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Aging Is Rusting. How Do We Address Rusting in Skin?

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Here’s a hot flash you may not have heard before.  You’re not aging.  You’re rusting. As we get older, we start to face a complexion that looks duller, dingy, cloudier, less luminous. And more unevenly discolored.  The reason?  Iron is the most abundant transition metal in human body and the best-known driving force behind oxygen free radical formation through Fenton and Haber-Weiss reactions (Pierre and Fontecave 1999). Yes, the irony of iron is that iron is the element essential for building strong structures and machines but can also be the cause of their deterioration through rust. Oxidative damage a.k.a. – rusting is due to two distinct but surprisingly related functions: the build-up of iron in the skin as we get older coupled with a slowing of the skin’s natural exfoliation process. These result in iron staying in the skin for 56 days instead of 28 days as skin turnover time (Weintraub et al. 1965).

Here’s another conundrum.  In pre-menopause, excess iron in the body and skin is eliminated two ways: through monthly menstruation and through exfoliation. When menstruation ceases, iron levels can surge. Excess iron in the body is common with the onset of menopause.  In fact, iron can accumulate in the skin and is clinically shown to increase by as much as +42% pre through post menopause (Pelle et al. 2013). This excess iron is normally eliminated through menstruation as well as natural exfoliation.  The cessation of menstruation coupled with the deceleration of exfoliation limits the capacity to remove excess iron from the skin.

When body iron storage increases, skin too is exposed to higher levels of iron, which in turn can cause oxidative damage as the excess iron reacts with UVA. The result: skin aging and photoaging is accelerated. For example, ferritin is the iron storage protein for excess iron with a capacity of binding up to 4,500 atoms of iron per ferritin. It consists of heavy (H) and light (L) chain subunits. It was shown that ferritin can be immediately degraded by UVA doses of 100 and 250 kJ/m2, releasing large amounts of iron for Fenton and Haber-Weiss reactions, producing oxygen free radicals (Pourzand et al. 1999). In a cell culture model mimicking menopausal conditions, increased iron and UVA were found to significantly increase an enzyme called collagenase-1 (Jian et al. 2011). Increased activity of collagenase-1 increases collagen degradation, causing wrinkles initially and skin thinning when we get older.

Like rust on metal, higher levels of iron when exposed to UV radiation, blue light, air pollutants and irritants from other sources results in increased oxidative damage in skin.  If you’ve ever seen a rusty bicycle, you know the corrosive damage the environment has on metal.  Oxidative stress begets skin-aging yellowing, dullness, dark spots and discolorations as well as wrinkles, loss of elasticity and other signs of aging.

Until now, antioxidants have been the only defense to attempt to neutralize oxidants after they are formed. Chelation can be used to sequester “free” iron, but it cannot compete to take away from iron in ferritin. The antioxidant and chelation approaches are retroactive and often too late (Table 1). They can only battle the symptoms, but they do not treat the underlying cause.

Table 1. Mode of actions of antioxidants, chelation, and de-ironizing inducer (DII) *

Antioxidants Chelation De-ironizing inducer (DII)
Reduce damage

Attempt to reduce the cumulative damage to skin by neutralizing some of the radicals before they can damage skin

Diminish damage

Try to sequester “free” iron is not bound to proteins. Chelation is reversible, and chelators cannot compete with ferritin, the strongest iron chelator

Prevent damage

DII consists of ascorbic acids and pearl powder to safely remove iron from ferritin, the landmine forming oxygen free radicals


Antioxidants fight oxidants

Reversible and incomplete Ineffective protection Proactive

DII stops skin aging one step earlier than antioxidants and more complete than chelation.

*: The skin is subject to a constant onslaught of free radicals catalyzed by iron-mediated Fenton and Haber-Weiss reactions.

A novel class of actives termed De-ironizing Inducers Technology (DII®) can do what no free-radical neutralizing antioxidant or chelation can do. It reduces iron in ferritin before it is converted to skin-damaging free radicals.  The patented DII® features 3-o-ethyl-ascorbic acid and pearl powder in the right ratios to effectively reduce iron in skin (US Patent 10792240). Research shows that when either alone or when too much of one exists without the other, iron reduction cannot be accomplished.  Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C helps release iron deposits from ferritin. Pearl Powder, a soft form of calcium carbonate, absorbs the released iron ions by exchanging them with calcium ions and, thus, removes skin-rusting iron deposits (Figure 1). These two previously incompatible ingredients work in unison to help prevent oxidative stress from forming in the first place, rather than attempting to neutralize free radicals after they appear as most antioxidants do. Without the need to fight free radicals, skin-rejuvenating Hyaluronic Acid plus Tetrapeptide-11 repair previous damage done and the goes one step further to help rebuild collagen, clarity, elasticity and tone / skin’s health and appearance.

Your skin glows with good health. And rust is history!

It is important to note that, while this discovery is made using menopausal model, the DII® is applicable to all ages. Estrogen peaks at age 25 and iron starts to increase from the same age. While estrogen sharply decreases during the menopausal transition period, iron dramatically increases during the same period. DII® may be more age defying in young women but more disrupting with higher success rate in older women. Man starts to accumulate iron from the 20s to the 30s and skin pigmentation is higher in man than in woman (Rahrovan et al. 2018). As a result, DII® is also applicable to man.


Jian J, Pelle E, Yang Q, Pernodet N, Maes D, Huang X. (2011). Iron sensitizes keratinocytes and fibroblasts to uva-mediated matrix metalloproteinase-1 through tnf-alpha and erk activation. Exp Dermatol 20:249-254. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20701626

Pelle E, Jian J, Zhang Q, Muizzuddin N, Yang Q, Dai J, et al. (2013). Menopause increases the iron storage protein ferritin in skin. J Cosmet Sci 64:175-179. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23752032

Pierre JL, Fontecave M. (1999). Iron and activated oxygen species in biology: The basic chemistry. Biometals 12:195-199. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10581682

Pourzand C, Watkin RD, Brown JE, Tyrrell RM. (1999). Ultraviolet a radiation induces immediate release of iron in human primary skin fibroblasts: The role of ferritin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 96:6751-6756. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10359784

Rahrovan S, Fanian F, Mehryan P, Humbert P, Firooz A. (2018). Male versus female skin: What dermatologists and cosmeticians should know. Int J Womens Dermatol 4:122-130. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30175213



About the Author

Biography: Xi Huang has investigated iron’s role in diseases for more than three decades and is credited in more than 90 peer-reviewed publications, many of which demonstrate that excess iron is an important risk factor in women’s health. Dr. Huang was a faculty member at New York UniversitySchool of Medicine and his research laboratory has shown that iron accumulation due to the cessation of menstruation in postmenopausal women contributes to osteoporosis and skin aging. Dr. Huang is the founder and president of FE:I Beauty Tech, the parent company of i-On Skincare (www.ionskincare.com). Dr. Huang received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology from the Université Denis Diderot – Paris VII and received his undergraduate degree from China Agricultural University.

Cosmetic Colorants

by james.runkle@drummondst.com james.runkle@drummondst.com No Comments

Coloring agents are essential components of certain cosmetic products, especially color cosmetic formulations. Most cosmetic colorants are synthetic and are regulated globally.  In the US, they are regulated by FDA with monographs for each and all located in Title 21 of the Code of Federal regulations, Parts 73 and 74. In the EU, allowed cosmetic colorants are listed in Annex IV, Regulation 1223/2009/EC on Cosmetic Products, as corrected by Corrigendum to Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/850, 17 June 2021. Many colorants on that list are also used in food and have corresponding E (Europe) numbers such as E-171 for TiO2 and E-172 for iron oxides. In such cases, the specifications for food colorants are used for cosmetic application.  Therefore, it is common to see a note in technical datasheet for a cosmetic colorant stating it complies with the 21CFR and E number (like E-172 for iron oxides) specifications.

Although many of us formulate with colorants frequently, we seem to need help on gaining complete clarity on certain aspects of them. In this blog, we will go over some fundamentals and a few common confusions about certain pigments.  Let’s first start with some terms that we often hear.

Dye:  It is a material that imparts a color and is soluble in the vehicle or substrate in which it is dispersed.

Pigment:  It is a material that is insoluble in the vehicle or substrate in which it is dispersed. True pigments are colorants completely insoluble based on their chemical structure and constituent groups. They typically do not contain the normal substitution groups that promote water solubility, such as sulfonates (-SO3), carboxylic acid (-COOH) or hydroxyl groups (-OH). Hence, there is no bleeding in hydrous systems. There are only two examples of true pigments used in cosmetics:  D&C Red No. 30 and D&C Red No. 36.

