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Wrinkle Free and Beyond

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: January 10, 2006, from the January 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Packer looks to biotechnology and biofermentation as fertile areas to obtain new raw materials for topical use, and points to currently available treatment materials derived from microalgae grown under controlled conditions. Stimulation of cellular metabolism and wrinkle reduction are some of the benefits offered by these new treatment products. Meanwhile, Tarver and her team are looking beyond lines and wrinkles to other measures of aging skin, and she said they are not alone in this exploration. “I think there is a lot of work across the industry going on around collagen synthesis, given that healthy collagen is the basis of good, supple, firm skin,” she said.

Boom, Not Bubble

The business world learned a painful lesson in the last decade about booms that go bust. The results were dramatic and messy and still are felt today. The scale is clearly not the same, but there is optimism in this industry, with many thinking the antiaging skin care boom will last. “It may not be realistic to expect sustainable growth at as rapid a pace as we have seen the past few years,’ said Centerchem’s Packer, “but I do believe that a larger business base in antiaging skin care is here to stay.”

The growing number of players in the industry along with some interesting new distribution channels certainly has had an impact on the sales of antiaging skin care. Home shopping channels on cable television have launched a number of successful lines, including some that only are available there. Jon Packer thinks many drugstore chains are getting it right in a lot of ways, putting out their own branded products at good value points and greatly increasing the range of products they offer with a lot of emphasis on skin treatment and antiaging products.

Wrinkle Free Future?

Short-term advances are happening rapidly, and Packer points to new types of claims, with improvement in the degree of wrinkle reduction as an example. He sees advances in ingredients that interact with specific cellular receptors or sites that activate or deactivate proteins. Ingredients that signal natural pathways in the skin is another approach of great potential, as are improvements in the texture and overall appearance of the skin and improvements for treating sensitive skin.

Longer term, Packer sees a much wider potential. In no particular order, he predicts better control of oiliness; being able to control pigmentation (darker and lighter); further strides in truly turning back the clock; smoother, firmer, better textured, more youthful-looking skin; greater specificity of active ingredients targeted for specific end benefits and with enhanced delivery/sustained release (longer acting) on the skin. “We should never minimize that better cosmetic effects will be developed, which give immediate visual and tactile benefits to the cosmetic appearance and feel of skin,” said Packer.

Listening to Consumers