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R&D responding to renewed attention on ingredients

By Lucy Whitehouse , 10-Feb-2014

Rising consumer awareness of ingredients, fueled by the recent influx of product databases, is driving a focus on formulation right back to the industry’s research and development level.

The rise of software which enables developers to check the efficacy and safety of ingredients in a more accessible way confirms that developers are responding to this emerging emphasis.

Consumer demand

Consumer interest in formulation is rising on the back of new government transparency initiatives. As part of its Safe Cosmetics Program, the state of California recently launched an online cosmetic database, indicating which products may contain certain harmful chemicals.

Brazil has now followed suit, with its National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) having just introduced a similar automated system for registering personal products, cosmetics and fragrances.

These government databases join others which already exist such as EWG’s skin deep or the GoodGuide, developed in response to increasing demand for transparency of product formulation.

Consumers are becoming more concerned about what’s in the products they buy and the impact of these chemicals on their health and the environment,” Cecile Guyot, project manager at data management systems provider Coptis, told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

Cosmetic databases put the power of information directly into the consumers’ hands at the point of purchase,” she said.

True transparency?

Cosmetics brands voice concerns that such databases give only the illusion of transparency, as the information provided is usually out-of-context.

“It is important for consumers to be informed that the ingredients listed on the website are found at concentration levels that scientists and authoritative bodies in California and around the world have deemed safe,” said the Personal Care Products Council in response to California’s state database.

Nevertheless, in order to court consumer demand, the industry must respond to this emerging emphasis on clarity.

The increasing dominance of systems like the integrated system for formulation development and regulatory affairs recently updated by Coptis suggests R&D is taking this on board.

Guyot notes that formulators now need to be “aware of regulatory and/or environmental issues from the very first stage of the formulation process.

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