Q&A with ishga Head of Research, Sophia Mackay

This month we caught up with ishga Head of Research, Sophia Mackay. Learn about how how she came to have an interest in cosmetic science and the research she is currently working on.

What is your role at ishga? 

Head of Research and Development. I oversee all the research that is carried out by the company, and I’m involved in product development.  

What do you enjoy most about working for ishga? 

I love a lot of things about my job, but the best thing overall is getting to apply my personal interests in cosmetics and my academic experience to the work I do. Working for ishga gives me opportunities to develop my knowledge and understanding of the science behind cosmetic formulation and development and allows me to network with other people in the industry.  

What inspired you to get into cosmetic science?

When I was younger, I was always interested in cosmetics. I’d spend hours researching different types of products and how they could be used to achieve different results. I loved reading about ingredients and their properties in skin and hair care and knew from an early age that I wanted to pursue a career in cosmetic science.


Can you tell us about what research you are currently working on? 

We already know seaweed is incredible for the skin, but we're always taking a deeper look into this. I’m currently analysing our seaweed extracts and observing their effects on skin cells under different stress conditions. This allows us to see the effects seaweed has on the skin at a cellular level and gives us a better understanding of how we can maximise its impact in final formulations. 

What were you doing before you joined ishga? 

I studied Biochemistry and Immunology at the University of Strathclyde. I joined ishga after my second year at university and worked part time alongside my studies before accepting a full-time role after I graduated.  

If you weren’t working in science, what do you think you would you be doing? 

Probably a career in a field of medicine.

What are your interests outside of work? 

I love socialising with my friends and keeping on top of my fitness and health.