CosmeticsDesign spoke with Adam Levy, CEO of Nexgel, about his company's low-chemical hydrogel product and the potential of hydrogel as a skincare actives delivery system.
To start out, tell me a bit about your hydrogel product.
Hydrogels on the market are generally crosslinked using chemicals and UV light. Those chemicals are not ideal for beauty, cosmetics, dermatology and a whole bunch of applications for which skin irritants are a problem.
This is a medical-grade technology. We have an $8 million electron beam accelerator in Langhorne, so we don't need chemicals to crosslink, we just use the energy from the electron beam. We can make what are effectively sheets of water, up to 95% water, polymer fibers and polymers.
We also have delivered over 200 different combinations of additives and active ingredients. We can make a wide variety of products from wound care to bug bite relief and, of course, beauty and cosmetics like face masks.
What value of bringing your technology to the market?
We use a much lower chemical level and 5% polymer. We also do make a product that is a completely natural, biodegradable product. That's moving towards sustainability. It's moving towards being biodegradable. We have to use recyclable packaging for that as well so you get 100% recyclable product.
Basically, people love the way hydrogels feel. We are seeing hydrogels appear all over. But if you look at the ingredients in hydrogel, it's like 21 different chemicals. What we're trying to do is bring a very clean three-ingredient hydrogel, plus your additive.
What do you see as the next big thing in hydrogel?
It's going to be the extended delivery of a whole bunch of actives. We also have programs away from beauty and cosmetics like drug delivery. We're trying to go after some more serious issues like plaque psoriasis and eczema, to more severe skin conditions where there are RX drugs that we think we can deliver.
That's the untapped world that we're getting into first and getting data on. I think that's going to be the next big application.
What do you think is important for cosmetics and personal care professionals to know about your product?
It's really clean, it's a medical-grade product. You can deliver some formulation you're very proud of in an entirely new line extension that is suitable for whatever that use may be. There's a big opportunity for us with companies that have spent 10s of millions of dollars marketing their product, and they have a lotion, cream, gel or serum, but they can't get a patch. We can actually represent a new way to deliver.