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Is natural really better in the world of cosmetics?

By Katie Bird , 05-May-2009

The upcoming conference organised by the UK Society of Cosmetic Chemists hopes to tackle the natural versus synthetic debate from a scientific perspective.

According to the organisers of the event, which runs May 17 - 19, the safety and efficacy of natural ingredients is usually only explored at events aimed specifically at natural formulators.

“The industry needs to air these ideas together (rather than at rival events) in an unemotional, logical and science-based way,” explained joint organisers Tony Gough and Judi Beerling.

“There is also a common belief, often perpetuated by the media, that natural ingredients are inherently safer. But as scientists we need to examine whether this is really true,” they told CosmeticsDesign.

Focus on fragrance

Day 1 of the conference will look at natural and synthetic ingredients within the fragrance industry.

Topics to be covered within this afternoon session include whether the human olfactory system can tell the difference between synthetic and natural, and whether natural alternatives are safer than their synthetic counterparts.

Day 2 of the conference tackles this topic within the wider cosmetics arena and will see discussions on the efficacy of natural ingredients as well as natural preserving systems.

Presentation will help answer questions about natural preservatives and their efficacy as well as how these sit in the current legislation of Annex VI and the positive list.

Can green chemistry help?

The event closes with a discussion of green chemistry and how this might help manufacturers produce effective consumer products while remaining environmentally sound.

For Gough and Beerling, cosmetic scientists need to examine to what extent creating an effective product that delights the consumer’s senses is possible, if ingredients are restricted to natural portfolios, and how green chemistry might help.

The event opens on May 17 near Grantham in the UK and full details of the programme can be found at www.scs.org.uk .

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