Take an Inside Look into Our Cutting-Edge R&D Platform







Reference Lab

JUL 07, 2021


At OneSkin, we transform the way humans experience aging through the power of longevity science. This science is how we discovered OS-01, the first peptide proven to reverse aging on the molecular level. This powerful molecule helps your skin cells efficiently repair damage, reducing cellular senescence and allowing your skin cells to become more like younger cells.This prevents collagen breakdown, increases epidermal thickness, and helps your skin to stay healthy and functional for longer.

01OUR APPROACH IS DIFFERENT

Most “science-backed” skincare companies are led by marketing teams that outsource their research to external labs. OneSkin is different. We’re led by scientists who run our end-to-end R&D process in-house and strictly adhere to the scientific process. The result? Research first. Products second. Data-validated claims always.


02 OUR R&D PLATFORM

Our R&D platform was designed to reliably and accurately measure the efficacy of skin aging interventions at the molecular level. Developed by our founding team of four female PhDs, our rigorous scientific methodology is applied throughout all phases of product development to ensure that our products meet the highest standards of scientific validation.

Our platform also makes it possible to compare our products against other leading ingredients to ensure that we’re creating the new gold standard in anti-aging products. This data allows us to identify the most effective treatments and effectively remove the guesswork from skin health.


03HOW WE VALIDATE OUR CLAIMS

At the center of our R&D platform sit two proprietary biomedical methods: MolClock and Skin Age Modeling. We also use beta galactosidase staining and gene expression analyses for several senescence-related markers to quantify the level of cellular senescence in skin.

  • MolClock: The first molecular clock to measure skin’s biological age
  • Skin Age Modeling: How we replicate skin aging and analyze product efficacy on 3D lab-grown skin and ex vivo skin.
  • Beta-Galactosidase Staining: How we measure cellular senescence in skin cells.

04 A CLOSER LOOK AT MOLCLOCK

MolClock is the first molecular clock that measures your skin’s biological age. Developed by OneSkin co-founder Mariana Boroni, PhD, MolClock measures an important molecular biomarker called DNA methylation. As we age, our DNA experiences predictable and linear changes. One such change, called DNA methylation, occurs when methyl groups bind to our DNA. By analyzing the extent of DNA methylation, we can determine the skin’s biological age.

The MolClock algorithm was trained using data from over 500 human skin samples and over 2,000 DNA methylation (DNAm) markers. This expansive body of genetic data makes MolClock an incredibly accurate predictor of skin’s biological age.

Figure 1. Methylation is an epigenetic modification that occurs with age MolClock also makes it possible for us to quantify the age-reversal capabilities of topical skin treatments like our proprietary peptide, OS-01. By using MolClock to determine the skin’s biological age before and after topical treatment, we can quantify just how much an ingredient reverses or accelerates skin aging.




05 UNDERSTANDING SKIN AGE MODELING

To further analyze the effects of topical treatments on skin aging, we use 3D lab-grown skin models to measure both molecular and structural skin changes. Here’s a step-by-step look at how it works:

STEP 1: GROW THE SKIN

Every week in the OneSkin Lab, we grow 3D skin models in vitro using skin cells—fibroblasts and keratinocytes—obtained from post-op patients of various ages and ethnicities. Our lab-grown skin models are remarkably similar to skin on your body, with two distinct layers (epidermis and dermis), each displaying cellular structure and morphology almost identical to your skin.

By growing skin models from donors of different ages, we are able to analyze the biological, genetic, and morphological differences between them, effectively creating snapshots in time of the human skin aging process.

Figure 2. Image of 3D human skin models


Figure 3. Comparison of 3D human skin models vs real skin under the microscope

Figure 4. Histology images of 3D skin models from donors of different ages. Human 3D skin equivalents built with cells derived from older donors present aging features, including thinner epidermis and molecular aging markers.


STEP 2: TREAT THE SKIN

After growing the skin in the lab, we apply topical products to the skin models and measure their molecular and structural effects. This is the part of the process that allows us to validate OS-01’s efficacy and compare it to other ingredients on the market.

STEP 3: ANALYZE GENE EXPRESSION

We extract the RNA from the skin models and analyze the expression of up to 20 different genes in the dermis and epidermis. Through this process, we can see which genes have been activated and which have been suppressed by treatment. The goal: activate genes related to healthier skin, such as those that promote collagen, hyaluronic acid, and keratins, and suppress the activity of genes related to aging and skin deterioration, such as inflammatory cytokines, IL-6, IL-8, and MMP-1.

STEP 4: EXAMINE SKIN STRUCTURE

Using an imaging process called histology, we analyze sections of the skin under a microscope to examine the skin cell structure. A good product will promote epidermal thickness and improve skin cell organization so that it looks similar to young skin under the microscope.

Figure 5. Histology images of 3D skin equivalents exposed to nothing (no treatment), the OS-01 peptide, and other products on the market (Product A and Product B)

STEP 5: DETERMINE SKIN SCORE

Next, we apply a grading system called Skin Score. Based on the expression of 20 different genes in both the dermis and epidermis, along with morphological changes seen under the microscope, we can assess the overall efficacy of topical products.

Using Skin Age Modeling and MolColck, we have shown that OS-01 prevents the accumulation of aged markers, supports cellular damage repair, and reduces your skin’s biological age.

06 MEASURING CELLULAR SENESCENCE USING BETA-GALACTOSIDASE AND GENE EXPRESSION ANALYSES

When compared to healthy cells, senescent cells show high activity of an enzyme called beta galactosidase. By applying this enzyme’s substrate, called X-gal, to skin cells, we can stain senescent cells blue. This makes it possible to identify and count the number of senescent cells in a skin model. We also utilize gene expression analyses for several senescence-related markers to measure the level of cellular senescence in skin. By comparing the number of senescent cells before and after topical treatment, we can quantify the treatment’s ability to reduce cellular senescence. 

In our tests, OS-01 reduced the number of senescent cells in skin by up to 50% while maintaining the total number of cells, meaning it promoted not just the reduction of senescent cells, but also the renewal of healthier ones.

Figure 6. Senescent cells stained using beta galactosidase in skin before (control) and after treatment with the OS-01 peptide

07 PIONEERING A HIGHER STANDARD FOR WHAT YOU PUT ON YOUR SKIN

By utilizing biomedical approaches throughout all stages of product development, we are pioneering a new paradigm in skin longevity and defining a new standard for the products you use on your skin. Ready to join the movement? Check out our innovative line of Topical Supplements, powered by the first peptide proven to reduce skin’s biological age.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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