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Ingredient Glossary

Skin Actives Scientific Glossary

By Hannah Sivak, PhD Biochemist

 

Use this glossary to learn more about the active ingredients featured in Skin Actives’ products. For our suggested usage instructions, click on the links to the product pages.

 

A

Acai Extract

Acai extract contains anthocyanins (cyanidin 3-O-glucoside and cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside) and phenolics. The fruit pulp is rich in polyphenols with high antioxidant activity; it scavenges peroxyl radicals and reduces proliferation of rogue cells. Anthocyanins are responsible for the deep purple color of this extract.

 

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)

This is life's energy currency, the universal energy storage unit. It is used in practically every synthetic reaction in all animals, plants, bacteria, and even in viruses when they are directing traffic in the host. ATP is being formed and broken continuously, so any energy stored in the gram of ATP we provide will be used up almost instantly. The ADP and phosphate formed as a result of this will be used and reused by your body.

 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Found in Alpha Beta Exfoliator.

Alpha hydroxy acids, like lactic acid, are weakly ionized acids used as exfoliants. They are safe to use at relatively high concentrations. Although present in fruits and milk, the acids used in skin care are likely to be obtained by bacterial fermentation.  Exfoliation power and relative safety are determined by the final pH.

 

Allantoin

Allantoin [(2,5-Dioxo-4-imidazolidinyl) urea], naturally found in comfrey, is generally found in synthetic form in skin care products. There is no difference between the natural and synthetic forms. Allantoin increases the smoothness of the skin and provides a skin protectant effect.

 

Aloe Extract

Obtained from the aloe barbadensis plant, aloe extract has been known and used for many centuries throughout history. It may be the oldest remedy noted for its healing qualities. This plant belongs to the lily family and is found in desert climates throughout the world. Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. It soothes itching and reduces redness and is excellent in calming skin irritation.

 

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), also known as thioctic acid or 6,8-dithiooctanoic acid, is essential for cell function but not essential in the nutritional sense because our bodies make it. Older skin may be "starved" of this very important antioxidant and cofactor. Lipoic acid, a naturally occurring dithiol complex, is the prosthetic (i.e. non-proteic) group of several enzymes, including the transacetylase part of the enzyme complex that catalyzes the decarboxylation of pyruvate so that the remaining 2-carbon group can enter the Krebs cycle. Aside from its fundamental role in enzyme function, in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that ALA also acts as a powerful micronutrient with diverse pharmacological and antioxidant properties.

 

Amino Acids

Found in Amino Booster.

Amino acids are relatively small molecules made of two or more carbon atoms. There are many amino acids, but only 20 are common in proteins.

 

There are 20 amino acids found in proteins to ensure optimal nutrition of keratinocytes.  The Amino Booster contains all the essential and nonessential amino acids that aging skin needs.

L-Glutamine, L-Arginine, L-Leucine, L-Serine, L-Cysteine, L-Valine, L-Proline, L-Lysine, Glycine, L-Asparagine, L-Glutamic Acid, L-Threonine, L-Alanine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Methionine,  L-Aspartic Acid, L-Tyrosine, L-Tryptophan, L-Histidine, L-Isoleucine.
In bold: essential amino acids

 

Aminobutyric Acid (Gamma)

Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-essential amino acid necessary for brain metabolism. GABA is used in skin care to lessen the effects of wrinkles as part of an anti-aging regimen. It has been suggested that the gamma-aminobutyric acid (A)-like receptor associated with skin barrier homeostasis and regulation of the receptor could be a target for diseases affecting the skin barrier and causing epidermal hyperproliferation.

 

Andrographis Paniculata Extract

Found in Olive Anti-Inflammatory Cream.

This Indian herb is known as Kalmegh or Kalamegha in Ayurvedic medicine. The mechanism of activity of andrographolide is through the inhibition of nuclear factor-kappaβ, a central transcriptional factor and a regulator of many genes involved in reducing irritation.

 

Apigenin

Found in Scar Vanishing Gel and Hair Care Serum.

A phenolic flavonoid is found in chamomile and many other plants and helps reduce redness and irritation. The antioxidant effect fights free radicals formed by exposure to the sun, pollution, and heat.

 

Apple Pectin

Found in Glycan 7 Booster and Anti-Aging Cream.

Apple pectin is a complex polysaccharide that contains rhamnose, a methylated pentose sugar. Apparently, fibroblasts contain receptors for rhamnose, and when rhamnose binds to these receptors it results in increased synthesis of collagen and strengthened epidermal-dermal junction.

 

Arbutin

Arbutin is a glycosylated hydroquinone present in the leaves of the bearberry (arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and is responsible for the skin brightening properties of the plant extract. Just like hydroquinone, the shape of arbutin resembles the amino acid tyrosine enough to bind tyrosinase, the enzyme that catalyzes the first transformation of tyrosine into melanin. Inhibition of the enzyme in this way is called “competitive” because the false substrate, arbutin, competes with the real one, tyrosine, for the active site of the enzyme.

 

Argan Oil

The argan tree, argania spinosa, is endemic to Morocco. Its fatty acid composition contains about 43% oleic acid, 37% linolenic, with the rest being palmitic, stearic and a hint of linolenic acids. Phospholipids help prevent oxidation of this oil.

 

Arthrospira Extract

Found in Marine Nutrient Cream, Acne Control Cream, and more.

This extract provides proteins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and even some sulfolipids. The properties of this extracts make it an essential active for redness, irritation, and blemish-prone skin.

 

Ascorbic Acid

Why is L-ascorbic acid a vitamin? Most animals can make their own vitamin C, but humans can’t. Somewhere along the line we lost a crucial enzyme, L-gulonolactone oxidase, required for the synthesis of L-ascorbic acid, making it an essential nutrient (i.e. we must get it by eating food containing it, or applying the vitamin to our skin).

L-ascorbic acid is important for plants and animals because it works as an antioxidant. More specifically, it is a water soluble antioxidant, and this means that it can work in almost all the reactions occurring in the cell. It also promotes elasticity and collagen synthesis, reduces free radicals formed by the sun and helps eliminate the formation of dark spots.

 

Ascorbyl Palmitate

This is an oil soluble form of vitamin C. Esterification of ascorbic acid with a fatty acid (palmitic acid) allows it to do its antioxidant job in the oily phase; it may also help extend the life of ascorbic acid.

 

Astaxanthin

Due to its particular molecular structure, astaxanthin serves as an extremely powerful antioxidant. It has a very effective quenching effect against singlet oxygen, a powerful scavenging ability for lipid and free radicals and effectively breaks peroxide chain reactions. Carotenoids are effective at low oxygen concentrations, complementing the activity of vitamin E which is effective at higher oxygen concentrations.

