OLD & Unwanted
Formulating for an aging global population and ways to reduce product contamina-
tion were just some of the topics at the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ 2012 Scientific
Seminar, which was held in St. Louis last month.
Tom Branna • Editorial Director
WHAT A DRAG it is getting old. The Rolling Stones sang it and Baby Boomers live it. Luckily for Boomers and ag- ing populations around the world, cosmetic chemists
are developing novel means to reduce the signs of aging.
Preserving someone’s looks are one thing…preserving products are quite another, and the importance of product preservation was another session topic on tap when the Society of
Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) held its Scientific Seminar in St. Louis.
The event drew nearly 200 attendees. SCC president Guy Padulo
noted that the event is the last scientific seminar for the foreseeable future, as the Society will turn its attention to hosting the
29th International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists
(IFSCC) Congress in 2016.
Skin Health, Microbiology and Formulation were the topics of
the opening session of the SCC Scientific Seminar. Akshay Talati,
Estée Lauder, was the moderator. The session featured a keynote
by Steve Schnittger, Estée Lauder, who provided insights on skin
microflora and objectionable organisms in cosmetics.
“We are making clean products,” he told the audience. “Not
Schnittger noted that the cosmetics industry does an incred-
ible job preserving its products. In fact, during the past decade,
there have been only 60 reports of eye infections by consumers.
“We have done an excellent job taking care of the consumer,”
he told the audience.
Despite that success, Schnittger pointed out that the US Food
Mike Fevola, Johnson & Johnson, and Beth Taylor and Gary Agisim, Pfizer
and Drug Administration has, in recent years, stepped up its activities—seizing contaminated products shipped in from China,
India and other countries.
US company executives should be particularly pleased with
their long history of product safety, especially, when one considers that we live in a world of bacteria, with a resident population
of“bugs” ranging from 102 to 106 per cm2. Despite these numbers, Schnittger noted that even the most opportunistic pathogens wouldn’t harm healthy skin. Moreover, if no moisture is
present, gram negative bacteria cannot survive.
What bugs should, well, bug cosmetic chemists? Schnittger
called them the big four: E. coli, S. aureus, C. albicans and P.
He offered several suggestions to reduce product contamination, including routine testing of raw materials, cleaning and
sanitizing equipment, using hot process water, relying on pressurized manufacturing kettles, packaging that prevents contamination and risk assessment reviews.
And even if the process is correct and GMPs are followed,
preservation is becoming increasingly difficult as non-govern-ment organizations (NGOs) work hard to limit the cosmetic
chemist’s arsenal of effective preservatives. But one of the biggest
threat to preservation is from a lack of urgency on part of industry, according to Schnittger.
“Industry has to talk about contamination. We did a bad job
defending parabens,” he insisted. “The Personal Care Product
Council has to do a better job protecting preservatives.”
Other Preservation Methods
Kimberly-Clark’s Amy Vanden Heuvel proposed the use of neutral polysaccharides to control bacterial biofilms on the skin.
Specifically, she suggested that inulin, a fructooligosaccharide,
and a major constituent of several herbs, was found to have
bacterial anti-adherent properties. One of the mechanisms that
mediates bacterial adherence to skin is the interaction of pathogen carbohydrate-binding proteins with the skin, according to
Vanden Heuvel. Coating the skin with polysaccharides blocks the
bacterial binding properties. In fact, in one study, inulin reduced
bacterial attachment by 75%. The results were confirmed in an
adhesion test using EpiDerm tissue by Ma Tek.