“I’m excited to join the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. This organization is filled with wonderful, dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the cosmetic sciences and eager to give back to the industry through information sharing and education,” said O’Grady. “As the chief staff officer of SCC, I intend to focus on driving member value in all that we do, improving our product and service offerings, providing relevant and timely educational content in new media formats, and collaborating with the Board of Directors to create a strategic vision that delivers exceptional member experiences.”
Those experiences include, of course, hearing exceptional lectures from experts in the field. During the Annual Scientific Meeting, Lei Stanley Qi, Stanford University, delivered the Frontiers of Science Award lecture; his topic was “Beyond Gene Editing Using Crispr-Dcas9: the tale of using a dead molecule for a living genome.” He explained how researchers are rewriting DNA, the code of life, to make life better for people. And since the first sequencing project was completed 17 years ago, the cost per genome has fallen from $100 million to about $1,000.
Now, thanks to Crispr technology, which Li called “a Swiss Army knife for the genome,” researchers can fix genetic mutations that may be caused by UV.
“Most cells don’t repair themselves the way we want them to, due to random mutations,” noted Qi. “A future focus will be to fully program cells to fix themselves.”
The Dcas9 gene can be switched to repair specific parts of the body, he explained. For example, his team is testing a switch to enhance bone repair.
For the cosmetic industry, Qi suggested that instead of using chemical compounds, researchers can utilize genetic material that can affect cells in sophisticated ways.
Claudia Aguirre, twitter: doctorclaudia, gave a dynamic presentation entitled, “The Brain-Skin Connection: Formulating for the wellness world.” She noted that pain is centered in the brain, but touch can alleviate pain via the release of oxytocin, a peptide hormone.
“Even watching someone else get a massage releases oxytocin,” she told the audience. “But we have a touch-deprived society.”
We may be touch-deprived, but there are plenty of things touching us, as Rita Colwell of CosmosID explained.
“We are walking communities of microorganisms,” she told attendees. “Even Parkinson’s Disease is associated with microorganisms in the body that affect the brain.”
She noted that the microorganism strain is critical, as some are good and some are bad; to identify microorganisms more quickly, Colwell utilizes metagenomics.
“When you are diagnosed with a disease, we thought the patient had one pathogen, that is not true,” she said, recalling Naturalist John Muir’s quote:
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
John Paul Mitchell Systems’ Valerie George moderated an additional session devoted to basic skin and hair research. Roger McMullen, Ashland Specialty Ingredients, gave an interesting presentation on hair imaging and specular bands. He provided insights on how textures and treatments impact these bands and how various techniques such as infrared imaging, SEM and atomic force microscopy can be used to measure shine and smoothness.
In discussing skin pH v. product pH in the context of skin cleansing and care, KP Ananth, University of Cincinnati, noted that the acid mantle of skin is in the range of pH 4.0-4.5, making it a hostile enough environment to help prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Ananth noted that neutral pH syndet bars are milder than acidic or alkaline pH bars.
pH also impacts the stratum corneum, as lipids appear to become more rigid under high pH conditions.
“But don’t just lower the formula pH,” he warned. “You must know your formula.”
Chris Caires, Perricone MD, closed the session with a presentation on beauty supplements. As more cosmetic companies enter the space, he urged them to work with experienced contract manufacturers.
“All of our business is beauty,” he reminded attendees. “Consumers don’t say skin or hair, mass or prestige. They want experiences that make them feel beautiful.”
And oral supplements can be part of that beauty regimen, too he insisted.
“We want people to use skin care products in a linear way, but they run out of time. Supplements are a good fit.”
Like many attendees, O’Grady said she was pleased with how the event turned out, noting that the 71stAnnual Scientific Meeting and Technology Showcasefeatured more than 120 technical sessions and poster presentations covering a variety of the hottest topic areas in cosmetic science including stem cells, natural formulation, sustainable sources, and e-cosmetics. In addition, the conference recognized eight outstanding individuals with scientific contribution awards, and presented the top four student posters with scholarships.
“The creation of basic and advanced technical education tracks was very well-received by the attendees," said O’Grady. "The education, information and networking opportunities afforded the attendees are truly second-to-none, making the annual meeting the premiere industry event for those invested in the cosmetic sciences." •