It's Not Natural...

July 1, 2008

let alone, organic! The Society of Cosmetic Chemists tackles the weighty issue of natural and organic materials at its annual scientific seminar in Orlando. Skin color, delivery systems, hair care and testing methods are also discussed.

It’s Not Natural...

let alone, organic! The Society of Cosmetic Chemists tackles the weighty issue of natural and organic materials at its annual scientific seminar in Orlando. Skin color, delivery systems, hair care and testing methods are also discussed.

By Tom Branna
Editorial Director

What is natural? Or, for that matter, what is organic? For nearly 20 years, the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) has grappled with the issue of what is natural and what isn’t. During that time, the natural category has exploded and now accounts for 7% of the global personal care market and is growing at a double-digit rate. In the past few years, a number of outside organizations, including Ecocert, BDIH and The Soil Association, have taken it upon themselves to solve the naturals puzzle. Unfortunately, they’ve only managed to cloud the issue even further.
At its annual scientific seminar in Orlando, June 5 and 6, the Society revisited the natural/organic cosmetic product issue, but the event raised even more questions than it answered. For example, water is not organic, but it typically accounts for 70% of a product formulation. Yet, many products on the market today claim to be nearly 100% organic!
In the opening session, Tim Kapsner of Aveda noted that no less than six major organizations are vying to take the lead on the natural question. Three are in the U.S. (OASIS, NSF and NPA) and three are based in Europe (Ecocert, BDIH and NaTrue). All of them have their own definition of organic and this has created headaches for any company trying to certify its products. Unfortunately, Mr. Kapsner warned that the situation will get worse before it gets better.
“It will be a long and agonizing process (toward a single standard),” he told the audience. “The organizations that make the most sense will be the ones that consumers gravitate toward.”
While the industry grapples with the natural question, Pierre Charlier de Chily of Aldivia noted that sales of natural cosmetics in France have been growing 40% a year for several years. He said that consumers want to buy effective, healthy and natural products that protect their skin as much as their environment.
The solution, he maintained, is green chemistry, which he called the path of the future.
“The keystone of green chemistry is to solve toxicity at the source, rather than treat it later,” he said.
    Green chemistry relies on 12 principles. The first six are focused on efficiency:
    • Molecular economy (avoid wasting of non-incorporated molecules);
    • Energy economy;
    • The use of alternative catalysts instead of stoechiometric reactions;
    • The use of selected renewable raw materials produced while respecting the environment;
    • The suppression of temporary chemical modifications which is inefficient in terms of reagents and energy; and
    • The use of real-time analysis, allowing to constantly optimize reactions and reduce waste and purification steps.
    Principles 7-12 are based on more safety and less pollution, by:
    • Limiting waste production;
    • Facilitating the production of non-persistent products;
    • Creating less harmful syntheses processes;
    • Creating safer, but as effective, products (by making them less bioavailable for example, or by neutralizing the toxic functions);
    • Using green reagents; and
    • Limiting the risk of accidents.
Mr. de Chily noted that there are many roadblocks to green chemistry, including inexpensive petrochemicals, variation in vegetable source and production methods. Still, he maintained that green chemistry, though of a long-term nature, remains the best strategy for the industry.
Mark Miller of McIntyre presents the Society of Cosmetic Chemists' award to Mary Matsui of Estée Lauder for the best paper presented at the 2007 annual scientific meeting.
Ulrich Issberner of Cognis Corp., provided the audience with strategies to create green products. He explained that going green really depends on how far the customer wants to go in the process. After all, there are no green UV filters on the market, nor any preservatives or solvents for that matter.
Therefore, formulators can create levels of green to their own liking. For example, marketers may choose to create 100% natural, organic products or they may opt for formulas that are made from 95% organically-certified products. Other options, according to Dr. Issberner, include 100% naturally-derived, or developing products that are free from ingredients such as mineral oil. There’s even room for products that are “naturally-inspired,” according to the speaker.
But even the greenest product available on the market will come under scrutiny if its packaging is extravagant or wasteful. John A. Delfausse of Estée Lauder Companies, explained how the “Design, Reuse and Recover” concept can help personal care companies design sustainable packaging.
“There is a move afoot to certify packaging as sustainable,” he told the audience. “But no packaging is sustainable from head to toe.”
That reality has stopped the growth of the Sustainable Packaging  Coalition, which has grown to include 180 members during the past year.
Estée Lauder has its own definition for sustainable packaging that includes maximizing the use of renewable and recycled materials, manufacturing using clean production technologies and best practices and can be effectively recovered for re-use as a resource after use.
Finally, Farah K. Ahmed of the Personal Care Product Council reviewed regulatory issues surrounding organic and natural issues. Like the speakers before her, Ms. Ahmed noted that there is no general consensus on what the term “natural” means. At the end of the day, the Federal Trade Commission will often decide cases where outlandish claims—including those regarding naturals—are made. She noted, for example, that the FDA does not define the natural term for personal products. However, the FTC and the National Advertising Division require “adequate substantiation” of claims. Furthermore, FTC has stated that companies must be clear and definitive on green claims.
She also warned that the NAD is on the lookout for outlandish claims such as “better than Botox,” and may urge action by the FTC.
“We’re so used to seeing regulations from the FDA, but now you must be aware of what your peers think about your product claims,” she warned the audience.

