Colorless Carotenoids

An Interview with Etienne Soudant

In today's industrially developed world, people are often exposed to environmental hazards such as UV radiation and hazardous pollutants. In order to keep skin healthy and youthful, adequate protection against these environmental aggressors is necessary.

We spoke with our Nu Skin Professional Advisory Board member, Etienne Soudant, vice president of the French Cosmetic Society and chief scientist for Israeli Biotechnology Research (IBR), who developed and patented the colorless carotenoid incorporated in certain Nu Skin® products to fight against aging. IBR also patented IBR-Dormin,™ the key ingredient incorporated into Perennial® Intense Body Moisturizer.

Nu Skin: Colorless carotenoids are incorporated in Moisture Restore™ Day Protective Lotion. What are carotenoids?
Soudant: Common carotenoids such as lycopene or beta-carotene provide the yellow, orange, and red color typical in vegetables like carrots and tomatoes. Carotenoids harvest light and transfer the energy to drive photosynthesis and create food energy for the plant. Carotenoids are also used by plants to protect against aggressors. Carotenoids fight free radicals to protect our skin from the aging effects of UV light and pollution.

Nu Skin: How do carotenoids prevent the aging effects of free radicals?
Soudant: Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that cause damage to healthy cells, leading to internal aging and visible signs of skin aging. Antioxidants and other anti-free radicals are molecules capable of defending our cells from free radical damage. Since free radicals are not only created in the environment but also by our bodies, a continuous supply of antioxidants is critical for internal and external health and longevity. In the antioxidant network, carotenoids are known as blotters and provide a first line of defense. By absorbing part of the load of free radicals, carotenoids provide direct protection while enabling other antioxidants to perform their critical functions.

Nu Skin: Do colorless carotenoids exhibit enhanced protective properties?
Soudant: Most carotenoids are not stable when exposed to air and light, and will immediately oxidize, losing their antioxidant and protective capacity. Colorless carotenoids, on the other hand, do not degrade when exposed to light or oxygen, making them more effective in protecting the skin against free radicals and other environmental aggressors.

Nu Skin: Do colorless carotenoids exist naturally?
Soudant: Yes, and we can even find some in our skin that come from the plants we eat. However, they are in small quantities (trace levels) because plants use them to build colored carotenoids. Colorless carotenoids are the natural precursor molecules that eventually form colored carotenoids. Colorless carotenoids do exist naturally in some aquatic-specific conditions, like water with a high saline content that is exposed to intense light.

Nu Skin: Where are the colorless carotenoids developed?
Soudant: The species of algae that produces IBR-CLC (colorless carotenoids from IBR) is called Dunaliella salina. It grows in high saline environments (areas of high salt water content) found naturally in several salt lakes around the world, such as in the Australian desert, China, and the Sinai desert. For commercial use, colorless carotenoids are grown in pools by the Mediterranean and Red Sea near Israel. The pools contain water with higher salt concentrations than seawater and the amount of light they receive is controlled.

Nu Skin: What are the benefits of colorless carotenoids?
Soudant: As these carotenoids are free of deep orange or red pigments, they are beneficial for cosmetic use. Working with other antioxidants, colorless carotenoids fight against the free radicals that contribute to the aging process of our skin. They are colorless because they absorb UV radiation instead of visible radiation, like pigmented carotenoids do. Because of this, they have a unique ability to protect the skin against UV radiation. This allows for protection against both UV radiation and the free radicals UV rays produce.

Etienne Soudant
Grande Ecole, Scientific Advisor

As chief scientist for Israeli Biotechnology Research (IBR), Soudant provided a key breakthrough in the cosmetics industry with the development and patent of colorless carotenoids. Prior to IBR's work, carotenoids were impractical for use in skin care products because of their deep orange and red colors. Nu Skin has incorporated these colorless carotenoids into both Celltrex® CoQ10 Complete and Moisture Restore™ Day Protective Lotion SPF 15 to help fight skin aging free radicals. IBR also patented IBR-Dormin,™ used by Nu Skin in Perennial® Intense Body Moisturizer. In addition to his work with IBR, Soudant serves as vice president of the French Cosmetic Society.