Article by: Perry Romanowski

There is actual science that happens in the cosmetic industry and you can find much of it written in the peer reviewed Journal of Cosmetic Science. Of course, as a working chemist it sometimes becomes difficult to go through all the articles in the quarterly journal so we provide for you a summary of the latest issue (vol 63, no 3). If you want more, go check out the journal article. If you are a paying member of the SCC then you can see the whole article online for free.

Journal of Cosmetic Science v 63, no 3)

1. Determination of total lead in 400 lipsticks.

This article details work done by the FDA to determine the amount of lead present in various lipsticks on the market. The results were reported widely by the media & consumer fearmongering groups a few months ago but in the jounral you’ll be able to see exactly how they did it. It requires Hydrofluoric acid which is much stronger than any acids you’ll find in the stomach demonstrating that any lead ingested from lipstick will never make it into your bloodstream.

2. Intermolecular disulfide cross-linked structural change induced by permanent wave treatment of human hair with thioglycolic acid.

Here’s some real chemistry. The authors are investigating the chemical reactions involved in the permanent wave process. Specifically, they wanted to see the mechanisms involved in the breakdown and reformation of the S-S bonds by thioglycolic acid. It turns out the S-S bonds between protein chains are preferentially broken down as compared to the inter-filament S-S bonds. This explains why reformation helps hold a curl. Heady stuff here.

3. Melanosome transfer evaluation by quantitative measurement of Pmel 17 in normal melanocyte-keratinocyte co-cultures: Effect of an Alaria esculenta extract.

Ah, it took a little doing but I figured out that this article is about a new skin lightening compound. Specifically, Alaria esculenta extract. They say it works but then don’t show any human trials. And they don’t compare it to other known skin lightening ingredients like hydroquinone. A little disappointing.

4. Determination of kojic acid in a skin-whitening cosmetic…

Another skin whitening article. It is a hot topic as the market is huge and the approved active ingredients are limited. However, this article is not really about discovering a new skin lightening ingredient, it is more about the development of an analytical method for figuring out how much kojic acid is in a particular formulation. It could be useful for QC chemists or even formulators who are looking to knock-off a competitor.

5. Microscopic evaluation of polymeric film properties of anhydrous sunscreen compositions…

This is a classic type of paper done by a supplier designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of their new raw material. Specifically, they are trying to show that using their polymer will boost the SPF value and water resistence of a sunscreen. And while there isn’t a huge boost, it seems like they’ve shown a statistical difference. Interesting.

Book Review – Transdermal and Intradermal delivery of therapeutic agents. A relatively postive review of the book.

There you have it. The JSCC summed up in one blog post.

We wade through the cosmetic science so you can focus on what’s important to you.

One comment

  1. Mark Fuller

    Thanks for the encapsulation! Now I know what articles to read! Some of them can get pretty technical and will never have any real life application for me.

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