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As new technologies in protein and cell science emerge in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, more new active ingredients are being made available to cosmetic chemists for the formulation of new and improved skin care topicals. It is imperative that skin care professionals keep abreast of the most current ingredient information, as well as future trends in biochemistry; genomics; molecular biology; photobiology, the study of the interactions of light and living organisms; and proteomics, the study of the functions and structures of proteins. As your clients become increasingly informed about the functional benefits of active ingredients and how an ingredient works when applied to the skin, they demand more substantiated and, above all, more visible results.
To help in your ingredient fact-finding, the following are several sources of information beneficial to the thorough investigation and monitoring of ongoing research.
The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA)—www.ctfa.org
Clinical trials. Also called medical research and research studies, clinical trials are experiments designed to test the effectiveness of a treatment or intervention, as well as its potential for use as a pharmaceutical or clinical agent. To conduct this type of clinical trial, an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application must be filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If the FDA accepts the IND application, clinical trials in human subjects can be conducted. Tests may be preventative, diagnostic or therapeutic. Volunteers or paid subjects are generally divided into two or more groups, including a control group that does not receive
the experimental treatment, instead receiving a placebo or inactive substance. They may also receive a verified, tried-and-true therapy for comparison purposes.1
Clinical trials may be conducted by government health agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, researchers affiliated with a hospital or university medical program, independent researchers or those in the private sector.
Typically, government agencies approve or disapprove new treatments based on clinical trial results. While important and highly effective in preventing obviously harmful treatments from coming to market, clinical research trials are not fool-proof in discovering all side effects, particularly those associated with long-term use and interactions between experimental drugs and other medications.