 

Astragalus Extract

Found in UV Repair Cream and Hair Care Serum.

Radix astragali, the root of the astragalus plant, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as Huang Qi (Huangqi) for over 2,000 years. One of the active chemicals in astragalus is astragaloside IV. It has been shown in vitro to have antiviral activity. Our astragalus root extract is standardized and contains at least 10% of astragaloside IV. Other active chemicals in this plant extract include flavonoids, saponins, polysaccharides and amino acids.

 

Azeloyl Glycine

Azeloyl glycine has been shown in vitro to have antimycotic, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is used in cosmetics to fight blemish prone skin and to reduce the appearance of dark spots. Azeloyl glycine, a derivative of azelaic acid, helps to normalizes sebum production. Azelaic acid is a chemical that initiates a defense mechanism against bacteria in plants.

 

B

Babassu Oil

Found in Whipped Dream Cream.

This oil is extracted from the seeds of the babassu (attalea speciosa) palm, which grows in the Amazon. The oil is similar in appearance and composition to coconut oil. This means it is rich in lauric and myristic fatty acids and it is solid at room temperature but melts when it comes in contact with the skin.

 

Baicalin

Found in Skin Brightening Cream.

Our baicalin comes from an extract of the skullcap plant which contains baicalein, chrysin and the flavonoid baicalin at 90%. Melanin synthesis increases as a response to several kinds of stresses such as UV exposure and oxidants. Baicalin reduces free radical damage.

 

Beta Carotene

Found in Antioxidant Booster.

This is a terpenoid (hydrocarbon) strongly-colored, red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. Beta carotene is an antioxidant and a precursor of vitamin A.


Beta Glucan (Oat)

Many organisms make beta glucans, i.e. sugars linked to each other by beta 1,3 glycosidic bonds. The beta glucan from oat reduces itching, redness and irritation.

 

Beta Glucan (Yeast)

This polysaccharide is similar in structure to the glucan in maitake mushroom. The cell wall of yeast is very complex, with a structure that is still being studied and seems to include beta(1--> 3)-glucan, beta(1--> 6)-glucan, chitin, and mannoprotein. Apparently, the effect of these carbohydrates on our immune system is innate, i.e. present in our genetic make-up. When we come in contact with these very special carbohydrates, our immune system seems to activate so that, when we come in contact with a pathogen, we are better able to deal with it.

 

Betulinic Acid

Betulinic acid, from the betula alba extract, supports collagen synthesis and inhibits the enzyme elastase, preventing the loss of elastic fibers responsible for skin suppleness. Betulinic acid is also used in skin brightening products.

 

Bisabolol (Alpha)

This natural chemical is an unsaturated monocyclic sesquiterpene alcohol, partly responsible for the calming effect of chamomile essential oil, but will not lead to sensitization or allergic reactions. Bisabolol increases skin hydration, improves overall skin tone and greatly reduces redness and irritation.

 

Bisabolol is well absorbed and also facilitates the absorption of other ingredients. When applied to skin that has been damaged by laser treatment, bisabolol increased skin hydration, surface lipids, skin elasticity and decreased trans-epidermal water loss.

 

Black Cumin Oil

The use of black cumin oil in Biblical times and in Ayurvedic medicine has been substantiated by the finding of the valuable phytochemicals alpha spinasterol, campesterol, phytosterols, nigellone, thymohydroquinone, and more. Fatty acids in this oil include linoleic acid (50%), oleic acid (20%), and cis-1, 14-eicosadienoic acid (8%). This oil has a strong, exotic, aroma.
 

Boswellia Serrata

Indian frankincense has been used to alleviate joint stiffness since biblical times. Our extract of indian frankincense is standardized for boswellic acids.

 

Boswellic acids act via inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that catalyses the two first steps in the oxygenation of arachidonic acid and its conversion into leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are involved in inflammation and hypersensitivity reactions that are important defense mechanisms but have also been implicated as mediators of hypersensitivity reactions and allergic conditions. Boswellia serrata extract helps protect the elastin and hyaluronic acid in the dermal matrix.

 

Butcher’s Broom

Butcher’s broom extract has been used in Chinese medicine for millennia to help reduce redness and irritation. Our extract is standardized for ruscogenins.

 

C

Caffeine

Found in Green Tea Extract with Caffeine.

Caffeine decreases the thickness of subcutaneous fat layers by inducing lipolysis. The “de-puffing” effect of caffeine may be mediated by the promotion of sodium export from the cell, which is followed by water loss.

 

Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5) 

Vitamin B5 is a component of coenzyme A, required in synthesis of fatty acids and sphingolipids. This vitamin is important for our bodies to properly use carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids and for healthy skin. It can also reduce redness and irritation associated with blemishes.

 

Carnitine (Acetyl)

Carnitine, a derivative of the amino acid lysine, carries activated fatty acids through the mostly impermeable inner mitochondrial membrane, allowing the respiration of fatty acids. Carnitine was initially believed to be a vitamin called “vitamin BT”. It was discovered humans can synthesize L-carnitine, although under certain conditions and depending on the diet the demand for L-carnitine may exceed an individual's capacity to synthesize it. This makes it a conditionally essential nutrient. This active improves the tone and texture of the skin. It is also a powerful antioxidant that reduces free radicals formed by the sun, pollution, and heat.

 

Carnosine (Acetyl)

In vitro, carnosine accelerates and improves healing and prevents cross-linking of collagen and other proteins in the dermis, which is one of the causes of wrinkles and loss of elasticity. Carnosine reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves the overall tone and texture of the skin.

 

Catalase

Found in ROS Terminator.

Catalase is an enzyme that converts hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. It is important to add catalase to any skin care product that contains superoxide dismutase.

 

Centella Asiatica

This herb has been used for centuries in both traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The active chemicals in the extract are the terpenoids asiatic acid, madecassic acid, and asiaticoside. Used on aging skin, centella asiatica can help improve overall skin tone. It also helps support the natural synthesis of collagen.

 

Ceramides

Ceramides are a family of lipid molecules consisting of a long-chain or sphingoid base linked to a fatty acid via an amide bond. Ceramides are an important part of what makes the epidermis a good barrier against water loss. Together with flattened, anucleated cells called corneocytes, ceramides make the cornified layer of the epidermis. This layer is key to the role of the skin as a barrier against water loss, bacterial and fungal attacks and penetration of anything foreign to the skin.

 

Ceramides are also present in plant cells but at very low concentrations, making them extremely costly to extract and purify. This is why lab produced ceramides are more common in skin care. Use ceramides if you want to reduce skin roughness and increase overall skin hydration. This active is also especially useful for sensitive, dry skin because this polar lipid helps soothe and protect the skin.

