Albert Kligman Bridged the Gap

By Tom Branna, VP/Editorial Director, Happi/Rodman Publishing Corp. | March 9, 2010

He will be remembered as the Father of Retin-A and the mischievous genius who gave the world such terms as “cosmeceutical” and “photoaging.” But for me, Albert Kligman will always be remembered for bringing two worlds—dermatology and cosmetic chemistry—closer together.
Kligman died Feb. 9. He was 93. Kligman had a profound effect on cosmetic chemists, PhDs and MDs. According to Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, his death marks the end of an era characterized by original thought, passionate research and inspiration.

Albert Kligman
“Albert was my mentor who challenged me to think beyond the limits of current knowledge and demanded excellence. He encouraged me to look into the gap between cosmetic science and dermatology, which needed closing to bring medicine and skin care into the modern era,” recalled Draelos. “He was visionary in defining the term ‘cosmeceutical,’ which for the first time implied that skin care products could do more than simply decorate the skin.Through his careful guidance, I learned to be a better researcher, a better physician and a better person. Albert was the kind of person you meet once in a lifetime. He will live on through those he touched and trained.”

Kligman’s work, and his willingness to share it with medical colleagues and cosmetics researchers alike, bridged the gap between dermatology and cosmetic chemistry. He paved the way for derms and multinational companies to work together to bring efficacious products to market.

And, was he ever entertaining! The first time I heard Kligman speak, I was amazed that someone so erudite on complex biological issues peppered his talk with salty language—a dichotomy that made me eager to grab a front row seat for his presentations. His energy astounded me too. More than a decade ago, following one of his classic, no-holds-barred performances, Kligman walked off the stage and was engulfed by researchers from a major cosmetic company who sought his guidance. At the time, Kligman was in his 80s, yet he remained curious about the possibilities and the promise of cosmetic chemistry.

It’s fitting then, that this edition of Happi includes an article on novel ingredients and the formulators who love them. We spoke with several cosmetic chemists and MDs to learn why they enjoy working with a particular ingredient. Learn why formulators from Clinique, La Prairie, Murad and other companies are passionate about a particular material.


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