For leave-on cosmetic applications, pigments instead of dyes are often used because dyes are hard to remove after use, thus, stain the skin. Dyes are more commonly used in rinse-off products such as shampoo and mouth rinse. Now let’s go a little further:

Toner:  It is a pigment that is produced by precipitating a water-soluble dye as a metal salt. Typical metals used for this precipitation are sodium, calcium, barium and strontium. e.g., D&C Red 7 Ca Salt. (be aware that it is not a lake)

Lake:  It is a pigment produced by absorbing a water-soluble dye or a primary toner onto an insoluble substrate. All the lakes are pigments.

F, D and C codes in the names of a colorant stands for its approved use in Food, Drug and Cosmetics. A colorant must meet its purities requirements to ensure its safety. FDA separates color additives into two categories:

  1. Colorant subject to certification: they are derived primarily from petroleum and are known as coal-tar Most synthetic, organic colorants fall in this category. They must be batch certified by the FDA. They are further divided into two categories:
  2. Certifiable Primary Colors: They are pure color which contain no extenders or diluents. They have color names and numbers assigned such as FD&C Yellow 5, D&C Red 6 and Ext. D&C Violet 2.
  3. Certifiable Color Lakes: Lakes follow the same restrictions as the primary colors with the additional rule that they must have the name of the precipitating metal and the word “lake”. An example would be FD&C Yellow 5 Al Lake.
  4. Colorant exempt from certification: These are natural organic colorants and synthetic inorganics obtained largely from mineral, plant, or animal sources. Although batch certification is not required, purity must be tested by the manufacturer to meet FDA specifications. Examples are Titanium dioxide and Iron oxides.

Now that we have gone over the general terms and regulatory aspects of colorants, let’s look at common ambiguities about a few specific pigments:

  1. Rutile and anatase

First, they both are TiO2, but refer to two crystalline structures. It is like using Coke or Pepsi to represent carbonated soft drinks. Anatase is slightly softer and less abrasive than rutile. This makes little difference to the skin feel but can make a big difference in TiO2 production process.  Rutile is so abrasive that it can wear out the equipment that processes hundred to thousands of tons per campaign. Consequently, rutile is often surface treated with alumina to extend the useful life of the equipment in addition to provide other benefits.

Rutile has a slightly higher refractive index than anatase, and thus, it can scatter light more effectively. So, does it mean that Rutile is more opaque? Not quite. Opacity is the result of scattering which depends as much on the size and size distribution of the pigment particles as on its refractive index. In reality, it is rare to find a rutile and an anatase that have the same particle size, let alone size distribution. Therefore, being rutile or anatase does not necessarily indicate a higher or lower opacity.

Commercial anatase is usually made to have a small primary particle size, in a range of about 140 – 170 nm. That of rutile is often bigger, roughly 170 – 250 nm.  Due to its smaller size, anatase scatters blue light slightly more, and thus, imparts a blueish undertone.  This is the reason that anatase is often said to be bluer than rutile.

Lastly, the production processes, chloride and sulphate, are often brought into discussion about TiO2.  In Chloride process, TiCl4 is vaporized and burnt into rutile.  In sulphate process, Ti(SO4)2 is neutralized with base to generate anatase. If aluminum salt is used as the inducer, rutile TiO2 can also be made via the sulphate process. TiO2 made from a Chloride process often has a lower level of contaminants, which translates into high purity and clean color. This had been indeed the case in the past, but not so much anymore since the sulphate process technology has been greatly improved over the years.

  1. Carbon black

 Carbon black can be made via several processes. In the US, carbon black as a cosmetic color additive is called D&C Black No. 2, a high-purity carbon black prepared by the oil furnace process.1 It is manufactured by the combustion of aromatic petroleum oil feedstock and consists essentially of pure carbon, formed as aggregated fine particles with a surface area range of 200 to 260 m2/g.

JSCI monograph requires Carbon black to be obtained by incomplete combustion of natural gas or liquid hydrocarbon. Such carbon black is often called channel black and is not approved by the FDA.  This, unfortunately, adds unnecessary complexity to formulating for the global market.

  1. Chromium oxide and Chromium hydroxide green

Hexavalent Chromium (Cr6+) is known to be carcinogenic, thus, it should not be present or at a very low level in cosmetics products. However, its presence is unavoidable due to the chemistry and manufacturing process. For both pigments, the FDA set a limit of 2% NaOH extract, not more than 0.1% as Cr2O(based on sample weight). 2 This limit is equivalent to 684 or 513 ppm maximum Hexavalent Chromium, respectively. The actual level of Cr6+ in a commercial grade needs to be tested for calculating the final level in a finished formulation.

  1. Mica and Pearlescent pigments

A common restriction people often talk about is the size limit of 150 mm. Mica is an approved colorant for drug use, and the FDA has imposed a size limit on it.  Mica can also be used as a colorant for cosmetic applications for which the FDA does not list any size limit in the monograph. Moreover, mica can be used in cosmetics as filler, a category that the FDA does not regulate with specific requirements.

Efforts have been made to list Mica-based pearlescent pigments as approved colorants for cosmetic purposes, but this has not happened yet. as of now, such pigments have been approved as colorants only for drug use, and the corresponding specifications require that the mica meets the colorant specifications for drug use.  This is likely the reason that we hear the 150-mm size limit in our industry.  As mentioned above, mica-based pigments are not approved colorants for cosmetic use. Consequently, the composition has to be expressed as a mixture of individual components such as, for instance, mica and titanium dioxide. Each of these ingredients needs to meet the corresponding FDA specification if applicable.  The size limit on mica for drug use may not be observed.

  1. Zinc oxide

Zinc oxide is a long approved cosmetic colorant, though its use as opacificer in cosmetics is limited. That main reason is that its opacity is much lower than TiO2 due to its lower refractive index (2 vs. 2.7).  Roughly 3 times more ZnO is needed to achieve the same degree of opacity of TiO2. Moreover, ZnO is slightly soluble in water, resulting in the pH of formulations containing ZnO to be above 7.5.

As of August 7, 2022, the use of TiO2 as food colorant has been banned in the EU, directly affecting its use in lip and oral products. Respirable TiO2 is considered carcinogenic, according to Proposition 65 of the state of California, affecting the use of TiO2 in some powder and spray formulations. TiO2 is difficult to replace because of its unique performance and inertness. In light of the regulatory restriction, ZnO with the right size and high opacity has gained attention recently, especially for anhydrous formulations.

  1. Red 6 lake and red 7 lake in Japan

Most FDA approved colorants can be used in Japan. Red 6 lake, widely used in lip products, is a notable exception. The reason is that Red 6 lake is Red 6 Barium salt laked on barium sulfate, but Red 6 Barium salt is not an approved colorant in Japan. On the other hand, Red 7 lake is Red 6 Calcium salt laked on barium sulfate but Red 6 Calcium salt is approved in Japan.  In the case that the shade cannot be achieved without Red 6, Red 6 sodium salt can be used. However, it must be noted that red 6 sodium salt is water soluble, which is opposite to Red 6 lake.

Currently, the FDA has approved 64 color additives for cosmetic use, each of which has its merits and drawbacks due to their unique chemistry and production process.3 The knowledge is important not only for formulating the right color shade, but also for troubleshooting instability and especially, regulatory compliance. The author hopes that this blog will contribute to your learning of cosmetic colorants.



  1. https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-21/chapter-I/subchapter-A/part-74/subpart-C/section-74.2052
  2. https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-21/chapter-I/subchapter-A/part-73/subpart-C/section-73.2327
  3. https://www.fda.gov/industry/color-additive-inventories/summary-color-additives-use-united-states-foods-drugs-cosmetics-and-medical-devices#table3A



Restore hair and scalp equilibrium for holistic beauty!

by james.runkle@drummondst.com james.runkle@drummondst.com No Comments


For years, hair care products have been focused on addressing damage by providing solutions to repair, prevent and maintain hair health. With increased awareness, consumers now recognize that healthy scalp is also a fundamental foundation for healthy hair. Holistic care means to restore the hair at its core while maintaining a healthy scalp. With personalization and self-care at the forefront, consumers are looking for solutions that are inspired from skin care with an emphasis on natural and clean ingredients. In this article, we will discuss factors that affect scalp and hair health and provide an overview of the innovative technologies including specialized product treatments that help restore hair and scalp equilibrium.

