Neurocosmetics: including neurons in cosmetic development


AntalGenics S.L. Scientific Park, University Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain


The skin is a complex organ with different varieties of cells. Skin-related neurons influence the skin by interacting with other cell types such as immune and epidermal cells. Skin-related neurons are classified into motor neurons, those that innervate the muscles, and peripheral sensory neurons, which mediate the sensations of itching, temperature, and pain. Consequently, placing the neuronal component at the centre of the product design is an edgy way to develop innovative skin care products.


There is a close relationship between the skin and the nervous system; dermis and epidermis are highly innervated by peripheral nervous system. These neurons control physiological skin-related processes like sweating or vasodilatation, but they are also in charge of sensing the environment such as changes in temperature or sensing touch. In addition, motor neurons located in the dermis contribute to skin’s shape through their action on neuromuscular junctions. The functional communication between the nervous system and the skin is initiated during embryonic development, both tissues come from the same embryological origin, the ectoderm, that later on forms the neural crest to finally give rise to the nervous system, the epidermis and the associated structures (1).

The study and understanding of skin-related neurons allows the design of novel molecules able to modulate their functional activity, responses and/or their structure. These molecules are known as neurocosmetics, and among their biological functions are remarkable: attenuation of the sensory neuron activity to decrease the sensation of itching, modification of the motor ne ...