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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

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Debate also arose as to whether sunscreens really protect against melanoma. Some experts agreed that, based on logic, consumers are protected from UV exposure by using a sunscreen and thus the incidence of melanoma. However, others agreed this connection was not clear and that there is no compelling evidence to connect the two. Also related to skin cancer, banter occurred as to whether it is caused by a few, very high UV exposures or a lifetime of too much exposure built up in skin.

Skin lightening. Skin lightening is still a popular topic in ethnic-specific personal care, especially in the East. In the West, with the FDA’s proposal to ban hydroquinone from personal care products, formulators have sought new ingredients to provide similar effects. A few such examples include Phyllanthus emblica, and a combination of pea extract and sucrose dilaurate. The latter combination has been shown to decrease melanogenesis by decreasing tyrosinase activity in melanocytes, as well as inhibit melanosome maturation. The mechanism of action is neither direct tyrosinase inhibition nor oxidation inhibition, the primary mechanisms of skin-lightening agents such as arbutin, kojic acid and vitamin C derivatives. The challenge for new skin lighteners is reportedly to demonstrate innovative pathways of melanin synthesis inhibition while ensuring skin tolerance.

In another recent study, grapefruit extract was shown to act as an effective skin lightener; however, other research indicates there may be stability issues with this powerful antioxidant, which have been the focus of additional studies.

Naturals. The power of consumer perception is quite evident in the continually growing category of naturals. Some feel the industry has experienced overkill with “all natural” claims. Regardless, consumers still seek natural products because the word “natural” gives them a sense of safety. As most chemists know, natural does not mean safer; however, that message has not yet reached consumers and their beliefs continue to drive the demand. Key manufacturers are prepared to drive consumer interest into new areas.

Chitin nanofibrils have been explored as natural compounds that can generate the formation of a hygroscopic molecular film to slow water evaporation and keep the skin hydrated. Recent improvements to isolate chitin nanofibrils suggest its application in skin rehydration, wound-healing and maintenance of cutaneous homeostasis.