Starting in 2018, Colgate-Palmolive sought to diversify its product offerings through the acquisition of “Filorga, EltaMD and PCA SKIN brands to build a world-class global skin health organization of premium brands that are scientifically proven and professionally endorsed,” as detailed on its company website.
Since that time, the company’s skin health division has grown rapidly, and “this year, we developed innovative skin health products and formulas as part of our ongoing clinical studies on aging,” said Lia Arvanitidou, Senior Vice President, Global R&D - Skin Health, Personal & Home Care at Colgate-Palmolive.
To learn more about the company’s investment in innovative skin care products like PCA Pro-Max Age Renewal and EltaMD UV AOX Mist Broad-Spectrum over the course of the last year, including the R&D, formulation, and launch processes as well as plans for further development in the skin care space, CosmeticsDesign interviewed Arvanitidou for her insights.
CDU: What are some ways that Colgate skincare has innovated or formulated disruptor products in the skin care space in 2023?
Lia Arvanitidou (LA): At Colgate-Palmolive, we are committed to developing science-backed products and solutions that help us advance our purpose to reimagine a healthier future for all. Science is at the heart of our business, including our skin health brands, EltaMD, Filorga and PCA Skin, our pet nutrition brand Hill’s Pet Nutrition and our oral care offerings -- where we publish more research each year than our main competitors combined.
This year, we developed innovative skin health products and formulas as part of our ongoing clinical studies on aging. We know it’s common to feel self-conscious about signs of aging but, to borrow a common phrase, when we look good, we feel good -- which improves our sense of well-being.
Our anti-aging products are specially formulated to bolster skin health, which is important since the skin is the largest organ of our body.
In June 2023 we launched PCA Skin Pro-Max Age Renewal, an advanced anti-aging serum clinically proven to lift and firm the appearance of skin by 60%*.
We also debuted the Filorga Time Filler 5-XP cream, which corrects five types of aging concerns (specifically 5 different types of wrinkles) on the face and neck and contains encapsulated hyaluronic acid, tripeptide, sea fennel extract, and kangaroo paw flower extract.
And our professional sun and skin care brand EltaMD debuted UV AOX Mist, a sheer-finish 100% mineral sunscreen spray that’s enriched with antioxidants to help prevent premature aging and rejuvenate skin. UV AOX Mist features a white-to-clear technology, meaning that the only time you see the sunscreen is when you’re spraying it on before it absorbs into the skin within seconds with no streaks, patches or white cast present.
*24-week data on file at PCA SKIN. N=47
CDU: Can you share more information about the PCA Pro-Max Age Renewal formulation and development process and launch?
LA: Our team is constantly motivated to keep pushing the boundaries of innovation to develop products that improve skin health as well as overall health and wellbeing. That’s just one of the reasons why in partnership with NASA aboard the International Space Station we conducted the microgravity experiment that helped contribute to the development of PCA Pro-Max Age Renewal.
For this experiment, we wanted to investigate the effect of microgravity on our skin’s physiology. More specifically, we sought to take a closer look at the differences in skin health and aging on Earth versus in the weightless environment of space, otherwise known as microgravity. Surprisingly enough, we found that the lack of gravity had a negative impact on the skin’s overall health and stimulated the rate of skin aging.
These findings, along with nearly ten years of development, helped inform PCA Skin Pro-Max Age Renewal, which features our patent-pending Micro Growth Factor (MGF) technology that consists of four unique signal tripeptides to help enhance collagen production.
Pro-Max Age Renewal is the most scientifically advanced skincare product I have had the privilege to work on over the course of my decades long career. Based on the findings from the microgravity experiment, Pro-Max Age Renewal can help mitigate gravitational stressors and bring the skin cells back to a healthy stage.
In other words, the anti-aging serum surpasses similar leading products in clinical studies, treating daily skincare concerns such as deep expression lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity and volume.
Notably, it successfully lifts, firms, and tightens the skin - common challenges that are typically difficult to treat - while being suitable for all skin types. We tested all the biomarkers known to be impacted today and hope to identify new biomarkers through this research to inform the design of future skincare products.
CDU: What are the greatest challenges that Colgate has faced over the course of 2023 regarding skin care product ingredient formulation and development?
The skincare team thoughtfully overcame a large hurdle during the development of our EltaMD UV AOX Mist Broad-Spectrum sunscreen. We know that spray sunscreen is often the preferred choice for consumers, but proper sunscreen application with a typical aerosol spray isn’t guaranteed -- you have to hold the can a certain way and take your environment into consideration, as some product may get carried by the wind before it even hits your skin.
We wanted to develop a spray sunscreen that could be effortlessly and effectively applied using Bag on Valve (BoV) -- a dispensing-system that separates the product from the propellant inside the can -- instead of a traditional aerosol. This created a unique obstacle because we needed to uphold the ease of use and positive experience that keeps our consumers coming back again and again.
So, we collaborated closely with our Product & Packaging developers to produce several iterations of the bottle before we landed on the right model. With the BoV package, the sunscreen can be sprayed 360° -- yes, even upside down -- without the all-mineral sunscreen clogging the nozzle.
CDU: In what ways has Colgate broken down inter-organizational silos to foster innovation and development in the skin care space?
LA: At Colgate-Palmolive, we know that some of the greatest innovations come from the most unlikely places. Our teams are guided by our company values to be Caring, Inclusive, and Courageous, and we are always on the lookout for inspiring ideas by working and collaborating across our categories – oral care, home care, personal care, pet nutrition and skin health – not operating in silos but sharing insights, research findings, methodologies, mechanisms of action and new actives across the enterprise.
CDU: What are Colgate’s plans for further innovation and development in the skin care product space in 2024?
LA: Our team is working tirelessly to continue driving innovation and reimagine how we can help all people care for their skin and see the results they’re looking for. We’re particularly focused on reaching out to people of color to share the importance of sunscreen for all skin types, and we want to target specific skin conditions like sensitive skin.