Testing in Cosmetic Valley

Raman spectroscopy and fringe projection are a few of the methods that have revolutionized the objectification market. These techniques, among others, are utilized for testing within Cosmetic Valley. Following is a collection of interviews on the subject of testing in Cosmetic Valley.

(La version Française est disponible ici./The French version is available here.)

by Elian Lati, BIO-EC:

What are the biggest factors currently impacting testing in cosmetics R&D?
In the current context, budgets obviously put a brake on tests. Oftentimes, even when tests are not cancelled, they are less developed. Nevertheless, with new cosmetic regulations, more requests for higher levels of evaluation for the safety and efficacy of cosmetic products are expected. With regard to efficacy testing, consumers are increasingly becoming experts, and there are more and more requests from the cosmetic industry for innovation in products.

Can you describe recent developments in testing that have impacted or will impact the cosmetics industry?
Methods for testing are becoming ever more pointed. What was once reserved for medical research is now finding application in the cosmetics industry. In addition, cosmetic products are becoming increasingly technical, thus methods of objectivation are as well. Raman spectroscopy, for example, is a technique being used very little at the moment, but it can be very useful in the cosmetic industry. We are developing this technique in the cosmetic field to increase investigation possibilities. For example, thanks to this method, we can determine very precisely, in vivo, the level of hydration and the concentration of different compounds in the skin, or locate an active compound in it.

by Pascal Svinareff, BIOGALENYS:

What technologies enable cosmetics R&D to test for the skin penetration of products?
For testing skin penetration, we use human skin explants in permeation studies. Additionally, in order to determine the skin irritation of chemical products and cosmetics, we use an in vitro model of reconstructed human epidermis, a model validated by ECVAM as an alternative method to animal testing. With partners, we also have developed a soft prediction method for the evaluation of skin sensitization as well as methods to assess skin sensibilization. Such methods allow cosmetic firms to choose safe products for their formulations.

What external factors/concerns have affected the field of testing?
Primarily REACH, concerns for allergies, and new technologies from our clients.

What test methods are on the horizon, and what consumer concerns could impact this area?
Liquid chromatography in tandem with a mass spectrometer (HPLC-MS-MS) and radioactivity are on the rise and currently being used to evaluate skin permeation and absorption. An overall consumer concern and thus objective of penetration studies is to reduce allergic reactions.

by Marc Feuilloley, ADIPpharm:

What recent advances in microbiology testing affect the development of cosmetic products?
In the microbiology field, principal advances have been generated via interdisciplinary approaches, such as the identification of inter-kingdom communication—i.e., the exchange of messages between bacteria and human cells. New tools for imaging, such as confocal microscopy and biochemical characterization including mass spectrometry-based bacterial identification, also derive from other scientific fields, and advances such as the emergence of cold decontamination techniques, e.g., pulsed light decontamination, also represent a great opportunity for the improvement of cosmetics production.

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).

How might these advances be used to enable new product claims?
The cosmetics industry is constantly evolving with more innovative, very targeted and technical products. This impact is positive for our laboratory, since our R&D department stays attuned to the market and is involved in different research projects such as the ECODERM and EPACA competitive clusters of Cosmetic Valley. The state-labeled EPACA project is focused on acquiring more knowledge about aging in skin. With the ECODERM project, the goal is to develop an ultrasound imaging platform for skin tissue imaging. Research projects such as these should bring a fresh look at well-known claims such as antiaging or anti-cellulite.

What do you see on the horizon for new claims substantiation methods?
I see original techniques or measurement using new parameters. Marketing is “thirsting” for new approaches, but always with extremely serious methodologies. Creativity must go hand-in-hand with rigor.

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