Our Innovations

Innovation has been at the heart of our business for over 135 years. As far back at 1900, Dr. Isaac Lifschütz applied for a patent for his new emulsifying agent Eucerit; the hydrophilic ointment base in our Eucerin range. In 1911, Eucerit also became a key component in NIVEA, the world’s first stable oil-and-water-based cream that was suitable for mass production.

This focus on decoding the skin’s complex processes, researching the effects of certain substances on human skin and developing new product formulations continues to this day. For decades, we have been setting global standards such as the introduction of the sun protection factor and the first skin care regime especially for men. We have also discovered countless active ingredients like the coenzyme Q10 in the field of antiaging and Hydra IQ technology in moisturizing products.

In 2019 alone, 98 patents have been granted.

History of active ingredients innovations


Stable water-in-oil emulsions with Eucerit

The emulsifying agent Eucerit (Greek: beautiful wax) was first extracted from lanolin from sheep by chemist Isaac Lifschütz in 1900. In 1911, pharmacist Dr. Oscar Troplowitz, dermatologist Dr. Paul Gerson Unna, and chemist Dr. Isaac Lifschütz developed NIVEA Creme – the properties of which revolutionized the world of skin care. Lifschütz’s earlier discovery Eucerit served as the basis for NIVEA Creme, which made the impossible possible – combining water and oil into a stable compound for the very first time.

How does Eucerit work?

Eucerit is an emulsifying agent that makes it possible to mix and stabilize two immiscible liquids, such as water and oil, into a finely dispersed mixture, known as an emulsion. Eucerit made it possible to manufacture the world’s first stable water-in-oil emulsion. This discovery was tantamount to a revolution, because up until that time, ointments and creams could only be produced based on beeswax and Vaseline. Their drawbacks included an objectionable smell, a tough, sticky texture, as well as a limited shelf life. Eucerit was the first water-in-oil emulsifying agent that was affordable and available in large quantities for industrial manufacturing. Since its discovery, it has formed the basis of NIVEA Creme.


Increasing the skin’s energy level with Q10

Q10 is what is known as a coenzyme, and is used for biochemical processes in the body. It can be absorbed through creams or food. But the body also produces it itself. Q10 is part of the mitochondria, the cells’ “power plants.” This is where the electron transport chain – one of the most important components of catabolism in living organisms – occurs. Researchers at Beiersdorf studied the role the skin’s own coenzyme Q10 plays with regard to human skin, and in 1998 were the first to integrate the skin’s own Q10 as an ingredient in skin care products for the mass market.

How does Q10 work?

The coenzyme Q10 serves as a mediator between the cells’ catabolic processes by helping break down nutrients and convert them into new energy. Q10 also functions as an antioxidant – when the transformed oxygen in the cells is not completely converted to water, free radicals can be created. These reactive molecules cause chain reactions in the cells that can cause permanent damage. This is one of the processes that causes our skin to age. Q10 has the ability, however, to stabilize the energy production process, and also render these free radicals harmless, and, as a result, protect the cells from damage. As we get older, the concentration of Q10 in the skin decreases. But Beiersdorf researchers were able to demonstrate that creams containing Q10 can once again increase the skin’s energy level.


Increasing energy reserves with creatine

Creatine is an important part of the cells’ energy storage system. In the event of increased energy consumption, this storage is a rapidly available energy reserve that is used by muscle cells during periods of increased activity, for example. Increased energy consumption can also occur in skin cells when they need to cope with stress or make repairs. Despite its importance, the human body can only meet a portion of its daily creatine requirement on its own, and is dependent on an external supply. This is the reason Beiersdorf discovered and used creatine as an active ingredient in skin care products. Applied topically, creatine penetrates the skin within minutes, and is available for the storage and supply of cellular energy after being absorbed by the skin cells.

How does creatine work?

Creatine is absorbed by the skin cells through their own transport system (green color in the histological section of the epidermis shown above) and is converted by the epidermal creatine kinase into an energy-rich form there. In the event of increased energy needs, the same enzyme takes back the energy from the creatine and quickly makes it available. As a result, skin cells supercharged with energy due to adding creatine are perfectly equipped to handle energy-depleting stress attacks and can also cover increased energy needs when the skin needs to repair itself.


Using hyaluronan to lock in moisture

Hyaluronan is a structural substance found naturally in the body that can store an incredibly large amount of water. That is why it is found everywhere in the body where moisture is vital. In the skin, in the vitreous of the eye, as a natural component of connective tissue, and as a lubricant for our joints. With increasing age and steady exposure to UV rays, the body’s own production of hyaluronan slows down. As a result, hyaluronan is one of the materials most often injected in aesthetic medicines for treating wrinkles and to increase the volume of the face and lips. This is the same reason many cosmetic products contain hyaluronan, which, however, can only fulfill its biological function of storing water when it permeates the skin. The Eucerin HYALURON FILLER therefore uses a new type of hyaluronan produced biotechnologically.

