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Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) for Cosmetics Research

The cosmetics and personal care industry is a multi-billion-dollar business focusing on seven main categories: skin care, body care, oral care, sun care, hair care, makeup and perfumes – products intended to clean, protect, and beautify. Cosmetics manufacturers continue to evaluate current formulations and ingredients to improve the quality and safety of their products. Cosmetic researchers require numerous analytical tools to study all aspects of a cosmetic product formulation, including chemical composition, surface chemistry, topography, adhesion, and nanomechanical properties. In addition, they must also evaluate the compatibility and toxicity of these compounds with cells, tissues, and skin.

As a surface characterization and nanomechanical tool, AFM plays an important role in the fundamental research of these materials. Specifically, AFM has been used in particle analysis, protein structure, hair structure and stiffness, surfactant efficacy, and nanomechanical measurements of living cells, tissues, and skin. AFM’s strengths include high resolution topography, imaging in an appropriate environment – in liquid and at a relevant temperature, fluid exchange to enable dynamic measurements, imaging at higher acquisition speeds such as 1 frame per second (up to 45 frames per second), and nanomechanical properties.

Read our application note to learn about two areas where AFM has been used the most in cosmetics research:

  • Hair morphology and nanomechanics
  • High speed, dynamic studies of surfactants
Download the Application Note
PDF preview of Asylum Research's AFM for Cosmetics Research Application Note