The laboratory mastermind behind such technologically driven products as RoC Wrinkle Correxion Sensitive and Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair, Dr. Samantha Tucker-Samaras strives to bring the latest scientific innovations to beauty and ultimately the shelves of drugstores and other mass market retailers. As Director of Skincare Innovation Platforms for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. since 2007, she leads a global team of 11 cross-functional scientists working on a variety of skincare, body and even baby products. Dr. Tucker-Samaras received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry in 1993 from Purdue University and in 2000, received her Master of Science degree in Biology with a Business minor. She even went on to complete a doctorate in 2003 as part of the Merck Research Laboratories Ph.D. program. Her work as a scientist has taken her to several leading consumer products companies including Unilever, Merck and now Johnson & Johnson. Read on for Dr. Tucker-Samaras’ insights into what’s new and exciting in the world of skincare innovation.
What is your position at Johnson & Johnson? Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become a product developer?
My title is Director, Skincare Innovation Platforms, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. Under that umbrella, I’m responsible for anti-aging face care, body moisture and compromised skin care, and baby leave-on product technologies.
I spent the beginning of my career in basic skin biology research, but then moved into pharma research and worked on discovering new antibacterials and antifungals from natural sources. During that time, I also did research into treatments for tropical diseases, like malaria. I moved back into skincare and have brought all the great scientific insights and knowledge of how to harness nature to power our skin care products. I’ve gotten to work with some wonderful people in some really dynamic areas.
Which products that you developed for Johnson & Johnson are your personal favorites and why?
I can’t really pick a favorite, I love all my “babies” the same. Right now, I do love Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair, as well as Aveeno Smart Essentials, and also RoC Wrinkle Correxion Sensitive. There is a new technology launching next year that I am very excited about, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
How has ageless skin care evolved in the past five years?
With the growing popularity of Cosmetic Dermatology, especially injectable fillers and Botox, consumers’ expectations of results have increased dramatically, and meeting these expectations has become more difficult. In addition, the landscape has become much more crowded, and it’s much harder for consumers to identify clinically efficacious products from those that do not deliver on their promises.
If you had one tip for ageless skincare and proper prevention/treatment, what would it be?
There really are two. Sunscreen every day, no exceptions, and ….retinol, retinol, retinol… this tried and true gold standard ingredient stimulates the skin’s renewal process and smoothes the appearance of wrinkles. It was first stabilized by RoC and brought to the masses in the U.S. by Neutrogena and Johnson & Johnson R&D continues to be a leader in this field.
What innovations do you see entering the beauty care space in the future?
More at home devices that leverage in office dermatologist technology, and more customized offerings for consumers who want products that address their specific and unique needs.
What types of products do you feel consumers are most interested in seeing developed?
It’s interesting, there is almost a dichotomy in what consumers are looking for – they want the most high-tech, efficacious, fastest anti-aging, to follow on the Cosmetic Dermatology trend, but they also want holistic, and natural products at the same time. We have large efforts in marrying the two of these, in order to bring “Science to the Art of Beauty.”