Researching about collagen

Before the idea of “collagen is the basis of the skin” was established in the world, Shiseido had already recognized that collagen is important for the skin and focused on its reduction due to aging. The achievements together lead to the creation of “ELIXIR” in 1983. Since then, collagen has been studied from various angles and gained many achievements.


Technology development focusing on skin collagen that decreases with age


Acquired patent for “skin-activated food”
Patented ingredients: persimmons leaves, Korean ginseng, pearl barley, (collagen) Patent number: No.3308433


Acquired patent for “oral intake for skin improvement” and “oral intake for promoting collagen production”
Patent ingredients: cowberry and amla fruit. Patent number: No. 4917180


Succeeded in regeneration of type VII collagen (won the excellent presentation award from the Japanese Society of Matrix Biololgy and Medicine)


Technology development of collagen production with a focus on dermal stem cells

*IFSCC: The world's most prestigious research presentation conference in the science field related to cosmetics

Shiseido's collagen research 2000 IFSCC highest award: Research on basement membrane sheet type collagen

We want to prevent early the signs of aging, “spots”, “wrinkles” and “sagging”!
Can care being done at the early stage as skin aging is occurring gradually from within!?

21st IFSCC Congress 2000 held in Berlin
Highest award (Oral presentation)
“Research on skin basement membrane care”
Other IFSCC awards can be found here

What have we accomplished?

What happens at the initial stage of aging? After understanding, we want to take care of the aging progressing inside the skin early!
Aging of the skin is what women fear. The signs are “spots”, “wrinkles” and “sagging”. These skin concerns seem to have appeared suddenly when looking only at the surface of the skin, but actually they are the results of what have been progressing steadily inside the skin. It sounds scary but like the expression of “the turning point of the skin” that has been used, the early stage of aging has been somehow recognized.
The award-winning technology this time identifies what happens inside the skin at the early stage of aging and has developed a corresponding drug. The research focused on the “basement membrane”, a single sheet-like structure made of proteins connecting the surface layer “epidermis” of the skin and the inner layer “dermis”. It has been clarified that when the structure of the basement membrane becomes disturbed, it becomes a factor that promotes aging symptoms such as wrinkles and sagging. Therefore, we have defined the condition in which the basement membrane begins to become disturbed as “early state of aging”, and created a new approach to maintain normal basement membrane early to suppress skin aging.

What is the mechanism?

Due to the effect of UV rays etc., the basement membrane is destroyed affecting the “epidermis” and “dermis”…
Therefore, we have developed an ingredient that makes the basement membrane more durable!

The “epidermis” of the skin surface consists of many cells. On the other hand, the “dermis” deep inside is covered with blood vessels, lymph vessels, collagen fibers and so on. The “basement membrane” connects the two layers that are totally different in structure. Also, it plays an important role in keeping the skin normal by controlling the exchange of substances between the epidermis and the dermis and providing factors that repair the epidermis when they damaged.
Therefore, when the basement membrane is broken and damaged due to UV rays, there will be adverse effects on both the layer above and under. Though young healthy skin can be repaired even when the basement is damaged and broken, as aging progresses, the ability to repair weakens and as a result of working hard to repair, the basement membrane that is supposed to be one layer becomes many layers.

So, what should we do to keep the basement membrane durable? To investigate further, we decided to examine the structure of the basement membrane. Then, we focused on a type of protein called “laminin 5” that are found on the basement membrane. Laminin 5 is shaped like a cross and functions to connect by grabbing on to the epidermis like how a person would grab an object by stretching their hands. Hence, if there are abundant laminin 5, the connection to the epidermis become strong; even if it is torn, the epidermis can be connected and repaired immediately.
When we looked into ingredients that promote the production of laminin 5, “lipidure” was found to be effective. Lipidure is a “lysophospholipid” produced from the membranes of the cells in the body and can be made from phospholipids derived from soybeans. When lipidure was added onto a skin model in which epidermal cells were added onto the dermal cells, the epidermal cells produced a large amount of laminin 5 and resulted in a well-conditioned basement membrane.
The award-winning technology has been researched further and now, plant extracts that are more effective than lipidure have been discovered leading to further developments in the research of anti-aging.

Quoted from: Shiseido Group site “Elucidation of the aging phenomenon that occurs inside the skin!”

Shiseido's Collagen Research 2010 IFSCC Highest award Succeeded in visualization of the details of skin collagen without damaging the skin

Though we have always known…
When you see the skin damages caused by UV light,
they are very shocking!

27th IFSCC Congress 2012 held in Johannesburg
Highest award (Oral presentation for basic research section)
“A non-invasive evaluation of the change
in the structure of human dermis associated
with photo aging by using a new collagen
visualization technology”

Other IFSCC awards can be found here

What can we understand from this research?

By imaging the collagen deep in the skin using a special laser, the skin damage caused by exposure to UV rays was indeed severe!
It is well known that overexposure of UV rays can cause sunburn leading to spots and wrinkles. However, compared with sunburn, a change that occur immediately on the skin surface, and spots that appear on the upper layer of the skin but inside the skin, skin issues such as wrinkles and sagging occur deeper in the skin and take many years due to various factors. They will not appear immediately just with one or two days of exposure to a lot of UV rays. Hence, it is difficult to recognize the effects of UV rays on the skin.
This study uses a special laser to image collagen that is deep in the skin. By comparing the collagen of skin that was exposed to a lot of UV rays to skin that was not, it was determined that the influence was strong.

What kind of technology is it?

It is actually extremely difficult to see the inside of skin without cutting the skin.
The sharp and clear images of collagen obtained by using this special laser were highly praised by the world!

It is a common strategy to cut the skin and observe under the microscope when you want to know what is going on inside the skin. But of course, you cannot cut the skin off the face of a living person. In actual research, skins other than the face are often used but they are all different. For example, skins of the face and arm are different in thickness, amount of melanin, amount of collagen, etc. Therefore, the theme of this study is to use a special laser to observe the skin without cutting it.
In particular, collagen is found deep in the dermal layer of the skin. Images of collagen in a very limited narrow area on the upper dermis have been captured but they are not as clear as the ones using this award-winning technology.

Since the technology required the development of an unprecedented special laser devise, it was achieved through joint research with Dr. Yasui, a professor at Tokushima University who is also a guest professor at Osaka University, the leader in this field. We were able to learn how much collagen UV rays have damaged by being able to see collagen clearly without cutting the human skin.
If this research continues, the effect of UV ray damage prevention from sunscreens can be confirmed and “the mechanism of wrinkle generation” that is yet unknown can also be looked into. They can be expected to be very useful as a way to know more about the skin.

Quoted from: Shiseido Group site “Success in imaging collagen inside the skin without cutting it!”