The Chemistry of Cosmetics and Personal Care

Students from Dr. Tom Carr’s chemistry classes recently visited the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toledo to learn more about cosmetic science and formulation design. The program is the nation’s only one leading to a bachelor of science in personal care science and technology.

Cosmetic Science Professor, Dr. Gabriella Baki (right center), and her Student Assistant, Gabriella Dabain, with NSCC chemistry students as they prepare a hand scrub from food-grade ingredients typically found in grocery stores.

Cosmetic Science Professor, Dr. Gabriella Baki (right center), and her Student Assistant, Gabriella Dabain, with NSCC chemistry students as they prepare a hand scrub from food-grade ingredients typically found in grocery stores.

The day began with a presentation by Daniel Fackelman, enrollment management specialist at the University of Toledo. Mr. Fackelman provided more information about the curriculum, student professional development, internships and opportunities to study abroad.

Students then participated in an exercise exploring the scientific research process. Mr. Fackelman then described some of the research activities being conducted by the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which include treatment-resistant cancers, a promising potential cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and treatment for alcoholism.

The group enjoyed a tour, featuring a DNA chandelier, the Student Resource Center, and the Kroger Professional Development Lab, which is an operational pharmacy. Students also learned about professional ethics surrounding animal research, including the concepts of reduce, refine and replace.

Dr. Gabriella Baki and her student assistant, Gabriella Dabain, conducted a hands-on formulations exercise. The group prepared a hand-scrub material using items commonly found in the kitchen, such as brown sugar and coconut oil. Formulation was centered on the exfoliation of dead skin cells and moisturizing of the skin.

Careers in the cosmetics and personal care products industry can be quite attractive. The industry itself is largely recession-proof and rakes in around $63 billion annually, compared to the NFL, which brings in about $18 billion annually. Career paths include marketing, sales, regulatory compliance and formulations. Employers might include raw material suppliers, finished goods manufacturers, testing laboratories and government agencies.

The day concluded over lunch with a presentation by UT Internship Coordinator, Mary Jo Borden, who described the various curricula and majors available within the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Students have internship opportunities in countries including Great Britain, Japan, Hungary, France, Jordan and India. Students also discussed which skills were most essential to career success, citing verbal and written communication and proper use of social media as two of the most important.