Meet the Chemist Behind Avon Skincare
In addition to pretty packaging and luxurious textures, skincare development is a highly scientific endeavor. Just ask Glen Anderson, Director of Avon’s Global Skincare Product Development group, a position he has held since 2007. He and his team are responsible for all Avon skincare launches such as the Clearskin acne system and ongoing additions to the ANEW lineup. For such developments, one must have the credentials, and Dr. Anderson does. He joined Avon as a Development Chemist in 1995 after earning a B.S in Chemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University. In addition, Dr. Anderson holds five U.S. patents and has received numerous awards, including Global R&D Achievement Awards.
How did you get into cosmetic product development?
Near the end of the completion of my doctorate, I was interested in applying my scientific background more in a way that would have a direct impact on people throughout the world. As my father had worked at Avon for many years, I was quite familiar with the company and through him was able to get an interview at our Research & Development center. I don’ t know that I would have thought to look at a cosmetic company such as Avon had it not been for this link, so today I am quite grateful that the opportunity was presented to me as it was the start of an exciting and rewarding career path.
What does an Avon product developer do?
An Avon product developer is charged with leading the development and delivery of the new product formulations that are made available to the Avon consumer. It involves a collaborative effort with several cross-functional partners including such areas as Marketing, Package Design and Engineering, Supply Chain, Product Safety, Process Development, and Manufacturing to name just a few. The overall objective is to identify and incorporate innovative technologies into state-of-the-art products, all the while designing experiments to meet the formula stability, safety, efficacy, compatibility and regulatory requirements.
For which Avon products have you been involved in the development?
In my role as the Director of Avon’s Skincare Product Development group, I am responsible for overseeing all of the skincare products we launch. I have been involved in the development of numerous products. Some of the most recent products I worked on include ANEW Clinical DermaFull X3 Facial Filling Serum, ANEW Clinical Lum Pro, ANEW Reversalist and Clearskin Professional Acne Treatment System.
Is mixing different products (e.g. creams) a bad idea? Which products should not be used together?
Using multiple skincare products in your beauty routine is a good idea as it can offer enhanced benefits, however this is most advantageous when the products chosen are both synergistic and complementary to each other. AVON R+D is committed to keeping Anew on the cutting edge of anti-aging technology and for that reason, we have created complete regimens for each of our brands – Ultimate, Reversalist & Rejuvenate – and each regimen uses 3 steps to help you achieve younger-looking skin. These skincare regimens were created to allow consumers to select a comprehensive product lineup that treats the specific signs of aging that she has. Each regimen is very simple and should make it easier to choose the right anti-aging program to meet your needs. In addition, use ANEW Clinical targeted treatments along with any ANEW regimen to treat specific aging concerns that bother you most, such as wrinkles, loss of firmness, uneven texture or discolorations. A synergistic combination of effective anti-aging products such as this can offer maximal anti-aging benefits to the consumer.
What recent scientific developments can be applied to skincare?
For one of our more recent launches, the scientists at AVON drew inspiration by looking closely at how the skin’s healing process works. In depth research on the processes that skin undergoes when healing a cut led to the finding that key repair steps are triggered by the production of the repair molecule, Activin. Further research into how wrinkles are formed indicated that they are actually a result of micro-injuries to the skin. These revelations sparked a massive research effort to confirm the discovery of a novel approach in treating wrinkles and the other visible signs of aging – and over the course of 5 years, after reviewing the entire human genome of 30,000 genes, testing on almost 1,000 consumers and conducting 2,500 tests, Avon scientists discovered how to activate this key repair molecule with our first-to-market technology Activinol.
Which Avon products do you use?
As my team is responsible for developing all the skincare products, I regularly use the products that are currently in development (but not yet on the market) as I want to personally evaluate them as a consumer would.
My wife is a huge fan of ANEW and uses Dermafull X3 Facial Filling Serum, Reversalist Night Renewal Cream, Reversalist Day Renewal Cream and Rejuvenate Glycolic Facial.
In what key ways has the Avon brand evolved and expanded over the years?
The Avon brand has evolved and expanded significantly over the years. In addition, Avon’s skincare line ANEW, has grown and advanced considerably since it first launched in 1992. ANEW is an anti-aging skincare brand that helps women around the world successfully outsmart aging. Through the pioneering technology and breakthroughs in ANEW, women are able to stay ahead of the trend and combat their aging concerns. Since ANEW first launched in 1992 with the introduction of AHA technology to the mass market, ANEW has dedicated resources to developing skincare breakthroughs grounded not only in science, but in consumer research, providing all the consumer needs to successfully outsmart aging. AVON R+D is committed to keeping the ANEW range on the cutting edge by offering the latest innovations. We are constantly updating our skincare portfolio to stay ahead of the industry trends and we continue to develop our world class team of experts to stay at the cutting edge of technology developments and continually deliver innovation to the consumer.
ANEW includes an array of breakthrough regimens customized to specific skin concerns. ANEW Rejuvenate brings spa-inspired treatments to women. The breakthrough collection addresses the early signs of aging including visibly reducing fine lines, evening out skin tone, shrinking the look of pores and smoothing rough texture. ANEW Reversalist is an anti-aging breakthrough that visibly repairs wrinkles. A team of Avon scientists studied how the skin heals itself to develop ANEW Reversalist. When you get a cut, it triggers the production of a key repair molecule, Activin. Avon scientists discovered how to activate this key repair molecule with a breakthrough new technology—Activinol. Used in ANEW Reversalist, ANEW’s Activinol technology is formulated to help boost Activin to aid in the reactivation of the skin’s repair process and thus help create fresh new skin and dramatically reverse the look of wrinkles. The ANEW Ultimate regimen harnesses the combined power of two groundbreaking proteins to target skin and how it visibly ages. The formulas are designed with patent-pending Pro-Sirtuin TX to help boost these critical skin proteins. Each was created to help stimulate the production of Sirtuin Youth Proteins and to help create healthier essential youth cells.
How does Avon stay ahead of the trends?
Our major research and development initiatives are headed up in our $100 million, state-of-the-art Global Research and Development Center in Suffern, New York. More than 300 scientists and technicians from all over the world with expertise in biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular modeling, bacteriology and formulation work together to create globally relevant super hits.
Avon scientists create and evaluate nearly 1,000 products every year and their innovative efforts have resulted in numerous technology breakthroughs. As a pioneer in skincare, Avon was the first company to use AHA technology in the mass market. By attracting and retaining the very best technical and scientific talent from across the globe, Avon will build on its proud heritage with more innovations in the years ahead.
We have satellite R+D facilities in several locations throughout the world and the deep level of collaboration among all sites, as well as in-depth analytics and consumer insights, ensures that our global brands are locally relevant everywhere we do business, and gives us the opportunity to produce some targeted local products as necessary.
In addition, we collaborate with some of the leading universities, scientific institutes and biotechnological corporations to broaden our expertise and leverage their capabilities.