In the past year, the industry has witnessed continued progress in the R&D of anti-aging and skin repair actives, texture and sensory effects, green and natural ingredient sources, and methodologies to substantiate claims. While these currently remain major areas of focus for today’s personal care product developers, several emerging trends are worth noting. Following are the editor’s choice of top five areas to watch in 2013.
Wellness: The concept of wellness in cosmetics is not new, but new ways to approach it are. Whereas before, nutricosmetics and functional foods aimed to restore balance from within, products can now be developed to follow the body’s rhythms, improve mood and maintain healthy microflora. Such advances are due in part to new test methods. Shiseido has been strong in this area, with research addressing: the stratum corneum’s continuous cycle of dry skin, the physical and mental effects of cosmetic therapy, and circadian rhythms of skin moisturizing functions and rhythm-regulating materials. In relation, Evic France conducted research on well-aging. Related wellness topics included a dendritic molecule to treat acne by balancing keratolytic activity with decreased cytotoxicity, and improving chronological skin aging through autophagy regulation.
Microflora: Maintaining skin’s microflora could be considered a sub-category of wellness but is highlighted separately here due to its specialization. Kimberly-Clark indicates an intricate balancing act between the skin and array of microbes that constitute its normal flora. Research by Donald S. Orth, some of which has been published by Cosmetics & Toiletries, has that the skin and mucous membranes of healthy individuals maintain normal functions with naturally occurring microorganisms on them, and that microbial infections would occur without these normal microflora. Work from the University of Pennsylvania, has surveyed the microbiome of normal skin and shown variations based on changes in an individual’s immune system and greater microbial community. From a more cosmetic view, in an article in the April 2013 Cosmetics & Toiletries, Kelly Dobos from Kao Corp. discusses the application of pre- and probiotic concepts in cosmetics and their formulating challenges.
Stem Cells: Stem cells remain one of the hottest trends in cosmetics research and they were the focus of several IFSCC presentations. Cyanidium caldarium algae extract from Evonik, for example, was designed for anti-aging effects on epidermal fibroblasts, to signal skin stem cells for continued cell renewal. Also, orange stem cells, derived from fruit, were developed by Provital for their ability to organize the skin matrix. Finally, Shiseido explored the multifunctional roles of dermal stem cells in cutaneous homeostasis.
Hair Growth: The Estée Lauder Companies, found hair growth success by increasing cellular energy via Adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Other recent work includes a pea peptide stem cell booster for hair growth stimulation and hair loss prevention created by Biospectrum; and an anti-hair loss and hair regrowth active from Unipex that combines a clover extract and a tetrapeptide.
Formulation Feats: Croda has devised a sensory mapping tool to plot the perceivable effects of emulsifiers in emulsions, to assist in controlling the sensory effects of emulsions. Johnson & Johnson has worked with polymerized surfactants, showing how a deeper understanding of micelle size distribution can leverage the concept of hydrodynamic size exclusion to prevent surfactant penetration and irritation.
In relation, the 2013 Cosmetics & Toiletries R&D Awards finalists in the “Best New Ingredient” category primarily aim to improve formulating. Finalists included: BASF, for a raw material to improve the sensory profile of hair relaxers; Dow Corning, for an elastomer blend that makes silicone elastomer gels more versatile for the delivery of both oil-soluble and water-soluble actives; Berg and Schmidt, for an ingredient based on natural fruit and cereal fibers for emulsifying and thickening properties; Clariant, for a polymer to impart a soft skin feel yet provide solvent compatibility, salt tolerance and stabilizing effects; and Presperse, for a polymeric thickener with less cross-linking than other polymeric thickeners, providing a more flexible polymer chain that allows for the interaction of hydrophobic groups and increases structure and viscosity. Related “Most Creative Application” technologies include: Kimberly-Clark Corp. for a soothing tissue with phase-change materials and Pfizer, for a formulation approach to improve the flavor of lip balm containing UV filters by incorporating a sorbitol spider ester, sorbeth-2-hexaoleate, from Surfatech LLC. The winners were Dow Corning for Best New Ingredient and Yves Saint Laurent Beaute for Most Creative Application.
Beyond these cosmetic R&D areas emerging in the literature and surfacing at industry conferences, it is worth noting that interest in animal test alternatives, nanoparticles, sunscreen testing, natural preservation and cosmetic regulations in China also continues to rise. In fact, at the SCC Annual Scientific Meeting in December 2012, regulations in China garnered their own session, which was well-attended—and the first U.S.-China Cosmetic Regulatory Symposium immediately follows Suppliers’ Day. This editor recommends keeping these on the radar for 2014.