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Lab Lessons—Wise Words From the Bench with Anthony Vargas
By: Katie Anderson, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: April 2, 2013, from the April 2013 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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Vitamin C is popular today for its role in collagen production, an even skin tone and regulating melanin production. Retinol was another active we looked at quite a bit. There are problems with stability of retinol, too, and it works better in an anhydrous base.
C&T: What spurred the evolution of skin care into anti-aging?
Around 1982, Elizabeth Arden came out with their Millennium line, where they had proven that they could stimulate cell turnover using the dansyl chloride test. That is what really turned the industry onto treatment products and anti-aging, and it really kicked off Avon’s research. The company gave out grants and brought in academia. From that research, we would gain new actives and newer understanding of skin.
C&T: Describe a notable anti-aging skin care product you formulated.
When Unilever bought Elizabeth Arden, we gained access to Unilever’s vast research. We were working on a product with ceramides, and the Unilever team gave us research it had conducted and patented on ceramide 1. It is the molecular rivet that holds the lipid layers together in the stratum corneum. We immediately put that into our product, which was in capsule form, and it became a benchmark [now Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum].
When our marketing group came up with the concept for a gel capsule with a Saturn shape, we were told that the shape was not possible. After an engineer said he might be able to do it, I spent eight months perfecting the formulation, which had to be anhydrous.
C&T: What is one of the most important things you have learned about skin?
Cells have a predetermined turnover rate programmed into them [Hayflick theory], and accelerated cell turnover rate can result in signs of premature aging in young consumers. It is best to keep cells at a constant cell turnover rate, and we investigated an iris bulb extract that did this. Many people think that regular exfoliation is needed, but for the young consumer, this can do more harm than good.
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