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Congress support remains a priority for Coschem



In 2017, South African Society of Cosmetic Chemists Coschem generated surplus funds in 2017, putting the Society in a position to offer sponsorships to members interested in presenting papers at IFSCC Congresses.

“For South Africa this has many benefits,” explained Roy Gardiner, former treasurer of Coschem. “The most important and defined in our constitution is to provide members with an opportunity to learn on an international platform.”

When the call for papers was issued for the 30th IFSCC Congress in Munich, Serina Sowman, a second year student on the Coschem Diploma correspondence course and a masters student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, submitted a paper on The Potential of Plant Polyphenols as Notable Photostable Sunscreen Actives. This was accepted by the IFSCC as a poster presentation but the university wasn’t able to provide funding. When Coschem heard Sowman was considering withdrawing her paper the executive committee agreed to sponsor her.

Serina Sowman in Munich presenting her poster on the photostability of sunscreens with natural polyphenols

Gardiner explained: “We are passionate about improving the standard of education within the cosmetic field. The interest South African universities show in various topics related to our industry is also very rewarding for Coschem.”

Since childhood, it has been Serina’s dream to explore the field of cosmetic science. “Being given the opportunity to travel to Munich to attend the 30th IFSCC Congress has greatly enhanced my knowledge and defined my ability to achieve my goals in cosmetic chemistry,” she said. She believes cosmetic chemistry has a positive impact on people’s lives. “It provides me with an opportunity to express my creativity through science, which is made even more attractive by the prospect of becoming an inventor and entrepreneur.”

After attending the IFSCC Congress Serina realised just how far global developments in sunscreens have advanced.

“Japan already has products that work to tackle the entire broad-spectrum,” she said, adding that she plans to build on her master’s research using the knowledge gained in Munich. “By attending some of the presentations, I realised how many gaps there are in South Africa. I’ve come up with lots of ideas, which I hope to put to good use when I start working in the industry. Of particular interest, L’Oréal Paris presented the results of a study on South African Ethnic hair, the ways it differs to American Ethnic hair and how the company plans to tackle the market and release new products.

“I am thankful for Coschem’s generosity and for being given this valuable opportunity. I am now much more aware of all the costs involved and how to be more prepared for the next venture.”

This article was originally published in the SA Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Review, volume 45, number 11.