Dr. Seehra is the Director of Global Discovery for the Amway Research and Development organization—a fancy way of saying he is one of our leading scientists. Along with his team, his role is to find new, powerful and unique technology for our products.
What got you into the science of skin?
During graduate school, I worked in a lab exploring how one specific protein found all throughout the human body—collagen—is able to transform into many different kinds of tissues, from cartilage to tendons to skin. It was a thrilling engineering challenge; that was the science hook. Then by fortune, my research and dissertation led me to learn more about burn injuries and develop new kinds of skin grafts. That was the skin hook. At Amway I incorporate the beauty angle too: I bring the best of skin science into new products to “regenerate” and “repair” the appearance of skin for a healthy, beautiful look.
How do you turn "pure science" into something consumers can use?
We rely on basic research to identify key factors leading to accelerated aging, and then develop biological screens based on these factors. These "bioassays" often help us discover new ingredients with the targeted power to improve skin’s condition.
For example, new academic research may tell us a certain molecular pathway is linked to deep wrinkles. We then can build a laboratory or clinical test to look for ingredients that are targeted to that molecular pathway—which can lead to a powerful new anti-wrinkle treatment.
Only the highest performing ingredients are selected to be included in new Artistry™ formulations. Sometimes we have to have to evaluate hundreds of ingredients before we find one that we feel meets our high science standards.
Any recent breakthroughs to highlight?
For the first time, we are delivering an ingredient that "cleans up" old skin tissue before helping encourage new, young skin production. It's a little like clearing all the clutter from a room before you remodel it. From a technical point of view, this represents a major step forward in thinking—particularly from where our competition sits—and results in a series of products that deliver significant skin benefits to our ABOs and customers.
What is the most important thing someone can do for her skin?
Like all things, if we want healthy looking skin for a lifetime, we need to take care of it: protect it, maintain it, give it plenty of TLC. Your skin can tolerate a certain amount of damage before the damage becomes permanent and you can see it as accelerated signs of aging. But applying a moisturizer with UVA and UVB full-spectrum protection every morning significantly reduces long-term damage caused by sun exposure. An active lifestyle with healthy diet improves skin’s condition even further.