Our contribution is hidden from the public as companies don’t want people to think about the ‘chemicals’ in their products.
I discussed the perception that anything natural is good and anything man-made is bad in my blog ‘Can you lead a chemical-free life?’, which demonstrates that this is not the case.
The US gets a lot of bad press about the public perceptions of science and engineering, but one thing they are getting right is the respect that seems to be increasing for chemical engineers working in the cosmetics industry.
An excellent example of this is the company Living Proof, set up by a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including chemical engineering Professor Robert Langer, which initially focused on hair products.
The company has such a strong technological reputation that actress Jennifer Aniston (who I am told is famous for her hair?!) was not only was willing to advertise their products but also invested in the company as a co-owner.
Neotensil uses polymer technology to compress and flatten eye bags.
Betty did her PhD with Robert in the Langer Lab at MIT and her research focused on elucidating transdermal transport mechanisms. Her chemical engineering academic and industrial background meant that Betty was the first recruit for Living Proof, demonstrating how in demand chemical engineers are in the cosmetics industry.
The product uses patented Strateris® technology, which is described as creating invisible shapewear™ for the eye; it is film that tightens, smooths and lifts the appearance of skin.
The aim of this product is to offer a non-invasive, surgery-free solution to bags forming under the eyes.
These occur through a combination of genetics and aging, when the fat pads under the eye bulge and push forward as skin stretches and muscle relaxes. Currently there is no permanent treatment for this problem.
“There’s nothing for under eye bags and wrinkles,” says Betty “The under eye area is so delicate. Putting a needle close to that area is actually quite dangerous.”
Neotensil, an acronym for (Neo) new, (T) transforming, (E) elastic, (N) non-invasive, (S) supportive, (I) invisible, and immediate (L) layer solution, offers a non-invasive answer to this problem.
The technology behind this product was created by a team of multidisciplinary researchers, including Betty, and is applied as a topical lotion. Currently the product is only available in the US and Canada and must be prescribed by a dermatologist or doctor.
I think this product demonstrates how important it is that we talk about the research and development stages in making a product. These are a positive aspect that can inform the public of not only what a product contains, but the processes and people involved.
This just goes to demonstrate how chemical engineering matters in so many different ways.