ORBIS DEFENCERA: Edible, Game-changing Skincare for the Busy Millennial

Kenneth Chia

Amidst the weekly avalanche of new skincare flooding the market, Japanese skincare brand ORBIS’s edible moisturiser DEFENCERA has emerged to take its rightful place in the modern-day skincare routine – which, at its most pragmatic, is done in the back of a cab to work, or seconds before passing out drunk at 4am on a Saturday.

A common skincare story goes a little like this: you give yourself a free pass to skip your routine for the day, which turns to a week, and before you know it, wrinkles have moved into your room, your lips are cracking and all signs of moisture in a five-kilometre radius seems to have vanished from existence.

And you have a big date night in a few hours.

You could lie bed with face masks, face steamers while wielding jade rollers in both hands to rectify the damage but we think the good things in life sometimes follow the path of least resistance.

And it’s really simple to use, utilitarian even. As in: tear open the sachet and pour the Yuzu-flavoured powder into your mouth simple (cue NS outfield flashbacks for the boys).

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The science behind it however, is far more complex. Developed over the span of a decade, the technology involves activating our skin’s natural ability to prevent skin-surface evaporation. It features a key ingredient, DF-Ceramide, so rare that it takes a tonne of brown rice to extract one to two grams.

The result is hydration on your skin equivalent to applying lotion for an entire day.

It’s also Japan’s first FOSHU-certified skincare (FOSHU: Food for Specified Health Uses) that’s concurrently approved by the Japanese governments’ rigorous testing standards. Oh, and it sold over half a million units in its first few months on the market.

But here at Popspoken, seeing is believing. So while we wrote to Chief Researcher at POLA ORBIS group, Dr. Satoshi Hirakawa with some questions, we put the product to a rigorous road test, relying on it alone to get me through 2 weeks of back to back events, nightlife and punishing work schedules.

Did I experience separation anxiety from my 10-step skincare? Yeah, but DEFENCERA held the fort. My skin was unproblematic, my smile lines stayed plumped out and my new tattoo even healed way quicker than usual. Almost bizarrely, I also found myself feeling less thirsty too. Would I substitute my entire routine for this? Nope. But I’m popping these sachets into every bag I own, because I know they work even when I’m too lazy to.

The Interview

What motivates your work in the field of skin science?

My motivation to work in the field of skin research comes from a strong desire to help people who face skin concerns related to dryness and roughness. I volunteered and trained as a dermatologist in the department of dermatology in medical school, where I was engaged in cutting-edge skin research.

In the course of my career which began in safety research for cosmetics, I met many people who were suffering from dry skin, including children with atopic dermatitis and adults with sensitive skin. After developing DEFENCERA over a span of 10 years, and recognition from the Japanese government, hearing a lot of good feedback from customers is very rewarding.

What are the top three misconceptions people have about caring for their skin?

Misconception 1: The skin is more vulnerable to dryness and roughness in cold and dry seasons.

The skin is susceptible to dryness even in hot countries, due to strong UV rays which compromise the skin’s barrier function, making it easy for moisture to escape and resulting in dryness. In addition, in hot weather, people are more likely to stay in air-conditioned rooms for long periods of time, which can cause the skin to dry out easily.

Misconception 2: Acne is caused by excessive sebum secretion.

In fact, acne is not only caused by excessive sebum secretion, but also dryness. Dry skin tends to have its turnover disrupted, and when skin turnover is disrupted, the stratum corneum on the outermost layer of the skin becomes thicker, making it easier for sebum to get clogged inside pores. As such, dryness is also a cause of recurring acne.

Misconception 3: The ingredients used in a product directly equate to its effects.

Even if the same ingredients are used in cooking, the resulting taste of the food is going to vary greatly depending on what type of chef is cooking it. Similarly, it is not only the ingredients used in a product, but the formulation and technology that each brand uses, that leads to different effectiveness of products.

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R&D in the field of beauty is happening at a breakneck pace, with new products released every week. Do you think we are overcomplicating skincare?

The field of beauty R&D is constantly evolving, and with a deeper understanding of diverse values and attitudes, I think that there are many products on the market today as companies are strengthening their new product development in order to cater to various needs.

What steps can consumers cut out from their routines by taking ORBIS DEFENCERA?

DEFENCERA is skincare that approaches dryness on the entire body simply by taking it in oral form, and is extremely simple to make into a habit, even for busy people.

For people with busy work or private lives, it is difficult to find time for skincare. However, DEFENCERA makes it possible to care for the skin on your entire body anytime, whether it is at work or at home, since it can be taken without water. We believe in creating easy skincare habits for busy customers.

What are some skincare products you’d recommend to complement its usage?

I’ve heard that in Singapore, DEFENCERA has been especially popular with women in their thirties. Around this age, customers begin to experience concerns such as wrinkles and pigmentation. We’ll be releasing a new product, Wrinkle White Essence, to target these issues. The ORBIS U skincare series is also recommended to take care of skin not only from the inside but from the outside as well.

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Can the powder be mixed into other drinks like a morning coffee, or even an iced cocktail if we wanted to? Will this affect the efficacy of the product?

The efficacy will not be affected, but as it is in powder form, some of it may be left behind and users may not be ingesting the full amount of the product. The best way to take the product is simply on its own, as it melts in the mouth.

Oral supplements are a relatively new niche in skincare. Where do you think the industry is headed in the next five years?

The values of “inner and outer beauty” and “inner beauty” are growing all over the world.

I think the main point is research that is rooted in science. From now onwards, there will be more research findings on orally taken skin care, and by sharing new information with customers and developing innovative products, the market for inner beauty will become stronger.

I believe that in the next five years, there is a strong possibility that not only cosmetic companies, but companies from different fields will introduce new technologies, launching new products and services in the skincare market.

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What other innovations can we expect in the near future from the brand?

One of POLA ORBIS group’s strengths is in the study of blemishes, and in order to further accelerate our research, we have started a joint research in collaboration with the Skin Research Institute of Singapore (SRIS). Through this research, I would like to help people in Asia and all over the world to solve their concerns related to skin blemishes.

Also, although details cannot be announced yet, we are focusing on research and development of innovative ageing care and research on the human senses and skin.

We plan to release the results of our research via products of our group’s ORBIS brand, which consumers can look forward to in future.

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