 

Cetyl Myristoleate

Found in Pain Relief Cream

Some data suggests that this chemical may have anti-inflammatory activity for arthritis. This is a cetyl (palmityl) ester of myristoleic acid, an omega-5 fatty acid present in some plant oils such as saw palmetto.

 

Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)

Cholecalciferol is a form of vitamin D3. This active is very useful for those with extremely dry skin or flaking skin. Vitamin D3 has been called the "sunshine" vitamin since the formation of vitamin D is mediated by exposure to sunlight.

 

Chondroitin Sulfate

Found in Pain Relief Cream

Chondroitin sulfate is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composed of a chain of alternating sugars (N-acetylgalactosamine and glucuronic acid). Chondroitin is an important constituent of cartilage and its topical application may help with pain caused by arthritis.

 

Chrysin

One of the causes of dark circles under the eyes is the accumulation of hemoglobin, biliverdin, bilirubin and iron in the dermis and epidermis. Chrysin, a flavone present in blue passion flower (passiflora cerulea) activates the enzyme uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT1A1) that leads to the degradation of bilirubin. This can help with the appearance dark under eye circles.

 

Coconut Endosperm

Amino acids, sugars, vitamins and growth factors (like kinetin) are present in the liquid called coconut water or milk. This is why scientists use coconut milk in the growth medium when they want to grow plant cells in culture. The coconut endosperm we use at Skin Actives is dried at low temperature to avoid loss of activity of labile components.

 

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is also called ubiquinone (the "ubiquitous quinone"), because it is present in plants and animals, including the human skin. This is a crucial molecule in respiration. Its topical application restores mitochondrial activity, increasing energy production as ATP, plus reducing power needed to make new collagen. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is not hype. Mitochondrial function can be limited by insufficient CoQ10, and topical application of the quinone can help older mitochondria work better because electron transport is a crucial part of respiration and energy production.

 

Coffee Fruit Extract

Coffee fruit extract contains chlorogenic and caffeic acids, ferulic acid, quinic acid, trigonelline, proanthocyanidins, caffeine, mannans and arabinogalactans. These components are truly beneficial to our skin and our bodies. This powerful anti-aging fruit is an excellent source of antioxidants extracted from coffee cherries. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves overall tone and texture of the skin.

 

Coleus Forskohlii Oil

Coleus forskohlii is a member of the mint and lavender family (lamiaceae) that has seen centuries of use in Ayurvedic medicine. This species is a perennial herb with fleshy, fibrous roots that grows wild in the warm sub-tropical temperate areas of India, Myanmar and Thailand. The essential oil is obtained from the fresh root material by hydrodistillation. One of its many components, sesquiphellandrene, provides a pleasant, woody aroma and is valued for its diverse biological benefits.

 

In vitro, this essential oil was found to effectively inhibit the growth of skin pathogens including: 1) Propionibacterium acnes - a microorganism associated with acne and other skin infections, 2) Staphylococcus aureus - a bacterial strain found in infected wounds and skin eruptions including acne, 3) Staphylococcus epidermidis - a bacterial strain occurring in a variety of opportunistic bacterial skin infections and in acne, and 4) Streptococcus mutans - a bacterial strain associated with the progression of dental cavities.

 

Copper Peptide

The copper ion (Cu++) has an affinity for proteins, a property that is the basis for a traditional method to measure protein concentration. The N-terminal sequence of human albumin (Asp-Ala-His-Lys) is the site for the transport of copper ion in the bloodstream. Tight binding also occurs when histidine is in position 2, like in the naturally occurring copper (II) complex of Gly-His-Lys. The peptide Gly-His-Lys, bound or unbound to copper, has been used in skin care as an anti-aging active.
 

It is interesting that the studies on cell cultures (1988, 1992) dealt with experiments on the effect of copper peptide at concentrations in the order of picomolar (-10 M), finding that higher concentrations (still minute, like 10-8 M) were not beneficial.  Moreover, at higher concentrations copper peptide seems to promote protein breakdown (Allen 2001). For unknown reasons, clinical studies used much higher concentrations, e.g. 0.4%. Not surprisingly, copper peptide at those high concentrations did not help with healing (Bishop et al. 1992). Looking back at these studies, it is clear that copper peptide should not be used at high concentrations.

Creatine Pyruvate
Found in Revitalizing Night Cream.

Creatine is a molecule involved in energy use and transfer. Humans can make it, but after a certain age, our skin does not make enough. Creatine pyruvate will contribute a little bit of extra energy and building blocks.
 

Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Found in Olive Anti-Inflammatory Cream.

Vitamin B12 is a generic term for corrinoid compounds that exhibit the biological activity of cyanocobalamin and are collectively referred to as cobalamins. Deficiency of this vitamin is relatively common, and leads to skin or mucous membranes problems.

 

D

Dead Sea Salts

Found in our Desert Salt Scrub.

There is a perfect combination of minerals that will benefit the skin and help alleviate dry skin. This perfect combination includes, in certain proportions, chloride, magnesium, calcium, bromide, sodium, potassium, strontium, sulfate, lithium and other minerals. There is a barrage of scientific studies showing that salts, brine and mud of the Dead Sea have greatly beneficial effects on the skin that can actually be seen and measured. There is strong scientific evidence showing that Dead Sea salts can improve dry, flaky skin and reveal smoother skin and improved texture.

 

Dermal Respiratory Factor

Found in Revitalizing Night Cream.

There is very little scientific information on the effect of “live yeast respiratory factor,” but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about its anti-irritation properties. Yeast is a great source for coenzymes, cofactors and vitamins. Dermal Respiratory Factor can help soothe the skin and enhances cellular function.

 

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

DMAE provides a cosmetic effect that temporarily improves the firmness of the skin and helps reduce the visual appearance of wrinkles. It is an amine-based alcohol which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, present in nerve tissue in small amounts. DMAE also acts as a free radical scavenger due to the high electron content of its nitrogen atom. Once phosphorylated, DMAE is incorporated into the membrane of cells, protecting against the cell membrane protein cross-linking. We sell DMAE as DMAE bitartrate, a salt, because DMAE is strongly alkaline and hazardous to ship and manipulate. The actual percentage of DMAE by weight in the salt is about 37%.

 

Diosgenin

Found in Elixir 10 and Acne Control Cream.

Diosgenin, a steroidal sapogenin, is the product of hydrolysis of saponins extracted from the tubers of the wild yam. It has estrogenic activity, meaning it binds weakly to the estrogen receptor in our skin and scalp.

