Dispatches from Microbiota 2011

Unilever: industry faces a challenge to reduce academia-industry gap when it comes to skin health

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

One of the big challenges for the cosmetics and personal care industry is to match the science academics are providing and incorporate into industry practices according to consumer goods giant Unilever.

Speaking at the Microbiota event held in Paris, science leader in Microbial Metabolism at Unilever Research & Development, Gordon James, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that the challenge is for companies to use this information available for product development.

“There are two routes available… do we use academia to look for insights into new products, new ingredients or actives, or do we link up with [academia] and use the insights for claims support or general communication purposes,” ​James says.

This is the area where industry is currently struggling according to James, although he explains that in terms of the quality of the science and the development of microbiology, it is quite ‘remarkable’.

“The problem we face is that people don’t like the idea of bacteria and microflora on the skin,”​ James continues, posing industry the challenge to bring people round to the idea.

In both its Deodorants and Anti –Dandruff divisions, in which James works, Unilever is trying to impact on the skin microbial ecosystem, and use microflora to reduce bad odour or the build-up of dry skin and dandruff on the scalp.

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