Stressors that impact hair and scalp equilibrium

Hair and scalp are affected by several factors such as UV exposure, pollution, humidity, mechanical, chemical, physical stressors, and occlusion such as hats and head protectors (like wigs, protective styles etc.) [1]. Sebum on the scalp diffuses along the hair shaft and can attract product build-up and dust from air which can affect the scalp’s overall health. Additionally, the bacterial and yeast proliferation on the scalp is commonly associated with enhanced desquamation, itching, scratching and redness [1]. Some hair products may leave deposits on the scalp, while others can strip hair’s natural oils to the point that it begins to over-produce sebum [2].

Oxidative stress, i.e., free radicals from sources like UV and pollution, can weaken scalp skin health and cause aging [3]. Sensitive scalp syndrome has been reported to arise from increasing levels of air pollution. Symptoms of sensitive scalp include itching, prickling in the scalp, dandruff, oily scalp, and pain in the hair roots. Pollutants also can migrate into the dermis and through the hair follicle (HF), leading to oxidative stress and hair fall [3]. Hormonal changes, medical conditions, heredity, and aging are cited as common causes of hair fall, but there has been a lot of searches for hair loss associated after COVID-19 (+250%) and how to stop hair fall post COVID increased by a whopping 1,250% [4].

The skin surface and follicular openings are recognized sites of rich microbial colonization and intense immune citation, with crosstalk across the skin barrier [5]. A disrupted microbiome may cause infections and inflammation to the scalp [6]. This disruption may aggravate scalp disorders that can lead to acne, eczema, alopecia, scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis/dandruff, etc. The aforementioned diseases of the skin and the hair follicles [HFs] are all due to the dysfunction of dysbiosis – the imbalance of the skin microbiome [5]. Scalp conditions also impact the quality of hair causing the resultant cuticular cells to be less flexible than normal, which may impair both anchorage and subsequent fiber surface integrity due to an oxidative stress environment [7]. Hair fibers become more brittle and chip off. This results in a rougher cuticle that is also less functionally effective [7].

Cleansing of hair and scalp is also vital. How often you should cleanse your hair is determined based on your overall scalp health and can be attributed to hair texture. Some cleansers can be harsh and overly stripping, removing all natural oils, which disturbs the bacterial environment and can lead to irritation, redness, and flaking [8], while others may have a high oil load that can have a detrimental effect on oily scalp.

As scalp and hair go hand-in-hand, there is also tremendous focus on the damage hair sustains from the environment, washing, bleaching, coloring, and the use of different styling regiments. Hair damage affects all types of cross-linking bonds, including disulfide bonds, and can negatively affect the overall structure and ordering of hair lipids and CMC lipids [9]. Bleaching and coloring leads to dry, brittle-feeling hair and fiber breakage. Repeated washing results in lifted cuticles, while heat damage from drying, straightening, or curling leads to a loss of moisture, frizzy hair, and split ends [10].

Market drivers and trends

Over the past five years, scalp-focused searches have increased by 270% which is tied to the fact that one in two people suffer from a scalp issue [11]. Reportlinker projects the global hair and scalp care market will reach $121.4 billion by 2027 and will grow at an estimated 6.5% CAGR over the next five years [12]. Based on the latest data, Spate recommends that brands offer hair and scalp solutions that support skin barrier repair, moisturization and conditioning of damaged locks [12]. There has also been a rise in complex hair and scalp routines among millennials [4]. Need for different scalp products has increased globally, which aligns with consumers’ desire for benefits that address their individual scalp and hair needs. Consumers are also demanding transparency from brands and want to learn more about the ingredients used in their products and their mechanism of action. They also place a growing emphasis on the use of natural, organic, and clean alternative ingredients.

Advances in technology targeting hair and scalp concerns.

There have been many advancements in technology that provide holistic solutions to help protect, prevent, and restore hair and scalp equilibrium.

Sebum Control:

An ingredient that leverages a novel encapsulation technology*, ensures targeted delivery and controlled release of actives onto the scalp and hair to deliver instant sebum reduction [12]. This ingredient allows consumers to leave more time between washes, leading to water conservation [12]. A naturally occurring amino acid (INCI: Glycerin (and) Water (and) Sarcosine) effectively aids in the reduction of an oily scalp. It helps to reduce flakes on the scalp and assists in rebalancing the microbiome. Additionally, this ingredient also helps fight against stress, pollution, and product build-up [2]. Another ingredient, based on lamellar body-inspired delivery system (INCI: Aqua, Lecithin, Niacinamide, Lysolecithin, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phytic Acid), has been designed to target hair follicles where it delivers actives to regulate sebum and the microbiome [6].

Oxidative Stress:

Antioxidants are very well known and can be added to any kind of hair product due to their water-based molecular structure. They help to prevent the formation of oxidative stress and provide a wide range of benefits to both hair and scalp. A blend of three natural and powerful antioxidants, an extract of a medicinal plant forms a non-occlusive shield against urban pollution and protects hair and scalp against environmental stress [13]. A fermented extract of organically grown yerba mate leaves (INCI: water (aqua) (and) glycerin (and) Ilex paraguariensis leaf extract) is designed to help protect hair from oxidative stress-induced damage and help maintain healthy hair roots for optimal growth after only one shampoo treatment [12]. Brands like Keep It Anchored (P&G owned) are developing formulas that are powered by a combination of antioxidant salts that relieve oxidative stress, a zinc compound to improve scalp condition and B vitamins known for skin barrier health [8].


* INCI: Aqua (and) Cetyl Palmitate (and) Cucurbita pepo seed extract (and) Disodium EDTA (and) Ethylhexylglycerin (and) Helianthus annuus seed oil (and) Lauryl Glucoside (and) Melaleuca alternifolia leaf oil (and) Phenoxyethanol (and) Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract (and) Sorbitan Stearate (and) Tocopheryl Acetate



With zinc pyrithiones (ZPT’s) ban in Europe in cosmetic applications, formulators are now scouting for new active ingredients. A biomarine ingredient derived via biotechnology (INCI: Water (aqua) (and) Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract (and) Sodium Salicylate) has been shown to reduce sebum, itchiness, and flakes on the scalp, while also preventing their recurrence in both rinse-off and leave-on applications [4]. An algae oil (INCI: Triolein), containing more than 90% of the beneficial omega-9 helps hydrate, rejuvenate, and repair the scalp. It also nourishes hair follicles and protects against hair fiber lipid degradation upon UV exposure [4]. In addition, another ingredient positioned as an emollient with antimicrobial properties (INCI: decylene glycol), helps protect the skin from scalp to toe. Among other functions, this ingredient supports dandruff control concepts. It also provides a China-compliant alternative to the antidandruff active zinc pyrithione [12].

Hair Loss:

Broccoli and pumpkin seed seem like unexpected choices for formulators developing anti-hair loss products. Sulforaphane, which is an isothiocyanate isolated from broccoli, increased the expression of an enzyme in the liver that accelerated DHT degradation and consequently inhibited hair loss, as shown in an animal model [14]. Clinical efficacy of pumpkin seed oil (PSO) versus 5% minoxidil foam in subjects with female pattern hair loss (FPHL)after three months of treatment showed the pumpkin oil significantly decreased hair shaft diversity and the number of vellus hairs with results comparable to the minoxidil foam [14]. Another ingredient, a protein and peptide combination (INCI: Keratin (and) Hydrolyzed Keratin (and) Oxidized Keratin (and) Water) stimulates skin cells to proliferate by up to 160% faster than a placebo while simultaneously stimulating human keratinocyte migration and the expression of collagens IV and VII, thus improving the anchoring of follicles. The ingredient’s anti-inflammatory agent reduced the PGE2 response in cells undergoing inflammatory stress by up to 70%, reducing scalp inflammation, itching and premature hair follicle death [15].

Balancing the Biome:

Inhibition of the growth of harmful bacteria can lead to a better balance in oil secretion; this can be achieved using a unique probiotic fermentation technology rich in amino acids, polysaccharides, protein, and other biologically active substances [16]. A natural prebiotic (INCI: Inulin) can also help rebalance the skin’s microbiota and offer skin hydration that outperforms hyaluronic acid. The prebiotic is based on inulin extracted from chicory root and agave and works by selectively supporting protective organisms to help restore the microbiota layer [6]. Since 2020, We have witnessed a burgeoning of scalp products with Cannabidiol (CBD) boasting microbiome benefits [5] and recently we also have seen use of Cannabigerol (CBG) that helps to rebalance the scalp microbiome and promotes hair growth. Lastly, an ingredient (INCI: Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate) that utilizes the properties of prebiotic oligosaccharides as an approach to postbiotic bacteriocin procurement can deliver scalp moisturization and redness reduction [4].

