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Research in Cosmetic Valley
By: Eric Perrier, LVMH, et al.
Posted: February 19, 2010
page 3 of 9
Researchers will no doubt also play a key role in the future of the industry by innovating as far as possible—as long as long-term safety can be proven. To this aim, the Cosmetic Valley acts as a federator by facilitating the exchange of ideas between scientists, thus leading to the emergence of ambitious research programs. In Normandy, France, various public chemistry laboratories have joined forces as a Research Federative Institute (FR 3038, CNRS) and are involved in many fields of research—from the design and synthesis of new organic molecules, to the understanding and optimization of complex material properties.
As an illustration, the laboratory of chemistry based in Le Havre (URCOM, EA 3221) explores subjects related to cosmetic science; such as the functional properties of polysaccharides in formulations, and the relationship between raw material characteristics and corresponding sensory properties they impart in cosmetic products. Due to its fields of interest, the URCOM laboratory currently collaborates with academic laboratories and private companies.
How might these advances in chemistry be used to improve personal care product benefits?
The utilization of nano-particles for sun protection applications definitely is a good illustration. From a simplistic point of view, smaller particle sizes provide greater coverage of skin, and thus greater protection. In addition, small particles also may improve sensory properties by making the product feel smoother during its application. Again, nanotechnology is such a promising application, but its potential in other categories, such as antiaging products or toothpaste, will require demonstrating the absence of a negative impact as a prerequisite to any large scale industrial development.
Have market trends impacted the development of new chemistries? If so, how?
Of course! Consumer exigencies as well as changing legislation have made it necessary to discover and develop environmentally friendly processes or “clean” chemistries, to limit solvents, and to develop low energy processes, ingredients from renewable resources, and recyclable or biodegradable packaging—all with respect to health, resources and biodiversity. There is no doubt that these new challenges illustrate the necessity to develop ambitious, fundamental and transversal research programs, making the role of researchers in the industry all the more fascinating.
by Anne Marie Pense-Lheritier, Ecole de Biologie Industrielle: