Whats New In RD?

March 6, 2006

Consumer education is increasing the competition among cosmetic chemists to create more effective products.

What’s New In R&D?

Consumer education is increasing the competition among cosmetic chemists to create more effective products.

Susan A. Eliya
Associate Editor

The purpose of cosmetics hasn’t changed much in the past decade—women, and more men, too, want to look younger, feel better and improve their appearance. What is new is that now formulators can choose from a wide range of effective ingredients to create more effective products.

“Consumer’s don’t want trade-offs,” stressed Janice Teal, group vice president, chief scientific officer, global research & development, Avon Products, Suffern, NY. “Consumers are much more informed, so that puts more pressure on R&D to continue to develop even better products. At Avon, we are using technology to increase the benefits we can deliver to the consumer.”

Derma E’s Hyaluronic Acid Firming Serum line provides high concentrations of hyaluronic acid, which is produced by the skin but decreases with time.
Furthermore, a growing number of consumers are demanding high-performance and multi-functional products which are based on natural ingredients.

“More from less is the current consumer trend,” explained Shyam Gupta, president of Bioderm Research, Scottsdale, AZ. “Consumers want a greater number of benefits from lesser product applications.”

(For a closer look at some of the newest ingredients on the market, see Novel & Natural on p. 82.)

According to Dr. Gupta, only a decade ago, a beauty routine often involved as many as seven different products (e.g., cleanser, toner, lotion, day cream, night cream, serum, eye cream). Today, consumers expect superior performance from an application regimen of no more than three different products.

At the same time, researchers are taking a more holistic approach to skin care by focusing on how certain ingredients can impact the overall health of the skin.

Howard Murad, chief executive officer and founder of Murad Inc., El Segundo, CA, said that anti-aging, along with various treatment products, are some of the strongest demands from consumers.

“We see more and more people having very sensitive skin, acne and other different problems with their skin,” Dr. Murad added. “From my perspective as a dermatologist and looking at skin on a daily basis, I’m looking for ways to improve the overall benefit of the skin, which is what every cosmetic scientist should be looking to do. My role is to look at what we want the effects to be and find ingredients to make a difference. The chemist puts them together in such a way that they work to ultimately have the best benefit.”

Beate Boutwell, technical manager color, Creative Outsourcing Solutions International Ltd. (COSi), West Sussex, UK, a developer and manufacturer of color cosmetics and toiletries, explained that consumers want anti-stress products, which also provide protection against the environment, such as smog and free radicals.

While opinions vary about what constitutes a major advancement in cosmetic R&D, industry experts agree that consumers are looking for safe effective ingredients, and accomplishments in R&D have changed dramatically to suit the consumer’s needs.

“Anti-aging products are still the products in highest demand, however the focus is now on prevention rather than cure,” observed Ms. Boutwell.

To prevent many of the maladies that affect older consumers, more marketers are reaching out to younger consumers. Only a few years ago, the target market for skin care products was women in the 35+ age bracket, but now there is a shift to 20+ women.

“As a result, cosmetic chemists now need to produce high-tech products with evidence of anti-aging properties that can be substantiated to claim a preventable activity and not just a cure,” said Ms. Boutwell.

The Benefits of Water

Dr. Murad told Happi that one recent advance in cosmetic R&D is his concept of the “water principle.”

“Regardless of what causes aging or disease, whether it’s in the skin or the rest of the body, there is only one final common denominator, and that is there is less water in the cells and in the connective tissue,” he said. “Understanding that and finding ways to increase the water content in the cells and in the connective tissue are really going to affect aging regardless of the cause and also affect various disease states.”

The Watersall line reportedly restores the skin’s natural pH.
According to Dr. Murad, the water principle actually increases cellular H2O which, in turn, ultimately reduces the appearance of wrinkles and acne, reduces gum disease and even restores hair growth. To that end, his company has developed supplements that boost the level of water found in the cells.

According to Dr. Murad, results of a clinical study found that participants who took the supplement reported a wide range of benefits—wrinkles diminished, skin firmed and sun damage decreased. He explained that the supplement increases energy, decreases body fat content, increases circulation and allows participants to sleep better.