How does this new type of hyaluronan work?

Beiersdorf tested the new type of hyaluronan, which is comprised of smaller less cross-linked molecules, on living 3-D skin models, and was able to prove that it is highly available to the skin. This is due to the fact that the smaller molecules penetrate the skin more easily than huge and highly cross-linked forms of hyaluronan.


Activating the pigmentation of UV-protected skin with glycyrrhizic acid

In the western world, a suntan has been in fashion since the beginning of the previous century, with healthy, suntanned skin considered attractive. Yet nobody wants to have tanned skin at the cost of its health. This is why Beiersdorf researchers conduct intensive research into the effects of UV rays on the skin and the biological mechanisms of pigmentation. In this context, the focus is on the skin’s formation of melanin, which is normally induced by UV light. Beiersdorf research’s latest achievement is the development of the innovative sunscreen product NIVEA Sun Protect & Bronze, which promotes skin pigmentation through the use of glycyrrhizic acid.

How does glycyrrhizic acid work?

Glycyrrhizic acid is a component of glycyrrhizin, a compound similar to sugar from the root of the licorice plant that gives licorice candy its characteristic flavor. In its studies on the skin’s pigment cells, Beiersdorf research has now determined that glycyrrhizic acid from the root of the European variety of licorice plant stimulates the key enzyme related to pigment formation in pigment cells, and as such, promotes the formation of the skin pigment melanin. Other studies by Beiersdorf research show that glycyrrhizic acid also fulfills other requirements for its use in skin care and UV protection products – it penetrates the skin and is gentle on the skin at the same time. Studies with human subjects have proven that the innovative sun protection product with glycyrrhizic acid reliably protects the skin from sunlight and helps give the skin a beautiful, natural tan.


Activating the moisturizing network with gluco-glycerol

The discovery of aquaporins – small water channels in the membrane of body cells – was honored with a Nobel Prize in 2010, and served as the inspiration for another innovation. The HYDRA IQ technology based on the active ingredient gluco-glycerol – a nature-identical ingredient that stimulates the formation of new aquaporins in the skin cells. The idea was to use this innovation as the foundation for the development of highly effective moisturizing products. And Beiersdorf researchers and developers achieved their goal – aquaporin technology has been incorporated into skin care products from brands like NIVEA and Eucerin.

How does gluco-glycerol work?

Gluco-glycerol – with this substance, Beiersdorf research achieved a breakthrough in moisturizing skin care. This ingredient stimulates the formation of new aquaporins and allows water to be intensively transported even through deeper epidermal skin layers. Aquaporins are microchannels in the cell membranes of the epidermis which are extremely permeable to water, and as such are responsible for optimally spreading moisture throughout the skin. The number of these channels decreases with age and in the case of dry skin. By forming new aquaporins, HYDRA IQ technology intelligently improves the skin cells’ natural moisturizing network and is particularly geared toward caring for dry skin.


Antistain technology for deodorants

Analyzing deodorant consumers’ experiences impressively shows how large and widespread the desire is for products that last long and do not leave stains on clothing. This is reason enough for Beiersdorf research to focus on the issue and search for solutions – which it did successfully, as NIVEA Invisible Black & White products demonstrate.

How antistain technology works

When it comes to stains on clothing from deodorant, there are actually two different problems to look at: white stains on dark fabrics and yellow stains on light fabrics. While white stains can be washed out, yellow stains become more noticeable with every wash. White stains are still aggravating, however. They are comprised of aluminum salts that are used as an active ingredient against perspiration. In order to make this residue nearly invisible, Beiersdorf has used a coating technology for this active ingredient since 2005. On the other hand, yellow stains are the result of a complicated chemical reaction between perspiration, body oil, active ingredients in deodorants, calcium carbonate in the wash water, and surfactants in laundry detergent. The resulting substances tightly bond with fabrics, especially cotton, and accumulate there. With the innovative technology of NIVEA’s Invisible Black & White products, the textile fibers absorb far fewer of the substances that cause these stains, and what does rub off onto clothing can be washed out much more easily. So that black clothing stays black and white clothing stays white for longer.


A radiant appearance after unsightly pigmented spots fade

UV rays, hormonal changes, and inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczemas, or acne, but also certain pharmaceuticals, burns, and laser treatments can cause the cosmetically undesirable problem of hyperpigmentation. Beiersdorf research has tackled this problem and developed the product Eucerin EVEN BRIGHTER. It contains the highly effective active ingredient B-resorcinol and makes pigmented spots visibly fade. When applied regularly, the effect continually improves.

