New Pathways

Welcome to the New Year—unmarked territory, a blank slate and a fresh start. Many have fought tooth and nail to get here but it seems the industry is turning the corner in a positive new direction. This is reflected in the array of acquisitions initiated or completed in 2010; for instance, Coty’s acquisition of OPI and Philosophy, Unilever’s of Alberto Culver, BASF’s of Cognis and Sumimoto’s of Presperse. For some acquirees, uncertainty remains and they may view the industry in a less positive light. Yet surprisingly, a few individuals have expressed a sense of opportunity to reinvent themselves by changing roles, companies or even industries. In either case, major players have invested in the industry and are anticipating growth.

So looking ahead, companies are determining the next steps in innovation; and if the December Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) meeting in New York is any indicator, all signs point to epigenomics. According to the National Institutes of Health,* epigenetics is the study of changes in the regulation of gene activity and expression that are not dependant on gene sequence. Further, epigenetics refers to single genes or sets of genes while epigenomics refers to analyses across the entire genome. Two SCC conference sessions, including nine presentations, focused on this topic.

Gene arrays are not new to personal care, although their use in the development of novel actives or to identify new pathways is evolving. For instance, in this issue Dell’Aqua et al. show that two complexes, one from oak and green tea extract and another from orange flavonoids, disrupt the NF-κB and JAK/STAT pathways, respectively, in keratinocytes, thus acting as anti-irritants. In addition, on Page 50, Gondran et al. test the effects of a corn extract in vitro on the expression of integrins, showing it may improve hair elongation.

In a broader sense, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine has identified its own new pathway to support formulators and chemists throughout the product development process and had accordingly realigned and reinvented everything from its content in the magazine and e-newsletter, to the look and feel of its logo—as you may have noticed on the cover. Several new concepts will roll out in 2011, starting this month with the new column, “Ingredient Profile,” by Michael Fevola, PhD, of Johnson & Johnson. Leverage this content we’ve built for you to forge new product frontiers.

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