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Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients

Exclusive Interview: NAGASE’s Approach on Sun Care & Sustainability

SpecialChem – Feb 24, 2022

TAGS:  Sun Care    Sustainability / Natural Cosmetics   

An Interview with Noriyuki Nakamuta, Yasumasa Wada & Juno Cox – Personal Care Experts at NAGASE

NAGASE’s Approach on Sun Care & Sustainability With the use of natural ingredients, multifunctionality and sustainable practices – sun care is transforming. To learn more about this, we recently interviewed experts at NAGASE on the company’s strengths and future plans to serve the increasing demand for safe and high-performing sun care products.

NAGASE shared about new ingredients technologies, its exclusive biotechnology approach to produce ingredients with better quality control, at higher reliability, and with a lower negative impact on the environment.

Read On!

#1 What is NAGASE’s vision on the sun care industry?

We are already aware of continuously evolving consumer demand for products based on natural ingredients and this is equally true for sun care products as well. At the same time, formulators and manufacturers face several challenges – be it limited choice or compatibility – when incorporating natural or bio-based products into their existing sun care products formulations.

At NAGASE, we are primarily focusing and targeting this accelerated shift toward natural ingredients in sun care formulations. We are increasingly shifting the origin of our products to offer a broad selection range in the natural ingredients space.

Along with UV filters, we are focusing on additional ingredients added to sun care formulations to offer consumers broad-spectrum protection as well as sustainability benefits. One interesting example here to mention is the use of biodegradable microbeads in sun care (replacing plastic microbeads which are used to achieve high SPF and smooth texture). New products are in the pipeline to be launched at in-cosmetics global 2022 in April. Stay tuned!

Related Read: Formulating Sunscreens and Improving Performance & Skin Feel of High SPF Products »

#2 What differentiates NAGASE in the sun care area?

When it comes to sun care ingredients, the key focus of the industry remains on innovative and effective organic or inorganic UV filters to meet growing needs. For us at NAGASE, we focus on several sun care formulation aspects ensuring the segment remains resilient and continues to thrive. In addition to UV filters, we focus on emollients, multifunctional ingredients and one of the specific products is AA2G™.

AA2G™ is a stabilized, long-lasting Vitamin C, which provides special skincare benefits. It inhibits the production of melanin and protects from skin damage caused by UV light. It is a very effective natural material for sun care as well as after-sun care products.

Additionally, formulators can find various titanium dioxide-based UV-A & UV-B filter compositions in our product range. Among mineral-based UV filters, titanium dioxide is known for its high level of safety and sustainability. Our TiO2 products, such as TTO-51(C) and MPT-171 are photo-stable, show hydrophobicity and offer sun protection. They exhibit high transmittance even in the visible region, making them suitable for use in sunscreens that require a transparent finish.

#3 How are customers' preferences evolving these days and how NAGASE technologies are meeting all these expectations?

We all know that boundaries between each category are thinning day by day – be it skincare, sun care, or make-up products. Consumers are increasingly looking for multifunctional products now and especially in the post-COVID times where people nowadays want everything to be efficient – minimalism and multipurpose.

Cosmetic manufacturers or formulators are also demanding new materials with two aspects:

  • The first one is they are looking for skincare ingredients that have been shown to be effective when used in base makeup or sunscreen products.
  • The second one is they're looking for ingredients that when blended into sunscreen products remain stable and effective. The fact that most of the skincare ingredients are water-soluble is making them challenging to formulate into sunscreen products.

So, we are anticipating the multifunctionality trend and thriving to provide new value in the sun care category by using our skincare ingredients. Therefore, we focused our attention on sunscreen products and have been researching the importance of not only protecting the skin from UV rays but also taking care of UV damage to the skin that cannot be prevented by protection.

Sunscreen Protecting Skin from UV Light

NAGASE is doing two main duties in order to provide value in the cosmetics market.

  • We focus on ever-changing consumer trends such as Clean Beauty or the post-pandemic world and similar trends in the cosmetic market based on the external environment.
  • We pro-actively use the insight we gain from these forecasts to develop original raw materials or produce new clinical data as well as develop new formulations that meet the needs of the market using the strength of biotechnology.

By doing so, we provide not only to our customers but go beyond to meet consumer demands as well.

One of our key ingredients in this space is AA2G™. It is a stabilized ascorbic acid derivative produced from Vitamin C and starch by enzymatic technology developed by HAYASHIBARA, a manufacturing company of the NAGASE group. It is activated by natural enzymes in the skin, delivering healthier and younger-looking skin over a prolonged time. This proprietary process results in a substance that has greatly improved solubility in water while retaining the natural biologic functions of Vitamin C.

Download Datasheet
AA2G™ is a stabilized ascorbic acid derivative for skin care, sun care and color cosmetics

#4 How is NAGASE changing the game and setting the trends of sun care market?

