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Cosmetic chemistry on view in New York City

First North American In-Cosmetics exhibition showcases anti-aging ingredients and a formulation competition

by Marc S. Reisch
September 12, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 36

Credit: Marc S. Reisch/C&EN
Chemists competed to formulate a skin cream at In-Cosmetics North America.

Naturally derived cosmetic ingredients, many purported to offer antiaging effects or protection against air pollution, were on display at the first In-Cosmetics North America show in New York City last week. As an added bonus, the show offered an opportunity for formulation chemists to display their skills in a 90-minute mix-and-make competition at an ad hoc lab built just for the show.

About 160 exhibitors from 23 countries showed off their cosmetic ingredient wizardry at the event, a U.S. edition of Reed Exhibitions’ annual In-Cosmetics Global show, which drew nearly 10,000 visitors in 2016. The inaugural New York show drew about 3,000 personal care ingredient exhibitors, product formulators, and marketing executives.

Some of the products were quite exotic. Among the exhibitors was Germany-based Bitop, which showcased its 28Extremoin, amino acids derivatives from extremophile bacteria found in the Caribbean islands and intended to “prevent pollution-induced skin aging.” Chief Scientific Officer Andreas Bilstein explained that the amino acid forms a “water shell” that hydrates the surface of the skin and prevents skin damage from airborne particles.

Nexthia, a one-year-old company from Germany, showed off its Neosome EM Ultrafill, a soy-lecithin-based phospholipid intended to reduce wrinkles and facial folds and help “redesign” facial contours. Envisioned as an alternative to injected fillers, the phospholipid penetrates the skin surface, said CEO Marc Pfeiffer, pulling in water and inflating skin cells.

Ashland Specialty Ingredients will soon launch an antiaging ingredient derived from the lotus plant and intended to aid the transdermal skin barrier, according to Michael Koganov, the firm’s vice president for biomaterials. The new ingredient is based on technology Koganov developed to separate cellular fractions from living plants.

An unusual feature of the show was a competition among chemists from personal care product companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and Conair to create a face cream on the fly. Conair chemists won with an all-day moisturizer created using a surprise list of ingredients from firms including Solvay, Gattefossé, and AMA Laboratories.

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