Protecting hair, beyond the scalp,

Hair, after it rises from the scalp surface, also goes through damage from consumers’ grooming practices and external stimuli. Cleansing, conditioning, and strengthening solutions have been extensively discussed in the past. Currently, the use of bond builders is trending and growing in hair care. They are promoted as being able to penetrate into the hair to improve or restore the internal structure, giving rise to an improvement in mechanical properties [9]. According to this definition, bond builders include a broad range of actives, including organic acids, proteins, and lipids [9]. Brands are employing patented peptide technologies and amino acid complexes in multiple product formats that can help prevent and protect hair from the inside-out against all forms of damage.

What’s new and what’s next.

Ingestible hair care products, such as Nutrafol are gaining popularity for promoting hair and scalp health which has helped fuel further ingredient innovation. The introduction of Keranat in food supplements for hair (soft gels, capsules, beauty drinks/shots and cosmetics is said to offer a natural, vegan solution to effectively fight against hair loss while restoring beauty and brightness [12]. The design of neurocosmetic ingredients that modulate neuronal response to improve scalp care and hair quality could be a promising approach for the development of new hair and scalp care routines [17].

Finally, brands like L’Oréal are fostering partnerships with health tech companies to better understand the biological, clinical, and environmental factors that contribute to skin and hair health over time. This comprehensive understanding contributes to the development of a more precise and inclusive skincare approach that cater to the diverse needs of individuals worldwide [18].


The beauty and personal care industry has made great advancements in understanding the role of microbiome that impacts scalp and hair health. New research and findings help steer brands and ingredient suppliers to develop natural, organic, and sustainable solutions that will be a key focus area for future innovation. Furthermore, ingredients inspired by skin care, traditional ingredients, and biotech will continue to drive the growth of the hair and scalp care category.  It is imperative that brands continue their efforts in developing inclusive and personalized solutions to address consumers specific scalp and hair care needs. Finally, educating consumers on choosing the right products and regime that address their specific needs is crucial, in addition to providing guidance on how to use the products effectively to achieve the desired benefit.


  1. Luigi Rigano, Ph.D., Rigano Laboratories S.r.l., Milan, Italy, “Hair and Scalp Care Go Hand-in-Hand,” Global Cosmetic Industry, 2016
  2. BASF Corporation, “Rebalance the scalp microbiome with Scalposine,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (March 2020)
  3. D. Roddick-Lanzilotta, Ph.D., R.J. Kelly, Ph.D., and P.R. Sapsford, “Keratin Blend Anchors Follicles and Prevents Pollution-induced Hair Fall,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (September 2019)
  4. Ashlee Cannady, Aprinnova Juliana Gomiero, Stephanie Neplaz, Raphaelle Tron, “Hair and Scalp Cleansing and Care Skinification, ZPT Ban, Fermentation and Damage Repair Self-care,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (June 2022)
  5. Sharleen Surin-Lord, Dermatologist, “The ‘Skinification’ of Hair Care” Happi (June 2021)
  6. Laura Lam-Phaure, “Formulating on Trend: Skinification of Hair,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (June 2022)
  7. “Effect of Scalp Health on Hair Growth,” MedEsthetics (December,2021)
  8. Christine Esposito, “Natural Ingredients in Shampoos & Conditioners Benefit Scalp & Hair” Happi (December ,2021)
  9. Paul Cornwell, Ph.D., TRI Princeton, Princeton, NJ; and Jennifer Marsh, Ph.D., Procter & Gamble, “How Bond Builders ‘Repair’ Hair,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (February 2023)
  10. Rachel Grabenhofer, “Patent Pick: Binding Agreement for Hair Repair,” Global Cosmetic Industry (October 2019)
  11. Julia Wray, “Why applicators are the secret ingredients for scalp care,” Cosmetic Business (April 2023)
  12. Lisa Doyle, “Hair & Scalp Care: Targeted and Premiumized,” Global Cosmetic Industry (September 2022)
  13. Rahn Ag, “Radicare®-Eco: The Urban Antidote for Hair and Scalp,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (April 2022)
  14. Mohamed l. Elsaie, Lee Reuveni, Stephanie Neplaz, Sebastien Massard, “Restoring and Reviving Hair: Scalp Health, Laser Treatments, Natural/Sustainable and Deep Repair,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (February 2022)
  15. Michele Behrens, “FK Scalp from Keraplast Prevents Hair and Scalp Health Pollution,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (February 2020)
  16. Peter Smedley, “Bloomage Highlights Hair Shield, Scalp Care and Fermented Anti-aging at SCC76”, Cosmetics & Toiletries (December 2022)
  17. Maria Jose Lopez-Gonzalez, Nuria García and Isabel Devesa, AntalGenics S.L., Elche, Spain, “Neuro-cosmetic Targets for Scalp and Hair Care,” Cosmetics & Toiletries (June 2022)
  18. Julia Wray, “L’Oréal embarks on world’s ‘largest and most diverse’ skin and hair study”, Cosmetic Business (July 2023)




The Use of Natural Oils to Treat the Skin

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The Use of Natural Oils to Treat the Skin

Roger L. McMullen

Fairleigh Dickinson University and Ashland Inc.


The term natural oil refers to a fixed (nonvolatile) oil of animal or plant origin. These types of oils—in contrast to essential (volatile) oils, which are obtained by steam distillation methods of plant matter—are typically obtained from plant seeds and nuts by a mechanical pressing technique or solvent extraction. Natural oils have been used to treat the skin for millennia. For example, evidence suggests that the ancient Egyptians used almond (Prunus amygdalus), balanos (Balanos aegyptiaca), castor (Ricinus communis), moringa (Moringa oleifera), olive (Olea europea), and sesame oil (Sesamum indicum) in cosmetic preparations (1). The natural movement in cosmetics of the twenty first century has led to renewed interest in formulating skin care products with botanical ingredients. In this article, I highlight the use of natural oils in skin care and their benefits for skin health.


Benefits of Natural Oil Treatment

Natural oils nourish, smoothen, sooth, and clean the skin. Skin nourishment is provided by biologically active ingredients in natural oils such as antioxidants and essential fatty acids (2). As an example, the antioxidant activity and health benefits of grape seed oil (Vitis vinifera) mostly stems from the presence of tocopherol, linolenic acid, resveratrol, quercetin, procyanidins, carotenoids, and phytosterols in the oil (3). Essential fatty acids, obtained through the diet or applied topically, are important for maintaining skin health (essential fatty acid deficiently leads to dermatitis) and preventing trans-epidermal water loss (4, 5).


Dry skin is typically rough due to ineffective desquamation. Plant oils can smoothen the surface of skin by providing a lubrication effect and by helping the skin maintain a healthy level of hydration through fortification of the skin barrier. Natural oils can also have a soothing effect on the skin. Anti-inflammatory compounds in the oils can help to reduce skin redness and irritation. Studies have shown that olive, sunflower seed (Helianthus annuus), coconut (Cocos nucifera), safflower seed (Carthamus tinctorius), argan (Argania spinosa), soybean (Glycine max), sesame, jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), and oat (Avena sativa) oil provide an anti-inflammatory effect in skin (6).


Natural oil-based cleaners are used to remove sebum and makeup from the skin. While conventional surfactants can be very efficacious at cleaning the skin, they can also disrupt the barrier function of skin and remove lipid components important for barrier integrity. A good example of a natural oil-based cleaner was provided by researchers at Mae Fah Luang University in Thailand who demonstrated the effectiveness of tea seed oil (Camellia sinensis) at removing foundation and eyeliner (7).


Composition of Natural Oils

The chief components of natural oils are triglycerides. They usually represent greater than 95% of the composition of natural oils. Triglycerides are formed by the esterification of free fatty acids to glycerol resulting in a molecule with a polar headgroup and three hydrophobic tails (see Figure 1). Triglycerides are synthesized by animals and plants as energy reserves and contain various proportions of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fatty acids. In animals, the fatty acid constituents of triglycerides have greater levels of saturated fats (relative to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats), whereas in plants there are greater amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. For this reason, most plant oils are in the liquid state at room temperature.

Figure 1: Molecular structure of a triglyceride. In this example, that fatty acid moieties of the triglyceride contain three distinct entities. The three fatty acid chains in triglycerides can be the same or they can be a mixture. Starting from top to bottom, this triglyceride is composed of palmitic acid (16:0), oleic acid (18:1), and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3).


