A panel of skin care experts at PCITX.

NEW YORK — The future of beauty continues to rely on technology.<BR><BR>Attendees of the Personal Care Ingredients and Technology Exposition Advanced Technical Conference, held at the Park Central Hotel April 26-27, got a look at the latest...

NEW YORK — The future of beauty continues to rely on technology.

Attendees of the Personal Care Ingredients and Technology Exposition Advanced Technical Conference, held at the Park Central Hotel April 26-27, got a look at the latest high-tech active ingredients and delivery systems that promise better, faster results for skin and hair.

Nanotechnology was the buzzword at the annual conference, presented by HBA Health & Beauty America. Both conference attendees and organizers claimed particular excitement over innovations in active ingredient delivery systems that were hailed as the key to previously unachievable product performance.

“Nanotechnology is on everybody’s mind,” said program director Robert A. Grayson.

“It has ties to delivery systems and how to get [active ingredients] into the skin, and deep enough to do some good.”

Through nanotechnology, scientists reposition atoms to create highly specialized polymers that encapsulate active ingredients and deliver them to the skin with targeted precision. The engineering of these polymers controls when and how a capsule will burst on the skin or hair to deliver its payload, said Navin Geria, a member of the PCITX advisory board and vice president of dermatological and personal care at LeDerma Corp. Geria illustrated the technology with the example of a lipstick that, once applied, changes flavors over a period of time as its different sets of polymers burst.

The technology also is said to enable the controlled release of active ingredients. According to Geria, this means that the stability of actives such as vitamin C, which quickly loses its potency upon application, could be maintained, or that the irritation caused by acne treatment ingredients such as salicylic acid could be reduced. It also can extend product shelf life. However, Geria advises scrutinizing the technology. “Just because it says something doesn’t mean it’s so. It needs to be proven.”

Among new ingredients to pique the interest of attendees included a preservative system from Kinetik Technologies, said to reduce levels of the preservatives needed to maintain product purity. “It looks like it will help with safety because less [preservatives] is better,” said Donna Ford, the product development and quality services director at La Prairie.

Some attendees also made note of a conditioning polymer for chemically relaxed hair from Ciba Specialty Chemicals.

This story first appeared in the May 13, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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One draw to the annual midyear conference is the opportunity for cosmetic scientists to keep pace with the latest developments in their field. Approximately 154 people attended this year’s conference, a 10 percent increase from last year, according to Jack Gonzalez, HBA show director for beauty and wellness events.

Most attendees were from consumer beauty companies, including Estee Lauder, L’Oreal and Unilever. The main PCITX event, a larger, annual conference featuring a broader program in less technical detail, will be co-located with the HBA Health & Beauty Conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Sept. 27-29.

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