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Science key part of cosmetics


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Shiseido employs more than 1,000 scientists who work on research and development for new products.
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(CNN) -- For most women, and increasingly men, picking up a new potion or lotion from a cosmetics counter is about paying big money in the hope it will keep them looking young.

Cosmetics companies themselves are forking out big money too -- in the area of research and development so they are the first to come up with the products that help combat aging.

Shiseido, the oldest name in the business, is one of the leaders when it comes to technologically advanced cosmetology.

Shiseido was founded in 1872 by Yushin Fukuhara. It was Japan's first western-style pharmacy.

The company recorded $6 billion in sales last year, making it one of the top five cosmetics companies in the world, and analysts says it is the company's focus on research that keeps it at the top.

Shiseido was first company to introduce Q-10, a naturally occurring enzyme now used in a range of products to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Yoshimaru Kumano, who oversees Shiseido's global research and development, told CNN that the company employs more than 1,000 in research centers around the world to work on new products. The biggest of those centers is in Tokyo.

"In companies with such a long history, it's easy to stagnate. But we always try to keep fresh air circulating, especially in the research sector, using innovative new technology from within the company and outside," he said.

"To keep our company young forever, it is important to keep doing this."

His own field of research is anti-aging, and says he is a regular user of the products he helped develop.

Yoshimaru said that in future, customers would be able to buy products made according to their genetic make-up.

Shiseido has already started research into the genetic signs of aging, but these are unlikely to be on sale for another decade.

Shiseido's research and development last year accounted for only 2.8 per cent of net sales, but analysts say it is quality of Shiseido's research that counts.

Keiko Yamaguchi, of Nomura Securities, told CNN that the company's strong brand, combined with its good reputation for research and development made it an attractive place to work for many scientists.

"Shiseido (research and development) is on a very big scale -- top scale -- in Japan. And also the brand name is strong. So many talented people want to join the company," he said.

CNN's Atika Shubert contributed to this story


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