Water Content, Nanoparticles and Skin Penetration in Brazil: Lindo Maravilhoso!

SÃO PAULO—Water content, surfactants, thickeners, actives, nanoparticles and skin penetration were among the hot topics presented at the biennial XXI COLAMIQC congress of the Latin American and Iberian cosmetic chemists. Held May 14-16, 2013, in São Paulo, technical sessions were paired alongside the FCE Cosmetique exhibition and trade show for both the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries. Supporting the event were the FELASCC—the Latin American Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Scientists, and the Brazilian Cosmetology Association (ABC), in partnership with NürnbergMesse Brazil, organizer of FCE Cosmetique.

Each day began with technical sessions that ran until late afternoon. These sessions were overlapped by the opening of the exhibition midday, which lasted into the evening. The presentations followed the theme, “Sustainable Technology: Innovation Beyond Cosmetic Science,” and were divided into two tracks: commercial presentations and research. In general, the commercial track featured innovations by supplier companies, whereas the research track focused on university work.

For example, on the commercial side, Hal Rose, of Active Organics, highlighted the company’s Actisea H2O technology (INCI: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (and) Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (and) Algae Extract). He discussed how this blend provides hydration in skin and hair. “Why is hair hydration important?” asked Rose. “Low humidity will make hair brittle, causing split ends and flyaway hair due to static build-up. When added at 3% to formulations, Actisea increases the water content of hair by 38%,” he said, noting the ingredient also controls water content levels that are too high in high humidity situations.

The ingredient’s mechanism is based on polysugars, which work in low or high humidity to capture, maintain and regulate the amount of water in hair. “Damaged hair is very porous, and these proteins restore the damaged portions of hair,” explained Rose. Further, the material was tested in skin and shown to increase hydration levels by 22% after a two-week, twice daily use study. Laser Doppler also showed the ingredient reduced 49% of irritation caused by SLS.

Also describing commercial technologies, Ravikumar Pillai of Symrise proposed and alternative preservation system for cosmetics, after which Anatoly Damashek, of Stepan Company, described the basic mechanisms of surfactants and how to balance isoelectric charges for proper cleansing and conditioning. Anne Hetier of Sederma, discussed the novel application of peptides in blemish balm (BB) creams, color correction (CC) creams and daily defense (DD) creams. And André Pereira, of Seppic Brasil, presented Sepimax Zen (INCI: Polyacrylates Crosspolymer-6), a thickening and stabilizing polymer whose mechanism works via electrostatic hydrophobic interactions.

From the research side, Jeffrey Grice, of the University of Queensland, Australia, explored the targeting of topical products and the levels to which they penetrate the skin in his keynote address. “Sunscreen nanoparticulates ZnO and TiO2 in sunscreens are effective UV filters but there are concerns over their safety when they come into contact with cells. ZnO in particular has been shown to cause DNA damage in vitro—although not in vivo—and small concentrations of Zn ions have been found in blood and urine samples of subjects having applied them topically.”

Grice thus began his work by focusing on whether nanoparticles could penetrate the human skin; and if they could, whether they did anything once there. He described experiments involving the topical application of commercial materials and measurements of their fluorescent emission spectra as a means to track the depth of materials into skin. In the end, his team observed no changes in the metabolism of cells, no changes in TEWL, and only some ZnO traces in the skin, which caused no adverse effects. “This suggested that while nanoparticles could penetrate the skin in in vitro models, since there was no evidence of their penetration in vivo, perhaps something in the living tissue protected against their penetration.”

Other aspects of Grice’s work examined the efficacy of transfollicular delivery, which was found to be 10X faster than transdermal delivery, as well ultra-deformable, novel surfactant, ethanol and cholesterol (SEC)-osomes, designed to twist and squish into the spaces between cells and penetrate deeply, even to the DNA level, for effects such as gene silencing. Throughout his work, Grice described multiphoton tomography as a useful technique to examine skin condition and treatments.

Bozena Michniak-Kohn, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, also looked at skin penetration but from a medical view—i.e., to treat psoriasis topically. She described the development of tyrospheres: biocompatible, tyrosine-derived polymers that can act as carriers to load lipophilic drugs for application to the skin. “The challenge has been to deliver materials not across the skin, but into the skin,” said Michniak. She explained that the tyrospheres increase the solubility of the drugs contained therein to increase their driving force into skin. “The drug or cosmetic active is thus released from the carrier in a slow, diffusion-controlled manner.” Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry quantified the amount of active delivered into the layers of the skin and showed no evidence of the tyrospheres themselves penetrating the skin.

Taking her work further, Michniak noted, “These are all simple vehicles, but what happens when you put them into a formulation?” Results were the same: the concentration of active was the highest in the dermis and no transdermal delivery was observed. Further, only small, insignificant differences were noted in concentrations of the active delivered from a gel formula vs. the simple carrier. Michniak emphasized, however, “When you put anything into a formulation, you have to check that the actives contained are released.”

Lastly, Michniak sought to improve the stability of the preparations. “Academics do not usually look at stability because they often are not thinking about commercialization,” noted Michniak. Her team found that freeze-drying the preparations was a suitable solution. “We studied the tyrosomes for more than 100 weeks and they remained stable. This confirmed that the technology was stable and successful for use over time.”

Beyond the technical presentations, raw material companies showcased their ingenuity and capabilities during the FCE exhibition. In addition to handing out travel-sized formula samples and bold, dye-cut product brochures, some exhibitors took interacting with attendees to a whole new level—ranging from beauty makeovers to functioning manufacturing lines on the show floor. In one case, Rhodia hired a team of local Brazilian hair styling celebrities to cut and style attendees’ hair using the company’s latest hair care innovations. In another case, the flavor and fragrance company Firmenich built an elaborate display at its booth aimed at exploring the senses, for attendees to see, feel, taste and touch.

Rounding out three days of science and showcasing, a closing gala marked the “grand finale” to the event, honoring established and up-and-coming innovators—both on the podium and in poster presentations. Winners for the best paper presented at the event were Belcorp’s Daniel Sanchez and John Jimenez, for their work on age-reversal. Looking ahead, the FCE exhibition will be held next May 12-14, 2014, again at the Transamerica Expo Center in São Paulo, while the next COLAMIMQC event will take place October 27-19, 2015, at the Conrad Resort and Casino in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The COLAMIQC event will once again highlight innovative research and application of science in the industry, but in one new and additional way: via the Johann Wiechers Award for practical application. Cosmetics & Toiletries is a proud sponsor of this award, which will be presented for the first time at the 2015 event. More information will be made available in late 2013 at www.CosmeticsandToiletries.com. For more information about the FCE or COLAMIQC events, visit www.fcecosmetique.com.br/en and/or www.imagencorporativa.com.uy/colamiqc2015.

More in Event Coverage