How does B-resorcinol work?

B-resorcinol fights hyperpigmentation by reducing melanin production in the skin. Melanin is what gives our skin and hair their natural color. But sunlight, skin damage, hormonal changes, and diseases can lead to the overproduction of melanin in certain areas, causing moles, liver spots, melasma, and other forms of hyperpigmentation. B-resorcinol reduces melanin production and visibly lessens the appearance of pigmented spots.


Vitality for stressed cells – magnolia combined with hyaluronan and creatine

Magnolia has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. It is extracted from the bark of the magnolia tree, which blooms in spring, and has outstanding antioxidant properties. Since oxidative stress is one of the main causes of skin aging from UV rays, Beiersdorf puts its good name behind this traditional ingredient and can prove its stress-reducing effects on skin cells. In studies conducted with human subjects, cosmetic formulas with magnolia exhibited significant antiwrinkle effects. In order to treat further of older skin’s deficits, Beiersdorf is breaking new ground and combining magnolia with the proven ingredients creatine and hyaluronan.

How does the combination of magnolia, hyaluronan, and creatine work?

In our cell culture studies we successfully proved that the effect of magnolia, the excellent moisture-binding properties of hyaluronan, and the increase of cells’ energy reserves by creatine all complement each other wonderfully. The three ingredients significantly enhance activity and energy level of stressed cells. As a result, Beiersdorf logically utilizes this revolutionary combination of ingredients in its innovative and highly effective Cellular Anti Age product line.


Reliable protection against underarm moisture and odor, even in stressful situations

Who isn’t familiar with the unpleasant feeling of suddenly soaked underarms during life’s exciting moments? This is an extremely primal bodily reaction, and one that we could definitely go without. It is caused by an instant activation of all sweat glands – eccrine and apocrine. And when the sweat starts flowing, it brings with it the unpleasant odor of perspiration. This is caused by the substances that are carried to the surface of the skin with the sweat, and then are decomposed by skin bacteria. As a result, stressful situations pose a special challenge to deodorants and Beiersdorf research. The research department has now developed the new NIVEA Stress Protect deodorant that offers extra protection even in stressful moments against the formation of odors and keeps the underarms nice and dry.

How does the extra protection work?

In NIVEA Stress Protect deodorants’ new formula, Beiersdorf combined two different highly effective antiperspirant ingredients and increased their concentration. An additional zinc complex significantly increases their antibacterial properties even further, so that the innovative Stress Protect deodorants offer both men and women reliable 48-hour protection from body odor and underarm sweating, even in unexpected stressful situations. The deodorants’ efficacy was impressively proven in specially developed stress tests.


Special Care for Very Sensitive Skin

When people with sensitive skin come in contact with an irritant it often means that their skin burns or tingles and sometimes red or flaky areas are visible. Beiersdorf Research has studied this phenomenon extensively and has discovered the active ingredient SymSitive®. The formulas containing the innovative active ingredient SymSitive® have an immediate, long-lasting effect on unpleasant feelings of stinging or itchiness. The formulas are preservative-, alcohol-, and fragrance-free, soothe the skin, and strengthen its protective function. Special anti-contamination vacuum packaging provides additional protection for the pure formulas in the product range of Eucerin UltraSENSITIVE and AntiREDNESS.

*) Registered trademark of Symrise AG, Germany


Licochalcone and Grape Seed Oil
Protection and care for sensitive skin

Licorice (glycyrrhiza) has been known for 3000 years for its healing properties. More than 400 active ingredients can be extracted from the plant, which is cultivated in Mediterranean areas and central Asia. The active ingredient licochalcone is extracted from the Chinese type of glycyrrhiza inflata. Beiersdorf uses licochalcone and valuable oil from the seeds of grapes, vitis vinifera, in NIVEA Sensitive Day Cream. This product provides intensive care and protection for sensitive skin and actively reduces its three typical symptoms: redness, tension and dryness.

How do licochalcone and grape seed oil work?

Licochalcone is known for its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. Beiersdorf’s research has focused on its effect on irritated and red skin and has shown in clinical, vehicle-controlled studies that the verum, which contains the licochalcone, significantly reduces skin redness. In-vitro studies on dermatologically relevant cells (e.g. granulocytes, monocytes, keratinocytes, fibroblasts) have shown that licochalcone diminishes the inflammation process in relevant areas and has a beneficial influence. Natural, golden yellow grape seed oil with its greenish sheen is rich in essential fatty acids like linoleic acid and contains lecithin and natural anti-oxidants like procyanidin and vitamin E. The oil can help protect skin from oxidative stress and strengthen the stratum corneum.

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