The fatty acid components of triglycerides can vary in chain length—they can be short (≤ 6 carbons), medium (≤ 12 carbons), or long (12 – 22 carbons)—which effects their physicochemical behavior. In some cases, triglycerides may contain omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 essential fatty acids. The overall composition of the triglycerides (the types of fatty acids, their length, and the degree of saturation/unsaturation) is unique for each natural oil. For example, coconut oil has higher levels of saturated fats than most plant oils, which is why it exists in the solid state at room temperature.


Natural Oils in Wound Healing

Wound healing consists of the regeneration and tissue repair processes after the development of a chronic (pathological condition) or acute (trauma) lesion in the skin. There are three principal stages in wound healing, which include the inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling stage. Essentially, these stages are characterized by a series of biochemical and cellular events that involve cytokines, growth factors, and other important bioactive molecules that eventually lead to fibroblast proliferation, collagen synthesis, and epithelialization.


In recent years, it has been established that bioactive fatty acids play an important role in the inflammatory stage of wound healing (8, 9). Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids and their metabolic products are believed to play an integral role in modulating wound healing. Omega-3 (e.g., alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-6 (e.g., linoleic acid) fatty acids metabolize to a number of different molecules including leukotrienes, lipoxins, prostaglandins, and thromboxanes—twenty-carbon chain length bioactive compounds known as eicosanoids (10). In addition to alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid and erucic acid) were also reported to provide positive anti-inflammatory effects during wound healing (11). In summary, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties have been demonstrated for various botanical oils including olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and numerous other oils (6, 12-15).


Natural Oils and Diseases of the Skin

A brief survey of the scientific literature reveals a number of studies investigating the effects of oils on various diseases encountered in dermatology (16). In addition to fatty acids and other lipids in the oils, there are numerous biologically important molecules such as monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpines (e.g., cannabinoids, tocopherols), triterpenoids (e.g., squalene, sterols), carotenoids, and polyphenols (17). These phytochemicals have been shown to efficaciously alleviate the symptoms of inflammatory skin diseases, such as contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. In addition, dietary supplementation with essential fatty acids has shown beneficial effects in the treatment of acne, atopic dermatitis, pruritis, psoriasis, and skin ulcers (18-20).  Furthermore, supplementation with an omega-3 fatty acid was shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer in organ transplant recipients (patients who undergo transplant procedures have a very high risk of developing skin cancer) (21). There has also been considerable interest in utilizing natural oils produced by the plant Cannabis sativa for the treatment of skin inflammatory diseases. Hemp seed and cannabidiol (CBD) oil have been found to be the most efficacious oils from Cannabis sativa for treating skin inflammatory conditions (22).


Therapeutic Benefits of Natural Oils

One of the principal benefits of treating skin with natural oils is to alleviate dry skin by enhancing its barrier function. Due to compositional differences, each natural oil interacts uniquely with the skin. Some of the most commonly used oils for skin therapy are almond, argan, coconut, evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), jojoba, oat, and olive oil (23, 24). It is noteworthy that while olive oil has a number of reported benefits for skin—mostly for treatment of skin aging, pruritis, and xerosis—there are concerns that it negatively affects skin barrier function (25). Regardless, natural oils help form a physical barrier on the skin surface and function as a source of lipids to fortify the skin’s barrier. Future research could help identify specific oils that should be used for a particular skin treatment modality (26).


Aroma massage therapy consists of the use of essential oils in conjunction with massage techniques. Natural oils are used as carrier oils for the essential oils. In addition to diluting the essential oil, the carrier oil lubricates the skin surface facilitating the massage procedure. Some common carrier oils are almond, coconut, grapeseed, jojoba, and sunflower oil. In general, carrier oils should have a pleasant scent and be aesthetically pleasing when applied to the skin. When choosing a carrier oil, it is best to find an oil that is absorbed well by the skin that does not result in an oleaginous (greasy) sensation.


Neonatal Skin Care

Newborn infants are especially prone to developing dry skin conditions as their skin adapts to life outside of the uterus. From a physiological perspective, infant skin is quite different from adult skin. In infant skin the stratum corneum and epidermis are thinner and there is significant risk of trans-epidermal water loss due to less barrier lipids and natural moisturizing factor. In addition, there is an accelerated breakdown of corneodesmosomes due to the higher surface pH (which affects desquamation) (27). Several studies highlight the possible benefits of treating neonatal skin with botanical oils, such as sunflower, coconut, almond, olive, palm (Elaeis guineensis), and mustard oil (Brassica juncea); however, there seems to be a consensus that further study is warranted to determine efficacy and any proposed mechanisms (28-30). For example, researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK found that treatment of neonatal skin with olive oil compromised skin barrier integrity and induced mild erythema in patients (31). Furthermore, researchers at Columbia University in New York City reported that olive oil can exacerbate atopic dermatitis and xerosis in pediatric subjects (32).


The Paradoxical Behavior of Natural Oils in Relation to Epidermal Barrier Function

The stratum corneum of skin contains corneocyte cells embedded in a matrix of endogenous lipids consisting of long-chain ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids, organized into multilamellar structures. Sebum is found on the surface of the skin and contains a mixture of triglycerides, wax esters, free fatty acids, squalene, and cholesterol esters. One would expect that treatment of skin with natural oils could help maintain the moisture levels of skin by enhancing its epidermal barrier function via the formation of an occlusive lipid layer on the surface thereby preventing trans-epidermal water loss. However, in recent years it has been discovered that some natural oils may disrupt the skin’s structural lipids thereby compromising stratum corneum barrier function.


Treatment with some oils can fluidize stratum corneum lipids and compromise epidermal barrier function. In fact, natural oils have been used as penetration enhancers in the transdermal delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients (33, 34). More than likely, the triglycerides in oils that are applied to the skin will be hydrolyzed by resident lipases resulting in the formation of free fatty acids, which can disrupt the ordered structure of lipid lamellae in the stratum corneum (35). In general, the paradoxical effect produced by some oils is thought to be more prevalent in patients suffering from atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions.


Concluding Remarks

Natural lipids are employed in several applications in skin care. In this article, we introduce some of the traditional treatment modalities and highlight some of the most recent studies published in the scientific literature which find health benefits to the skin. The available data suggest an important role for natural oils in treating skin inflammatory disorders, wound healing, skin therapy, and neonatal skin care. Despite the widespread use of natural oils in cosmetic formulations, there is considerable need to conduct further research in this area to better elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the efficacious nature of the oils. Looking ahead to the future, such action will require us to proactively investigate the bioactivity of the components of a broad range of natural oils in a systematic manner. In addition, a better understanding of the detrimental effects of certain oils to epidermal barrier function in specific types of skin needs to be elucidated in future studies.



The author expresses his sincere gratitude to Drs. Gopinathan Menon and David J. Moore for revising the text and offering useful suggestions.



