Acne cream from the paddock to the face
From the paddock to the face, an anti-acne cream has been developed by Hamilton company Quantec Personal Care using milk from the humble dairy cow.
The cream is a new approach to improving acne and problem skin because it uses milk proteins to fight bacteria and infection.
Quantec founder and managing director Dr Rod Claycomb said the company was not aware of any other anti-acne product that used milk proteins as the active ingredient. "We think we are the first."
Claycomb's team discovered a protein called IDP, which is used by cows to help fight infection. Enzymes and proteins work together and make up the essential components of the body's immune system.
"We basically discovered that this would work in a lot of applications in human health, including acne."
IDP had unique properties that made it very powerful against certain types of disease-causing bacteria, Claycomb said.
When applied to the skin, it left the skin's natural and beneficial bacteria largely unaffected.
"In addition, these bio-proteins interact with inflamed tissues and cells to help quell the inflammatory response, which is a primary cause of acne."
Quantec's testing showed that the protein killed bacteria and was anti-inflammatory, he said. Encouraged by the results, the company moved to clinical trials, which were successfully completed last year.
Claycomb said the company would look at expanding the protein's applications to other skin afflictions. It could also be used to help fight any skin condition that involved bacteria, including eczema, dandruff, psoriasis and athlete's foot.
It had taken the Quantec research and development team seven years to create IDP and now prove its efficiency for acne treatment, he said.
The product is marketed under the Epiology brand and was launched in New Zealand pharmacies on April 22. It was available over the counter in about 250 pharmacies, Quantec manager Grant Washington-Smith said.
"It's been quite impressive. It's been flying off the shelf pretty well, and I hope that continues."
The cream worked in a different way to traditional anti-acne products, he said. It cleared up the skin first, and then the acne began to disappear.
"People notice that the whole redness improves dramatically in the first few days of using it, and then the pimples seem to disappear as well."
Quantec plans to launch the product in the Latin American market in August. It is also eyeing the Asian market after shipping the product to Taiwan and Hong Kong.
"Last month we shipped the same amount that was already sold in New Zealand . . . to a Hong Kong dermatology practice," Washington-Smith said.