The key ingredients used in our cosmeceutical range were carefully hand picked to ensure we use only the best. These include:
Apple Stem Cell Extract
PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica is a patented liposomal preparation of apple stem cells derived from the ‘Uttwiler Spätlauber’, a rare Swiss apple variety. These apple stem cells are rich in epigenetic factors and metabolites, which when applied to the skin can reduce the appearance of skin aging.
The efficacy of PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica was demonstrated in a clinical trial over 4 weeks with 20 subjects. A cream with 2% PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica was applied twice daily to the crow’s feet area. The appearance of wrinkles was analysed after 2 and 4 weeks, which showed a significant reduction in the appearance wrinkles. Our cream contains 5% PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica.
Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide composed of two amino acids, β-alanine and histidine which is abundant in brain and muscle tissues. It has gained a lot of interest recently as some studies show it might be used in preventing skin cell ageing.
Carnosine has been shown to protect human skin cells against UV radiation. In a study on human skin cells, carnosine was shown to reduce the oxidative damage caused by the UV on both DNA and proteins. It is also able to activate synthesis of other naturally produced antioxidants, such as glutathione peroxidase. Carnosine and related molecules have even stronger anti oxidative capability than vitamin E, however it is advisable to apply these two antioxidants together, not only for synergistic protective effects but also because vitamin E improves the delivery of carnosine, resulting in higher levels of this molecule in the skin.
Carnosine is also able to reduce the effects of glycation. This process occurs naturally during ageing and produces damaged forms of proteins, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Collagen is among the proteins most affected by this, and its glycation may be responsible for loss of elasticity or other negative consequences of skin ageing. Carnosine is a competitive target for glycation, thus protecting collagen from it. Results from studies indicate that carnosine improves skin visual parameters, maintains firmness, reduces roughness, fine lines and oily appearance.
Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid exfoliant derived from sugar cane and sugar beets. Alpha hydroxy acids have been used for decades in cosmeceuticals due to their proven benefits on skin tone and appearance. One of the primary uses of glycolic acid is for skin exfoliation – a term that refers to removing the outermost layer of dead skin cells. By removing this outer dead skin cell layer it helps brighten and even skin tone. In addition to its exfoliative properties, glycolic acid is also a hydroscopic molecule. This means that it attracts moisture from the air and transfers it into the skin replenishing lost moisture thus also making it an effective moisturizer when used at low strengths. It also is well known to stimulate collagen production which helps smooth wrinkle appearance.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a “skin identical ingredient”, meaning it’s found as a structural component of the skin and connective tissue throughout the human body. One of the most important properties of HA is its ability to bind water and regulate the hydration of tissues. HA can hold hundreds of times its weight of water, which is important with regard to aging because one of the hallmarks of youthful skin is its moisture content. As we age HA degrades which causes our skin to lose moisture resulting in a loss of firmness and pliability causing the appearance of sagging or wrinkled skin. In addition skin identical ingredients like HA can also boost collagen production and strengthen and aid the skin’s barrier function.
The high water-holding capacity and the contribution to maintenance of the skins barrier function makes HA extremely attractive for use in moisturizers and cosmeceutical creams.
Although commonly used in many commercial creams and moisturizing formulas standard HA (1.5 million Daltons) cannot efficiently penetrate the barrier of the epidermis so these creams are not as effective as generally perceived. Studies show the molecular weight should be between 50,000 to 120,000 Daltons to be able to penetrate the outer layers of the skin and thus be effective but regular hyaluronic acid on the market is approximately 1.5 million Daltons, which is 30 times bigger than required to be absorbed. The HA we use in our products is a low molecular weight version with an average molecular weight of 75,000 Daltons to ensure it absorbs and is effective. This low molecular weight HA is twice the cost of regular hyaluronic acid but we only use the best and most effective ingredients.
N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) is considered to be a “skin identical ingredient”, meaning it’s found in our skin in the spaces between the cells, and it is used to maintain skin’s barrier abilities and reduce dryness. Studies have shown that NAG can increase collagen and hyaluronic acid production, increase moisture content of the skin, increase elasticity of the skin and increase exfoliation of the skin similar to alpha hydroxy acids but without the irritation which all contribute towards improvements in skin tone and texture.
NAG has been shown to reduce hyper pigmentation and can be combined with niacinamide to further increase its ability to reduce hyper pigmentation.
High concentrations of NAG – as high as 10% – have not shown noticeable irritation of the skin.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Niacinamide is water soluble Vitamin B3. It stimulates ceramide, collagen, keratin, hyaluronic acid and fatty acid production in the skin which are all major structural components of the skin that help provide barrier and structural function and reduce moisture loss. Topical niacinamide applied to aging skin thus improves the appearance of skin surface structure and smooths out the appearance of wrinkles. It also reduces skin yellowing, red facial blotches, and pore size by reducing sebum excretion.
Niacinamide also helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and dark pigmented areas.
It penetrates the skin easily, is water soluble, chemically stable and well tolerated in high concentrations.
Peptides are small chains of amino acids, which act as signalling molecules that help regulate various physiological functions. There are several peptides that can benefit the skin used in our range which include:
Acetyl Octapeptide-3 is a well-known peptide, which relaxes facial tension in facial muscles that contribute towards the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The result of relaxed facial musculature is the appearance of smoother wrinkles and lines.