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  3. Garavaglia J, Markoski M, Oliveira A, Marcadenti A. Grape seed oil compounds: biological and chemical actions for health. Nutr Metab Insights. 2016;9:59-64.
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  8. Ishak W, Katas H, Yuen N, Abdullah M, Zulfakar M. Topical application of omega-3-, omega-6-, and omega-9-rich oil emulsions for cutaneous wound healing in rats. Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2019;9(2):418-33.
  9. Lania B, Morari J, Almeida A, Silva M, Vieira-Damiani G, Lins K, et al. Topical essential fatty acid oil on wounds: local and systemic effects. PLoS One. 2019;14(1):e0210059.
  10. Jara C, Mendes N, Prado T, de Araújo E. Bioactive fatty acids in the resolution of chronic inflammation in skin wounds. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2020;9(8):472-90.
  11. Farag M, Gad M. Omega-9 fatty acids: potential roles in inflammation and cancer management. Genet Eng Biotechnol. 2022;20(1):48.
  12. Chen C, Nien C, Chen L, Huang K, Chang W, Huang H. Effects of Sapindus mukorossi seed oil on skin wound healing: in vivo and in vitro testing. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(10):2579.
  13. Nevin K, Rajamohan T. Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2010;23(6):290-7.
  14. Shivananda Nayak B, Dan Ramdath D, Marshall J, Isitor G, Xue S, Shi J. Wound-healing properties of the oils of Vitis vinifera and Vaccinium macrocarpon. Phytother Res. 2011;25(8):1201-8.
  15. Poljšak N, Kreft S, Kočevar Glavač N. Vegetable butters and oils in skin wound healing: scientific evidence for new opportunities in dermatology. Phytother Res. 2020;34(2):254-69.
  16. Tabassum N, Hamdani M. Plants used to treat skin diseases. Pharmacogn Rev. 2014;8(15):52-60.
  17. Styrczewska M, Zuk M, Boba A, Zalewski I, Kulma A. Use of natural components derived from oil seed plants for treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. Curr Pharm Des. 2019;25(20):2241-63.
  18. Thomsen B, Chow E, Sapijaszko M. The potential uses of omega-3 fatty acids in dermatology: a review. J Cutan Med Surg. 2020;24(5):481-94.
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  20. Sawada Y, Saito-Sasaki N, Nakamura M. Omega 3 fatty acid and skin diseases. Front Immunol. 2021;11:623052.
  21. Miura K, Way M, Jiyad Z, Marquart L, Plasmeijer E, Campbell S, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid intake and decreased risk of skin cancer in organ transplant recipients. Eur J Nutr. 2021;60(4):1897-905.
  22. Martins A, Gomes A, Vilas Boas I, Marto J, Ribeiro H. Cannabis-based products for the treatment of skin inflammatory diseases: a timely review. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2022;15(2):210.
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  27. Cooke A, Victor S, Cork M, Lavender T. Topical oils for the prevention or treatment of dry skin in term infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;2019(11):CD011100.
  28. Aksucu G, Azak M, Çağlar S. Effects of topical oils on neonatal skin: a systematic review. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2022;35(12):1-9.
  29. Pupala S, Rao S, Strunk T, Patole S. Topical application of coconut oil to the skin of preterm infants: a systematic review. Eur J Pediatr. 2019;178(9):1317-24.
  30. Chiabi A, Kenmogne M, Nguefack S, Obadeyi B, Mah E, Meka F, et al. The empiric use of palm kernel oil in neonatal skin care: justifiable or not? Chin J Integr Med. 2011;17(12):950-4.
  31. Danby S, AlEnezi T, Sultan A, Lavender T, Chittock J, Brown K, et al. Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care. Pediatr Dermatol. 2013;30(1):42-50.
  32. Karagounis T, Gittler J, Rotemberg V, Morel K. Use of “natural” oils for moisturization: review of olive, coconut, and sunflower seed oil. Pediatr Dermatol. 2019;36(1):9-15.
  33. Viljoen J, Cowley A, du Preez J, Gerber M, du Plessis J. Penetration enhancing effects of selected natural oils utilized in topical dosage forms. Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2015;41(12):2045-54.
  34. van Zyl L, du Preez J, Gerber M, du Plessis J, Viljoen J. Essential fatty acids as transdermal penetration enhancers. J Pharm Sci. 2016;105(1):188-93.
  35. Leung D, Elias P, Nadeau K, Berdyshev E. Olive oil is for eating and not skin moisturization. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2021;148(2):652.







NYSCC Participates American Chemical Society’s Middle-Atlantic Regional Meeting

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Giorgio Dell’Acqua chairs session featuring Moroccanoil’s Amber Evans, Coty’s Stacey House and other NYSCC executive board and scientific committee members.

The New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC) recently chaired a technical session on cosmetic chemistry during the 51st Middle-Atlantic Regional Meeting of American Chemical Society (ACS) hosted by its New York Chapter, St. John’s University and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).  This theme of the meeting was “Chemistry Refocused.” Held June 9-10,  it included technical and poster sessions on varied subjects within chemistry, employment programming, workshops as well as a graduate study fair, awards ceremony and more.

The cosmetic chemistry technical session was chaired by Giorgio Dell’Acqua (NYSCC) and attracted more than 75 participants between students and faculty members. It featured members of the NYSCC executive board and scientific committee that presented top cosmetic chemistry topics followed by a panel discussion on career paths in the industry.

Speakers and topics included:

• Dell’Acqua, NYSCC advisor and chief scientific officer, Nutrafol, spoke about “Sourcing and Developing Cosmetic Ingredients Using a Sustainable Approach.”
• Dr. Amber Evans, chair-elect NYSCC and senior manager of product development at Moroccanoil, spoke on “Hair Care & the Chemistry Within.”
• Stacey House, NYSCC chair, and senior VP of R&D consumer beauty, color and skin, Coty and LATAM, discussed “Decoding Ingredient Labels.”
• Dr. Hani Fares, senior director of skincare and oral care at Ashland Specialty Ingredients and chair of the NYSCC Scientific Committee, presented “Formulating Sunscreens.”
• Dr. Sue Feng, chief scientific officer, E.T. Browne’s global research and innovation, and NYSCC scientific committee member, covered, “How Textile Technology Innovations Transfer into Color Cosmetic Formulations.”

The technical session concluded with a panel Q&A on cosmetic chemistry career paths led by Dell’Acqua.

In addition, during MARM, NYSCC members coached students on their resumes during one-on-one review sessions, participated in a career panel with technical professionals from other industries, and engaged with students over their research posters.

“This was an exciting and fruitful outreach program for NYSCC this year. The Chapter will continue to foster relationships with other professional organizations and academia to promote cosmetic science as a strong career path,” said House.

NYSCC Continues Its Outreach on Careers in Cosmetic Chemistry

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Largest Chapter of Society of Cosmetic Chemists Participates in the Middle-Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) of the American Chemical Society (ACS)

(New York, NY, July 2023)—The New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC) recently chaired a technical session on “Cosmetic Chemistry,” during the 51st Middle-Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) of ACS hosted by its New York Chapter, St. John’s University and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).  The meeting, June 9-10, 2023 was themed “Chemistry Refocused,” and included technical and poster sessions on varied subjects within chemistry, employment programming, workshops as well as a graduate study fair, awards ceremony and more.

The Cosmetic Chemistry technical session on June 9th was chaired by Giorgio Dell’Acqua (NYSCC) and attracted more than 75 participants between students and faculty members. It featured members of the NYSCC Executive Board and Scientific Committee that presented top cosmetic chemistry topics followed by a panel discussion on career paths in the industry.

Speakers and topics included:

-Dr. Giorgio Dell’Acqua, NYSCC Advisor, and Chief Scientific Officer at Nutrafol. He spoke about “Sourcing and Developing Cosmetic Ingredients Using a Sustainable Approach.”

-Dr. Amber Evans, Chair-Elect NYSCC, and Senior Manager of Product Development at Moroccanoil spoke on “Hair Care & the Chemistry Within.”

-Stacey House, NYSCC Chair, and Senior VP of R&D Consumer Beauty, Color & Skin, Coty and LATAM discussed “Decoding Ingredient Labels.”

-Dr. Hani Fares, Senior Director of Skincare and Oral Care at Ashland Specialty Ingredients and Chair of the NYSCC Scientific Committee, presented “Formulating Sunscreens.”

-Dr. Sue Feng, Chief Scientific Officer, E.T. Browne’s Global Research & Innovation, and NYSCC Scientific Committee Member, covered, “How Textile Technology Innovations Transfer into Color Cosmetic Formulations.”


The technical session concluded with a panel Q&A on cosmetic chemistry career paths led by Dell’Acqua.  In addition, during MARM, NYSCC members coached students on their resumes during one-on-one review sessions, participated in a career panel with technical professionals from other industries, and engaged with students over their research posters.

“This was an exciting and fruitful outreach program for NYSCC this year. The Chapter will continue to foster relationships with other professional organizations and academia to promote cosmetic science as a strong career path,” said Stacey House, NYSCC Chair.

NYSCC also gives out numerous scholarships and grants to help students in their academic journey.  To find out more visit:  https://nyscc.org/scholarships-and-grants/, and the deadline is July 15th.   For more information about NYSCC and its annual Suppliers’ Day event, including its Future Chemists Workshop. visit, www.nyscc.org


About New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC)

Dedicated to the advancement of cosmetic science, the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, www.nyscc.org, strives to increase and disseminate scientific information through meetings and publications. By promoting research in cosmetic science and industry, and by setting high ethical, professional and educational standards, we reach our goal of improving the qualifications of cosmetic scientists. Our mission is to further the interests and recognition of cosmetic scientists while maintaining the confidence of the public in the cosmetic and toiletries industry.  Connect with NYSCC on Twitter and Facebook at @NYSCC and Instagram: @NYSCCMAIN

NYSCC Suppliers’ Day Records Its Biggest Ingredients & Formulation Event

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10,362 Attendees, 546 Global Exhibitors from 73 Countries Highlighted Beauty & Personal Care Event that Reimagined Renewal & Wellness


(New York, NY, May 2023)—The New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC)  44th Annual Suppliers’ Day broke attendance records, May 2-3, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Attracting 10,362 registrants in R&D and product development for the biggest brand manufacturers in beauty and personal care as well as emerging independents, and representing 73 countries, Suppliers’ Day 2023 enjoyed its best professional attendance to date.

