Novel Ingredients Spread Across InCosmetics | May 11, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 19 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 19 | pp. 12-13
Issue Date: May 11, 2009

Cover Stories: Europe's Beauty Race

Novel Ingredients Spread Across InCosmetics

Department: Business, Science & Technology
An essential oil with antiseptic properties comes from the tea tree.
Credit: Wacker
An essential oil with antiseptic properties comes from the tea tree.
Credit: Wacker

About 4,500 visitors came to the InCosmetics show in Munich, Germany, last month. Among them were formulators of lip gloss, skin creams, and other personal care products hoping to gain an edge with novel ingredients. For diversion or for business, they had their choice among the more than 500 exhibitors who came from 35 countries to the New Munich Trade Fair Centre.

But the economic slowdown has taken its toll on the show. Traffic was off by about 13% compared with the 2008 show in Amsterdam. Likewise, the personal care product industry is expected to slip below its average annual growth rate of 5% for the five years ending in 2008, when sales were $280 billion, notes Anna Ibbotson, chemical and materials industry manager at consulting firm Kline & Co.

Still, in good economic times and in bad, personal care product makers yearn for innovation, Ibbotson notes. Among the innovations on display in Munich was Mibelle Biochemistry's PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica, derived from the plant stem cells of a now-rare apple variety known for its long storage stability.

According to Cornelia Schürch, head of product development at Switzerland-based Mibelle, the firm uses tissue culture techniques to grow the apple stem cells and enhance their gene-controlling epigenetic factors. These factors balance gene function in plants and humans alike, Schürch says. A liposome-encapsulated extract of the stem cells' epigenetic factors protects the skin's own stem cells and reduces skin wrinkling, she claims.

Another innovation is the appearance of fullerenes, also known as buckyballs, in the personal care realm. Properly purified and prepared, buckyballs are powerful antioxidants for skin creams and lotions, says Shuichi Yamana, chief executive officer of Vitamin C60 BioResearch, a firm owned by Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. In the firm's product, called Radical Sponge, fullerenes are entrapped in a water-soluble polymer, keeping them on the surface of the skin where they can capture free radicals generated when the skin is exposed to bright sun, Yamana explains.

Wacker extended its range of cyclodextrin encapsulants to incorporate tea tree oil, an antibacterial ingredient and insect repellant that can irritate skin. Cyclodextrins are biofermented starch capsules that slowly meter out their encapsulated ingredients, such as tea tree oil, on the skin, notes Nicole Amann, cyclodextrin sales and marketing manager. Wacker has other cyclodextrin complexes in its line, such as those containing retinol and vitamin E, both of which have skin-enhancing properties.

Dow Corning, known as a supplier of silicone ingredients, teamed up with Elevance Renewable Science to offer soy-derived petrolatum substitutes for skin and hair care products. Elevance uses olefin metathesis to convert vegetable oil into waxes and lubricants.

HY-3051 soy wax blend imparts a smooth feel to skin care products. As a hair-conditioning agent, HY-3051 can add shine and control frizz, notes Andrew L. Shafer, Elevance's executive vice president. Shafer anticipates that the cost of petrolatum will rise as oil refiners tweak their product mix. The Elevance soy-derived materials are cost-effective substitutes, he says.

Unlike more cautious industries such as coatings or pharmaceuticals, the cosmetics industry embraces innovation by its suppliers, Kline's Ibbotson notes. She is confident it will continue to reward makers that develop novel ingredients.

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