The botanical building blocks

The-demand-for-natural-skin-care-products-is-increasing-worldwideWhile radiance, hydration, skin firming, brightening, colour correction and wrinkle reduction are driving product trends, naturally positioned offerings are increasing in terms of consumer demand.

Going green has become more than just an eco-friendly responsibility for cosmetics formulators – it’s the hot new beauty trend. According to Lisa de Klerk, Aloway’s global sales and marketing manager, as the demand for natural skin care products increases, formulators are faced with the challenge to replace ‘undesirable’ ingredients in formulations, with bio-equivalents that meet the strict regulatory requirements. ‘The search for effective anti-ageing solutions (clinically identified, organic, bio-active natural ingredients) is changing direction,’ she explains. ‘More and more suppliers are looking to the past, to prepare for the future.’

Natural ingredients

Owing to this sub-category still being within its infancy, there is plenty of room for natural skin care lines to stake their claim. It is believed that a large amount of veteran companies are reformulating their lines to offer more natural versions or, in some cases, introducing natural lines. Furthermore, China is now showing interest in natural skin care offerings and sales in this segment grew by an impressive 24 per cent in 2014.

In South Africa, the natural trend holds great promise for product development owing to our country’s enhanced bio-diversity. Of all the botanical derivatives manufactured in SA, De Klerk says Aloe Vera possesses perhaps the highest level of consumer awareness.

‘Clinically proven as an effective natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and analgesic, researchers across the globe have more devoted time and resources to understanding the moisturising and anti-ageing effects of Aloe Vera, than any of its other properties. With over 200 compounds identified and many more yet to be discovered, it is not surprising that researchers occupy their time investigating and understanding this astonishing historical natural solution to modern anti-ageing issues,’ she comments.

The potent regenerative properties of Aloe Vera justify the demand for its use in the treatment of premature skin ageing, healing of wounds, burns, sunburns, eczema, hair loss, dandruff, acne and more. It contains over 75 different nutrients, consisting of

96 per cent water and four per cent amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and vitamins A, C, and E. However, the most important component for anti-ageing applications is its polysaccharides or ‘healthy miracle sugars’.

De Klerk says it is important to highlight that Aloe Vera inclusion levels in end products are still formulated, to a large extent, simply as desired. ‘With little to no control in this area by cosmetic regulatory bodies,’ she explains, ‘Recent years have seen increasingly low levels being incorporated into products, in the name of cost saving.’ The end result is that consumers are denied any tangible Aloe Vera benefits. In addition to low inclusion levels, a rise in the incidence of low quality raw materials being supplied to the world market has the same result.

Essential Specialised Products (ESP) is a distributor of internationally manufactured cosmetics and personal care ingredients in South Africa. In the anti-ageing segment, it promotes a number of anti-ageing ingredients sourced from Elementis and Active Concepts.

According to Jane Grainger from ESP, neuro-cosmetics are at the forefront of today’s approach to skin care yet, with the current selection of actives, they do not meet the consumer’s definition of ‘natural’.

In response to this demand, Active Concepts has developed Griffonia Lysate Advanced, which is said to be an ideal ingredient to add to formulations where perceivable results and long-term benefits of anti-ageing skin care are immediately realised.

‘Griffonia is a tree that is native to parts of Africa. Over the years, it has developed a unique defense mechanism to protect itself from extreme sun exposure,’ she reveals. ‘The seeds of the plant contain 5-hydroxytroptophan (5-HTP), the well-known neurotransmitter that has been shown to protect human melanocytes from UV-induced apoptosis. Additionally, high molecular weight carbohydrates are also extracted from the African plant during the manufacturing process. These unique components create a stable yet supple film on the skin that, apart from protecting from environmental stressors, immediately tighten and lift for a younger and firmer look.

Elementis’ anti-ageing skin complex offers a blend of ingredients, which moisturises the skin at different levels.

Grainger comments: ‘This complex allows the retention of essential fluids for toning and the removal of wrinkles. It includes omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids for nutrition of the epidermal tissue, while the Olive unsaponifiables provide emolliency and softness to the upper skin layers. The Vitamin E protects against oxidation, and the Phytosterols are used for cell membrane integrity to promote youthful tissue tone.’

The company also distributes AC Party Face Pom from Active Concepts which is said to be a unique super fruit ingredient designed to provide immediate lifting benefits while priming the cells with distinct nutrients for longer-term anti-ageing benefits.

Grainger says this is achieved by combining high molecular weight carbohydrates derived from pomegranates with low molecular weight peptides derived from oranges. ‘Efficacy data shows the ingredient’s ability to tighten and lift the skin immediately while significantly reducing wrinkle’s depth, length, number and surface area over a period of one month.

Additionally, its repairing attributes allow for the revitalisation of skin after damage such as UV radiation exposure,’ she says.

Clinical study

In 2010, Lunar Pharmaceuticals conducted a clinical trial with a unique moisturising day and night cream formulation in combination with an ingestible soft-gel. The products contained specific botanical ingredients shown to have anti-ageing benefits.

Ethical clearance for the study was obtained by Medunsa, and the analysis and results were compiled by Future Cosmetics. The findings were verified by industry expert, John Knowlton.

The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of a combination of a moisturising cream formulation together with an ingestible soft-gel on these signs of skin ageing. Wrinkle reduction, skin smoothness and hydration were measured throughout the 56 day period. A total of 104 women aged between 18 years and 60 years participated in the study. The Corneometer CM 825, Skin Visiometer SV600, and Cutometer MPA 580 were used to analyse the skins of all the participants. Four groups of 26 subjects between the ages of 20 and 68 were recruited.

A total of 91 subjects complied with the rules and specifications of the study and all results recorded were used in the calculations. Subjects that did not comply with the rules of the study were excluded. The procedure of testing was explained to the subjects verbally and a form of consent and medical history was signed by each. Personal details and each subject’s assessment of their own skin type were also recorded. Colour photographs were taken at each time interval to serve as footage of the study conducted. All subjects were instructed to rest for 20 minutes before any testing was conducted. The designated left or right hand and left or right side of the face was cleansed with a standard eye makeup remover and allowed to air dry for three minutes. Test sub-sites were demarcated and templates for each subject were drawn.

An operator trained the test subjects in applying the test products evenly to the test sites, according to the test substance sequence. Subjects were restricted from using any topical products or any medication not approved by the study sponsor for the duration of the study. Subjects returned to the testing facility on days 14, 28 and 56 respectively after baseline readings. The temperature and relative humidity were recorded during the time of the study.

According to Dr Trevor Baillie, technical director of Lunar Pharmaceuticals, significant wrinkle reduction, and improved skin hydration was seen within 14 days of use. ‘Throughout the duration of the study, significant improvements in skin elasticity and skin smoothness were seen. Using the active cream alone showed moisture increase within a two month period. Significant wrinkle reduction and a significant increase in skin smoothness were seen,’ he comments. ‘Using the active softgel alone provided an increase in skin moisture after only 14 days of oral intake. Reduction in the appearance of wrinkles was also seen within 14 days.’

The study found that a combination of active cream and soft-gel had a synergistic effect increasing moisture up to three times more after 14 days. A 45 per cent reduction in wrinkle appearance was also noted together with an increase in skin smoothness.

Owning to the successful results determined in the study, Lunar Pharmaceuticals is planning future investigations using the formulations to determine the effect on skin pigmentation.



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