Page 22 - CTPA Annual Report 2011

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Science, Innovation and
the Cosmetics Industry
19.
Innovation
– a much-used word that actually covers a
very wide range of novel ideas. These can range from the
steady but important product development process by
which leading-edge developments trickle down to
mainstream products, up to the real breakthrough ideas
which are the source of the constant improvement of all
products available to the consumer. While much research
is carried out within company facilities, other companies
are linked to academic organisations; there is no single
model that fits all. Similarly, the direction of that research
varies. Some companies seek novel ingredients and
investigate their properties with a view to improving
product characteristics or to provide new functional
benefits: other research may be aimed more at a better
understanding of the structure and function of those
areas of the body with which the cosmetics industry
concerns itself. In any event, the outcome is new
knowledge, new insights and ultimately better products
for the consumer.
In many cases, we now find that it is the attainment of
new biological knowledge that drives the development
of new products that can capitalise on that knowledge,
as opposed to new products arising simply from a need
for something new. More and more, cosmetic products
are being developed at the cutting edge of biological
understanding of the structure and function of the skin,
hair, nails, etc.
As we come to know how skin ages, what the signs
are of aged skin and what causes those ageing effects,
so we can search for products and systems to help
prevent them appearing and we are able to measure
and thus demonstrate those benefits. This is very different
from the somewhat serendipitous approach once adopted
of trying ingredients seemingly at random in the hope of
finding some beneficial attribute that can be utilised in a
cosmetic. Although that approach has also resulted in
many efficacious products.
In this respect, the more targeted approach being adopted
by some is analogous to the targeted approach of
pharmaceutical companies. And therein lies a potential
problem. Although cosmetic products are regulated strictly
to ensure quality, efficacy and, above all, safety, people
will draw parallels to medicines legislation and ask why
cosmetics may be marketed without prior approval.
We have seen this already with the introduction of
pre-notification for products containing nanomaterials
through the new EC Cosmetics Regulation. At the same
time, such product development routes mean that cosmetics
are becoming more effective in the way they can restore and
maintain good condition.
If the cosmetics industry is to maintain the business model
of self-assessment married to in-market control rather than
move to one of prior notification and perhaps even an
approval process, it is essential that the rules governing
the distinction between cosmetics and medicines are known
and respected rather than eroded.
In this respect, the more targeted
approach being adopted by some is
analogous to the targeted approach
of pharmaceutical companies.