Anyone with an Instagram can attest to the astronomical growth of the skincare industry. In just a few years, what was once a niche market catered predominantly to middle-aged women has ballooned into a multibillion-dollar empire
responsible for flooding our feeds and filling our cabinets.
With this increased attention comes more interest in the science behind skincare. Consumers want products with evidence-based results, placing brands under greater scrutiny when it comes to proving product efficacy - one study suggests that almost 50% of women
now research skincare products online prior to purchasing.
Skincare as Medicine
Enter SomaPex: a Taiwan and San Diego-based biotech firm that takes a decisively scientific approach to skincare. Since founding back in 2005, the company has stuck firmly to its original intentions – to create products that not only value aesthetics, but health and medicine itself.
Among the firm’s registered brands are Somaskin
and cult-favorite, NOH.
Both product lines heavily feature their flagship patent, Somagel®.
Somagel® – Everyday Skincare for First Degree Burns?
In many ways, Somagel® is the culmination of the firm’s consistent research into utilizing wound healing in skincare. With algin, chitosan, dextran, and skincare’s golden boy, hyaluronic acid
, it is essentially a wound dressing formula with up to 98% water content.
‘Somagel® patented products are our best-selling’, says Dr Yu-Chih Hsu, founder of SomaPex. ‘Combining exclusive nanotechnology with natural ingredients, the formula’s wound-healing properties make it exceptionally effective at diffusing water molecules into the skin.’
Somagel® is currently the industry’s only patented coated substrate, and thanks to its medical-grade wound healing properties, it can be used to help repair skin after burns and cosmetic surgery. No wonder, SomaPex’s work received Estee Lauder’s approval back in 2007, just three years after launching.
‘The natural polysaccharide complex used in Somagel® makes it a completely unique hydrogel. It’s super occlusive, meaning it creates a tightly sealed bond. This pushes vital nutrients deep into the dermis through osmosis. The sheer extent of its applications is what makes it so exciting.’
Somagel® occlusive wound dressing hydrogel (Non-sterile). Image courtesy of SomaPex.
The Rolls-Royce of Face Masks
Lovingly dubbed the ‘Rolls-Royce of facemasks’, these are a far cry from your regular cucumber sheet masks. Designed to repair deeply damaged skin, the polysaccharide complex totally revitalizes the dermis, relieving irritation and significantly reducing trans-epidermal water loss. As any dermatologist will tell you, water is fundamental to ensuring truly effective moisturization.
‘We realized that tissues are transported by water, so biocompatible materials - ones that mimic the skin or are already found in it - are actually most effective in maintaining the health of the skin,’ says Dr Hsu. ‘In that sense, our approach is humanistic.’
Aside from establishing its own brands, SomaPex partners with other cosmetics brands as formulation consultants, including for high-end Japanese brand, Ashiya
. However, their current priority is to address patient aftercare needs with their medical-grade skincare, developing products for various post-plastic surgery treatments.
‘We noticed that both developed and developing countries have increasing needs for medical-grade skincare thanks to the growing popularity of invasive procedures like laser treatments and cosmetic surgeries. We’re confident that our products will greatly assist doctors and dermatologists in improving patient skin repair, therefore avoiding complications caused by improper aftercare.’
Yet with overhauls of much of its brand portfolio now also on the horizon, SomaPex looks set to keep expanding its presence across both medical and casual skincare in the coming months.