Episode 15: Eric Abrutyn Interview

In this episode of the podcast we speak with Eric Abrutyn, cosmetic industry consultant and owner of TPC2 Advisor. He has nearly 40 years experience in cosmetic formulating and raw materials.

Interview begins at 14:40

Cosmetic News

The first article that caught my eye was a report by the Nanodermatology Society that released a position statement on the safety of nanotechnology in sunscreens. According to them, the data shows that nanoparticles in sunscreens are safe.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have been used as sunscreen ingredients for years and some time ago, nanotechnology was applied to them. Nanotechnology is just the process of making the particles less than 100 nm. This made the sunscreens feel better and allowed them to be clear so you wouldn’t have a white chalky look on your skin.

NDS, a physician-led organization dedicated to the scientific and medical aspects of nanotechnology and dermatology, claims that sunscreens with these nanomaterials offer superior UV protection when compared to conventional formulations.

However, various organizations and regulatory bodies have raised concerns about the safety of using nanoparticles in cosmetic products. They worry that nano-sized particles will have some unanticipated reactions that might make them dangerous for people to use. In particular, the worry is that they will penetrate and build-up in the body.

Dr. Adam Friedman vice-president of the NDS said in a statement that the data it has found indicates that nanotechnology in sunscreens is safe.

This is good news for cosmetic chemists who are continually looking for ways to improve on the feel and substantivity of sunscreens and cosmetics. Unfortunately, I doubt that this will quell the concern by people who are afraid of any new technology. Nanotechnology still has some hurdles to clear before it is accepted by consumers and advocacy groups, but this is a step in the right direction for people who want to realize the benefits of nanotechnology.

Story 2
FDA issues warning letter to eyelash growth companies
One issue that I have followed for a number of years is the proliferation of eyelash growth products. I first learned of them a few years back when Jan Marini had a product that was extremely popular (and expensive). I was skeptical that it worked after all, the product said that it grew hair. It seems anything that can grow hair would be huge and I didn’t know why I had never heard of it being applied to people’s heads.

Upon further investigation, I learned that the product was originally a glaucoma medicine and longer eyelashes was a noticed side effect. Jan Marini went ahead and launched a product as a cosmetic. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that a product that could actually grow hair isn’t a cosmetic in the United States, it is a drug. Eventually, they got their product impounded by the FDA for it being a mislabeled drug and they stopped producing that product. They reformulated with a different active but it didn’t work the same. Latisse was eventually launched by a pharmaceutical company. This product is a drug and is regulated by the FDA as such. It’s still on the market and has satisfied many consumers.

Anyway, when companies saw the success of Jan Marini, lots of other ones got in the business. This includes companies like RapidLash, Lilash, etc. They all started claiming their products made eyelashes longer but then when Jan Marini got busted by the FDA, they changed their claims to “help make eyelashes appear longer” or something watered down like that.

Well, it turns out those products didn’t water down their claims enough. The FDA just issued a warning letter to makers of some of these products including

RapidLash Eyelash Renewal Serum (RapidLash), NeuLash Active Eyelash Technology (NeuLash) and NeuveauBrow Active Eyebrow Technology (NeuveauBrow).

The letter says that these products are misbranded drugs and are not approved by the FDA as safe and effective. The companies have 15 days to notify the FDA what the companies intend to do about it or further legal action will be taken. Basically, these companies are going to have to stop selling the product until they can reformulate and change their advertising.

This is something to keep in mind if you are creating a cosmetic that is doing anything to the body that might be construed as a drug. Remember cosmetics are only allowed to alter the appearance of skin and hair. They are not actually allowed to alter the biochemistry of them.

Cosmetic Science

We discuss whether you would do better in working as a cosmetic chemist for a big company or small company. Areas considered.

1. Compensation
2. Resources
3. Networking
4. Job security
5. Flexibility
6. Creative control
7. Impact on the company


Eric Abrutyn is owner of TPC2 Advisor, a cosmetic industry consulting company dedicated to provide the personal care industry with technical support in the understanding of the properties, performance and value of technology to improve the success of new product development and commercialization.

Contact Eric here.


You can still sign up for the Complete Cosmetic Chemist cosmetic science training program here.

NYSCC Suppliers day is happening May 10 & 11. See this website for more details. NYSCC Suppliers day

SCC Midyear scientific meeting in Las Vegas June 2, 3. More information here. SCC Midyear meeting

If you have a question, comment or other suggestion about the podcast, leave a message in the space below.

Chemists Corner is a podcast about cosmetic science and is broadcast to help educate, entertain, and inspire current and future cosmetic scientists. The information and opinions discussed on Chemists Corner are those of the hosts and the guests alone. They do not necessarily reflect those of any past, present or future employers.

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How to Become a Cosmetic Chemist

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