"We chose to develop this technology because studies have shown that skin care manufacturers are developing a host of products aimed at reaching a new segment of the market: Asians people wishing to light their skin or Caucasian people aged over 50 with white complexions and dark [liver] spots," said Patrick Beau, Spincontrol managing director.
"Manufacturers have picked up on the fact that there has been a boom in demand for these type of products, but until now nothing has been available to test the efficacy of relevant raw materials or finished products in terms of either reducing or eliminating the dark spots or whitening the complexion. What Spincontrol has done is develop a test that answers these demands."
Spincontrol was created in 1991 by scientists at the University of Tours. At the beginning it specialised in imaging techniques, but in 1996 it moved towards efficacy test specialisation, which eventually led to testing for cosmetic applications. Further to this it has worked with leading companies such as L'Oreal, YSL Beauté, Estee Lauder, Procter and Gamble, Beiersdorf and Dior. Currently it has a staff of 35 people and a turnover of €1.9 million.
The company claims that its skin whitening testing technology is different to standard testing, such as chromameter. The method uses colourmetric analysis that allows a specific area of skin area to be studied. The method means that there is no contact with the skin, which, unlike chromameter testing, means there is no chance of occlusion distorting the results.
The upstart of the technology is that cosmetics companies will now be able to clearly state that the efficacy of their whitening products has been scientifically proven through definitive test results.
Currently Spincontrol is working with several major multinational cosmetics companies, including Johnson & Johnson, that sell finished skin whitening products aimed at women over 50 and well as Asian women.
Driving the development of the technology is a growing demand for anti-ageing as well as skin whitening products on a global basis. Possibly the biggest potential for the technology will be the China cosmetics market, where growth is continuing apace. Driven by treatments such as skin whitening products, the market for cosmetics in China is estimated to be worth €4 billion, a figure that experts say could grow ten-fold by the year 2010.