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First anti-ageing camel milk skin care

SMART HARVEST
By Hellen Asewe Miseda | October 31st 2015

Millions of women around the globe spend sleepless nights in the pursuit of fair and lovely skin fit for a goddess. They also spend a lot of money on beauty products just to slow down the ageing process. And now, a researcher at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has developed a one of a kind skin care range from camel milk that even divas will love because of its irresistible youthful replenishing aspects.

Arhendt Mutsanzi, a production technologist, has developed a lotion, cream and soap purely from camel milk. “The products have been proven to be 100 per cent natural and slows the ageing process and guarantees skin as fair as a princess. And the beauty is it’s affordable,” the researcher tells Smart Harvest. The icing on the cake is that Mutsanzi has secured a patent.

“You will not find this product in any local or international store unless it is my brand. Because I hold the patent I am the only one who has the sole rights to produce and distribute these products,” says the scientist.

Skin issues

Mutsanzi, who showcased his invention at the just-concluded Nairobi Agricultural Society of Kenya, has a patent and a Kenya Bureau of Standards certification which paves way to go full throttle with this invention - hitting the market.

“We want to commercialise this idea fully. So together with the university we plan to hit the stores in coming months once we are ready with a significant number of products to display in retail stores. How the product is received in the local market will inform whether or not we shall explore the international market,” says Mutsanzi.

So how did he come about with this camel milk invention?

“Back in 2003 when I was a student pursuing a degree in Industrial Chemistry, it occurred to me that women go through great lengths to have beautiful skin. I had heard of numerous stories of women going for cheap and dangerous chemicals in the pursuit of fair and youthful skin. But the problem with these is that they contain harmful chemicals like hydroquinone that are dangerous for health. It was at that point that I decided ‘why can’t I develop something natural that will solve women’s skin issues without side effects. Having a good background in Agriculture, I was aware of the fact that camel milk was superior compared to cow milk and it had great properties that renew growth of cells and all,” the researcher recalls.

Camel milk, the researcher says, is rich in a number of nutrients especially Vitamin A and E that are necessary for replenishing cells in the skin.

Tedious journey

Former chairman of the Camel Association of Kenya Dr Kisa Juma Ngeiywa whose mandate was to sensitise camel farmers on good husbandry and the masses on camel management, concurs that camel milk has superior properties that would make it great for a skin care product.

“Yes, camel milk has been proven to have more health benefits compared to cow milk. Camel milk has a number of medicinal properties. Some experts say it can treat tuberculosis and diabetes. That would explain why a researcher would use it for skin care,” explains Dr Ngeiywa, who is the current Director of Veterinary Services. Dr Ngeiywa says camel milk is extremely high in Vitamin C and so it is excellent for prevention of diseases like scurvy, a condition characterised by skin haemorrhages and spots on the skin.

Other studies show that camels have robust immune systems, so their milk adds antibodies to the human bloodstream and rehabilitates the body.

Having discovered all these myriad benefits of camel milk, the researcher embarked on the long and nerve-racking journey of developing skin care products from camel milk.

“I buried myself in books digging up on research to come up with the right formulations. Next, I burnt the midnight oil at the university lab to come up with the magic ingredients. I wanted to come up with products that are natural with no preservatives,” Juma recalls the straight and narrow road he walked before getting a breakthrough.

With backing from JKUAT the ‘Aha Moment’ finally came after two years of intense research and meticulous mixing of different formulas.

“After hundreds of trials and errors of mixing this and that, I finally nailed it. I tried my first samples and tried it on rats in various concentrations. I took five rats and applied the final products for a period of six months and compared. There was a group of rats whom I did not apply anything to act as the control experiment. For all these rats, the environment factors were constant,” he explains.

The experiment was to see if the lotion had any side effect and luckily for the researcher, after six months, it was established that it was safe for the rats.

Once the safety was established next, the researched identified a human population to test the lotion.

Eureka moment!

“We approached the nearby community, explained our mission and when they agreed to be part of the research, we selected a sample of volunteers and gave them the cream and lotion which they were to apply every day for six months. We also incorporated people who have skin issues to see how the products work. We did a consistent follow up to ensure they were using the products. We also took a picture at the start of the experiment and at the end to compare notes,” he says.

And the exciting news, says the researcher was that after six months, there was some considerable change in those that had applied it.

“The pictures told it all. Those who used it had a smoother and softer skin texture and they were significantly fairer. The women were especially impressed with the results. We also noticed those who had minor skin infections like sunburns and acne were healed. The locals were happy and they want it in the market,” the researcher says with a tone of pride. With that breakthrough, Mutsanzi embarked getting KEBS approval which took a year or so.

“KEBS basically looks at issues of quality and safety and hygiene standards for the sake of consumers. Once I got the official standardisation mark, it was all systems go,” he explains.

The next challenge was to patent his invention.

Patenting an invention basically entails seeking authority from Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), a government parastatal that administers intellectual property rights. With these rights, the inventor exclude others from making, using or selling an invention.

The researcher reveals that getting a patent is a long and tedious journey.

“Mine took two years. You have to proof beyond reasonable doubt to the authority that you are the only one with that research and is the first to report it. The institution has to dig up inventions from all around the world to see if your claims are true. Mine took a considerably short time because I was vigilant and I kept giving them the information they needed to verify my claims.”

Now the researcher holds the patent of camel milk lotion, soap and cream and is launching his line of products in stores in Kenya with the hope of tapping into the multi-billion shilling beauty industry.

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