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State of the Cosmetics Industry, Part II

By: Rachel L. Chapman
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
five tubes of lipstick

All the research and invention in the world will not end up in the hands of consumers unless it ultimately appeals to them. Whether researchers ask consumers what they want or create something that they need, those needs and wants are the market trends that steer innovation.

One interesting trend that has made it mainstream is the consumer’s growing need for information, which has translated into product labels with scientific terms and claims written to explain how raw materials in the product work. As a result, recognition of the science behind products has grown and must be convincing to consumers since, in the end, it is their perception that sells a product.

Skin. There are many mysteries yet to solve about the skin, which is why so much time and research is dedicated to it—protecting it, repairing it, preserving it, tightening it, lightening it, revitalizing it, obscuring its flaws and even delivering things through it. In the personal care industry, skin care usually tops the list for product sales. As the behavior of skin and its underlying mechanisms are becoming clearer, innovations are emerging to trigger such mechanisms.

Currently, researchers are putting much energy behind anti-aging and have found that DNA is one area in which to focus. For example, mutations in mitochondrial DNA are being studied as principal aging factors. Research has been conducted to show how the sun can induce DNA lesions in cases of overexposure via the formation of UV-induced photo products. In addition, introducing enzymes onto skin has been shown to speed DNA repair.

Beyond DNA, peptides and sirtuins are other key words appearing on product labels. Such materials are biomimetic and can thus penetrate the skin to act on specific sites of action. Sirtuins specifically have been shown to affect the lifespan of cells by slowing the aging process. These of course are of great interest for the anti-aging segment in personal care.