 

Dragon Fruit Seed Oil

Dragon fruit seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids and tocopherols. This oil has no scent, is light in color and it is similar to the feel of almond oil. The main fatty acids in this oil are linoleic acid (C18:2), oleic acid (C18:1), palmitic acid (C16:0) and stearic acid (C18:0). The seed oils are interesting from a nutritional point of view as their contents are more than half essential fatty acids. Fatty acids are central to the use of energy in the skin, required to make new skin and maintain function and health. A significant amount of total tocopherols were also observed in which the α-tocopherol was the most abundant.

 

E

Elixir 10

When the estrogen levels decrease with menopause, the skin and hair begin to age very quickly.

 

Phytoestrogens are plant chemicals that can interact with two of the most important receptors of steroid hormones: the sex hormone-binding globulin and the cytosolic estrogen receptor. The chemical structure of phytoestrogens differs greatly and may seem very different from estradiol, but a part of the molecule is similar enough to human estrogen to fool the receptor.

 

For those who think that Mother Nature made these chemicals for our benefit, think again: they are part of the plant’s defense system against fungi. Also, in the 1940s, it was noticed that pastures of red clover, a phytoestrogen-rich plant, had effects on the fecundity of grazing sheep. It is likely that these plants evolved the biochemical pathways required to make these secondary metabolites to disrupt the hormonal balance in their predators, decreasing birth rates in sheep or whatever animal was having them for breakfast.

 

For Elixir10, we are using botanical extracts standardized for chemicals with estrogenic properties. As a bonus, many of these chemicals have antioxidant activities.

 

Ingredients: Genistein, Linum Usitatissimum Flax Lignans, Diosgenin, Daidzein, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Luteolin, Resveratrol, Apigenin, Phloretin, Pueraria Lobata (Kudzu) Root Extract.

 

Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)

Application of EGF to aging skin will support natural skin cell rejuvenation and revitalization, which otherwise decrease with age. This protein also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the overall tone and texture of the skin. 

 

What is a growth factor? Growth factors, also known as cytokines, are naturally occurring proteins capable of stimulating cellular proliferation and cellular differentiation. Growth factors bind to specific receptors on the cell surfaces and are important for the regulation of a variety of cellular processes. EGF was the first growth factor to be discovered and studied. In 1986, Stanley Cohen received the Nobel Prize for his work showing the role of the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) in the regulation of cell growth and development. EGF is a growth factor that plays an important role in the regulation of cell growth, cell proliferation and differentiation. This is one of the specialty proteins made by Skin Actives Scientific using biotechnology. Please note that our growth factors are sold for use in cosmetics only.

 

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)

Found in Green Tea Extract with EGCG.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is one of the polyphenols in green tea responsible for some of its remarkable medicinal properties, along with (+) catechin (C), (+) gallocatechin (GC), (-) epicatechin (EC) and (-) epigallocatechin (EGC). EGCG is a very effective antioxidant that helps reduce oxidative stress as well as helping to reduce oiliness and keep pores clean.

 

4-Ethoxybenzaldehyde 

Topical application of this active at a 1% concentration can help improve uneven skin tone and calm redness and irritation. The mechanism of action may involve inhibition of prostaglandin E2.

 

F

Ferulic acid

A potent antioxidant, ferulic acid protects skin from free radical damage. This antioxidant has a nice scent, ferulic acid is also known as cinnamic acid. It also helps stabilize ascorbic acid.

 

Flax Seed Oil

Found in Every Lipid Serum (ELS) and Skin Brightening Cream.

The oil extracted from the linum usitatissimum seeds is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. A typical composition is about 50% triply unsaturated α-linolenic acid, less than 10% saturated acids like palmitic acid and stearic acid, 20% of monounsaturated oleic acid and about 15% doubly unsaturated linoleic acid. Flax oil has the highest level of the omega-3 fatty acid among vegetable oils.


Fucoidan

Found in Sea Kelp Coral, Coral Nutrient Serum, and more.

Fucoidans are sulfated polysaccharides with a structure that depends on the plant source and growing conditions. Fucoidan applied to the skin will promote and support the synthesis of collagen and fights free radicals. The fucoidan we use at Skin Actives is extracted and purified from brown algae.

 

Fucoxanthin

Found in Sea Kelp Coral.

Fucoxanthin is a xanthophyll found as an accessory pigment in the chloroplasts of brown algae and others, like diatoms, giving them a brown or olive-green color. Like other carotenoids, it has antioxidant activities and helps reduce the appearance of redness and irritation. Heo and Jeon (2009) reported that fucoxanthin significantly decreased intracellular reactive oxygen species generated by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation in human fibroblast. Topically applied fucoxanthin may also fight the look of wrinkles.

 

G

Galangal Extract

Found in Zit Ender and UV Repair Cream.

Kaempferia galanga is a traditional aromatic plant used in the tropics and subtropics of Asia for its medicinal properties and as a spice. The root extract contains chemicals that help reduce redness and irritation and makes this a great active for acne-prone skin.

 

Germaben II

Germaben II is a broad spectrum liquid preservative system. Its active components have been solubilized in propylene glycol, making them easy to incorporate into formulations. It is ready to use in emulsions with an oil phase of about 25% or less, or water-based formulations. Germaben II is compatible with most cosmetic ingredients.


Glucosamine (N-Acetyl)

Glucosamine is an amino sugar and one of the components of hyaluronic acid, an important polysaccharide in our dermis that decreases with age. This active helps eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone and enhances the benefits of niacinamide. Another nice effect of glucosamine is through the modulation of exfoliation by keratinocytes stratum corneum. This activity is useful for people with dry, flaky skin.

Glutaredoxin

Glutaredoxin is an enzyme that catalyzes glutathione-dependent disulfide oxidoreduction reactions in a coupled system with NADPH, GSH and glutathione reductase. Glutaredoxin provides protection against oxidative stress.

 

Glutathione

Glutathione is a tripeptide composed of the amino acids L-glutamine, L-cysteine and glycine. L-glutathione is part of the natural resources our body has to protect our skin from reactive oxygen species. Glutathione is a crucial element in the antioxidant defense system of the cell, together with superoxide dismutase, catalase, alpha-D-tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), etc. For this many reasons, it is a good idea to supplement endogenous glutathione with some applied topically.

 

Glycerin Plus

Glycerin Plus is a vegetable glycerin solution enriched with sodium PCA. This solution can be used by formulators to add emolliency to serums and creams. Some actives, such as ferulic acid, that do not dissolve well in water can be dissolved in this solution instead.

 

Granulysin

Skin Actives developed granulysin for use in skin care. It is a member of lysosomal proteins that function as activators of various lysosomal lipid-degrading enzymes. One of the advantages of this particular protein is that it will help target blemish prone skin without drying out the skin.

