These additions to Merck’s RonaCare range of active ingredients address different skin concerns of Western and Asian societies. Whereas RonaCare Bronzyl creates an even, natural-looking tan, RonaCare Pristine Bright produces a flawless, porcelain-like complexion. Both products are based on patent-protected compounds discovered and developed in-house by Merck.

The two new active ingredients take into account different, and in some cases, culturally-driven preferences. Indeed, while sun-tanned skin remains a beauty ideal in western societies, light-coloured skin is particularly prized in Asian cultures. However, common to both is the desire to prevent signs of skin aging - an effect that both ingredients offer.

To build up the body’s own UV protection

RonaCare Bronzyl, which will be marketed predominantly in Europe and the United States, stimulates the production of melanin and activates the natural tanning process. “Both effects inhibit skin aging caused by exposure to UV radiation,” says Merck.

The company has performed studies on human tissue cultures that showed that the application of RonaCare Bronzyl contributed to a significant, 43% increase in melanin in the basal layer after ten days.

"The market segment for cosmetic active ingredients that use a biological mode of action to allow the body to tan is still very new. We are convinced that this technologically sophisticated segment will see strong growth in the coming years and we look forward to helping to shape it," says Michael Weiden, Head of the Functional Materials business field at Merck.

Reducing skin pigmentation

Merck’s other recent launch, RonaCare Pristine Bright, provides the exact opposite effect as it prevents the skin from tanning, decreases hyper-pigmentation and freshens skin colour. Merck will market it using the slogan “Skin goes porcelain.”

Merck says RonaCare Pristine Bright will help it to tap into a market growing at an annual average rate of five percent. “Since competing active ingredients often have insufficient toxicological safety and a tendency toward instability and discoloration in formulations, modern ingredients are in high demand in the cosmetics industry,” explains Merck.

Merck has assessed the efficacy of RonaCare Pristine Bright in one ex vivo and three in vivo studies that have demonstrated its capacity to inhibit tyrosinase - an enzyme that plays an important role in the formation of the natural skin pigment melanin. “Due to its excellent efficacy, low application concentrations suffice to achieve the desired effect,” says the company.