Features

A Focus on Innovation

April 30, 2008

HBA Spring Conference attracts nearly 400 executives from around the world to Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, March 4 and 5.

A Focus on Innovation



HBA Spring Conference attracts nearly 400 executives from around the world to Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, March 4 and 5.



Tom Branna
Editorial Director



Consumers are more educated, more diverse and have higher expectations of their beauty products than ever before, according to Laurent Gilbert, global director of raw materials and advanced research at L’Oréal. Mr. Gilbert said successful beauty companies must respond to the diverse needs of consumers.
 
“Innovate to offer solutions to consumers in a new way,” he urged the audience.
   
Mr. Gilbert was the keynote speaker at the the HBA spring conference, which was held March 4 and  5 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY. The event attracted more than 375 industry delegates from around the world.
  
 “HBA continues to lead the way in providing world class industry education,” said Jill Birkett, event director, HBA Global Expo. “Our spring conference served a dual purpose of providing attendees with the latest on technical well-being trends as well as unmatched marketing expertise on prestige packaging that is important for successful product development and brand positioning. We look forward to expanding on that programming and a broader agenda at this September’s HBA conference program.”

Delighting the Consumer



In order to satisfy consumer demands, Mr. Gilbert said L’Oréal is determined to increase the knowledge of hair and skin all over the world. For example, he noted that there 63 different skin tones in the world and eight different hair shape classifications. Only by understanding the diverse needs of consumers can beauty companies be successful.
   
Of course, some companies are more prepared than others to meet these consumer needs. For example, L’Oreal spends 560 million euros on research and development and employs more than 3000 researchers around the world, according to Mr. Gilbert. Still, internal efforts are often not enough to succeed in the global marketplace. 
   
“If we want to innovate in a global market and take advantage of all opportunities, we must open our minds to collaboration,” he reminded the audience. “Innovation is an integrated process.”
    At L’Oréal, open innovation is based on three pillars:
    • Internal technologies;
    • External technologies and
    • Collaboration and alliances.
   
Suppliers, of course, represent one key area of collaboration. Mr. Gilbert shared a raw material assessment form that L’Oréal developed that focuses on five areas of vigilance: health and safety of people, health and safety of the environment, preservation of biodiversity, fair trade practices, and social and societal impact.
   
Using this evaluation, L’Oréal developed Pro-Xylane, a naturally-derived ingredient from the beech wood plant. It is said to penetrate the extracellular matrix that supports skin structure to restore overall health and suppleness.
   
“Pro-Xylane is the first eco-friendly cosmetic active ingredient,” he insisted.
   
By applying its internal evaluation, expertise and capabilities to a supplier’s raw materials, L’Oréal converts these ingredients into successful and innovative end products.
   
“The world is evolving quickly, you need to understand the consumer,” he concluded. “Innovate, be open to the external world and be environmentally-friendly.”

Be Kind to Animals



Being friendly to the environment includes being friendly to animals. And the best way to accomplish that is to reduce or eliminate animal testing whenever possible. Betsy Nessen Merrill of the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) explained how the 3Rs of animal-testing alternatives—replace, reduce and refine—are playing an increasingly important role in the cosmetic industry as new regulations, including REACH, the Seventh Amendment to the Cosmetic Directive and the California Safe Cosmetic Act, as well as pending legislation in California and New Jersey, force many companies to reevaluate how they test their products.
   
At the same time, non-governmental organizations, as well as public opinion are pressuring companies to eliminate their animal testing protocols.
   
“The time to act is now,” she urged the audience. “You can’t comply with REACH using animals.”
   
Dr. Merrill suggested researchers must change their thinking from relying on an animal model to one that is based on human biology.
   
“Human science is the best science,” she insisted.

The Dermatological Approach



While cosmetics companies and their suppliers grapple with issues such as animal testing alternatives and novel active ingredients, dermatologists are working with new technologies that are changing the way consumers think about aging.
   
The HBA spring conference included a session on some of the latest technology available to dermatologists. Arielle N.B. Kauvar, a New York City-based dermatologist, detailed the mechanisms of facial aging, including loss of subcutaneous fat, thinning dermis, muscle laxity and descent of facial fat pads.
   
But there are ways to combat these signs of aging. Dr. Kauvar noted that from 2003 to 2005, there was a 55% increase in dermal filler injections, and during that time, demand for Restylane surged 50% to account for 52% of all procedures. In fact, wholesale volume topped $450 million, a growth of over 200% since 2000. Moreover, market growth is expected rise more than 25% a year in the U.S. and more than 20% globally for the next five years.
   
“There’s been a dramatic increase in filler products with a wide range of applications,” said Dr. Kauvar. “Fillers can now improve facial contours and restore volume.”
   
She traced the timeline of the U.S. dermal filler market, which began in the 1980s with collagen, and moved to hyaluronic acid and poly-L-lactic acid around 2004.
   
With demand surging, Dr. Kauvar described the ideal filler to the audience. It would be painless to inject; as well as safe, biocompatible and stable at room temperature. Furthermore, it would be pliable, persistent and maintain its volume. The ideal filler would not migrate, induce granuloma formation, or have potential to be teratogenic, carcinogenic, allergenic or transmit infection. Finally, the ideal filler would resist phagocytosis.
   
Dermatologist Zoe Draelos looked at the next generation of dermatologic concepts, noting that there is an increased emphasis to examine skin at an intercellular level to improve functioning. She called aquaporins the newest discovery in moisturization. These cellular proteins form water channels in all living organisms and maintain water balance. Aquaporin-3 (AQ3) is found in the epidermis and transports water, glycerol and urea. Mice with AQ3 deficiencies have extremely dry skin, according to Dr. Draelos. Therefore, she suggested that aquaporin-modulating cosmeceuticals may offer a tremendous opportunity for improve the appearance of aging skin, reduce psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases and improve cellular differentiation to reduce the incidence of skin cancer.
 
Dr. Draelos noted that the development of new delivery systems with more accurate targeting and enhanced longevity is a real possibility. She told the audience that there is real opportunity for small skin penetrating molecules, such as nanoparticles, to create a long-lasting reservoir of active ingredients. Moreover, vitamins C and E could be directly supplied to the dermis.
  
Still, the jury remains out on the safety of these microsize particles. Or, as Dr. Draelos noted, “Nanoparticles could be the best and worst thing that ever happened to skin care.”
  
The speaker predicted that new dermatologic products will have the increased ability to modulate the behavior of aging cells. For example, resveratrol acts as a antioxidant in topical formulations and has an important effect on modulating sirtuins, which cause the inaccurate reproduction of DNA. As Dr. Draelos explained, resveratrol inhibits this sirtuin activity and prevents the reduction in gene expression.
   
Finally, Dr. Draelos explained how canthelicidins may be a cause of inflammation.

HBA Global Expo Set for Sept. 9, 10 and 11



The next HBA event will be the 16th Annual HBA Global Expo and Educational Conference taking place Sept. 9, 10, and 11th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. It is the largest product development event and new product launch pad for the cosmetics, fragrance, personal care and well-being industries.
   
In addition, the HBA Industry Awards Dinner honoring the industry’s top marketing, product development and packaging professionals along with the presentation of the International Package Design Awards will take Sept. 9, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York. More info: www.hbaexpo.com or (212) 600-3117.
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