 

Grape Seed Proanthocyanidins

Grape seed extract is a source of proanthocyanidins, or flavonoids, which provide protection against oxidative stress and help support the synthesis of collagen. Grape seed proanthocyanidins’ potent antioxidant activity also helps to reduce redness and irritation.

 

Green Tea

Green, black, and oolong teas contain large quantities of polyphenols. Polyphenols, which are a class of bioflavonoids, have been shown to reduce free radical damage. Most of the polyphenols in green tea are catechins. Catechins, which are antioxidants by nature, have also been shown to help decrease redness and irritation. Tea also contains caffeine, which is very useful to help decrease the appearance of puffy eyes.

 

H

Hesperidin and Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone

This flavonoid is present in lemons and oranges and helps eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone. It also helps reduce redness and irritation and fights free radicals formed by exposure to the sun, pollution, and heat. The derivative hesperidin methyl chalcone is present in Ruscus and other plants, and has been used in cosmetics to help with the appearance of dark under-eye circles, spider and varicose veins.

 

Horse Chestnut Extract

The aescin present in horse chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum) extract is not a single chemical, but a family of compounds, the glycosides of saponins. They help reduce oxidative stress as well as redness and irritation. For centuries, horse chestnut extract has been used to reduce the appearance of varicose veins. It is believed the chemical, rutin, is responsible for this activity.

 

Horsetail Powder

Horsetail, or equisetum, is a very primitive vascular plant. Horsetail powder is used as a physical exfoliator. It contains silicic acid, ferulic acid and caffeic acid which give it powerful antioxidant properties to reduce free radicals.

 

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid, or sodium hyaluronate, is a polysaccharide composed of long chains of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine alternating with glucuronic acid. In our skin, it stabilizes the intercellular (in-between cells) space in the dermis and contributes significantly to activities essential to skin health. Because of its tremendous capacity to hold water, adding this active to your creams, lotions, gels or serums will help keep skin moist. Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is not hyaluronic acid. By definition, the molecular weight of hyaluronic acid is in the millions. Small fragments of broken hyaluronic acid can’t hold water or form gels.

 

Hydrolyzed Collagen

This peptide mix is obtained from marine collagen (fish skin), so this active is not suitable for vegans. This is one of the few animal-derived actives we use as Skin Actives because plants don’t make collagen. The peptides can be as short as two amino acids, and as long as about 30 amino acids length, up to molecular weight 5,000. Collagen peptides are rich in glycine, proline, alanine and other amino acids. Use this active to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the overall tone and texture of the skin. The peptides will also promote and support the synthesis of collagen.

 

J

Jojoba Oil

Found in Canvas Base Cream, Cleansing Oil, and more.

Jojoba is a shrub native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of Arizona, California and Mexico. Jojoba seeds contain a light-gold colored liquid wax ester which is the primary storage lipid of the plant. Jojoba wax (called oil) makes up 50% of the seed's dry weight. Since it is composed of wax esters, it is an extremely stable substance and does not deteriorate easily. Jojoba oil is absorbed quickly and is excellent for all skin types.

 

K

Kakadu Plum

The plum of the Kakadu (terminalia ferdinandiana) plant contains vitamin C, about 3 gm per 100 gm fruit, and this was very important for the original Australian aboriginal population that needed a source of vitamin C.

 

It has been shown in vitro to inhibit the growth of Giardia and a bacterium linked to rheumatoid arthritis. The chemicals present include ellagic acid, stilbenes and tannins. Kakadu plum extract inhibits the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and inhibited the expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2.

 

Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF)

KGF is a member of the fibroblast growth factor family and has been found to promote healthy hair. Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) binds to the KGF receptor on the cell surface, acting as both a growth and survival factor by stimulating epithelial cell proliferation, differentiation, and migration, and promoting a number of cell protective mechanisms. KGF is also known as FGF-7 and heparin-binding growth factor-7 (HBGF-7). Keratinocyte growth factor has been shown in vitro to regulate proliferation and differentiation in epithelial tissues, and may regulate the cells of the hair follicle.

 

Kinetin

Kinetin is a derivative of adenine, one of the nucleic acid bases that form DNA and RNA. A plant growth hormone, kinetin appears to be a beneficial antioxidant when applied topically to the skin.

 

Kojic Acid Dipalmitate

Kojic acid dipalmitate is a derivative of kojic acid and a fatty acid (palmitic acid). This chemical modification makes it more stable and oil soluble. Kojic acid is usually produced by fermentation of aspergillus oryzae. In skin care kojic acid helps eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

 

L

Larch Arabinogalactans
Found in Glycan 7 Booster.
Native tribes in North America have long been using larch as a poultice for sores, ulcers, burns and to alleviate itching. When biochemists looked into larch, it was found that arabinogalactans stimulate dermal fibroblast activity and proliferation, explaining the traditional use of larch bark for wound healing. Larch arabinogalactans help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Lecithin

Our lecithin is extracted from non-GMO soy. Lecithin is a mixture of polar and nonpolar lipids, with a polar lipid content of at least 50%. The most important chemical in lecithin is phosphatidylcholine, which is crucial to keep the cell intact and functional. Lecithin can be used to help reduce the appearance of puffiness under the eyes.

 

Lemon Peel Bioferment

Fermentation is the method of extraction used to release valuable chemicals from the peel. Lemon peel bioferment can help eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone. This powerful antioxidant reduces free radicals formed by the sun, pollution, and heat.

 

Liquid Crystal

Liquid Crystal is a mix of cholesterol derivatives that will replenish lipids. It can be added to any skin care formulation for added nutritive benefits and emolliency. Our Liquid Crystal is sourced from lanolin, so this ingredient is not suitable for vegans.

 

Liquipar Optima

LiquaPar Optima is a broad spectrum liquid preservative system that can be used in a wide variety of cosmetic formulations. It is stable, non-volatile, non-irritating, and non-sensitizing at recommended levels. It can be used effectively in aqueous (water based), anhydrous, and emulsion-type (lotions and creams) skin and hair care products. It is effective against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, yeasts, and molds.

 

Licorice Root Extract

There are many active chemicals in licorice (glycyrrhiza glabra) root extract. One of those chemicals, glabridin, inhibits the activities of two tyrosinase isozymes, T1 and T3 without affecting cell proliferation. Topical application of licorice root extract helps eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

 

Lutein

Found in Antioxidant Booster.

Lutein is used by our bodies but we cannot make it, so we need to obtain it from food or apply it topically. Although its main role seems to be in the health of our vision, in the lens and macula lutea of the eye, lutein is also an excellent antioxidant.

 

Luteolin

Found in Scar Vanishing Gel.

Luteolin is a flavonoid. It is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals.

