Genomics Take the Cake at the SCC December Meeting

The Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) took innovation down to the genome level in not one but two of the five conference tracks presented Dec. 9–10, 2010, at the Annual Scientific Meeting and Technology Showcase. Other featured topics included sun protection, innovation in hair styling, technologies and trends in skin.

The event kicked off with a welcome address from SCC president Robert Lochhead, PhD (University of Southern Mississippi), who remarked how the society is beating this challenging economy with strong membership numbers. He also recognized several companies such as Coty Inc., The Estée Lauder Companies and L’Oréal USA, among others, who supported this year’s event by sending ten or more attendees each.

Opening the conference, Johann Wiechers, PhD (JW Solutions) spoke about nanoparticles, noting that while they are used to create transparency, the industry also needs to be more transparent in talking about them to encourage their use. “If the industry isn't talking about nanotech, people get the impression there's something wrong with it,” he said. Wiechers discussed some of the safety concerns over nanoparticles and concluded that, in the end, it is all about dose. “Even water, at too high a level, can be toxic,” he said.

In relation to dose, Wiechers described how pig skin models have typically been used to study penetration. However, in an example using nanodots, Wiechers observed that pig skin showed penetration whereas human skin did not. He noted that further studies are warranted but cautioned that there are inter-species differences. In the end, Wiechers concluded, “All evidence points to the sun shining on nanotechnology.”

The final presentation of the morning was by Philip Wertz, PhD (University of Iowa), who presented the Frontiers of Science Award lecture sponsored by Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine. Wertz discussed stratum corneum lipid composition and structure in relation to barrier function. He noted that the 13-nm units between the edges of corneocytes are thought to represent interdigitated covalently bound ceramides with some free lipids filling in some of the space. According to Wertz, this imposes a strict limit on the physical size of the particles that could penetrate through this space, although the follicular route provides a potential alternative pathway.

Following the morning session, the awards luncheon began with the presentation of the prestigious Maison G. deNavarre Medal Award to Yash Kamath, PhD. Upon receiving the award, Kamath commented, “When we started at TRI, hair research was only 10-15% of our work; now it is 100%.” Additional awards included: the Shaw Mudge Award to Betsy Schmalz Ferguson; the Allan B. Black Award to Jane Hollenberg and co-authors; the Hans A. Schaefer Award to Jennifer Marsh, PhD; the Joseph P. Ciaudelli Award to Hiroto Tanamachi et al.; the Des Goddard Award to Melanie Urdiales; the Society of Cosmetic Chemists Award to Vito Cataldo et al.; and finally, the Frontiers of Science Award to Philip Wertz, PhD.

After lunch, two concurrent sessions began; one on genomics and the other on hair styling. The session on genomics kicked off with Nava Dayan, PhD (Lipo Chemicals Inc.), who spoke on the correlation between cell viability and DNA damage. With age, according to Dayan, expression of micronuclei increases, which is indicative of genetic damage. This increase in micronuclei can lead to skin aging and cancer, which often is known as the aging disease. Dayan noted that there are compounds that cause the formation of micronuclei through exposure and contamination. To identify which compounds cause cell death related to metabolic dysfunction as opposed to cell death that is caused by mutations of the DNA, Dayan recommends conducting cell viability assessment concurrently with observation of chromosomal aberrations.

Remona Gopaul of Nu Skin Enterprises followed Dayan with a review of the techniques used for gene expression profiling of skin. Gopaul discussed small-scale techniques such as northern blot and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in addition to large-scale techniques such as microarrays, serial analysis for gene expression and RNA sequencing. She advised cosmetic formulators to become more knowledgeable of the benefits and downsides of the genomic techniques before choosing one that effectively tests their product. Throughout the session, the term ‘epigenetics' was tossed around in a few discussions, of which experts think the industry will begin to see more.

During the hair styling session, Timothy Gao, PhD (Croda Inc.), described hair color vibrance as a new claim combining both hair shine and strength. Trefor Evans, PhD (TRI-Princeton), discussed the penetration and substantivity of materials in hair, noting that the molecule having the biggest effect on hair is water.

Thomas Dawson, PhD (Procter & Gamble), discussed hair health in relation to effects of diameter, density and age. He concluded that while decreasing number density is important, so is decreasing diameter. Finally, Colleen Rocafort provided an overview of innovations in hair styling. For example, the recent focus on thermal damage, protein and elastin polymers for strength, shape/malleable hold, and the addition of particles such as clay for claimed volumizing effects, body/springiness and bounce. She also noted products that aim to set but not remain stiff.

After the first day’s final session concluded, attendees took a short break before gathering at the venue’s Grand Ballroom for the Supplier Cocktail Reception. The ballroom was abuzz with chatter from suppliers and finished product formulators alike while the musical stylings of the SCC’s own Chemtones set a lovely pace.

The second day started with more talks on genomics, opening with a keynote by Philippe Benech, PhD (PrediGuard Inc.). Benech presented cosmetogenetics as a new approach to understanding skin physiology, noting that more and more products are reaching the consumer market claiming to act on specific genes for various effects. However, he cautioned that gene expression reflects only a snapshot in time, and that a longer span must be considered to truly understand a given effect.

Following Benech was Sohelia Anzali, PhD (Merck KGaA), who described the application of proteomics and genetics in cosmetic actives development. She gave two examples to illustrate transcription analysis with computational tools to decipher gene data. Isabelle Imbert, PhD (ISP/Vincience), then discussed how the epidermal cellular environment and proteins of the chromosomal passenger complex are involved in the homeostasis and protection of somatic stem cells in the skin. Finally, Karl Lintner (KAL’IDEES) described a study examining the ability of sphingosine-1-phosphate and/or its analog, myristylphosphomalate, to stimulate skin moisture regulation.

During the second day’s luncheon, the Robert A. Kramer Lifetime Service Award was presented to Robert Saute, PhD. This award has only been presented seven times in 23 years, according to Lochhead, and Saute accepted the award with great modesty and a tear or two. In addition, the SCC Merit Award was presented to Mindy Goldstein, PhD; the SCC installed the 2011 board of directors (see 2011 SCC Directors); and new SCC president Randy Wickett, PhD, received the presidential gavel from immediate past president Robert Lochhead. As his first act as president, Wickett then presented Lochhead with the SCC certificate of appreciation for his leadership and service.

After lunch, the final session on new technologies and trends in skin began. The session opened with Hani Fares, PhD (International Specialty Products), who compared cross-linked homopolymers and copolymers of acrylic acid. Fares described these materials as stabilizers for o/w emulsions with solid particles. His data showed that acrylic acid (AA) and vinyl pyrrolidone copolymer is superior to AA-based polymers in emulsions w/high levels of solids.

David Boudier (Silab) discussed the body’s autophagic system for skin detoxification, after which Melanie Sabadatto (Cognis France) presented a new device to test mechanical properties of skin, the corneovacumeter.

Finally, Brian Czetty rounded out the sessions with a discussion of whether powered devices belong in facial cleansing. His work found that irritation levels were lower than expected given the amount of exfoliation taking place by the devices. He concluded that a rotating brush with a cleanser, compared with water, reduced the number of microbes on skin. During the Q/A session, some attendees found his microbiology data surprising; in addition, one attendee noted that the study should include a brush/foam and brush-only test for a true comparison, with which Czetty agreed.

The next annual SCC event, the Annual Scientific Seminar, will be held June 2-3, 2011, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. For more information, visit the SCC website.

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