Medical Cosmeceuticals

An insider Look - First Article

By Dr. Mohamed Sobhi

Historical Introduction

Since the dawn of time; in primitive communities and in the jungle, man has tried throughout history to treat his diseases and select his medicines from herbs and other sources, and over the years he developed therapeutic acumen bit by bit using the plant, animal, and mineral sources and everything possible surrounding him for remedy purposes driven by the instinct of Survival and that was in various civilizations such as  Chinese, Babylon, Greek, Egyptian, Ptolemaic, Romanian and Arabian civilization.

one generation after another, he developed his medicine manufacturing till the pharmaceutical science bloomed and was demarcated from medical science in the eighth century AD in the civilized world particularly in  Baghdad, and then gradually the pharmaceutical science spread around Europe under the terminology of chemistry and the profession of chemists.

This development carried on in Europe century after century until the European pharmacopeia emerged which classified medicines and their uses, specifications, methods of analysis, and doses such as the British pharmacopeia in 1618, French pharmacopeia in 1639, and the American pharmacopeia In 1820.

As for Cosmetics which is another form of pharmaceutical preparations; it has a long history of more than 7000 years and existed in all the communities on earth such as the Egyptian Iraqi, Indian, Chinese and Romanian ones, the methods of preparation developed generation after generation and its industry merged with other industries such as herbal, perfumery and extracts industry of various origins until the nineteenth century which was the century of the birth of the modern cosmetics in its specialized and professional form that presented the establishment for its industrial modern shape nowadays.

One of the oldest Pharmacopeia

The cosmetics industry has developed in Europe, America, and Japan, people have become increasingly aware of its importance and they developed a culture of beautification and outer appearance care, manufacturers also started to show great care in choosing the most appropriate and safest materials for production of such products in order to protect consumers from any harm or poisoning caused by the use of inappropriate materials.

In the nineteenth century, large, organized, and scientifically oriented companies emerged in the cosmetics industry which elevated the attractiveness of their products whether for skin, hair, face, or personal care increasing its appeal to consumers, and to name a few of the aforementioned companies as below :

Company Country Year
Guerlain France 1828
Rimmel UK 1834
Procter & Gamble P&G (personal care products) USA 1837
Shiseido Japan 1872
Henkel(Personal care products) Germany 1876
Wella Germany 1880
Hudnut USA 1880
Beiersdorf“Nivea-Labello-Eucerin”(Personal care products) Germany 1882
Avon USA 1886
Kao Japan 1887
Colgate-Palmolive (Personal care products) USA 1806

Some of the brands that went popular back then were American brands such as Pond’s healing [pond’s extract] “USA 1846” 

Which were associated with huge advertising campaigns and later became known as Pond’s Cream also the Famous American Vaseline Brand

We will get back to these 2 brands later on.

Pond's Extract old packaging
Vaseline old packaging

In the 20th century, there were many milestones for the development of the cosmetic industry and personal care products, makeup products gradually spread and their forms began to develop at an accelerated pace, one example worth mentioning is Mum; a famous deodorant which was first invented in 1888 in Philadelphia, it was introduced to the market as an ointment/cream in a small jar, later developing in 1952 into a roll-on form and then into an aerosol (spray) from in 1965.

An example of the development of makeup products is  Max Factor firstly founded in Los Angeles in  1909.

Around the same time, France has offered many outstanding products in the same field, and most of the long-standing make-up companies have emerged from 1920 to 1930.

An important milestone for the cosmetics industry in the 20th century was the introduction of L’Oréal; a French pioneer company founded in 1909 in Paris to its sun protectant product for the first time in 1936,  one other milestone in the 20th century is the market penetration of skin whitening products and hair straightening products for curly hair, made  initially for African Americans, later in the 1970’s  the concept developed entailing five American companies which emerged and specialized in the manufacturing  of makeup products and personal care products specifically for African Americans

Max Factor Studio 1932
Max Factor Founder 1909
Eugène Schueller L'oreal Founder 1909
Franz Ströher Wella Founder 1880

The 20th century witnessed the establishment of hundreds of prestigious and leading beauty products companies which significantly enriched the industry such as:

Company Country Year
Eucerin Germany 1902
Garnier France 1904
L'oreal France 1909
Chanel France 1910
Weleda Switzerland 1921
Unilever(Personal Care) UK 1929
Clairol USA 1931
Vichy France 1931
Revlon USA 1932
Lancôme France 1935
Estee lauder USA 1946
Kosè Japan 1948
Olay USA 1952
Biotherm France 1952
Clarins France 1954
Dove(Personal Care) USA 1957
Pierre Fabre France 1962
Oriflame Sweden 1967
Clinique USA 1968
Armani Italy 1975
Bioderma France 1977
Uriage France 1992
Red Lipstick 1883
Lifebuoy 1st Add 1800
Vaseline Cargo

By the 21st century, the dynamics of marketing and distribution of cosmetics have already changed in terms of  the use of the Internet and e-marketing vastly  rather than  traditional distribution channels along with  the development of manufacturing technology and the development of new techniques for new raw materials extraction and  new unique ingredients adding to that the increase of the global demand for this industry  making it one of the hugest industries in the world and can be safely claimed as one of the most important pillars of the economy of many countries with a global market size approaching 500 billion USD in 2019

To Be Continued…