 

Lycopene

Found in Antioxidant Booster.
This carotenoid is the antioxidant component of tomato, lycopersicon esculentum. The combination of lycopene and lutein synergistically interact as antioxidants, and this may relate to specific positioning of different carotenoids in membranes.

 

M

Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) is a stable form of vitamin C. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate can be transformed by the skin’s enzymes into ascorbic acid. Forms of vitamin C, like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, help eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone. This powerful antioxidant reduces free radicals and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

 

Mangiferin

Mangiferin is a xanthone, a potent antioxidant, present in mango and other plants. Mangiferin has been shown to reduce the intracellular Ca2+ concentration, an activity that may contribute to its protective effects and reduce iron neurotoxicity in cells. Also, it has been shown to be able to scavenge reactive oxygen species. Mangiferin is one of the most potent antioxidants known, and is even thought to be more potent than both vitamin C and vitamin E. The total antioxidant effect of any mango extract is due to the presence of a combination of several polyphenolic compounds and their derivatives. This active also helps eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

 

Mangosteen 

Found in UV Repair Cream.

Mangostin and other xanthone derivatives are the chemicals in mangosteen that may be responsible for its ability to reduce redness and irritation.

 

Melatonin

Topical use of synthetic melatonin appears to be beneficial to the skin in many ways. Melatonin can improve the overall tone and texture of the skin and help reduce free radicals formed by the sun, pollution, and heat.

 

Methionine Sulfoxide Reductase (MSR)

MSR repairs protein damage caused by reactive oxygen species that escaped the first line of antioxidant defense. In the scalp, MSR can fix oxidized amino acids, like methionine, in a damaged tyrosinase protein so that the enzyme can keep catalyzing the first key step in the synthesis of melanin. The crucial role of MSR is not limited to the scalp. Oxidation of proteins by reactive oxygen species is associated with aging, oxidative stress, and many diseases. Protein-bound methionine residues are among the most susceptible to oxidation by reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in formation of methionine sulfoxide residues Met(O), but this deleterious modification can be repaired by methionine sulfoxide reductase which catalyzes the thioredoxin-dependent reduction of free and protein-bound Met(O) to methionine.

 

Mitochondria Concentrate

Mitochondria provide energy as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy our cells can use to grow and divide. Mitochondria use molecular oxygen to extract a lot of energy that would otherwise be lost, and foodstuff is eventually converted to low energy water and carbon dioxide.

 

This great energy-converting efficiency comes at a cost: mitochondria produce strong oxidants like hydrogen peroxide and the superoxide and hydroxyl radicals as by-products. All of the cell sophisticated antioxidant mechanisms (including vitamin C, glutathione and vitamin E) can’t completely protect mitochondria from slow but persistent damage. This oxidative stress makes mitochondria age at a faster pace than the rest of the cell, because oxidation of lipids, proteins, RNA, and DNA is faster. Indeed, oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA (the only organelle with its own DNA outside the nucleus) is 8 to 10-fold higher than the damage found in nuclear DNA. Oxidative damage also adversely affects the inner mitochondrial membrane, where the crucial enzyme ATPase is located and where ATP is produced. The phospholipids of the inner mitochondrial membrane change and become even more sensitive to oxidative damage. These changes are bound to affect membrane fluidity and permeability and will certainly impair the ability of mitochondria to meet cellular energy demands.

 

Up to now, this information has been translated into the topical application of alpha lipoic acid, acetyl carnitine and various antioxidants in anti-age skin care products. We isolate the mitochondrial fraction from fresh cauliflower florets using proprietary methods.

 

Myricetin

Found in UV Repair Cream.

Our bayberry bark powder extract is standardized for myricetin (>80%). Myricetin helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fight free radical damage.
 

N

Natto Gum

Found in Marine Shampoo.

Natto gum is an excellent moisturizer and improves the texture of skin and hair.

 

Neroli Oil and Neroli Water

Found in Marine Toner and Celestite Spritz.

Neroli water is obtained from the steam distillation of the orange blossom flowers in the production of the essential oil. Neroli water has the magical smell of the lemon and orange flowers, very familiar to us in Arizona.

 

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) and niacin are not synthesized in the human body and therefore must be supplied externally, either through the diet or through topical application. Topical application of niacinamide helps eliminate the formation of dark spots and uneven skin tone, as well as reducing redness, irritation and dryness. This active also helps to maintain the synthesis of collagen, involucrin, filaggrin, and keratin. Application of niacinamide is contraindicated for people affected by Parkinson's disease.

 

Nobiletin
Nobiletin inhibits synthesis of the type of fats (triglycerides) that are food for the acne bacterium. This active targets blemishes without aging or damaging your skin in the process.

 

O

Optiphen Plus

Optiphen Plus (phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, and sorbic acid) is the broad spectrum preservative system we use in our paraben-free formulas.

 

Oryzanol (Gamma)

Found in Every Lipid Serum (ELS).

Gamma oryzanol helps fight free radicals and reduces redness and irritation. The name "oryzanol" comes from oryza sativa, rice. This complex of ferulic acid esters is extracted from rice bran oil. The chemical structure of this complex gives it biological properties similar to those of ferulic acid but it dissolves easily in oil or creams.

 

Oleanolic Acid

Found in Acne Control Cream and Zit Ender.

Oleanolic acid is a chemical found in olive oil and many other plants. Chemically, it is an isomer of ursolic acid, a pentacyclic triterpenoid compound. Oleanolic acid has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties in vitro.

 

Oleuropein

This chemical, extracted from the olive leaf, gives virgin olive oil its special taste. This antioxidant and protease inhibitor helps to reduce redness and irritation. Oleuropein also promotes skin rejuvenation and overall skin health.

 

P

Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3

Known also as MatrixylTM, the structure of this molecule is N2-(1-oxohexadecyl)-L-lysyl-L-threonyl-L-threonyl-L-lysyl-L-Serine, abbreviated as Pal-KTTKS (K for lysine, T for threonine, S for serine). Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 promotes and supports the synthesis of collagen and reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles.  

 

Peperina

Found in Wart Cream

Peperina is a plant that grows in the mountains of South America, with more than ten species distributed at various altitudes from Venezuela to Argentina. The botanical name for this aromatic plant is minthostachys mollis. In Argentina, especially in the beautiful province of Cordoba, this mint is used for digestive purposes and its fragrance works well when mixed with mate tea.

 

The essential oil of peperina contains pulegone and menthone chemicals that are most likely responsible for the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activity shown in vitro.

 

Phloretin
Phloretin, a flavonoid, is responsible in part for the antioxidant activity of apples. Phloretin can increase the penetration of other actives.

 

Phytonadione (Vitamin K1)

Phytonadione is the form of vitamin K found in plants. Vitamin K is a lipid-soluble vitamin required for the normal clotting of the blood. Topical application helps reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles, varicose, or spider veins.

