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Lab Lessons—Wise Words From the Bench With George Deckner
By: Katie Anderson (Schaefer), Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: January 5, 2012, from the January 2012 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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C&T: What raw materials would you say have been revolutionary?
One that comes to mind is carbomer, which is a swellable polymer that can create clear gels and elegant skin care products with a light feeling and good application properties. That made it easier to formulate stable skin care creams. It is difficult to create clear gels with good aesthetics without these polymers.
In terms of anti-aging benefits, peptides have changed the landscape because they can provide consumer-meaningful benefits and clinical effects at low use levels (3–5 ppm). Anti-aging peptides have also revolutionized the way skin care actives are created. Similarly, micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have changed the way sunscreen products are formulated. You get tremendous SPF efficiency when you combine chemical sunscreens with particulate sunscreens.
C&T: How has the formulator’s role changed in the past few decades?
Personal care has become more sophisticated due to technologies that have transferred from the pharmaceuticals industry. The learning curve is steeper now because of this sophistication; therefore, people have to become much more specialized. But I think you are a better formulator when you have breadth of experience.
C&T: What changes would you like to see in the personal care industry?
A lot of products out there do not deliver meaningful benefits to consumers. I would like to see the industry become more consumer-centric by focusing on meeting consumer needs and not just a better marketing story. The consumer is boss, and formulators must make products people are passionate about.
C&T: How do you formulate across product categories?
The principles are identical whether you are cleaning teeth, hair or skin. A toothpaste is a cleaner with an abrasive, a surfactant, a little flavor and similar thickening agents to skin care. If you understand the principles [behind them], you can apply them to any products. The formulator has to focus on the core consumer benefits they are trying to deliver and improve those in a meaningful way.