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Skin Care Thinks Small to Deliver Big

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: August 5, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
An array of polymer microneedles 1,000 microns tall

Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Tech’s school of chemical and biomolecular engineering, one of the professors leading a U.S. team in finding a new mass delivery method for the flu vaccine, holds an array of polymer microneedles 1,000 microns tall. This photo, taken by Gary Meek and duplicated from the cover, is used with permission from Georgia Tech.

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Wiechers notes, “Cosmetic scientists generally do not want their cosmetic active ingredients to penetrate all the way through the skin into the systemic circulation … Functional ingredients such as UV filters should remain on the skin surface … Other functional ingredients, such as antioxidants, skin lightening ingredients and molecules with antiaging properties, often exert their activity in the viable epidermis or even the dermis.”3 Wiechers says advanced skin care ingredients must be paired with accurate delivery systems to reach a site of action without being “inactivated by metabolism” or concentrated so much that “the effect starts to become toxic.”4

Niadyne, Inc. develops cosmetic products under its Nia 24 skin care brand under the same guidelines and practices as its pharmaceutical products, and formulates with a proprietary delivery technology. “Our micronutrient delivery system brings a continuous release form of niacin to the skin,” says Myron Jacobson, PhD, chief scientific officer, Niadyne, Inc. “Our Pro-Niacin molecule contains a lipophilic—or fat-loving—tail so that it can penetrate the skin.”

Of course, once formulators have overcome their R&D challenges and successfully reached the 4Rs of delivery, it is time for marketing departments to promote the new product’s claims.

Compounding Claims

Karen Newman, group editor in chief of GCI magazine, writes that marketing delivery systems together with active ingredients, rather than separately, is important, because “delivery systems exist to improve the efficacy of an active in a formulation.”5 This dual marketing also makes more sense to consumers.

“There is a closer relationship with less of a push-pull effect now,” says Art Rich, president and CEO of A. Rich Development, LLC. “Marketers are aware that new technologies will provide the edge that will peak the consumer’s curiosity and interest. R&D is sensitive to the marketing plan to use technology and sees the technical efforts being translated to marketing promotions.”