Functional Cosmetics Protect and Repair Photodamaged Skin


General information

Excessive exposure to the sun not only increases skin cancer risks but also causes premature aging of the skin. Such photodamage manifests itself via increase in epidermal thickness and a change to the skin’s collagen structure. Chronic exposure to sun results in the appearance of wrinkles on the skin giving it an aged look. Specifically, ultra-violet (UV) radiation in sunlight has been identified as the main reason for causing these harmful effects.

CDD Beach SceneBoth National Cancer Institute and United States Environmental Protection Agency have endorsed the use of protective cosmetic substances, to be applied topically for the attenuation of harmful effects of UV radiation. However, their utility is often limited by the generation of toxic photodegradation side-products that can be harmful to the skin.

CDD functional cosmetic ingredients

The Center for Drug Design has developed compounds which not only protect the skin from UV damage but also activate the enzymes which repair damaged DNA in the skin. Materials with such unique mechanisms of action have not been previously reported. When skin treated topically with these compounds is exposed to UV light, the epidermal thickness and collagen structure are both maintained (i.e. the skin retains a soft and smooth appearance). 

Extensive testing has been completed on these anti-aging compounds and they have been shown to prevent DNA damage and maintain youthful looking skin. The preliminary testing has not indicated the formation of any harmful byproducts or intermediates that may cause skin damage. These compounds not only protect against UV light and reduce the risk of skin cancer, but also give a healthy and smooth appearance to the skin despite sun exposure.

For licensing and other inquiries, please contact Ms. Rebecca Gerber at the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) at UMN.

General information

  • Effective active ingredients can be the basis for a new skin cosmetic cream, sunscreen or anti-wrinkle sunscreen product line
  • Unique mechanism of action could differentiate product from current line of products in the market 
  • Mechanism of action boosts several key DNA repair enzymes
  • Provides protection from photo-damage caused by UV rays, an advantage over other anti-aging products
  • Preserves structure of collagen and epidermal thickness
  • No formation of toxic photodegradation side-products observed
  • Could be added to a wide variety of cosmetic preparations

Current phase of development

Animal and human skin assays (in vivo) have been completed with positive results and United States Patent application has been filed.


CDD Robert VinceRobert Vince, PhD
, Director and Professor
, Center for Drug Design

Dr. Vince has applied his Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design expertise to a diverse area of applications including the design of novel antiviral drugs, anti cancer/anti tumor drugs, antidotes to cyanide toxicity and now photo-aging functional cosmetics. He is the inventor of Ziagen,TM a treatment for HIV/AIDS, and has been inducted into the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame. 



Contact information

Robert Vince, PhD

Director and Professor

Center for Drug Design

Academic Health Center

University of Minnesota

516 Delaware St SE

Minneapolis, MN-55455

P: 612-624-9911

F: 612-625-2633

Other inventors

Related links

Office for Techonology Commercialization contact information

Ms. Rebecca Gerber
Technology Marketing Manager

Office for Technology Commercialization

University of Minnesota

Suite 160, 1000 Westgate Dr

St Paul, MN 55114
P: 612-626-5469

Business hours: Monday - Friday, 9 AM through 5 PM (CST)

For additional information