News

  • The Lowdown On Lipids: Part 2 – Replenishing the Barrier with Exotic Plant Oils

    Chia Seeds and Camellia JaponicaThe use of plant oils in skin care has been around for decades, however, in the past few years our understanding of how these phytochemicals (AKA plant chemicals) affect our skin has been enhanced by numerous research studies. As a scientist with a PhD in plant biochemistry and a passion for the skin care industry, I am forever searching the globe for new exciting plant actives that can be used to treat the skin.

    Now that we know the causes that can lead to loss of lipids from The Lowdown On Lipids: Part 1 – Why Does the Skin Need Them, we can address many of these signs with scientific expertise provided by nature in the form of phytochemicals. As you might expect, I have a few new favorite oils that we have been studying at The International Dermal Institute that have the ability to replenish the skin’s natural barrier lipids for optimized skin health.

    Let’s take a closer look at these oils and how they may be used to treat the skin.

    Camellia Japonica Oil

    Camellia japonica is often called the “Rose of Winter” and is a member of the tea family. It is a small flowering tree native to Korea and Japan. It is one of the native plants grown on Jeju Island famous for its unpolluted, clean environment. Closer examination of this oil reveals it is a rich source of critical membrane lipids or fatty acids including oleic, linoleic and palmitic acids. In laboratory studies it provided twice as much antioxidant protection than Vitamin E, Grapeseed Oil, and/or Rosehip Oil. Studies using human fibroblast cells demonstrated an increase in collagen synthesis when treated with a low concentration of the oil (0.001); as the concentration of oil applied increased (up to 0.1%) so did the stimulation to collagen synthesis. Most importantly, studies on human subjects using a 2% Camellia Japonica Oil topically applied to the face showed a reduction in wrinkles as measured by laboratory instruments and observations by trained clinical technicians and patients.2

    Camellia Japonica Oil also inhibited pro-inflammatory mediators3 and was more soothing than Bisabolol in erythema induced tests. Likewise, it provided lipid barrier properties that showed an inhibition in TEWL, helping to maintain skin hydration levels.

    Overall, this esthetically pleasing, lightweight plant oil soothes irritated/sensitized skin, maintains hydration levels by reducing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) and helps stimulate collagen production to fight aging skin.1,2

    Chia Seed Oil

    In addition to Camellia Japonica Oil, the seed oil derived from the plant Salvia hispanica, otherwise known as Chia, has proven to be a new addition to the arsenal of active plant oils available to the cosmetic formulator. Chia Seed Oil is rich in antioxidants that help quench free radicals and omega-3-fatty acids that have been shown to help reduce inflammation.

    Salvia hispanica is a member of the mint family that is often used as a food supplement for energy—and was once known as the Mayan running food. It is grown primarily for its seeds that contain from 25% to 40% oil that are rich in omega-3 linolenic acid and omega-6 linoleic acids. Both essential fatty acids are required by the human body for good health, and cannot be artificially synthesized.

    Researchers in Korea reported that a topical application of a cream containing Chia Seed Oil for 8 weeks led to significant improvements in skin moisture, skin thickening and crusty lumps in patients with pruritis caused by end-stage kidney disease and also in healthy patients with xerotic pruritis.4 Pruritis is an unpleasant skin sensation that produces a strong urge to scratch, and it is a characteristic symptom of some systemic diseases such as advanced kidney disease. Xerotic pruritis is a form of the condition that includes redness, dry scaling and cracks in the skin.

    Tamanu Oil

    Lastly we have Tamanu Oil, extracted from Calophyllum inophyllum seeds from the Ati tree of the South Pacific. Traditionally Tamanu Oil has been used to combat a range of skin problems and is highly beneficial as an antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. The oil contains unique calophylloids that reduce stinging in skin and helps to control the growth of the acne causing bacterium, P. acnes.

    French researchers working with leprosy patients were the first to study the skin regenerating properties of Tamanu Oil. It has been used to heal stubborn and severe wounds with very good success. More specifically, scientists have identified the xanthone compounds in Tamanu Oil that have been credited for its anti-inflammatory activity and ability to reduce swelling and irritation with topical application.

