Auriga International is a company that is founded on science; not only because of the vast amount of peer‑review articles and research studies that the company has undertaken to ensure that their products are the very best they can be, but also because its founder and CEO, Alfred Marchal, has a PhD in chemistry and spent the early part of his career devoted to research programmes in organic chemistry and pharmacology, before training for an MBA.
‘It was very easy for me to have two focuses; the first in science and research for the pharmaceutical industry, and the second in its management.’
However, Mr Marchal soon realised that he would prefer to start his own company and, in his words, ‘reach for the sky’.
In the early 1990s, while many of the larger companies tried their hand at producing collagen and hyaluronic acid products, Mr Marchal recognised that anti-ageing was an emerging market. As a result, Auriga became one of the first companies focused on anti‑ageing and dermatology to enter this market.
‘I decided to found Auriga because of my passion for research and dermatology, so it has been a great achievement for me to put my knowledge into the company strategy, as well as for the creation of our products.’
Science comes first
Founded in 1997, Auriga International has a mission to develop dermato-cosmetic products at the forefront of innovation and to meet specific needs in dermatology. The company is steeped in science and proud of its heritage.
‘I think that Auriga is a company that carries out research with creativity and passion,’ said Mr Marchal. ‘We are not a standard cosmetic company, because science always comes first.’
Indeed, it was by harnessing his scientific knowledge that Auriga was one of the first companies to stabilise vitamin C in a high concentration with their FLAVO-C serum, as well as achieving a patent for their vitamin K oxide product in 2006.
And it is these two products that form the backbone of the company’s offering, launching the range in 1997.
For FLAVO-C, the main challenge was to stabilise vitamin C, which can be a very difficult process, and which, Mr Marchal explained, many companies have tried and failed to achieve. However, Auriga has managed it and can prove the stabilisation of vitamin C in solid, scientific papers.
Despite this, there is a misconception among many that the higher the concentration of vitamin C, the better. Mr Marchal disagrees, and believes that the race to develop higher concentrations is irrelevant.
‘I do not believe that you need very big concentrations in vitamin C, but you do need a sufficient quantity that will be absorbed by the skin. That means that the 15% concentration is the maximum we use.’
The use of vitamin C and other antioxidant products has certainly become de rigueur over the last decade, and with good reason: L-ascorbic acid is key to collagen formation and skin repair, as well as slowing the rate of free radical damage and reversing DNA damage. Of course, the main factor when it comes to skincare is having vitamin C in a sufficient quantity.
‘FLAVO-C comes in 8% and 15% formulations, and we have proven a stability of 10 hours in the skin, but if you try to go higher than this, the concentration is not as good and the vitamin C can actually become a pro‑oxidant.
‘While some companies claim to have 30% concentrations, our lab has found that it is impossible to formulate vitamin C over 20% — 17% is the maximum, and good enough to be stable and penetrate the skin.’
Something not always discussed, a pro‑oxidant can actually promote and initiate free radical damage. As Mr Marchal explained, in cases where there is a high concentration of vitamin C, and the presence of iron ion as a co-factor, vitamin C can show pro-oxidant activities.
The pro-oxidant begins as an oxidative stress, which increases the liberation of free radicals. These free radicals then attack the cell membranes and are responsible for illness and the ageing process.
‘The advantage of Auriga’s formulation is that it helps to avoid the formation of those free radicals and protect the vitamin C in the skin.’
Another significant product to Auriga International’s range comes in the form of sulforaphane. This molecule is naturally found in green vegetables, such as broccoli, sprouts and cabbage, and has been found to have anti‑cancer and antimicrobial properties.
The molecule also protects the skin against UV and DNA damage by working on the turnover of glutathione and enhancing the capacity of the cell to resist DNA damage. Sulforaphane is also a free radical scavenger, and works at different levels to protect the skin from sun damage.
Like vitamin C, it is a difficult molecule to stabilise and obtain in a sufficient quantity, but Auriga International has managed it, and has filed a patent on its stabilisation.
This patent has allowed Auriga the possibility to develop large quantities of sulforaphane and develop a new skincare system to supplement SPF protection. Known as the Lumiere project, the development of a sulforaphane-based product has been very important to the company and is the first step in the company’s future targets in anti-ageing.
Looking to the future
It is always a pleasure to be able to interview someone whose background is founded on the study and research of science. Auriga International certainly has an exciting product range and pipeline that will cement its status as a leader in evidence-based anti-ageing products.
Linked to the Lumiere project, in the future, Auriga hopes to develop products that can repair damage to the skin’s cells, as well as stop the ageing process.
‘Some studies have shown that children who are eating a lot of sugar are actually ageing faster, so we think that the work of Auriga will focus on the glycation of proteins — we have new molecules on the way for this, and so, to prevent the ageing process.’
Anti-ageing is the focus of Auriga International, and it looks like their growing product line is something to be very excited about.