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MWSCC Reveals the Faces of Cosmetic Science
By: Katie Anderson (Schaefer), Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: November 10, 2011
Cosmetic science is a melting pot where a number of sciences and industries from biology and chemistry to engineering, testing and regulation are combined. The Midwest Chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (MWSCC) showcased the different hats that cosmetic science wears at its 2011 Fall Technical Symposium on Oct. 13, 2011, with the theme “The Many Faces of Cosmetic Science.” In addition to providing speakers from different arenas within and surrounding personal care, the event also showcased its first Student Poster Exhibition, which featured a variety of subjects from the pharmacist’s role in natural/organic cosmetics to mold calibration for drugs and cosmetics.
The speaker lineup, which boasted experts from different industries and niches in personal care, began with Eunice Cofie, president and chief cosmetic chemist at Nuekie Inc. Cofie’s presentation addressed ethnic personal care product needs. She began with a short clip from America’s Ethnic Skin: An Al Roker Health Special, a documentary produced and narrated by Al Roker that addressed the needs, issues and challenges of a variety of skin tones. She noted, “By 2050, more than 50% of the United States will be of ethnic background or non-Caucasian.” According to Cofie, women with darker skin tones have expressed a need for effective upscale products and more natural products, specifically natural products for hair.
She added that there are difference in ethnic skin and hair. For example, Cofie found that black skin is thicker than Caucasian skin. She also added that there are more proteins in black hair, which leads to more breakage. Hispanic women, according to Cofie, often suffer from melasma. Cofie explained that there is a need for better matching foundations. “It is so hard for them to get a foundation that matches, and they often mix different foundations to get the correct shade,” she explained. To create innovative ethnic personal care products, Cofie encouraged formulators to get out of the lab. She recommended looking to certain cultural practices for inspiration or ideas. She noted that in regions of Africa, women apply a black paste after their rite of passage that stimulates hair growth. Also, certain regions apply hair mayonnaise, use ketchup for acne and cysts, apply plantain leaves to soothe burns and utilize thyme for brittle hair. In some Hispanic countries, women use the violeta plant and guava to treat acne in addition to neem to treat eczema. She recommended the use of hyaluronic acid, shea butter, mango butter and beobab oil and glycolic acid for treatment of ethnic skin and hair.
The conversation then transitioned to another face of cosmetic science, devices and engineering, as Robb Akridge, PhD, co-founder and vice president of clinical affairs for Pacific Bioscience Laboratories (Clarisonic), addressed attendees. Akridge was one of the inventors of the Clarisonic cleansing brush, a device that was first thought of at a Denny’s restaurant. He and a few fellow colleagues had the idea for a device that unplugged the pores. He went through the evolution of the product noting “When you invent something, you have to see what else is on the market.” On the market at the time was the rotary brush with an expired patent and a vibrating microdermabrasion device. After going through a number of prototypes, his team ended up with was a cleansing device that moved at a sonic rate to create a repetitive, bi-directional force on skin to unclog pores.
After protecting their invention with a number of patents, his team then was ready for safety and efficacy testing. According to Akridge, the team measured sebum before and after the device was used. They also applied fluorescent makeup and cleansed the skin with their device and other cleansing device to compare the efficacy. Future studies on the device led to development of brush heads to address a variety of skin concerns, including: delicate, sensitive, normal, body and deep pore. Akridge concluded that a winning device has to be an unmet need, has to be safe, has to be effective and has to fit into the consumer’s daily routine. He added, “The consumer has to have a great initial experience.”