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Testing in Cosmetic Valley
By: Elian Lati, Pascal Svinareff, Marc Feuilloley and Patrick Beau
Posted: February 19, 2010
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How might these advances be used to improve personal care products?
The real activity of cosmetics must be demonstrated on firmly established scientific evidence, and advances such as those named provide opportunities to better control the interactions between microbial flora and the human organism. In fact, the human organism contains an enormous population of bacteria (more than 1 kg), and 99.99% percent of the time, we live in perfect harmony with these microbes. Even more, the human organism needs them. Personal care products must therefore favor and preserve these good relationships between the microbiome and the body’s cells. As noted, the emergence of physical cold decontamination techniques is of particular interest for natural compounds such as parabens, since these products are particularly sensitive to microbial contamination. In addition, such techniques avoid the use of chemicals that can remain as traces in a final product.
What microbiology testing methods are on the horizon?
Fundamentally, we are probably at the beginning of a revolution in our way of thinking about the relationships between microbes and us. We certainly share a great number of common communication factors; in fact, a human being should be considered a colonial organism. Preservation of the equilibrium between microbes and human cells could be a great challenge for the future of cosmetics. On a more technical side, there is a great need for the development of high speed microbial identification tools. Low contamination level determination techniques, which remain a great challenge in microbiology, should also be developed to respond to the needs created by new high efficiency decontamination systems.
by Patrick Beau, SPIN CONTROL:
What are the greatest challenges in validating claims for cosmetic products?
First of all, we are a “counselor” and first must perfectly understand the request of our clients in order to propose the best protocol. We need to understand: the marketing target (i.e., consumer profile, age, etc.), the product’s application, duration, and the distribution network. Once these elements are understood, we will propose different techniques including instrumental, sensorial or subjective assessments in order to draw up a “tailor-made” protocol that follows international regulations.
What recent advances in objectification/validation have been made that impact the personal care industry?
Fringe projection has revolutionized the objectification market by allowing measurements without contacting the skin or hair surface. We are proud to have been the first laboratory to propose this technique in France ten years ago. The technique has been fully developed, and now all parts of the body can be measured according to regulations; for example, with slimming products, our clients can debate results expressed in cubic centimeters (cm3). Furthermore, advances in photography allow for the quantification on pictures, such as analyses of pigment spots, dark circles beneath the eyes, or even the effects of mascara (+ x% of volume or length of the eyelashes).