“Attendees and exhibitors were energized by the look, feel and size of the show and being back together to explore, discover and discuss the science behind ingredients and formulations” said Stacey House, Chair, NYSCC. “Every inch of the show embraced our theme of Reimagining Renewal & Wellness and helped spark attendees product development plans.”

In addition to an exhibit floor that featured 546 exhibiting companies including 174 new exhibitors, Suppliers’ Day also boasted 100+ hours of education as well as its largest participation in conference delegates with almost 500 registrants.  Well attended programs covered microbiome, hair care and wellness, bio-technologies, fragrance, modernizing cosmetic regulations, natural ingredients, Chinese beauty market, innovations from exhibitors, hot topics, along with “Truth in Beauty: Sci-Comm Influencers Panel.”  Suppliers’ Day core programs, “Digital Age of Beauty,” “Discover Sustainability,” “World of Chemistry,” and “Indie 360”, provided fresh content and actionable insight that continues to resonate with attendees.

The Fireside Chat with Mohamed Kanji, Chief Open Innovation & Operational Excellence Officer, North America at L’Oréal and moderated by Lan Vu, Founder/CEO of BeautyStreams, discussed how L’Oréal achieves their green sciences and sustainability goals to a standing room only crowd.

The Future Chemists Workshop broke records as well with more than 100  students from 22 colleges and universities across the county participating in a  mini-challenge for the best upcycled leave-in hair and scalp spray. The NYSCC Mentorship Mixer and Career Development Program connected members with mentees looking to enhance their professional development and career in cosmetic chemistry.

The NYSCC Awards Night event took place on Tuesday, May 2nd at Second Floor NYC and announced the eight finalists of the 2023 CEW Supplier’s Beauty Creators Awards for ingredients and Formulation: Activen for XEP-716 MiniProtein; BASF for ProBiolift; Cambrium for NovaColl; Croda Inc. for Mel[o]stem, Givaudan Active Beauty for Gravityl, Givaudan Active Beauty for PrimalHyal Hydra[+], P2 Science, Inc. for CitroSperse and Vantage Specialty Ingredients Inc. for Concentrated Conditioner Drops.  The winner will be announced at the CEW Beauty Creators Awards Luncheon on November 7, 2023.

The INDIE 360 Pavilion featured 14 curated brands that are new to market and have novel ingredients, formulations, and unique concepts.  The People’s Choice Award went to INA Labs, for their clean, clinically tested skincare for a woman’s most intimate skin, from effective plant-based hygiene routines to OB/GYN-developed solutions for common concerns.

Plans are already underway for next year’s NYSCC Suppliers’ Day taking place May 1-2, 2024, with 80% of the exhibitors already resigned over 90% of available exhibit space.  For more information about NYSCC visit www.nyscc.org.  For 2024 Suppliers’ Day exhibitor and sponsorship information email:  suppliersday@nyscc.org.


About New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC)

Dedicated to the advancement of cosmetic science, the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, www.nyscc.org, strives to increase and disseminate scientific information through meetings and publications. By promoting research in cosmetic science and industry, and by setting high ethical, professional and educational standards, we reach our goal of improving the qualifications of cosmetic scientists. Our mission is to further the interests and recognition of cosmetic scientists while maintaining the confidence of the public in the cosmetic and toiletries industry.  Connect with NYSCC on Twitter and Facebook at @NYSCC and Instagram: @NYSCCMAIN

Biodegradability considerations for cosmetic ingredients

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The topic of “biodegradability” has become extremely important over recent years, but still may not be fully understood. The following is a basic overview for formulators and anyone wishing to know more about this critical issue. (Note that regulations, definitions, and practical guidelines on biodegradability are continually changing, and the comments in this blog are intended to offer general insights, not legal definitions or advice.)

Simply put, biodegradation is the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi[1], and once broken down, the byproducts are carbon dioxide and water vapor. “Bio” is the key prefix here; the difference between “degradable” and “biodegradable” is that while “degradable” products can be broken down by chemical or biological processes, “biodegradable” materials can only be broken down by biological processes.

The concern for biodegradable products began with the issue of microplastics, first detected in the 1970s in the ocean as plastic residue, but not termed “microplastics” until the mid-2000s. (A good and comprehensive article on this by Napper and Thompson was published online in 2020[2].) Many multinational companies have stopped using microplastics (microbeads) in their formulations and other brands are following, but let’s clearly define what are, and are NOT, microplastics! To qualify as a microplastic, four criteria must be met:

  1. It must be a polymer
  2. It must be solid (at RT)
  3. It must be in particulate form
  4. It must be under 5mm in size

All four criteria must be met – if even a single one of these four is not present, the substance is NOT considered a microplastic. And to complicate matters further, there are many exclusions even if these four criteria are met, including the following:

  1. The material is natural
  2. The material is degradable
  3. Its solubility is > 2 g/liter
  4. No carbon atoms in its chemical structure
  5. Its release to the environment is prevented when used
  6. Its physical properties are permanently modified during end use
  7. It is permanently incorporated into a solid matrix during end use
  8. And likely more…

Just because your products may be “natural” does not mean they are “biodegradable” – measurement is key! As mentioned by Dr. Martin Perry, Advanced Development Safety Laboratories, at SCS Formulate in 2021: “Although natural content is good to know, and there is a perception that natural ingredients are more biodegradable than synthetic ones, knowing the biodegradability is important. The natural content of your product or your organic content is not going to be sufficient for you to substantiate anything on biodegradability.”[3]

To be precise, most companies adhere to the standard of “readily biodegradable”, defined as the ability of a product to biodegrade quickly and completely (≥ 60% by OECD 301A-F/ASTM D7373 testing) within 28 days. You might also hear the term “inherently biodegradable,” defined as between 20% and 60% biodegradability as measured by OECD 301A-F testing, but “readily biodegradable” is stricter and preferable.

From the OECD iLibrary: “The OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals is a collection of about 150 of the most relevant internationally agreed testing methods used by government, industry and independent laboratories to identify and characterize potential hazards of chemicals. They are a set of tools for professionals, used primarily in regulatory safety testing and subsequent chemical and chemical product notification, chemical registration and in chemical evaluation. They can also be used for the selection and ranking of candidate chemicals during the development of new chemicals and products and in toxicology research. This group of tests covers environmental fate and behaviour. In 2017, the section 3 “Degradation and Accumulation” was renamed to “Environmental fate and behaviour” to take into account Test Guidelines measuring endpoints such as dispersion, aggregation.”[4]

As a final note, microplastics and biodegradability concerns are part of a larger issue of minimizing environmental pollution. Some may equate this trend with the apparent discovery of reef damage caused by certain organic sun filters, specifically octinoxate and oxybenzone. There are bans in place on octinoxate and oxybenzone in many countries, including the US (Hawaii, Florida, US Virgin Islands), Aruba, Bonaire (off the coast of Venezuela), Palau and parts of Mexico. However, this is not a biodegradability issue as much as it is a toxicity issue, and the science is still unclear as to the actual effect of residual organic sunscreens on coral reefs.


[1] Focht DD. “Biodegradation”. AccessScience. doi:10.1036/1097-8542.422025.

[2] Napper & Thompson, “Plastic Debris in the Marine Environment: History and Future Challenges”. Global Challenges. doi: 10.1002/gch2.201900081.

[3] https://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Article/2021/11/18/Biodegradable-beauty-focus-needed-in-natural-and-organics-before-regulatory-change-says-expert#

[4] https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/test-no-301-ready-biodegradability_9789264070349-en


Ben Blinder is the Executive Director, Business Operations at Gattefossé USA, with P/L responsibility for the personal care and pharmaceutical business units in the US and Mexico. He is also a founding member of the Advisory Committee on Diversity & Inclusion for Gattefossé in North America. Ben holds a BS in chemical engineering from Lehigh University.

NYSCC Suppliers’ Day–Education & Innovation at Forefront of Leading Ingredients & Formulation Event

by james.runkle@drummondst.com james.runkle@drummondst.com No Comments

Media Contact: Annie Scully, 201-310-9252, press@nyscc.org

NYSCC Suppliers’ Day–Education & Innovation at Forefront of Leading Ingredients & Formulation Event

Reimagining Renewal & Wellness at Beauty & Personal Care Trade Show and Conference, May 2-3, at the Javits Center in New York City

(New York, New York, April 2023)—The New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC) announces its educational program for Suppliers’ Day, taking place May 2-3, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.  As North America’s most important ingredients and formulation event, Suppliers’ Day will provide the latest trends, scientific findings, global ingredients, raw materials and solutions that will invigorate and accelerate beauty and personal care product developments.

