of HA in the epidermis decreases with age, it is important to deliver HA to the inner skin to maintain healthy skin. However, given that HA is large in molecular weight and the stratum corneum acts as a strong barrier, it was extremely difficult to make HA penetrate the skin. In addition, HA injections in cosmetic medicine, which deliver HA into the subcutaneous tissue directly as an invasive procedure, still pose the challenge of not applying to the entire face.

To shrink hyaluronic acid and increase its penetration into the stratum corneum, it added various salts to aqueous HA solutions and measured their penetration amount into the stratum corneum. The results showed that the addition of magnesium chloride (MgCl2) increased the amount of HA that penetrated the stratum corneum. Next, after having applied the HA labeled with green fluorescence onto the skin surface and observed cross sections with a fluorescence microscope, it successfully visualized that more HA had reached the deeper layer of the stratum corneum via the addition of MgCl2, compared to a HA solution without MgCl2.

Shiseido has further deepened the research on HA, a skin moisturizing component, and succeeded in developing an innovative technology that controls its volume, and enhances its penetration into the stratum corneum, and its functionality. It will continue to utilize this technology to address a wide range of skin concerns as our key technology for future beauty care solutions.

It is worth mentioning that the world’s largest manufacturer of hyaluronic acid raw materials is Freda Pharmaceutical Group from China.

After more than three decades of development, China has become not only a big but strong country in producing hyaluronic acid raw materials. According to a market research report on China’s hyaluronic acid industry released by Sullivan, the total sales of hyaluronic acid raw materials in China accounted for 86% of the total global sales in 2018, and hyaluronic acid companies led by five major companies, including Shandong Focus Freda, monopolize most of the production of hyaluronic acid in the country.

According to the financial report of Lushang Development, the parent company of Freda, its Shandong Freda Bio Co., Ltd (hereinafter referred to as Freda Bio Co.), which is responsible for the research, development, production, and sales of cosmetic-related products, had a cosmetic operating income of 622 million yuan($92 million) in the first half of 2021, an increase of 210.30% year-on-year.

It is reported that the brand of “Dr. Alva”, which was founded in 2018, created a myth from 0 to 100 million in that year. It took only 22 minutes for Dr. Alva’s Tmall flagship store to break through nearly 10 million yuan in the “Double 11″(Chinese Shopping Carnival) in 2020 and it was ranked at the TOP5 in the Double 11 brand soaring list, becoming the “star” among the new national products.

Moreover, Rellet, one of Freda’s brands, also has an outstanding performance. Based on big data analysis, it was found that consumers have a lot of demands for skin hydration, which need a better moisturizing effect and expect more convenient use scenarios. Combined with the company’s pioneering advantage and technology accumulation in the field of hyaluronic acid technology, Rellet took the lead in launching hyaluronic acid hydration spray, which has accumulated sales of more than 10 million bottles and has long occupied the TOP 1 in the same category across the Internet.

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