News & Events
If you are reading this article, you are likely closely connected to the aerosol industry. Readership of this magazine spans marketers, technical professionals, suppliers, end users and others, but we all have that same common bond — a love and passion for the magic pressurized packaging can deliver.
For the bulk of my 20+ year career, I have been a Packaging Engineer fascinated with how packaging can seamlessly meld with “formula” to create transformative product magic. Before university, I bagged groceries and stocked shelves at a grocery store just outside of Augusta, GA. That is where I first formed a deep appreciation for the aerosol package. During that time, and for the better part of three years, I touched virtually every single aerosol sold through the grocery channel…from deodorants and disinfectants to hairsprays and spray-on antifungals. At that time, I only knew aerosols as sprays, more or less a convenient form of the perfume atomizers my mother used. For me the words “aerosol” and “spray” were synonymous. It wasn’t until I enrolled into the packaging program at Clemson University that I began to understand the magic aerosols can create beyond sprays. It was there that I began to scratch the surface of understanding what aerosol systems were and began thinking about how we could stretch the boundaries of leveraging these technologies.
The difference pressurized packaging makes in our lives
In reflection for this article, I began to think about the roles non-spray aerosols played in the rhythm and cadence of my day to day life. Like millions around the world, every day I take my favorite postfoaming shave cream and lather up for a rich, close shave. The ritual of expressing that emerald gel into my hand and watching it magically transform into a smooth, indulgent shave cream is a simple little joy that completes my morning grooming ritual.
On occasion, I have found myself unexpectantly parked along the highway or interstate due to a sudden loss of tire pressure. Without fail, my always-ready tire inflator/sealer effortlessly fills my tire with a high pressure, non-flammable, expanding sealant foam that helps me get my family and myself back on track.
As well, no home weatherizing project is complete without expanded foam insulation. I’ve lived in both Wisconsin and Florida and this stuff is pure magic that can take virtually any crack, crevice or hole and efficiently fill it with a durable, weather-resistant, bug-resistant insulation.
Yes, our world is filled with many examples of non-spray pressurized packages and the innovation in this area continues to accelerate in important and meaningful ways. As Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of other men.” The innovations of the past have helped to pave a path for the innovations of today and they are increasingly plentiful.
Pressurized packaging and its role in health care compliance
Medications not taken as intended can lead to inadequate treatment; it is easy to understand, but surprising how often this fact is ignored.
In a report on medication adherence, the World Health Organization (WHO) quoted Haynes et al as saying, “increasing the effectiveness of adherence interventions may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments.” Among patients with chronic illness, approximately 50% do not take medications as prescribed.
The obvious question is, “Why?” The reasons can be as varied as the treatments needed. In some cases, it is physically difficult for a person with limited mobility to treat the areas of the body they are asked to administer topical products to. In other cases, the product treatment experience isn’t easy for the user-patient to tolerate.
Innovations in health care and prestige personal care
Given my current focus on Health Care and Prestige Personal Care, I am in the position of observing numerous examples of leading-edge innovation.
One example comes from the consumer health care space. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) considers sunscreen products over-the-counter (OTC) monograph drugs, but regular use, or compliance, is clearly not at high as it should be. According to the American Cancer Society, one person dies of melanoma every hour1. A UK study found that about 86% of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun2. Further, up to 90% of the visible skin changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun3. With proper protection from UV radiation, most premature aging of the skin can be avoided.
Being classified as a drug, the FDA allows brand owners to make claims related to protecting against the risks of skin cancer and premature signs of aging, but often sunscreens can be heavy, greasy or tacky, making them inconvenient or undesirable for users to use on a regular basis. For consumer health care products, products not used as often as intended means a consumer is not being compliant with usage instructions. After all, what good is a sunscreen that people are hesitant to use?
The Coppertone Whipped Lotion Sunscreen product, launched by Bayer, has addressed that issue head-on by leveraging a unique patent-pending process that “whips” inert pressurized gases into a traditional sunscreen formula to create a rich, easyto spread cream that goes on effortlessly and finishes feather light and powdery on skin. The resulting product is not a foam, but rather a rich, creamy, reduced-density cream that collapses and rubs in easily but still has substantial body and “push.” The approach allows for the transformation of high SPF lotions, often seen as heavy and difficult to spread, into something far easier for the consumer to handle leaving a highly desirable “huggable” skin feel. We’ve seen this type of technology before in other consumer goods such as traditional aerosol whipped cream, shelf stable marshmallow fluff and even tubs of peanut butter, but never in a Bag-on-Valve (BOV) system and never for sunscreen. This type of form innovation helps to drive both ease of use and lowers the boundaries to everyday product compliance.
Another potential use for this technology would be in the development of products designed for direct application to irritated and wounded skin. Some products intended to heal damaged skin can be heavy and pasty, which results in increased drag during application that can further irritate the user. This technology helps to significantly reduce the viscosity of very thick products, thus allowing not only an easy push-button dispensing mechanism but a much easier-to-spread product that more effortlessly collapses and prevents the need to move a heavy slug of product back and forth on delicate skin. As an added benefit, the product is dispensed from a closed system and can help significantly reduce the potential for cross contamination between applications as compared to the open jars and tub products commonly leveraged for high viscosity skincare products.
Another significant innovation is found in the recently launched Kate Sommerville Tight’N Cryogenic skin tightening gel. This product creates a super-chilled foam that instills a deep sense of cooling into the skin while helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that it accomplishes this feat while leveraging a high pressure liquid propellant infused formula captured within a spray-any-direction BOV system, not commonly associated with high pressure liquid propellant foams. It’s this exclusive approach to design that helps to eliminate the need for shaking and also helps to create an incredibly consistent product experience.
Aside from skin care, where else could this technology be used? The opportunities are vast. Products intended to rapidly cool the skin and constrict blood vessels during hot flashes, for quick cooldowns after vigorous exercise and even tightening of pores for enhanced cosmetic benefits are all fairly obvious. If we consider the technology from a health care perspective, application to hemorrhoids, itch relief and sunburn treatment could all be seen as high value.
Moving forward, what’s next? Non-spray aerosols continue to grow and innovate in unexpected ways. Dual BOV innovations will help to create a level of convenience and unique application experiences never before possible for multi-chamber formulas. Metered dose BOV will allow for single-dose foams, whips and gels that will help to further drive applicability within the health care segment and plastic aerosols will potentially drive a whole new perspective on how aerosols are viewed.
1. Cancer Facts and Figures 2018. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/ content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-factsand figures/2018/cancer-facts-and-figures-2018.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2018.
2. Parkin DM, Mesher D, Sasieni P. Cancers attributable to solar (ultraviolet) radiation exposure in the UK in 2010. Br J Cancer 2011; 105:S66-S69.