1. Shiseido's on the cusp of finding a cure for baldness
Estimated to be as large as approximately 200 billion yen in Japan alone, the hair loss segment holds huge global sales potential for any brand which can get to the root of the problem.
From dietary supplements to regenerative medicine treatments, major progress has been made for the segment in 2015, with the research and development largely centred in the Asia Pacific region.
Multinational brand Shiseido appears to be leading the push:recently, the company stated that it expects to have a ‘baldness cure’ by 2018.
Some research has reportedly pinpointed the cause of hair loss as the excessive effect of a potent form of testosterone known as DHT.
As a result, treatments aimed at inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT have been sought as a potential cure, and some are seeing success.
2. Thailand's beauty sector becomes a force to be reckoned with
In January, Japanese companies were found to be favouring Thailand due to its rising economic growth as well as supply-chain industries, thanks to larger Japanese companies already based there.
A recent reduction in import duties is also believed to be attracting more foreign shoppers, as well as increasing domestic spending on cosmetics.
In 2014, the Ministry of Thailand reported more than 10 Japanese SMEs from cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries to have partnered up with a local business or to have planted roots in the country.
Now, according to industry representative Chakramon Phasukavanich, the Japanese government is looking at revising the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement, and wants at least 10,000 SMEs to begin operating abroad over the next three years because of the country's economic-growth slowdown.
"To facilitate investment, the ministry is aiming to match 500 SMEs with Thai partners," he told The China Post.
3. New Zealand - first in Australasia to ban cosmetics animal testing
By April, the New Zealand parliament had voted in an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act that aims to outlaw the testing of any type of cosmetics on animals.
The move will ensure that a total ban on all testing of finished cosmetics products and ingredients will be implemented, falling in line with other international authorities with total band that include Europe, India and Israel.
The decision was confirmed by the country’s Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, following the debate on the supplementary order paper (SOP).
"To the best of our knowledge there never has been any animal testing for cosmetics in New Zealand, but this amendment will send an important message that this kind of testing is unacceptable to New Zealanders and will never happen here," Guy said.
4. P&G research into microbially-mediated skin disease treatments
While P&G dominated various headlines in 2015, this announcement grabbed attention indeed as an international team of scientists revealed their work on a full genomic sequencing of all 14 species of the Malassezia genus to pave the way for new treatments for microbially-mediated skin diseases.
Researchers from the brand, the Institute of Medical Biology, and Bioinformatics Institute were led by the Genome Institute of Singapore in identifying treatments for seborrheic dermatitis, eczema and dandruff, all of which can be caused by Malassezia.
Malassezia is a type of yeast found on the skin and is particularly prominent in Singapore and Southeast Asia as the humid climate provides a perfect environment for fungi to thrive.
"This study helps us understand how a microscopic organism that lives on the skin can give rise to a common disease like eczema that affects one in every five Singaporeans, as well as to serious conditions like skin cancer," says Dr Benjamin Seet, Executive Director of A*STAR's Biomedical Research Council.