We believe that it is important for sunscreen products to not only protect their skin from UV rays, but also to take care of the UV damage that cannot be prevented by protection. In particular, UVA accounts for more than 90% of the UV rays that ditch that ground and every known to reach that dermal layer thus causing photoaging. Therefore, we have been discussing the possibility of reducing skin damage caused by UV rays and avoiding fine lines wrinkles and sagging.

AA2G™ is known in the market as a stable Vitamins C derivative. Traditionally, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has multiple functions in the human body, but it is relatively unstable and easily oxidized in aqueous solutions, which is followed by rapid degradation. In contrast, in AA2G™ Vitamin C is stabilized with glucose. It is effective in reducing skin damage caused by UV rays. We have also successfully developed a sunscreen formulation featuring AA2G™ .

Sun Care: Protection & Care Vitamin C Sunscreen with AA2G™ – Get Formulation

Clinical studies have shown that AA2G™ helps reduce UV induced skin damage and prevents photoaging by two means:

  • It suppresses UVA-induced collagen IV* reduction and collagen I denaturation.
  • It also significantly suppressed NHEK** damage

In addition to that, it is a biotechnologically produced natural raw material aligned with the current natural and sustainability trend. We convert sugar solution produced during AA2G production to produce cattle feed, thus actively reducing its environmental impact as well.

* Collagen Type IV is a component of the basement membrane that connects the epidermis to damage and Type I collagen is majorly responsible for moisture retention and skin elasticity.
** NHEK: Natural Human Epidermal Keratinocyte

#5 Sustainability is at the heart of the solutions presented. Can you please detail more on NAGASE’s efforts in this field?

At NAGASE, we continue to develop environmentally advanced products, promote sustainable manufacturing practices to suppliers, and advocate new and alternative uses.

We are now highly focusing on our business based on biotechnology. The NAGASE R&D Center aims to create new value that contributes to society, including with regard to people’s health and solving environmental issues, through R&D in the biotechnology field. It also aims for process innovation utilizing biotechnology, in line with its philosophy, “Unavailable Made Available in a Sustainable Way”.

To advance the NAGASE Group’s bio-related business from the research stage, the NAGASE R&D Center also coordinates with the Group companies’ roughly 250 researchers. The NAGASE R&D Center is putting its technologies, the marketing capabilities of each organization, and the product development and manufacturing capabilities of HAYASHIBARA Co., Ltd. and NAGASE ChemteX Corporation to use in developing new enzymes, biochemicals, and more.

HAYASHIBARA continues to work on developing innovative new materials, such as AA2G™, MG 60, Alpha Glucosyl Hesperidin, etc. using its advanced biotechnology capabilities and is increasing its presence in the global market. Additionally, we will strive to find more environmentally friendly ways to enhance production and innovation by utilizing ESG concepts and contributing to SDGs.

HAYASHIBARA’s Sustainability Action Plan
HAYASHIBARA’s Sustainability Action Plan
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

NAGASE R&D center has been working on the development of fermentative production technology for ergothioneine (EGT), a rare amino acid, to increase its productivity 1000-fold eliminating UV irradiation-induced ROS production. Conventionally, EGT is extracted from natural sources, such as fungi, and it is difficult to get a stable supply in the global market.

NAGASE has succeeded in developing a new technology – N-STePP for dramatically improving EGT production. This material is now under development, and we will launch this material soon. We believe our technology matches such a demand not only by proving the efficacy data but also by sustainability concept.

EGT Protects the Skin from various Oxidative Stresses
EGT Protects the Skin from various Oxidative Stresses

For us, reducing overall CO2 emissions to zero and achieving carbon neutrality are at the forefront as well. We have recently collaborated with Zeroboard, a SaaS cloud service developed with the goal of improving the efficiency of calculating your company’s CO2 emissions, as well as visualizing CO2 emissions along the supply chain. Together we aim to collect information on customer needs and develop and provide CO2 emissions reduction solutions in the chemical industry.

Now, we are targeting to position NAGASE not only to offer effective personal care ingredients but also to give solutions about carbon neutrality.

NAGASE's Product Range

View a wide range of cosmetic ingredients supplied by NAGASE, analyze technical data of each product, get technical assistance or request samples.


Over almost 200 years of experience, NAGASE has built strong working relationships with our customers and will continue to expand our network across the globe. We leverage the strengths of our group companies in manufacturing and logistics to become an international service provider, delivering excellent products and services that suit your needs. NAGASE’s mission is to become a respected global service brand, developed from our long history and experience. We aim to provide high-value products and effective services globally.

NAGASE's Experts

Noriyuki NakamutaNoriyuki Nakamuta - Section manager
Hayashibara Products Section, Personal Care Products Div.
NAGASE Biotech Office, NAGASE & CO., LTD. (NAGASE Group)
Yasumasa Wada Yasumasa Wada - Personal Care Unit Manager
NAGASE (EUROPA) GmbH Lyon Branch
Juno CoxJuno Cox
Hayashibara Products Section, Personal Care Products Div.

Starting Point Formulations by NAGASEView All Starting Point Formulations by NAGASE

Selecting UV Filters for Sun Care ProductsSelecting UV Filters for Sun Care Products

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