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide – this cell communicating peptide helps smooth wrinkles and improve skin firmness by supporting the skin’s dermal renewal process which gives skin both structure and moisture which are essential for smoothing the appearance of wrinkles.
Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5 – is a peptide specifically used for eye creams. It helps reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.
Retinol (Vitamin A)
Retinol is the chemical name of the essential micronutrient and antioxidant Vitamin A that for a long time has been regarded as an essential ingredient for cosmeceuticals. When applied to human skin it penetrates and is sequentially oxidized into retinoic acid, which provides all the benefits.
Retinol can improve visible signs of photo aging (meaning sun damage), enlarged pores, and uneven skin tone. Its ability to stimulate collagen production prevents the appearance of aging by smoothing wrinkles.
Retinol is superior to other forms of Vitamin A commonly found in cosmeceuticals such as retinyl palmitate, which is significantly cheaper than retinol and requires more sequential steps to be converted into retinoic acid and hence is less effective.
Retinol must be stored in an airless container that avoids all contact with light otherwise it will decompose and be ineffective hence why we use airless pump jars that protects the contents from light to protect.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the most well-researched and beneficial antioxidant-vitamin ingredients used in cosmeceutical products. Ongoing use has been shown to increase collagen production, which smooths the appearance of wrinkles, it also reduces the appearance of skin discolorations and it aids the skins barrier and repair response.
Being a small water-loving molecule it ineffectively penetrates the outer fatty layers of the skin with only about 1% of it actually being absorbed through the skin. Another issue is for it to absorb it requires an acidic pH that can be irritate the skin. And finally Vitamin C rapidly oxidises in the presence of water making most Vitamin C containing products ineffective as very little Vitamin C remains in the product after only a few days.
Some companies overcome this by formulating Vitamin C in an oil to prevent oxidation however these products tend to be too greasy. The Vitamin C is suspended in the oil as it cannot dissolve which limits its absorption capabilities. Others formulate Vitamin C in water free silicon base but we prefer to avoid silicon ingredients that coat the skin surface with a silicon barrier film which offers little nutrition to the skin.
In order to overcome these short comings of Vitamin C, yet still obtain many of its benefits, several new stabilised forms have been developed. We have studied all of the new forms available and decided on using two of them in our products as we feel the research supports these being the best and most effective of all the stabilised forms we have available at this time.
These include ethyl ascorbate and Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate.
Ethyl Ascorbate is both water and lipid soluble and thus its potent antioxidant effects can protect the water and lipid components of the cell. It is as effective as Vitamin C at inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme and as a result helps brighten the skin. It is as effective as Vitamin C at stimulating collagen production but its real advantage is its ability to absorb much more effectively than Vitamin C and it even reaches into the deeper dermis layer unlike Vitamin C. It is non-acidic so therefore non-irritating to the skin and do not forget it is stable long term unlike Vitamin C!
Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is a lipid soluble stabilised form of Vitamin C. Being lipid soluble it absorbs more effectively than Vitamin C with over 10% being absorbed into the epidermis compared to only 1% of Vitamin C and like ethyl ascorbate it also reaches the deeper dermis layer. It is more effective than Vitamin C in stimulating collagen production. It also helps brighten the skin like Vitamin C and has potent antioxidant activity.
Folic acid is also known as vitamin B9. Studies with cultivated human fibroblasts show that folic acid supports the growth of fibroblasts, which are cells responsible for collagen production. It also protects fibroblasts from damage caused by UV exposure. As it supporting the skin’s dermal renewal process it is considered a powerful ingredient for cosmetic products designed to help prevent the appearance of aging.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant found in every cell in the body. It’s sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant” because it regenerates or recycles other antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and glutathione when they lose their ability to act as antioxidants. It also has the power to protect both cell membranes and the inside of cells against oxidative damage, as it is both water and lipid soluble. Vitamin E and other fat-soluble antioxidants can only protect cell membranes while water-soluble antioxidants such as Vitamin C only works well in an aqueous environment. Alpha lipoic acid works well in both. Research suggests that ALA can support the skin’s dermal renewal process thus reducing the visible effects of ageing on skin, and improving the appearance without any noticeable side effects
Panthanol (Pro-Vitamin B5)
Panthenol, sometimes called pro-vitamin B5, has been used in formulas because it supports the skin’s barrier function thus improving hydration and maintains the proliferation of fibroblasts, the cells that create collagen. When Panthenol is applied topically, it penetrates into lower skin layers, is absorbed into skin cells and processed into Pantothenic Acid (commonly known as Vitamin B5). Because it is absorbed deeply into the skin, it adds essential moisture.
The outermost layer of our skin is known as the stratum corneum which consists of about 10% natural moisturizing factor (NMF). The major components of NMF are sodium lactate, urea, and pyrrolidone carboxylic acid with urea making up about 7% of NMF.
Urea readily absorbs water which helps to reduce the amount of water lost through the skin. One of urea’s many benefits is that it helps to accelerate the skins cellular renewal process which strengthens the barrier function of the skin thus helping to keep it youthful and healthy.
Often dry skin and aging skin is the result of a decline in urea so replacing it is important due to its natural moisturising factor.
Do not confuse urea with the undesirable preservatives Diazolidinyl Urea and imidazolidinyl urea found in some products. The form we use in our products is Hydroxylethyl Urea which is considered the superior form of urea.
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