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Cosmetics – From Tradition to Modernity

Cosmetics are products created for skin & hair care for the purpose of cleansing, beautifying and enhancing the attractive features. Skin care is not a modern trend. In fact, people in every civilization used cosmetics to protect and embellish their skin – which naturally leads us to conclude that this is a primordial need. Although cosmetic products have undergone many changes in modern times, the basic concept of using cosmetics to enhance the features of good health has not changed. Resurrecting and preserving a youthful complexion has been the holy grail of beauty since Cleopatra stepped into her legendary bath of milk more than 2,000 years ago. When Hitler tried to ban make-up in Germany, German women refused to work. Roman women used to dye their hair darker with a mixture of boiled walnuts and leeks. The first cold cream was developed by Galen, a Greek physician. People from all these cultures used herbal concoctions with components like henna, sage and chamomile to darken their hair. Up to the late nineteenth century, women in Western countries secretly wore make-up made from mixtures of household products, as make-up was then deemed the domain of celebrities. Cosmetics were for the first time openly put up for sale in the early part of the twentieth century. At the end of the Second World War when people celebrated the return of their loved ones, there occurred a true surge in the cosmetic sale and it still continues.

The science behind Cosmetics:

While cosmetics can be fun to use, the work that goes behind-the-scenes for creating them involves highly advanced science. Cosmetics represent a highly diversified field involving many sub-sections of science and art, because even in an era of high technology, intuition continues to play an important role. Therefore innovative raw materials and formulation techniques are the key factors to create products that can accomplish multiple tasks. To put just one new product on the shelves can take up to many years, with immense research on synthesizing the active molecule, claim substantiation (efficacy, safety and toxicology) and formulation of the products. Improved knowledge of the biology of the skin and the development of innovative raw materials and technologies help cosmetic chemists understand how to develop and evaluate the multifunctional personal care formulations desired by the consumer.

Advancements in Cosmetics:

Cosmetics have advanced into Natural Cosmetics, Cosmetically, Nutricosmetics etc.

Natural Cosmetics: History repeats itself – but for better benefits! For thousands of years, we have been using natural cosmetic products for skin care. Many of the chemical additives used in cosmetic products, that emerged out of modern science may do the job but at the price of our health. It has become apparent that many of these chemicals are detrimental to health and in the long run, can do more harm than good. Over the years, many inventions and discoveries were made that “improved” on nature’s power and today, the vast majority of cosmetic products contain additives including enzymes, hormones and herbal actives that, supposedly, can be more effective. In the 21st century, natural cosmetic is about developing “New skin care concept based on the perfect synergy between nature and technology, between the purest bioactive ingredients and premium performance innovation.” Natural cosmetic Philosophy is “Believe in the synergy of nature, in its simplest form, along with the most complex technology.” Modern natural cosmetic products are free from potentially harmful substances and help promote our looks without damaging our skin. With the technology that exists today to produce natural cosmetic products, we no longer have to find a compromise between health and beauty.

Cosmetically: Cosmetically are cosmetic products that have therapeutic benefits against degenerative skin conditions. The unique combination of cosmetic and pharmaceutical functionality makes them significant in enhancing skin health. “Cosmetics” hide the age and enhance the attractive features. “Cosmetically” do not just hide the age, they slow down ageing. “Cosmetically” do not just enhance the attractive features, they keep them long lasting. In other words, “Cosmetically” do not just benefit the skin condition, they impart therapeutic usefulness too.

Nutricosmetics: “Nutricosmetics” is all about eating & drinking to attain health & beauty from within. The term nutricosmetics refers to nutritional supplements which can support the function and the structure of the skin. Many micronutrients have this effect. For example, Vitamin C has a well-established anti-oxidant effect that reduces the impact of free radicals in the skin and also has a vital function in the production of collagen in the dermis. Other micronutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, carotene and flavouring protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV light exposure, which may lead to accelerated skin ageing and wrinkle formation. Nutricosmetics set to be the next big niche and have hit the world market with 100% food-based, organically certified products like “antioxidant-infused chocolate bar, tea, soups, health drinks and tablet-sized dietary supplements.”

Cosmetic Delivery System:

Skin acts as a selective barrier to the penetration of compounds. Hence cosmetic products should be compatible to the skin barrier which is attainable by using compatible carriers – emulsions, fluorocarbon gels, liposomes, cyclodextrins, microcapsules etc, which are stable and allow controlled & sustained release of actives and bioavailability enhancers. The penetration of active compounds through the skin is of fundamental importance in cosmetic science. To this end, the formulation of appropriate carriers is a must both for cosmetic and dietary supplements.

Expectations from a Cosmetic product:

While many age-related changes are inevitable, some can be reduced with a healthy lifestyle and good skin care. Free radical damage, inflammatory responses due to UV exposure, pollution etc., are the main factors responsible for skin damage. Cosmetics should help skin retain and enhance its natural form for a longer time by Target specific mechanism of action and Perfect delivery system.

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