Johnson, a chemist and formulator for the cosmetics manufacturer C-Care in Baltimore, Maryland, is being recognized for the development of a cleanser that contains about 3,600 strawberry seeds per 3.5-ounce pouch. The seeds act as a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and help to unclog pores. The cleanser also contains blue light protection, a barrier element that protects the skin from rays that emanate from computer screens, laptops and cellphones.
Johnson’s award-winning cleanser is among several products she began formulating for a line of superfruit cosmetics while working on her UC capstone project to earn her master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences with an emphasis in cosmetic science.
“Cynthia is extremely passionate about creating novel cosmetic formulations using greener and natural materials,” says Ananth Kavssery, UC’s cosmetics science program director and Johnson’s former advisor. “Her master’s dissertation was on natural and biodegradable alternatives to microplastics in skin care. I am sure we will see many more cosmetic and personal technologies based on natural and environmentally friendly ingredients from her in the coming years.”
Johnson says that perhaps the most prominent takeaway from her graduate education at UC was the coursework on preservatives, and the public perception of what is and isn’t considered harmful.
“People say that they don’t want chemicals in their products, but not all synthetic ingredients are harmful and not all-natural products are safe,” she says.
For example, she cites Vitamin E as a natural product that is safe for the environment and human health, but if it oxidizes it is harmful to the skin.
Johnson also notes that a greater emphasis is being placed on blue light protection, and she wants to get in front of the industry efforts to develop these products since she believes, “it’s going to be the talk of the town in the cosmetics industry.”