 

Phytosterols

Phytosterols include plant sterols and stanols, steroid compounds similar to cholesterol which occur in plants and vary only in carbon side chains and/or presence of double bonds. Phytosterols have anti-irritation activity and help with chapped, red skin.

 

Polypodium Leucotomos Extract (PLE)

Polypodium is a fern, a relatively primitive plant that represents a bridge between green algae and higher plants. This evolutionary position means that some of the biochemicals found in polypodium are very different from what you would find in flowering plants.

 

Polypodium leucotomos grows in Ecuador and Honduras. Study of the many biochemicals present in this fern is a time-consuming process and we don’t know which components are responsible for the beneficial properties of PLE; although calagualine, a saponin, has been mentioned as responsible for some of the extract’s beneficial qualities. PLE has anti-irritation activity and helps with chapped, red skin. This powerful antioxidant also reduces free radicals formed by the sun, pollution, and heat.

 

Pomegranate Extract

This is an extract of the punica granatum fruit. The pomegranate fruit is full of antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins. The extract contains betulinic acid, ellagic acid, gallic acid, malic acid, ursolic acid and polyphenols. This powerful antioxidant is a great active for many formulas.

 

Pomegranate Seed Oil

The Latin name of the plant is punica granatum. Pomegranate seed oil has a high concentration of conjugated linolenic acids, fatty acids that contain double bonds alternating with single bonds in between. Pomegranate seed oil contains more than 70% cis 9,trans 11,cis 13-18:3 fatty acid. This kind of fatty acid composition is very rare and justifies the medicinal use of pomegranate seed oil throughout many cultures for centuries. This cold pressed oil provides moisture and nutrition to the skin.

 

Porphyridium Extract

Found in Marine Nutrient Cream.

The extracellular polysaccharide produced by this red microalga, rhodophyceae, has sulfate groups attached to the backbone and non-reducing terminal D-xylopyranosyl and galactopyranosyl residues. It is known that this polysaccharide has antioxidant and anti-irritation properties, and the xylitol residues may be responsible in part for the some of these benefits.

 

Prickly Pear Extract

Found in Desert Salt Scrub.

This cactus fruit contains methylated rhamnogalacturonans, along with L-arabinose and D-xylose, giving this extract soothing properties.

 

Prickly Pear Seed Oil

Found in Dream Cream.

The cactus is a drought tolerant crop and makes a sensible choice for agriculture in arid areas. The fruit contains a large number of seeds with low oil content but of excellent composition, with unsaturated fatty acids making more than 80% of the total, very rich in linoleic acid (C 18:2) and oleic acid (C18:1). These are essential nutrients that the skin requires for normal function.

 

Pullulan
Pullulan is produced by the fungus aureobasidium pullulans. Pullulan is a polysaccharide consisting of maltotriose units. It is a α-1,4- ;α-1,6-glucan. Three glucose units in maltotriose are connected by an α-1,4 glycosidic bond, and the consecutive maltotriose units are connected to each other by an α-1,6 glycosidic bond.

As an edible, almost tasteless polymer, the main commercial use of pullulan is in the manufacture of edible films that are used in various breath freshener or oral hygiene products. Pullulan is also used by scientists as a carrier for other chemicals.

In skin care, pullulan gives an instant tightening effect by creating a film that stays on the surface of the skin. The tightening effect is purely cosmetic and washes away after use.

 

Pterostilbene

Found in Anti-Aging Cream.

Pterostilbene is very similar in structure to resveratrol, but pterostilbene has better bioavailability. Pterostilbene is a great active to provide support to aging skin, in addition to being an antioxidant and anti-irritant.

 

Pumpkin Extract

Found in Pumpkin Enzyme Peel.

Pumpkin extract contains numerous antioxidants, including carotenes, ferulic acid and zeaxanthin. In addition, this extract provides many other nutrients to the skin, including vitamins, alpha linolenic acid, adenine, sugars and more.  

 

Q

Quercetin

This is a naturally occurring flavonoid from the polyphenol group of compounds. Quercetin helps reduce oxidative stress, promotes and supports the synthesis of collagen, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to improve the overall tone and texture of the skin.

 

R

Resveratrol

Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene), a polyphenolic antioxidant found in grapes and red wine, protects from oxidative stress and reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Plant polyphenols like resveratrol benefit the skin by reducing irritation and supporting cell revitalization through their interaction with growth factor receptors.

 

Retinyl Acetate

Retinyl acetate is not retinoic acid, the ingredient in Retin-ATM. This is a much gentler form of vitamin A. Application of retinyl acetate will promote and support the synthesis of collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This active also helps keep pores clean and helps remove excess oil which contributes to blemishes.

 

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Found in Revitalizing Night Cream.

Riboflavin is a key component of the cofactors FAD and FMN, required by all flavoproteins, which play important roles in the electron transport chain (respiration). Also, decarboxylation of pyruvate and α-ketoglutarate and fatty acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (in fatty acid oxidation) also requires FAD.

 

Rosehip Seed Oil

This organic, cold pressed oil is made fresh from the seeds of the wild rose, rosa canina, that grows in Chile. Rosehip oil is a concentrated solution of linoleic (41%) and linolenic acid (39%), two essential fatty acids that are found in the structural lipids of the cell but humans cannot make them. It also contains tocopherols and carotenoids which are responsible for the lovely pink/orange color of the oil. Rosehip seed oil is great for adding moisture to any formula or directly to the skin and is a favorite for pregnant women to avoid stretch marks. This oil does not smell of roses, it is a fixed oil not an essential oil.

 

Royal Jelly

NOTE: do not use this active if you are allergic to bees.

Royal jelly is a thick and milky secretion from the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of young worker bees (apis mellifera L.) and is used to feed the larvae. The queen honey bee is fed royal jelly throughout the larval period, while nurse honeybees are fed royal jelly for only 3 days.

 

Royal jelly contains a variety of proteins, amino acids, organic acids, steroids, esters, phenols, sugars, minerals, and vitamins. Vitamins of the group B (pantothenic acid and pyridoxine) plus proteins, trace minerals and other goodies may have made a difference when vitamins were not readily available and may be the reason why royal jelly has so many traditional uses. A fatty acid present in royal jelly, 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA), increases hydration, replenishes the skin and reduces redness and irritation.

 

Rutin

Found in Capillary Health Cream.

This flavonoid, abundant in viola tricolor, sophora japonica, morus alba and many other plants, has numerous beneficial properties. Besides its anti-irritation properties, it also helps protect capillaries from oxidative stress.

 

S

Salicylic Acid

Found in Salicylic Wash.