A Closer Look at Skin

Jane Hollenberg of JCH Consulting moderated a session on skin color. The first speaker, Carla Perez of Seppic, detailed a new skin whitener (sodium palmitoyproline and nymphea alba flower extract) that is capable of modulating melanogenesis-related genes to prevent UV-induced pigmentation.
She explained how SPPNF (0.00025%) induced a significant reduction of ET-1 production as well as a slight reduction of IL-1alpha production in non-irradiated cells, which is partially responsible for its lightening effect. Also, SPPNF induced a decrease in the expression of MIC1, a bone morphogenetic protein, which is likely responsible for the decrease in tyrosinase, MITF and other melanogenesis-related gene expression.
Betty Aucare of BASF explained how complex effect pigments can provide innovative solutions for ethnic color cosmetics. She noted that the color generated by effect pigment is highly dependent on the viewing angle and the skin tone in which it is applied. For example, formulations containing effect pigments brighten dark skin tones. Moreover, red interference effect pigments neutralize the excess red color and bring back the skin’s natural look. Thus using a formulation containing red or gold effect pigments masks the skin imperfection created by the reddish spots.
The dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) was the focus of a presentation by Hugues Beaulieu of Unipex Innovations. Specifically, he explained how a formula containing 2.5% of caprooyl tetrapeptide-3 produced a significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Within 28 days of application, fine lines and wrinkles were reduced by 16%. Interestingly, for older test subjects (those 50-65), the benefits continued to progress over two months for an average reduction of 27%.
To document the effect of caprooyl tetrapeptide-3, the Unipex team used echography. They recorded the age-related appearance of a superficial low-echogenic band in the dermis, immediately below the epidermal entrance echo. As a result, Unipex proposed that echogenicity is a marker for skin aging.
Michael Daley of Kimberly-Clark provided details on how controlling ceramidase can improve skin health. He explained how biological exudates from humans damage skin and cause irritation. But botanical compositions containing Dragoderm, aloe ferox HS, phytoplenolin, American ginseng, tea extract and comfrey leaf extract proved to significantly reduce ceramidase. He concluded that including these botanicals into products may present a cost effective means to deliver an important skin benefit.
Finally, Roger McMullen of International Specialty Products explained how to use image analysis to quantify the efficacy of active ingredients for skin. Using the Photoshop program, Dr. McMullen showed the audience how image processing can take images obtained from a microscope and enhance specific features to be easily highlighted and properly measured. Traditional techniques that can benefit from this kind of enhancement include Hematoxylin-, eosin- , oil red- and immunofluorescent staining.
A concurrent session on hair aging and graying was moderated by Colleen Rocafort of Ciba.

