University Researchers Discover Key Ingredient for Skin Care Line

Products include UM's patented aloe vera extract

David Pasco (left) and Nirmal Pugh have studied the chemistry of aloe for many years. Their work led to the discovery of aloeride, an immune-enhancing extract patented by the university. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Scientists at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research spend much of their time working to discover new pharmaceutical products, botanical dietary supplements and agrichemicals. Once in a while, however, discoveries made at the center benefit something a little more cosmetic.

Among other things, ongoing NCNPR research on botanicals led to the launch of a skin care line called Sustainable Youth brand products, owned by Woodcliff Skincare Solutions Inc. The key ingredient is Alasta brand aloe product, a patent-pending ingredient that includes aloeride, an immune-enhancing extract patented by the university.

“Aloeride’s activity is predominantly derived from aloe’s bacteria,” said Nirmal Pugh, principal scientist at NCNPR who worked on the discovery of aloeride with other Ole Miss researchers. “As with all plants occurring in a natural state, aloe has communities of bacteria.

“Aloe’s beneficial bacteria produce immune-enhancing components that we concentrated to create the aloeride that Woodcliff uses in Alasta.”

At the time of the discovery, Pugh was working as a graduate student with David Pasco, now the associate director of the UM natural products center.

Pasco, who has studied the properties of aloe for more than 20 years, observed that the active components in aloeride were beneficial for skin health. That information was used to guide clinical studies and product development for aloeride.

Sustainable Youth brand products contain a compound discovered and patented by researchers at the UM National Center for Natural Products Research. Photo courtesy Woodcliff Skincare Solutions Inc.

Once NCNPR published the team’s findings, a cosmetics industry executive approached the center about licensing the extract. After licensing aloeride, cosmetic expert formulators combined it with other ingredients to create Alasta brand aloe product, which can be applied topically.

“This kind of discovery is indicative of the commercial and medical potential of natural products, and is just one example of the impact of NCNPR’s research,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy.

Alasta brand aloe product is at the center of all Sustainable Youth brand products, said Mary Coon, a brand development consultant with Woodcliff.

“The Sustainable Youth collection includes five innovative, clean, anti-aging skin care products, all made with organic and natural ingredients purposefully selected for their ability to enhance Alasta’s properties for healthy-looking skin.”

University officials are “thrilled” to see the product line on the market, said Allyson Best, UM director of technology management.

“We appreciate Woodcliff’s commitment to transforming this UM discovery into a commercialized product,” Best said. “This is another great example of maximizing the impact of our research enterprise.”

The internationally-renowned National Center for Natural Products Research was founded in 1995 to research, develop and commercialize potentially useful natural products. Based at the UM School of Pharmacy, NCNPR collaborates with academia, government and the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries to create natural products that can be used to improve human health and agriculture as crops, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and agrochemicals.

For more information on research programs at the center, visit

Using an exclusive selection of proprietary technologies, Sustainable Youth from Woodcliff Skincare Solutions has developed a collection of topical anti-aging formulas that offer a unique, differentiated experience. Each product features the clinically-proven Alasta active complex, rich antioxidants and a natural preservative alternative, resulting in a 99.7 percent organic proprietary formulation with synergistic effects.

For more information on Sustainable Youth brand products, go to