Episode 44: Functional Natural Ingredients - Satish Nayak Interview

Interview: Dr Satish Nayak

interview starts at : 14:10

Satish Nayak is the Director of Research and Development for Kemin Personal Care. He joined Kemin Dr Satish Nayakin 2008 as a Scientist for Kemin Industries Discovery Research group where he was the project manager for Chemistry and Biochemistry projects. Currently in his position, Satish is responsible for innovation, quality control and customer laboratory support for personal care ingredients.

Prior to coming to Kemin, Satish worked as a Post-Doctoral Assistant at the University of Chicago, where his research was focused on developing biological models to understand the effect of proteins, particularly enzymes on cell surfaces.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Ramnarain Ruia College in Mumbai, India and he received a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Mumbai in India. Satish also obtained his Doctorate of Philosophy in Chemistry (Polymer) from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Contact Dr Nayak at Kemin.

Cosmetic Science news

Papains cause reactions

Here’s an interesting story about a natural enzyme that may be causing some strong allergic skin reactions when it’s included in cosmetics.

Papain is an enzyme ingredient used in industrial production because it is great at degrading proteins. But when it comes in contact with human skin it can cause a strong allergic reaction.

According to researchers the way that this reaction happens is that papain induces a breakdown of the cellular connection within the skin. This causes a loss of the barrier function and inflammatory cells infiltrate the skin. After about two weeks of being exposed to papain, researchers found relevant anti bodies in work done on mice. They also developed an allergic sensitization to papain.

Anyway, you may be tempted to include the ingredient in a formula as a natural exfoliant but it’s not advisable. Your consumers just may have a reaction that you didn’t intend.


Color changing makeup

There isn’t a lot of innovation going on in the cosmetic industry, at least in terms of technology. The reality is that the products out there work pretty well and it is hard to make them better. Until someone figures out a radically different way to address problems people use cosmetics to solve, formulations will only get incrementally better. That’s why I like to see products like the ones outlined in this story about color changing products. This may be a little gimmicky but color changing products provide a novel angle on products that can otherwise be dull.

Here are six different products that change color when they are applied. Perhaps you could think of some way to make your formulations stand out by adopting a similar strategy.

Alright, let’s look at the products.

Smash box has a product they call O-Glow. You put the product on your skin and it changes to a red color that is supposed to match the color of your skin. They say it works because of the chemistry of your skin but it is really just a pH color change. The user’s skin doesn’t have much to do with it. But it is a clever product.

Next is a color changing lip balm from Sephora. This one claims to work with your body’s natural pH level to change color form a light pink to a bright fuchsia. I’m not sure how it works but I know some of the FD&C colors will change shade depending on the pH. It uses Red 27 and Red 22 so those probably are pH affected.

Next is a CC cream from Tony Moly. It starts out as a white color then supposedly changes to the color of your complexion. As if it can detect what color your skin is. I suspect that it is just a standard shade that looks good on most everyone’s skin. There is no ingredient list so I can’t say how the technology works.

Another color changing product is the Le Rose Magic Lip Gloss from Givenchy. This product goes on clear and is supposed to make your lip color brighter. It has Red 21 in it so that color must be affected by either a pH change or exposure to air.

Finally, there is the custom color blush from Stila. They claim that it adjusts to your color based on the pH level of your body. I suspect it is just using the same color changing technology as the color changing lip balm.

While these products are more hype than effective the color changing effect is a novel aspect of the product and it would qualify as a truly innovative technology. I’m just not sure if it is a worthwhile innovation. We’ll see.


Animal free meat

Finally, here’s a story about a technology that I have been following since it was first written about in the mid 1990’s. It’s not cosmetic related but it is really intriguing. The technology is animal free meat and the latest development is that the price of one of these lab grown burgers has dropped from $325,000 for the first one produced to $11.36 for the most recent one. That’s a pretty good cost cutting measure in just 2 years.

The idea behind the animal free meat technology is to take a few cattle stem cells and grow them up in a petri dish. They are able to make the cells differentiate into muscle cells and they keep propagating. Those cells merge into muscle fibers and you end up with something that looks like a short pink rice noodle.

Imagine a world some day where we don’t raise cows but instead create all our meat in laboratories. It could have a huge positive impact on our environment! I’m really excited to see this technology develop. I know it’s not cosmetics but I wonder, is there something similar that we can use this technology for in our field?

Perhaps plant-free extracts from endangered plants?

Cosmetic Formulating

Levels of natural

  • Level 4 - Greenwashing
  • Level 3 - Formulating to a natural standard
  • Level 2 - Formulating to the USDA organic standard
  • Level 1 - Using something from nature



Speaking in St. Louis on May 19, 2015

C&T Summit - June


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