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As health scares and perceptions emerge, ingredient suppliers face new challenges

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 11-Feb-2013
Last updated on 27-Mar-2013 at 14:18 GMT

Continued reporting of health worries and perceptions of chemical dangers bring about fresh challenges for innovation that cosmetic ingredient suppliers must adapt to, according to US-based Inolex.

In the last twelve months a number of media reports and changing consumer perception have seen a rise in demand for products that are paraben-free or sulphate-free.

“The trend is massive, but it is not simply a question of paraben-free,” chief strategy officer Daniel Winn told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

“Today’s consumer is extremely vigilant about every product they bring into their homes. From week-to-week and day-to-day their health worries and perceptions of chemical dangers emerge.”

According to the ingredients expert, dealing with issues such as the removal of parabens or biocides or other substitutions is something that the industry has to adapt to.

This has meant that ingredient suppliers must screen for safety, and accept consumer demands for safer and more sustainable ingredients.

Green chemistry

In order to tackle these challenges, Inolex has turned to green chemistry, specializing in oleochemicals and ester technologies, as it looks to produce inherently safe ingredients, and position the company as one of the chief suppliers of ingredients that are positively perceived in the market.

Another one of the expertise being developed by Inolex, is multi-functional materials that help preserve products without the need for biocides, a term Winn describes is known as “hurdle technology”.

“The consumer issues around preservatives have been a driver for our extensive program in hurdle technology,” comments the Inolex boss.

One of the ways we have adapted is in our in stage-gate R&D process for new ingredients, where we screen early and often for human and environmental safety.”

Holistic approach

When it comes to the efficacy of non-paraben preservatives, Winn believes there is no question to be answered as the way cosmetic formulators are approaching this issue is through a holistic approach.

Inolex has produced its Spectrastat product which has become the market leading preservation aide for paraben-free and preservative-free applications, as the key ingredients are biodegradable, which is a highly desirable attribute along with its powerful performance.  

“Parabens and traditional biocides can become deactivated over time, or can migrate from one phase to the other, and their performance diminishes,” continues Winn. “Inolex’s systems of multi-functional non-biocides avoid these pitfalls, and achieve amazing results in passing microbial challenge tests.”

Phasing out

Going forward it is common belief that the industry will see even more demands to prove both safety and efficacy, and more traditional ingredients will be formulated-out.

“Biocides in particular will continue to be targeted. That is why Inolex will soon launch a target version of Spectrastat for wet wipes market,” adds Winn.

“Globally, the wet wipes market is eager to remove biocides and address consumers with a more holistic hurdle technology approach.”

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