Acetyl Dipeptide earns the Johnson Medal at the 2021 Johnson Medal Awards

Our Journey to Discovering the Anti-Aging Solution You Always Wanted for Your Sensitive Skin

Understanding Consumer Needs

Ever walk down a beauty aisle filled with products and wonder how they were made? While much of what you see may look alike, the innovations behind them often differ, just like skin types and tones.

When consumers browse stores for anti-aging skin care options, they usually look for the ingredients that have long been proven to be highly effective. But for those with skin sensitivity —which affects 71% of people1—many of these options can irritate or be harsh on skin.

With this unmet need in mind, our team of research scientists set out on an eight-year journey to find a solution for those with sensitive skin. This journey ultimately led to the development of a transformational, first-of-its-kind anti-aging product for consumers: acetyl dipeptide or MicroDiPeptide229™.

The Science of Skin

To develop any skin product, scientists must take a step back to evaluate and truly understand the skin—including its function as well as the many layers under it.

In our extensive look into the skin, our researchers made a groundbreaking discovery, a direct link between “inflammaging”— inflammation under the skin—and visible signs of skin aging, such as drooping, sagging, and loss of skin volume. This discovery led our team to the creation of a solution: acetyl dipeptide.

Further research showed acetyl dipeptide’s potential to act without causing irritation, and this was a major ‘a-ha’ moment for the team. Another major ‘a-ha’ moment for researchers was when they were able to see the performance of their new discovery under a microscope. Acetyl dipeptide had rejuvenating effects—and the skin treated with it behaved as if it were young again.

“Not only did this discovery help fight the six signs of inflammaging,” said Brenda Edison, Clinical Research, Johnson & Johnson. “But it also hit on multiple skin-improving properties in ways never seen before. Acetyl dipeptide was shown to help improve the resiliency of skin and was effective across all five of our skin’s building blocks compared to most skin products targeting just a few. Our clinical research confirmed the impressive benefits, such as plumper, firmer looking skin.”

Sweet Success

The acetyl dipeptide story is a perfect example of Rome not being built in a day. The project took nearly a decade of collaboration and perseverance, allowing the team to push forward the science of skin aging and link it to inflammaging. But there were also some challenges—like finding a formula effective enough to transform skin, but gentle enough for those with skin sensitivity.

As the nature of research goes, not all products get to the finish line. And even when they do—success is hardly ever linear. Sometimes, you take five steps forward, only to take ten back. This project was of no exception, as there were a number of setbacks along the way. But our scientists say this is what made the success that much sweeter.

This research received substantial recognition in peer-review presentations and professional and medical communities across the globe. The team was also recognized with a Johnson Medal, the highest scientific honor at Johnson & Johnson. Most importantly, consumers with sensitive skin now have access to the first targeted and effective microdipeptide-based anti-aging products. That’s what we call a win-win.

See how we're leveraging the power of Acetyl Dipeptide with our Exuviance and Neutrogena products.


1 US Sensitive Skin A&U in 2016