Clouded By Secrecy ("Cosmeceuticals")

BRIGHT IDEA: Faith Strickland investigates aloe's immunoprotective effects.
Another summer season is under way, and millions of people are sunning themselves by beaches and pools. These days, however, the public is more aware of the unhealthy effects of sun exposure and is using more skin-care products that contain sun-protective ingredients. As the competition heats up, cosmetic companies are increasingly on the lookout for new research on better ways to block the sun, and are courting academic and entrepreneurial scientists working in this area. But details on their work are scanty; secrecy shrouds most of their research efforts as cosmetic companies try to protect their market share.

"The job market is growing for scientists who want to work in dermatology," says Jonathan Klein, chief financial officer at Applied Genetics Inc., a privately held biotechnology company in Freeport, N.Y. "Your major cosmetic companies have major departments focused on...

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