    From a study conducted in 2002, participants applied a product containing Tamanu Oil to aged scars twice daily for nine weeks and saw improvement, so even older scars can benefit from Tamanu Oil regenerative properties.5

    Tamanu Oil is also excellent for individuals with acneic skin, as the mild antibacterial properties of the oil work consistently and without irritation to minimize growth of acne causing bacteria on the skin. The moderate antimicrobial activity of Tamanu Oil has been compared to antibiotics like amoxicillin. The actives, canophyllol and canophyllic acid, have been identified as the specific agents in the oil that provide the antibacterial activity.

    And finally, the xanthones and coumarins found in Tamanu Oil are potent antioxidants that inhibit the breakdown of cell membranes from free radicals. Consequently, this oil can help to counteract aging caused by UV-induced free radicals.

    Harnessing the power of phytoactive ingredients is one of the best ways to restore a compromised skin barrier to replace intercellular lipids that have been depleted from aging, environment, and the many other factors. And with the overwhelming amount of research on these oils and their phytochemical components they are prime candidates for incorporation into your favorite skin care products.

    Reference:

    1. Akihisa T, et al. Chem. And Pharm. Bull. Tokyo 45:1023-2016.

    2. E. Jung et al. Effect of Camellia japonica oil on human type I collagen production and skin barrier function. J. Ethnopharmacology 112 (2007) 127-131.

    3. S. Kim et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of Camellia japonica Oil. BMB Reports 2012: 177-182)

    4. Se Kyoo Jeong, et al. Effectiveness of Topical Chia Seed Oil on Pruritus of End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Patients and Healthy Volunteers. Ann Dermatol. 2010 May; 22(2): 143–148.

    5. A. C. Dweck and T. Meadows. Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) – the African, Asian, Polynesian and Pacific Panacea. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. Volume 24, Issue 6, pages 341–348, December 2002

  • Keeping Up with The Industry at IECSC Las Vegas

    284

    Photo credit: IECSC

     

    This past weekend, I attended the International Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa conference (IECSC) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference had over 600 exhibitors, 5 CIDESCO workshops, a 2-day medical spa conference, business building seminars, and 135+ FREE classes—I felt like a kid in a candy store! My two-day ticket allowed plenty of time for me to see the many exhibitors and attend some wonderful education classes. Of course, I had to have a game plan to make it all happen. My plan of action was an hour-by-hour timeline for classes, cruising the show floor, and of course lunch. This made it easy to navigate my days because I knew exactly where and when I needed to be at a certain location.

    My priority at IECSC was to attend classes and indulge in education. This year’s education lineup seemed to be split between technology and ingredient classes. The technology education was focused on microdermabrasion, micro needling, lasers and LED. On Saturday I took an LED class from Lightwave that delved into the science of LED and the way it should be applied during a skin treatment. On Sunday, I took another technology class from Bio-Therapeutic about how to incorporate multiple machines into one skin treatment. Both classes were very informative! The ingredient classes were focused on cosmeceutical ingredients and what to look for in chemical peel formulations. It’s always great to learn what’s new and what’s tried and true when looking for a great peel line.

    In between my scheduled classes, I took time to peruse the show floor. I noticed lash extension companies were on every corner this year! Each vendor was applying full sets of lashes and even brow extensions as live demonstrations on the floor. Micro needling exhibitors were a close second to the amount of lash companies, covering everything from traditional needle rollers to automatic pen devices. Just remember, micro needling is great and can yield amazing results, but don’t purchase equipment unless you know your licensure and liability insurance covers the treatment. Thirdly, I noticed that LED manufacturers were abundant. Most machines were for professional use and offered traditional red and blue lights, while others had up to 4 colors including green, yellow or combination.

    Trade shows are always a great place to learn about what’s up and coming in the industry and it amazes me to see how far we’ve advanced in helping clients reach their skin goals. Overall, I had a great time catching up with old co-workers, expanding my knowledge of technology in the treatment room, and doing a little shopping!

  • Antioxidants: Past, Present & Future

    In this recent Q&A, Dr. Claudia Aguirre met with American Spa Magazine to discuss the latest in antioxidants and skin care. Get the scoop on these famed ingredients and find out what trends in antioxidant research we can expect to see next!