A Look at Delivery Systems

A well-received session on delivery systems was moderated by Mindy Goldstein of Estée Lauder. Jeff Caruso of NuSil Technology explained how formulators may choose appropriate delivery matrices for cosmetic ingredients. Silicone materials tested included standard dimethicone, 100 mol% trifluoropropylmethylsiloxane and 15 mol% PEG-7 substituted dimethicone gels. Fluids evaluated included water methoxynonafluorobutane (CF-61), ethoxynonafluorobutane (CF-76) and 10% glycolic acid. He explained the important role that contact angle plays in determining the choice of material. Those with a contact angle  >90° are hydrophobic, while those <90° are hydrophilic. The dimethicone and fluoromethicone gels had contact angles >100°, while PEG-7 dimethicone had the lowest overall contact angle of 60°.
Another way to choose the right material is to conduct swell tests. In his tests, the largest percent swell for fluoromethicone was observed for CF-61 and CF-76, two ether-based solvents that are widely used in cosmetics.
Jessica Yuan of the University of Toronto noted that traditional drug-in-adhesive patches cannot be used over burns, blisters, painful skin irritations or other wounds. She proposed that a sprayable microemulsion of lidocaine may be used to treat these skin maladies. The extended-release formula is made from linker-based lecithin microemulsions. The microemulsions contained 4% lecithin, 12% sorbitan monooleate, 1% (for Type II) and 7% (for Type I) sodium caprylate, 3% caprylic acid, 0.9% sodium chloride, water and isopropyl myristate. The Type II formula was loaded with 5- and 10% lidocaine, while the Type I formulation was loaded with 4- and 8% lidocaine. After applying the microemulsions for a period of time, the drug was absorbed in the skin that acted as a reservoir, providing extended release of the drug over 24 hours and more than 99% released.
“Linker-based lecithin microemulsions can be applied to skin as in-situ patches for drug delivery,” she concluded.
Shaow Lin of Dow Corning explained how silicones can be used to target delivery on skin. Specifically, PEG-12 dimethicone-derived silicone vesicles deposit lipophilic and hydrophilic actives on the skin and help stabilize the formula. Dr. Lin explained that they are ideal for use as vitamin A and vitamin A palmitate. Non-penetrating vesicles, both silicone vesicles and liposomes, deposit encapsulated actives onto the surface of the skin. These actives are released via mechanical rub-on after application.

Sprayable Delivery Systems

Jonette Payne of McIntyre Group explained how microemulsions may be used as sprayable delivery systems for water-insoluble active ingredients. The microemulsion blend has three components: PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides, polyglycerol-6 dioleate and caprylic/capric glycerides. The concentrate not only acts as an emulsifier, but also has emolliency properties. Moreover, it enables formulators to create versatile, easy formulations that require no thermal energy to produce.
Michael Daley of Kimberly-Clark explained how microbial pathogens may be removed from skin using magnets without killing natural flora. After removal of loosely attached microbes, modified paramagnetic microspheres or micronized carboxymethylcellulose treatments were applied to skin discs. The MPM were modified with antibodies against C. albicans and E. coli to bind the particles to the microbe. His research found that magnets enhanced the removal of C. albicans and E. coli from the skin, and that the magnet was more effective in removing yeast than a plastic film.

Formulations & Test Methods

The final session of the scientific seminar, devoted to formulation and test methods, was moderated by Martha Tate of Kimberly-Clark. Marisa H. Robinson of the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy, detailed the effects of semi-permeable membranes on the natural moisturizing factor of the skin. In a five day test involving 15 subjects, Ms. Robinson explained how semi-permeable dressings create a water vapor gradient that is maximally conducive to barrier repair, including the production of Natural Moisturizing Factor.
Penny Anderson of Amway explained how rheology parameters can be used to predict consumer-perceived sensory attributes of cosmetic creams. In tests utilizing a TA Instruments AR-1000 rheometer equipped with a parallel plate geometry for generation of various oscillatory and flow properties, Ms. Anderson found significant correlations between rheology measurements and consumer perception.
She explained how chemists developed a measurement system that correlates rheometer-generated properties and consumer-perceived attributes collected from trained, dermatosensory panelists.

Creating Effective Formulas

Anna Howe of Evonik explained how using cationic emulsifier systems can help formulators create efficacious and cost-effective sunscreens. These cationic systems, she noted, have high water-resistance, which they impart to a formula without any addition of a polymeric film-former. They also have good sand repellence and long-lasting moisturizing properties.
Finally, Robert Y. Lochhead of the University of Southern Mississippi explained how cosmetic science is being driven by the development of combinatorial techniques for high throughput screening. These methods enable researchers to investigate thousands of compositions every day. 
“It offers a quantum leap in the understanding of complex formulations,” he explained.
In the future, Dr. Lochhead suggested, these techniques will lead to precise molecular modeling and reliable predictions for cosmetic chemistry.

Mark your Calendar!

The Society of Cosmetic Chemists will hold its annual scientific meeting and technology showcase at the New York Hilton, Dec. 11 and 12. Next year’s scientific seminar will be held June 4 and 5 at the Chicago Hilton, Chicago. Finally, the 2009 annual scientific meeting and technology showcase will be held Dec. 10-11 at the New York Hilton. More info: www.scconline.org