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Inventing Success

By: Rachel L. Grabenhofer
Posted: February 2, 2010, from the February 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 6 of 8

Antioxidants revisited: Besides UV filters, antioxidants such as vitamin C are prone to degradation and sensitive to light or heat. And while their natural disposition makes them desirable as natural actives, their nature poses a challenge to formulators. A recent patent, however, described methods and ingredients to improve the stability of vitamin C derivatives. This concept also could lead to the development of new skin-whitening agents.

Stem cells: While the term stem cells implies a foetal-derived extract, in personal care, it more often refers to either protecting/acting upon consumers’ own stem cells or using plant-derived stem cell materials. Research with grapes and apples has yielded ingredients that can preserve and stimulate human stem cells and delay signs of aging. These materials not only satisfy the demand for antiaging efficacy, they are also nature-derived and provide an interesting sell point. (See “Stem Cells— A Widening Horizon” by Aran Puri at or the October 2009 issue. Nancy McDonald and Salvador Pliego have also offered takes on stem cells in their “Marketing and R&D Magic” column.)


Vernix caseosa: Speaking of infants, research into the characteristics of Vernix caseosa (the substance, composed of sebum that covers and protects the skin of the fetus) has implications for highly effective skin care. As Wiechers wrote, evidence shows the material acts as a barrier cream that corrects moisturization levels within the skin. In addition, it improves skin barrier recovery by creating and maintaining a water activity level that allows enzymes to function properly. However, since Vernix caseosa is insufficiently available, synthetic analogues are being developed that mimic the semi-permeable nature of the material.

Formulating efficiencies: During the New York SCC Suppliers’ Day, Biosil’s Doug De Blasi told Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine that it’s “not just about ingredient efficacy, it’s also about efficiency—especially now.” For some time, Wiechers has described the concept of “Formulating for Efficacy,” which refers to designing a formula in such as way that the ingredients are combined to leverage benefits of each. Based on this concept, ingredients with multiple functions emerged; and now, innovators are pushing them even further to create greater efficiencies. While multifunctional products are not a new concept, combining their efficiencies in deliberate ways is—at least in the mainstream. Fragrance that doubles as an antiaging active is a recent development in this area. Other synergies between materials have been commercialized, but are only the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.