What are the unsolved problems in cosmetic science?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
I was working on a presentation about cosmetic science and I wondered what were the biggest unsolved problems in cosmetic science.  When I did a Google search for the phrase, I found that there were lists of unsolved problems in science, chemistry, mathematics, biology, physics, etc. but there wasn't a list of such problems in cosmetic science. (e.g. List of unsolved problems in chemistry)

So what do you think are some of the biggest unsolved problems in cosmetic science?

Here are a few that I thought of in no particular order.

1.  How can you predict consumer preference from lab tests?
2.  How can you predict product formula stability based ingredients?
3.  How to make cosmetics environmentally friendly
4.  Alternatives to all forms of animal testing
5.  What causes hair to stop growing / how can we restart it?
6.  What causes melanocytes to stop producing melanin / how to restart them?

What do you think are unsolved problems?


  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    I believe that one of the problems, especially as we see more Botanical products used, will be reconciling the valid uses of these products in ethnobiology with their Cosmetic (topical) benefits. Unfortunately too many make the flawed logical jump of "if they work orally, they have to work on the skin as well!" This leads to some of the unsubstantiated claims we see which in the end have to rely upon anecdotal data. On the other side of the coin will be the products that have some valid topical effect, could surpass the allowable Cosmetic claims and encroach upon the OTC monographs. While the latter compounds are likely less common than people believe, there will exist some that do deliver these effects.

    In summary, reconciling the "Natural" market with bonafide Science.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Microformulation - yes, I agree that a big problem with no solution at the moment is ingredients that are shown to do something when topically applied but are not legal if they actually worked. Lack of regulation in this area hurts the advancement of cosmetic science.

Sign In or Register to comment.