AVON 2016 Recipients
Dr. Candrice Heath and I, traveled on December 14-15, 2016, to the Avon Global Innovation Center in Suffern, New York. Our two-day experience was both informative, enlightening and inspirational. We thank the Women’s Dermatology Society and Avon for conceiving of and providing this transformative educational opportunity.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Dr. John Lyga, Director Bioscience and New Technology, who served as our gracious host and planned our entire visit. We are very grateful for his time, vision and attention to detail in planning our experience.
Day 1 was robust and consisted of exposure to the following
12:00-1:00 Introduction to Avon GIC and Global R&D
1:00-2:00 Biology behind skin care & tour of cell biology
2:00-3:30 Skin Care lab demonstration and laboratory tour
3:45-4:00 Pride and product display at the red lip couch area
4:00-4:00 3-D Printer Area
4:30 Introduction and Welcome
5:30 Dinner with Avon leaders and scientists
Day 2 of our visit was very full with observations of and interactions with several different departments.
8:30-10:00 Color lab tour and demonstration
We toured the color lab, had an informal discussion regarding color cosmetics, specifically how to determine color matches for women of all skin types. We also touched on trends in color. We looked at various pigments, the color wheel and had a hands on demonstration during which we formulated a color pressed makeup product. We were able to put the product into a compact with our name pressed into the powder. Finally, we visited the color vault that contained every color product that Avon has ever developed as well as all of the Avon brochures.
10:00-10:30 Clinical lab tour
We were able to view some of the latest technologies used to assess the skin and the efficacy of products including a confocal microscope and a Visia imaging system.
10:30-11:00 Consumer science
Avon is committed to consumer centric product design. This is a process in which the needs and wants of the consumer are determined first before research, development and formulation of the product begins. The consumer science division has facilities to conduct focus groups to understand the needs of the consumer. This is also the division where skin care, color and hair products are tested on consumers who come to the Suffern facility.
11:00-12:00 Corporate & scientific communications
We were interviewed by members of the corporate and scientific communications division. We discussed our background, interests within dermatology and provided and overview of our experience at Avon. We commented on the value of the Mentoring Program.
12:00-1:00 Meet the scientists
This luncheon meeting provided a forum for the scientists to “pick our brains” and obtain a better understanding of clinical dermatology and problems faced by our patients. Prior to the luncheon we visited the Avon Company Store to select products to use and we thank Avon for their generosity.
1:00-2:00 Seminar by Drs. Susan Taylor and Candrice Health
We were asked by Avon to give a lecture to a group of about 35 scientists. Dr. Taylor’s 45-minute lecture was entitled Understanding Skin of Color Genetic Considerations, Structure and Function. Dr. Heath’s lecture was on the importance of social media and included a demonstration.
2:00-3:00 Consumer Product Design & Marketing
The core responsibilities of Consumer Product Design include identifying s pipeline of compelling ideas, analyzing trends, and be the voice of the consumer to drive consumer centric product design. Several macro consumer trends include: 1) the East (Asia) continuous to take on the West with the faster growth in skin care spending; 2) the new wave of feminism with the numbers of working women; 3) blurred lines of the traditional role of males and females; 4) holistic well-being focusing on stress reduction. We then discussed emerging trends and mainstream trends in skin and hair care and color cosmetics.
Dr. Heath and I are honored to have been recipients of the 2016 WDS/Avon Mentorship Award. The time spent at Avon was intellectually stimulating, fast moving, and packed with activities, discussions and lectures. Dr. John Lyga and Lisa DiNatale, our hostesses throughout the visit, made our experience seamless and they were outstanding.
The program was a resounding success as we both unequivocally: 1) gained insights regarding the cosmetic dermatology business from an R&D and corporate perspective; 2) better understood the consumer and how she has become the center of how beauty products are holistically designed; 3) got a look at the science behind the development of aesthetically-pleasing, yet functional cosmetic products, and 4) learned about state of the art techniques and best practices for clinical testing and developing consumer-relevant and compelling product claims.
Dr. Heath and I traveled to and from the Avon Global Innovation Center in Suffern, New York together. We were also able to spend time after dinner on 12/14/16 and during breakfast on 12/15/16. This allowed us time to debrief, discuss the experience and it provided time for mentoring.
We sincerely thank both the WDS and Avon for an extraordinarily enriching experience.
-Dr. Susan C. Taylor & Dr. Candrice Heath