By  on October 29, 2010

In the years-long struggle of upstart plant-based skin care brands to prove to consumers their products are as effective as laboratory-made competitors, Origins is describing its newest treatment item with a single word: Milestone.

Origins is touting the discovery of an extract of the leaves and bark of the African Anogeissus tree that the company has incorporated into a new treatment item, called Plantscription Anti-aging serum.

The botanically based product — in line with Origins’ wellness positioning — claims to yield skin care benefits comparable to prescription retinoic acid treatments. It is due out Feb. 27.

“Our customers said they wanted antiaging, but in a natural, healthy way, not through procedures or injections,” said Jane Lauder, president and general manager of the Origins and Ojon brands, discussing the genesis of Plantscription. “It’s the first time Origins has pitted a plant versus a prescription.”

Origins, which was launched by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. in 1990, has pinned Plantscription — which took five years to develop and which underwent a bevy of testing and clinical trials — on the tree extract, which is sourced “sustainably” from its native Ghana. Anogeissus is locally called “siiga,” meaning “the soul.”

Lauder referred to the launch as “significant in the brand’s history.”

Foremost, Plantscription’s key ingredient is said to stimulate the production of fibrillin, a glycoprotein that forms the skin’s elastic fibers. Also, it is used to help diminish the appearance of depth and length of lines and wrinkles and to strengthen the skin.

“The idea was how do you make something as effective as a prescription or an injection without the side effects?” Lauder added during an interview before a presentation to Macy’s Inc. executives, members of the media and the Origins team at Sun West Studios on the West Side of Manhattan Wednesday.

The side effects executives referred to include photosensitivity, skin cell shedding, burning, stinging, redness, dryness, flaking and itching.

Lauder’s research and development team worked with the University of Strasbourg and found the Anogeissus substance.

During the presentation, dermatologist Marcus McFerren, who has a Ph.D. in ethnobiology-phytochemical ecology, noted prescription retinoic acid is 20 times more concentrated than over-the-counter retinol products. He suggested that Plantscription produced “clear clinical improvements” like skin smoothing, firming and lifting comparable to prescription retinoic acid. “Botany brings innovation to dermatology,” he remarked.

Plantscription, designed to be used in the morning and at night and for all skin types and ethnicities, also employs siegesbeckia and rosemary extract to help rebuild collagen and elastin. There are also peptides and vitamin C.

Lauder conducted a 20-week study involving women ages 42 to 63. Results indicated that after eight weeks, Plantscription yielded an 88 percent reduction in the visibility of wrinkles, “with zero percent of side effects; no flakiness or irritation,” said Lieve Declercq, who has a Ph.D. in science with a focus on Molecular Biology. Declercq serves as Origins’ global spokesperson of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology.


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