    Q. “Antioxidant” is an overused buzzword in the beauty industry. What should people look out for when choosing skincare products? Are there any common marketing claims that are particularly misleading?
    A. Antioxidants are so widely varied, with a multitude of functions, that they can appear to be as ubiquitous as moisturizers themselves. In fact, there are over 600 known carotenoids and over 8,000 sources of polyphenols found in nature. And those are just the ones we know. The activity and effectiveness behind a product’s antioxidant power comes from its unique formulation. It all depends on the formula when it comes to antioxidants, and since the formulas are not always disclosed, the best thing for a spa owner or consumer to do is to look for products coming from reputable brands which spend heavily on research and development.

    Much of the marketing claims that are in fact misleading are typically confined to the food industry. For example, the word ‘superfood’ is not recognized as a true category of food in the scientific community although many people believe the antioxidant power behind goji berry is better than blueberry (or other food not currently in the spotlight). These trendy foods of course then get translated into skin care formulations that highlight the ‘superfoods.’

    Q. What are some common misconceptions about antioxidants?
    A. Probably that they’re quick acting. We are always looking for a quick fix, and compared to sunscreens and retinoids, antioxidants are more preventative and protective rather than corrective. However, over time these can correct some signs of photodamage, as vitamin C has been shown to lighten up sun-induced pigmentation.

    Another is that a vitamin is a single compound. A ‘vitamin’ is typically a family of compounds. For example, Vitamin A can be sourced from animals (retinoids) or plants (carotenoids) in our diet. So they’re not as simple as we think.

    Q. What are some of the most promising emerging antioxidant ingredients on the market and why?
    A. Vitamins are tried and true and many people may not realize that these also have a number of derivatives which can produce the same effects on the skin as the original vitamin compound. For instance, vitamin C has an active form of L-Ascorbic Acid but has a long list of derivative compounds (MAP, Ascorbyl Glucoside, etc) that can also provide benefits to the skin such as lightening up photodamage and promoting collagen production.

    The plant based antioxidants – polyphenols – are also great at scavenging free radicals in the skin. However, these likely have benefits that extend beyond preventing oxidative damage. Recent studies suggest these compounds can also promote oxidation (prooxidant) and trigger cell death, which may prevent tumor cells from growing and proliferating. Some may even mimic our own chemical messengers like hormones, as in the case of soy isoflavones1. Others like the catechins found in green tea can also impart anti-inflammatory benefits to sensitized or irritated skin.

    Q. What is your company doing to increase the antioxidant power in your skin care products?
    A. The biggest issue when it comes to antioxidants in skin care is how to deliver it efficaciously to the skin. We at Dermalogica not only use a wide variety of antioxidant compounds from botanical, marine and synthetic sources, but we also employ the latest technology to ensure delivery and penetration of the product. Since these are highly sensitive compounds, they easily ‘rust’ or oxidize, turning the product brown and rendering it useless. We encapsulate derivatives of stabilized vitamins in an advanced liposomal delivery system to optimize results on the skin. This ensures we don’t get adverse effects like irritation, and allows the ingredient to penetrate without being oxidized by the environment. Some packaging options such as airless tubes can also help with the delivery.

    Q. Are there any other trends that you’re seeing in antioxidant research?
    A. Combinations of antioxidants have been shown to work better than when used individually. So you’re likely to see products with a cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants rather than a product based on a single ingredient.

    Some of the current research is focused on marine algae, a large and diverse group of species that include kelp and seaweed. These have shown to include a large variety of antioxidant compounds such as carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamins and polysaccharides2. It won’t be surprising to see products crop up with marine antioxidants as the next trend in anti-aging cosmetics.

    Other carotenoids besides β-carotene are also being closely investigated. Powerful antioxidants found in tomatoes, peppers and even microalgae include lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, among many other compounds.

    And just as combinations of antioxidants are proving to be better than using them separately, combination treatments are also becoming more popular. A recent study concluded that ‘the addition of polyphenolic antioxidants to an IPL regimen improved the clinical, biochemical, and histological changes seen following IPL treatment alone3,’ suggesting that topical antioxidants are not only great protective elements in skin care, but they can even impact the efficacy and results of other treatments.

