Saturday, June 03, 2006

Beyond (Skin) Science: Oprah goes nanotech

Endorsements on the Oprah Show have apparently helped Beyond Skin Science, a cosmetic start-up, dramatically increase their sales, The Business Press reported this month:

"Beyond Skin Science in Corona is betting national attention for its nano-science based anti-aging products will help the fledgling firm grow 10-fold this year.
The company is not yet two years old, but the results of products that blend skin care elements on the molecular scale reaped an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey television show in November. Company President Paul Ferron left numerous telephone messages for Winfrey's makeup artist, Reggie Wells, earlier in the year. He offered Wells samples of the product and testimonials from customer Ananda Lewis of syndicated television show "The Insider." Wells finally tried the Beyond Skin Science Eternalis line and recommended the products on Oprah.
Wells extols the Beyond Skin Science Eternalis line on the show's Web site along with cosmetics from various companies."
(click here for the complete article.)

Two aspects of this story are particularly interesting. The first one is the company name: Beyond Skin Science. I am not sure that the “beyond science” part is a particularly smart label, given the increasing level of unease among some experts and members of the public about the potential toxic nature of certain nanoparticles (see nano|public posting from May 17, 2006) and the lack of publicly available scientific research on the safety of commercial products.

The second interesting aspect to this story is the “Nanochem Certified Formula” seal that the company uses on their web site. The seal, along with links to the National Nanotech initiative and other agencies, is obviously intended to build credibility with consumers. Of course, Magic Nano’s TÜV stickers were used with the same purpose in mind and ended up doing more harm then good when they came under closer scrutiny.