“Many parameters of aging begin to diminish,” he claimed. “I think it’s a revolutionary concept that will be acknowledged more often.”

Dr. Murad isn’t the only proponent of water. Other companies, too, are banking on the benefits of H2O.

In fact, Watersall, Inc., Albany, GA, has built an entire product line that’s based on water.

“In the past 12 months, I believe a major advancement in cosmetic science are anti-aging performance ingredients,” said Drew Aultman, president of Watersall. “[These ingredients] provide consumers with new anti-aging ingredients that can be incorporated into a greater number of skin care products designed for specific areas, such as the face, legs and hands. Any product that can enhance the skin’s appearance without the risks of invasive procedures or surgery will continue to get the consumer’s attention.”

The Watersall and Splash Cool products are purified water in a bottle that is applied by misting it on the face. The products claim to plump, smooth and refresh the skin.

“Consumers want products that are safe and improve the condition and look of the skin, insisted Mr. Aultman.

The Watersall products are said to be based on pharmaceutical-grade purified water that exceeds purity standards set forth by the FDA for water used in medical or pharmaceutical applications. The product is propelled with medical-grade nitrogen, the purest available. In order to ensure quality and product shelf life, the purified water is then sterilized.

“This process sets our product apart from other facial and body mists on the market,” said Mr. Aultman.

Watersall is said to provide instant relief from heat, washes away perspiration and restores skin to its natural pH after swimming or exercise. Watersall comes in a 5oz. bottle and Splash Cool is available in 1.7-, 5- and 14oz. cans.

The Pressure is On

The concentrated peptide complex found in Erno Laszlo’s Surgical Skincare line minimizes lines and wrinkles.

Increasingly, educated consumers are raising the bar for developers. As consumers demand newer, more effective and safer products, cosmetic scientists are forced to meet these needs.  

Dr. Gupta said that because consumers are aware that they have choices in the marketplace, cosmetic chemists must exceed consumer expectations, perceptions and trends, or they risk failing in today’s competitive marketplace.

“Since R&D is usually a service function to marketing in many organizations, the role of R&D may need to be redefined to bring marketers in closer contact with the consumer,” he observed.

At the same time, cosmetic chemists must question every material they use in a formulation, noted Suan Morehart, director of sales and marketing, Derma E Natural Bodycare, Simi Valley, CA.

“Consumers are better educated and asking a lot of questions. This is forcing the R&D department to focus on what goes into a formulation and  why,” said Ms. Morehart. “It ensures safer products are available, as consumers ask more questions about why a particular ingredient is necessary. Therefore the industry more often needs a rationale for all ingredients it chooses to use.”

Ms. Boutwell agreed that increased consumer education has made more companies rely on R&D rather than “marketing waffle.”

“For the chemist, this brings more responsibility but results in strong products that are backed up with scientific evidence for its benefits claims,” she insisted.

Effective Antioxidants

Derma E’s current research is focused on antioxidants.

“Countless studies now demonstrate the protective effects of topical antioxidants, and antioxidants are widely accepted to help prevent and diminish the oxidative damage that has an adverse effect on the aging process,” she said.

Derma E’s Hyaluronic Acid firming serum, eye cream, refreshing mist, day cream and night cream all provide high concentrations of hyaluronic acid, which is naturally produced by the skin, but decreases with age.

Derma E noted that scientists have found the company’s moisturizer to bind water to form a protective barrier and works to improve collagen for increased skin elasticity and strength.

A representative of Erno Laszlo shared that consumer demand has really opened up the dialogue between the customer and cosmetic specialist. As a result, the specialists really need to know about the products, and cannot make certain claims without really being able to back them up with clinical research.

Erno Laszlo’s Surgiceutical Skincare line, which consists of TranspHuse Topical, TranspHuse pHixation and TranspHuse Lip pHixative, is said to smooth out wrinkles from the deepest to the most superficial layer of skin, according to the company. The line contains a concentrated peptide complex that minimizes the length and depth of expression lines and wrinkles, reduces redness, relaxes, refreshes and firms skin.

Clearly, cosmetic R&D has come a long way in only a few short years. While most creams, lotions and serums are primarily used to enhance the outer appearance, more and more products promise to improve the overall health of skin as well.