    References:

    1. Scalbert, et al. Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond Am J Clin Nutr January 2005 vol. 81 no. 1 215S-217S
    2. Cornish, M.L. and Garbary, D.J. Algae 2010, 25(4): 155-171
    3. Freedman, B. M. (2009), Topical antioxidant application augments the effects of intense pulsed light therapy. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 8: 254–259

  • Nanotechnology Q&A

    A26

    Q: How would you summarize what exactly nanotechnology is, and how it has infiltrated the skin care world?

    A: Nanotechnology is simply the study and application of very small things. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and for comparison’s sake, a sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. A human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter. This is a relatively new field, implemented about 30 years ago, and has permeated all aspects of modern science since then. From chocolate to computer chips, everyday products including cosmetics include nanotechnology nowadays. In skincare, nanotechnology has infiltrated the areas of anti-aging, sun protection and even make-up. The most widely studied and practiced area is in sun protection, as this technology allowed formulators to transcend the dreaded “white face” effect of 80s sunblock. Nowadays, sunscreen filters are no longer a thick block, but part of a sophisticated formula that allows for ultraviolet A and B (UVA/UVB) protection, along with other skin benefits, to be easily and transparently applied to skin.

    Q: How might nanotechnology change consumer wants and needs in anti-aging? What does it mean for product development in skincare?

    A: Nanotechnology is not yet the norm, so consumers may not even be aware that some of the products they are familiar with contain nanomaterials. Moreover, manufacturers are not required by US law to tell the US FDA whether they use nanomaterials in their products, so consumers again may not know that these are in their products. The more the technology is enhanced and advertised, the more consumers will be aware and curious about the technology and the products using it. This will mean manufacturers will have to be careful as to the nanomaterials used, as many of these do not have a lot of scientific data backing up their safety.

    Q: Why is nanotechnology important? What are some of the benefits?

    A: Nanotechnology is very important in many science fields. For example, a transdermal patch vaccine using nanosized particles would be more efficient and perhaps cheaper than a normal vaccine administered with a syringe (especially in third world or remote areas). In terms of technology, this will help with the invention of new materials that may help with space exploration, “smart” fabrics, etc. The possibilities seem to be limitless.

    Q: What are some of the detriments or possible risks of nanotechnology, and why is it controversial?

    A: Nanotechnology can be detrimental only in that we do not have a lot of scientific data supporting some of the safety of these materials. For instance, a very tiny particle may have different properties than its full-size component. This change in function may not have safety data yet and can pose risks to users. One major controversial nanomaterial in skin care is in the form of buckyballs. These are minute soccer-ball looking particles that are shown to be antioxidants, which we know from vitamins can fight premature aging of the skin. The problem is their size. Concerns around these mini-balls are that these nanoparticles may slip and potentially get into bloodstream, affecting our immune system.

    Q: Are there some uses of nanotechnology that are safer than others (for example, it appears there have been some important advances in suncare)?

    A: FDA and other global government organizations like EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) have reviewed the safety on some of the sunscreen filters that have been micronized such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. As of recent, these have been deemed safe for use as sunscreen filters on human skin. In fact, the European Nanoderm project concluded that “we do not expect any adverse health effects for the topical application of sunscreens containing TiO2 nanoparticles (especially when coated) on healthy skin which are related to the particulate state.”

    A recent Cosmetics & Toiletries article also summarized that the SCCP in 2009 found “the use of zinc oxide in its non-nano form to be safe. As a consequence, micronized zinc oxide was approved for use as UV filter, e.g. in Germany, with the prerequisite of a yearly renewal of the approval.”

    Q: When making buying decisions, what are good questions to ask to figure out which products/treatments with nanotechnology are safe or beneficial, and which are not?

    A: It is up to the consumer to do some homework here. Nanosphere technology in cosmetics is not yet regulated in the United States by the FDA, therefore there is no way to determine whether nanospheres in cosmetics deliver toxic substances into the body and bloodstream. There is some good data backing the nano particles in sunscreens, so at the moment these are deemed safe. More research into the safety of these materials will be made by government agencies like the FDA and should hopefully provide more clarification for consumers.

    As seen in American Spa Magazine