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Formulating, Packaging, and Marketing of Natural Cosmetic Products

Formulating, Packaging, and Marketing of Natural Cosmetic Products edited by Nava Dayan and Lambros Kromidas. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley; 2011. Hardcover; 444 pages. ISBN: 978-0-470-48408-1.    $125.00

Since time immemorial, both men and women have used a wide array of products to enhance their physical appeal, improve skin texture, or favorably alter their appearance. In today’s world, the use of cosmetics is especially popular for both sexes, and this desire to look and feel more attractive has spawned a multibillion-dollar global industry.

Plants and their byproducts have been a primary source of cosmetic ingredients since ancient times. Whether a fragrance, dye, coloring agent, skin emollient, or conditioner, herbal products continue to be of the utmost importance in cosmetology.

Unfortunately, some cosmetics contain synthetic compounds (e.g., parabens, artificial colors, etc.) and even natural elements such as lead that have deleterious effects on health, yet they continue to be included in many formulations throughout the world. The last decade has witnessed important advancements in identifying new phytochemical compounds with potential cosmetic and health benefits, including phenolic compounds, lignans, alkaloids, and terpenes, among many others.

As markets for beautifying agents become increasingly competitive and consumers are more aware of the potential dangers of certain cosmetic ingredients, commercial, scientific, and educational companies continue their quest to find new, more effective, and safer ingredients.

So important have cosmetics become in our modern society that new words have been coined related to natural cosmetology. Cosmeceutical, for example, is a marketing term that combines “cosmetics” and “pharmaceuticals,” suggesting an ability to ameliorate, treat, and perhaps prevent a number of skin conditions, disorders, and diseases. Related terms now commonly used in the cosmetic industry include nutricosmetics (implying that the natural product nurtures the skin), as well as neoceuticals, or newly discovered natural products that are used to treat hypersensitive skin conditions.

New and improved molecular techniques have focused on targets such as sirtuins (so-called “longevity proteins”); NFkB, a transcription factor that aids in various cellular processes; and PPARs (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors), which play important roles in both human and animal aging.

Formulating, Packaging, and Marketing of Natural Cosmetic Products includes a wealth of information on various plants and their byproducts for beauty and healthy living applications. The approach used by the authors is scientific; the content discusses various regulatory approaches regarding botanically based cosmetics from around the world, as well as journal articles, clinical trials, and laboratory experiments on various natural products used as cosmetics.

The applications of botanical cosmetic formulations mentioned in this book remind the reader of the fine line between cosmetic and therapeutic uses for botanical compounds. The authors also discuss skin penetration of various phytochemicals, vehicles, surfactants, thickening agents, penetration enhancers, and preservatives, as well as the potential adverse side effects of various topical formulations.

The book contains 21 chapters and is divided into six sections. Part 1 explores market trends for “natural” and “organic” products used by the cosmetic industry. This section mentions the origin of the natural products industry, as well as the history and development of regulatory agencies and statutes for the functional classification and labeling of diverse products derived mainly from plant sources.

Also, this section both concisely and conveniently expands on the development of non-governmental standards that establish credibility for natural products used as cosmetics. The chapters contained therein define and explain the theory of nonstate market-driven governance (NSMD) and its impact on the industry as well as the consumer. Furthermore, this section includes an overview of the existing standards of quality control for the personal care industry in the United States and Europe.

Part 2 includes an in-depth focus on the regulatory aspects of a wide array of natural cosmetic ingredients, including the classification of natural and organic claims for natural products. Various other regulatory schemes are mentioned for Canada and Europe.

Part 3 mentions the safety aspects of natural products of vegetable origin and, at length, discusses the uses and health-related aspects of natural preservatives as well as microbial contamination and other risks related to the processing and packaging of cosmeceuticals. For cosmetic products, the botanical evaluation includes the assessment of four important routes of application or exposure: systemic, ocular, dermal (topical), and inhalation — the latter being of utmost importance in assessing perfumes and essential oils. A chapter in this section is devoted to evaluating consumer safety of various botanical ingredients, with emphasis on type 1 allergic reactions, which occur in sensitized persons within minutes after contact.

Part 4 details the multiple uses of natural ingredients such as natural oils, fats, butters, and waxes, among others. Here, the physical properties and chemical structure of triglycerides are explained, as well as other important compounds such as carotenoids, vitamin E derivatives (tocopherols), and plant-derived sterols. Lipid peroxidation and its role in the rancidity and decomposition of certain oils is also elaborated upon here. According to the text, plant-derived antioxidants (also known as phytoantioxidants) are employed not only to prevent rancidity, but also because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. These natural compounds are not only contained in herbal cosmetics, but are also commonly found in foods and spices such as cucumbers (Cucurbita spp., Cucurbitaceae), onions (Allium cepa, Liliaceae), apples (Malus spp., Rosaceae), and turmeric (Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae), just to name a few.

Section 4 includes two particularly interesting chapters: one about Ayurveda from India and the other on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Both chapters emphasize the importance of certain botanicals and their cosmetic use by two of the world’s oldest systems of traditional medicine. The role of antioxidants in combating free radicals and oxidative stress is emphasized in this section, as well as the quantification of antioxidant capacity of various phytochemicals and the deleterious impact of reactive oxygen species on aging.

The correct appraisal of the botanical contents in cosmetics --(and by extension, for all natural products) is of great importance in quality control, and Part 5 of this text includes two specific and comprehensive chapters on biochemical methods of analyzing natural compounds in cosmetics —  high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, among others — crucial in the detection and identification of various phytochemicals.

Finally, Part 6 includes two chapters that are devoted to the topic of biodegradation of cosmetic ingredients and its relationship to packaging methods. This section explains the process of biodegradability and also mentions examples of tests and predictive models employed to determine the biodegradability of various compounds.

The authors are researchers and consultants in natural products. Nava Dayan, PhD, is director of research and development at Lipo Chemicals, Inc., as well as an adjunct professor in the School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University. Lambros Kromidas, PhD, is a consultant and principal of OnPoint Scientific Solutions, LLC.

Formulating, Packaging, and Marketing of Natural Cosmetic Products eloquently fills a gap in the scientific literature regarding various plant and fungal products that may be useful not only as cosmetics for aesthetic purposes, but, perhaps more importantly, it brings to the reader’s attention the diverse types of natural products that can have important benefits for general health as well.

I highly recommend this book for professionals interested in cosmetics as well as physicians, pharmacists, naturopathic doctors, and those interested in understanding the intricate world of production, regulation, packaging, benefits, and risks inherent in various natural products used as cosmetics.

—Armando González- Stuart, PhD (Alt. Med.)College of Health SciencesUniversity of Texas at El Paso