Curated by the NYSCC Scientific Committee, along with support from media and industry association partners, Suppliers’ Day will offer close to 100 hours of educational programming on the topics that are most pressing to those involved in formulations, sourcing, and marketing beauty and personal care products including:

-Fireside Chat on green sciences, sustainability and more with a leading global beauty manufacturer

-Technical courses spearheaded by the NYSCC Scientific Advisory Committee that take deep dives into: Hair & Scalp Renewal & Wellness and Biotechnology in Beauty & Personal Care

-Digital Age of Beauty focusing on key strategies, digital tools and innovative technologies that influence product development, and speed to market including AI and blockchain.

-Microbiome: Inside Out Beauty, with expert perspectives and unique insight on microbiome health from head to toe including oral and vaginal innovations.

– PCPC along with the EU’s IKW presenting:  Reimagining, Renewal, & Wellness:  Modernizing Cosmetics Regulations.

INDIE 360 covering every angle of launching and sustaining a brand and featuring a panel of founders sharing their stories including the challenges, opportunities and journeys to success.

-Two lunch and learns sponsored by industry partners covering Natural Ingredients, More Tech and Science Needed:  A Discussion with the Experts and Catching China’s Beauty Trends.”

-Fragrance: The Invisible Art is also returning to Suppliers’ Day and brings together expert perspectives from the essential players in creating the “invisible art”.

-Popular program tracks, opened to all attendees, will focus on green issues and reducing waste with Discover Sustainability, global sourcing and marketing trends from World of Chemistry; IBA’s Regulatory & Compliance Update; Innovations from the Exhibit Floor; and “Hot Topics” offering lightning sessions on oral care, DE&I, color, influencers, legal watch outs, and sustainable packaging.

-For the first time there will be a Influencer Chemist Panel: TRUTH IN BEAUTY

featuring The Eco Well, Chemist Confessions, NYSCC’s Influencer, Javon Ford and more.


-Pre-event SCC CEP Courses on Formulating Natural Oils and Butters for the Cosmetics Industry: Technical Background and Best Practices and Introduction to Sensory Characterization of Cosmetic Emulsions.


“The theme, Reimagining Renewal & Wellness, will be evident throughout Suppliers’ Day by focusing on all elements that foster renewal and will shine a light on sustainable beauty,” said Stacey House, Chair, NYSCC. “The event will bridge how wellness, and eco-consciousness touches all areas of the industry and impacts new product development and business success.”

Continuing its mission to educate and involve the workforce of the future and students, Suppliers’ Day will also host the popular Future Chemists Workshop and hold a Mentor Lunch Mixer and Career Development Session.

The finalists of the CEW Supplier’s Beauty Creators Award for Ingredients & Formulation will be revealed at the NYSCC Industry Awards Night celebration on May 2nd at Second Floor NYC.

The expanded show floor will feature more than 500 global exhibitors showcasing novel ingredients, formulas, processing, advanced scientific testing equipment and more.  Dynamic areas on the show floor will provide an enhanced educational and wellness experience including the new Brazilian and Peru Pavilions, Re-Charge Station, Main Stage, Presentation Theater, Influencers Lounge, Future Chemists Workshop, University Row, Technical Poster Presentations Showcase, and an Indie Pavilion with 16+ juried brands.

Suppliers’ Day is the NYSCC flagship event and attracts participants working in R&D and product development for the biggest brand manufacturers in beauty and personal care as well as emerging independents.  To register to attend and for more information on NYSCC Suppliers’ Day visit: https://nyscc.org/suppliers-day/.


About New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC)

Dedicated to the advancement of cosmetic science, the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists strives to increase and disseminate scientific information through meetings and publications. By promoting research in cosmetic science and industry, and by setting high ethical, professional and educational standards, we reach our goal of improving the qualifications of cosmetic scientists. Our mission is to further the interests and recognition of cosmetic scientists while maintaining the confidence of the public in the cosmetic and toiletries industry. The NYSCC Suppliers’ Day in New York City, is the leading North American event for beauty ingredients, formulations, and delivery innovations.  For more information visit: www.nyscc.org,  Connect with NYSCC on Twitter and Facebook at @NYSCC and Instagram: @NYSCCMAIN

NYSCC Suppliers’ Day Announces Fireside Chat with Mohamed Kanji Chief Open Innovation and Operational Excellence Officer, North America at L’Oréal

by james.runkle@drummondst.com james.runkle@drummondst.com No Comments

Media Contact: Annie Scully, 201-310-9252, press@nyscc.org


NYSCC Suppliers’ Day Announces Fireside Chat with Mohamed Kanji Chief Open Innovation and Operational Excellence Officer,  North America at L’Oréal

Leading Beauty and Personal Care Ingredients and Formulation Event Takes Place

May 2-3 at the Javits Center in New York  

(New York, NY, April 2023)—NYSCC (New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists) is pleased to announce that Mohamed Kanji, Chief Open Innovation and Operational Excellence Officer, North America at L’Oréal, will participate in a one-on-one fireside chat on Wednesday, May 3rd at 9:00 am during Suppliers’ Day at the Javits Center in New York. This fireside chat will be moderated by Lan Vu, Founder & CEO of BEAUTYSTREAMS, focusing on L’Oréal’s open innovation strategy to achieve its green sciences and sustainability goals.

“We are thrilled to present this fireside chat as part of Suppliers’ Day,” said Stacey House, Chair, NYSCC.  “Mohamed’s impressive career in cosmetic science and now his role in spearheading L’Oréal’s open innovation activities in North America will be inspiring and engaging for Suppliers’ Day attendees.”

Kanji began his career at Revlon USA as a Chemist before joining L’Oréal USA in 1993 as a Senior Chemist in the Research and Development department. At L’Oréal, he developed mascara and liners for the Maybelline brand and gradually advanced through the ranks.

In 2008, Kanji became the Vice President of R&D Makeup Laboratories for Maybelline, where he led global development efforts, and along with his team launched several successful products, including the Dream Matte Mousse Foundation, Color Sensational Lip Color, ESSIE nail color, and the Colossal Mascara.  He also was instrumental in creating the R&I center in India.

In 2013, he was promoted to Senior Vice President, Research & Innovation for L’Oréal USA, where he managed the pre-development and development labs, Evaluation department, Micro Analytical Labs, and all the NJ-based R&I center-related activities across the USA, Canada, and Hispanic America.

Kanji’s current role is Chief Open Innovation and Operational Excellence Officer, where he is responsible for Open Innovation Activities & critical areas, including Scouting, Transformation, and Strategic Alliances. For Operational Excellence, he manages functions such as Analytical, Quality, IT, Facilities, and EHS, and oversees the development of L’Oréal’s new Research & Innovation hub for North America.

Suppliers’ Day, May 2-3, is the NYSCC flagship event and attracts participants working in R&D and product development for the biggest brand manufacturers in beauty and personal care as well as emerging independents.  Additional educational programs offered this year will cover microbiome, hair care and wellness, bio-technologies, fragrance, modernizing cosmetic regulations, natural ingredients, Chinese beauty market, innovations from exhibitors, hot topics, along with “Truth in Beauty: Sci-Comm Influencers Panel,” “Digital Age of Beauty,” “Discover Sustainability,” “World of Chemistry,” and “Indie 360”. Future Chemists Workshop, Mentorship Mixer and a Career Development Day will be held in support of young professionals in the industry. The NYSCC Industry Awards Night will take place on May 2nd at Second Floor NYC and feature the announcement of the finalists of the CEW Supplier’s Beauty Creators Award.

For more information on NYSCC Suppliers’ Day, the leading North American event for beauty and personal care product development and to attend, visit: https://nyscc.org/suppliers-day/.


About New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC)

Dedicated to the advancement of cosmetic science, the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists strives to increase and disseminate scientific information through meetings and publications. By promoting research in cosmetic science and industry, and by setting high ethical, professional, and educational standards, we reach our goal of improving the qualifications of cosmetic scientists. Our mission is to further the interests and recognition of cosmetic scientists while maintaining the confidence of the public in the cosmetic and toiletries industry. NYSCC Suppliers’ Day in New York City is the leading North American event for beauty ingredients, formulations, and delivery innovations.  For more information visit: www.nyscc.org. Connect with NYSCC on Twitter and Facebook at @NYSCC and Instagram: @NYSCCMAIN

Editor’s Note:  To request a press badge for Suppliers’ Day contact Annie Scully: press@nyscc.org