This weak acid, called beta hydroxy acid is used in exfoliation and to target blemish prone skin. When not dissolved in alcohol, which is frequently done in the skin care industry, salicylic acid can benefit oily and blemish prone skin.

 

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto sterols have been shown to inhibit 5 alpha-reductase activity, the enzyme responsible for conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone and to inhibit binding of dihydrotestosterone to the cytosolic androgen receptor. This can be especially helpful for stubborn hormonal acne. Saw Palmetto can also help stimulate the scalp.

 

Sea Kelp Bioferment

Found in Sea Kelp Coral.

This ferment obtained from sea kelp supplies a complete nutrient medium which moisturizes skin and scalp. The substrate for fermentation is kelp, a sea macroalga. Fermentation makes the cell contents of this alga readily available to the skin. This active is rich in fucoidan, caragenaan, algin, fucoxanthin, minerals and many active chemicals. It provides minerals like iodine, copper, molybdate, magnesium and more required as cofactors in enzymatic reactions of lipid metabolism and energy conversion.

 

Silymarin

Silymarin, a heterogenous extract of silybum marianum (milk thistle) has multiple beneficial effects on the skin, protecting it from a variety of environmental agents. Silymarin can help reduce damage to skin from UV light, oxidative stress and chemicals like benzoyl peroxide.

 

Sodium PCA

Sodium pyroglutamate is a derivative of glutamic acid, which is very hygroscopic. It is naturally produced by our bodies and one of the components of "natural moisturizing factor," which our skin produces to slow down water loss to the environment. Sodium PCA is used as a moisturizer in skin care.

 

Soy Isoflavones

In Korean folk medicine, soybean paste was applied to lacerated skin wounds, in the belief that it would accelerate wound healing and decrease scarring. Modern science has found that soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein stimulate the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, preventing damage to the skin structure caused by natural loss of this structural component. Genistein induces collagenation in soft tissue wound healing and inhibits tyrosine kinase, angiogenesis, and topoisomerase II.

 

Isoflavones are polyphenolic compounds that are capable of exerting estrogen-like effects, i.e. they will weakly bind to the estrogen receptors. Legumes, particularly soybeans, are the richest sources of isoflavones in the human diet. In soybeans, isoflavones are present as glycosides (bound to a sugar molecule). Fermentation of soybeans or soy products results in the release of the sugar molecule from the isoflavone glycoside, leaving an isoflavone aglycone. Soy isoflavone glycosides are called genistin, daidzin, and glycitin, while the aglycones are called genistein, daidzein, and glycitein, respectively.

 

Soy isoflavones are used today in skin care as well. Skin becomes drier and thinner in response to the decrease in hormone concentration during menopause; this can increase the appearance of wrinkles and loss of collagen. Soy isoflavones in your skin care regimen can reduce this effect on the skin. If you have a history of hormone responsive cancer or are taking tamoxifen, please ask your doctor before using this soy based product.

 

Squalane Oil

Squalane is derived from the olive fruit and is full of beneficial chemicals especially suited for the skin; among them are oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, caffeic acid, catechin, and rutin. Loss of skin lipids results in an increased water loss and increased penetration of harmful compounds, especially for people living in big cities. Continuous use of squalane oil should alleviate skin dryness.

 

Strontium

Found in Celestite Spritz

Strontium (Sr) is located below calcium in the periodic table of the elements. Sr++ is a divalent cation that may also compete with Ca++ for binding to some receptors, a capacity that may be responsible for the analgesic effect of strontium. Calcium is thought to play a role in the pain process by regulating the release of the chemicals that nerve cells use to communicate, and strontium would compete with calcium, effectively interfering with the entrance of calcium into the nerve cell.

 

Superoxide Dismutase

Superoxide radicals are formed in a number of metabolic reactions, including lipid peroxidation initiated by light or metal ions. This process is the cause of rancidity of oils, but it also happens in live tissues. One of the reasons why the superoxide radicals are so dangerous is because they start chain reactions where more and more free radicals are formed, reacting with all cell constituents and wreaking havoc wherever they go. In the human body, the main chain breaking antioxidants are the water soluble superoxide dismutase (SOD) and the lipid soluble alpha-D-tocopherol (vitamin E). In our cells, we have our own SODs, but we can protect our skin by supplementing them with topically applied SOD. The role of SOD is to eliminate the free radicals resulting from lipid peroxidation and to prevent the chain reactions that would eventually reach deeply into the skin.

 

T

Tea Tree Essential Oil

In vitro, tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil was found to effectively inhibit the growth of many bacteria, fungi and pathogens including propionibacterium acnes bacteria. Cineole and terpinene appear to be the key medicinal components in tea tree oil. Topical application helps keep pores clean and helps remove excess oil which contributes to blemishes. However, our tea tree oil is pure and cannot be placed directly on the skin, so you will need to use a carrier oil or cream before applying it to the skin.

 

Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

This is the natural form of vitamin E, an antioxidant that serves as a scavenger for free radicals that are destructive to the cell membrane. Vitamin E is considered the primary, lipid-soluble antioxidant utilized by skin that is present in the lipophilic portion of the cell membrane. Although alpha-D-tocopherol is the most widespread vitamin E, other tocols are also vitamin E, in the sense that they have vitamin E activity. The only difference between tocotrienols and tocopherol is that tocotrienols have three double bonds in their side chain and have a higher antioxidant activity.

 

Tetrahydrocurcuminoids

Curcuminoids are extracted from the rhizomes of curcuma longa (turmeric) and have great antioxidant and anti-irritation properties that make them almost ideal ingredients for skin care. Their molecular structure is the reason for the potent antioxidant properties they possess, but because of their low solubility and poor bio-availability, very high concentrations are required to obtain the desired effects. Scientists realized that the small amounts that were absorbed and used were eventually converted by the body into a much better chemical, tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THCs).

 

Tetrahydrocurcuminoids keep the superior antioxidant and anti-irritation properties of curcuminoids, but are easier to use in skin care products. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, tetrahydrocurcuminoids are commonly used in skin brightening products combined with other actives to reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

 

Tetrapeptide Solution

This is a mixture of the two peptides palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7.

This active is offered to those customers who wish to simulate the effect of Matrixyl 3000TM.

 

Thioredoxin
Thioredoxins are proteins that act as antioxidants by facilitating the reduction of other proteins by cysteine thiol-disulfide exchange. Thioredoxins are found in nearly all known organisms and are essential for life in mammals.

 

Tocotrienols

Found in Antioxidant Booster.

Tocotrienols (alpha, gamma and delta) are very similar to tocopherol, but they have three double bonds in their isoprenoid side chain. The extra double bonds in the chemical structure of tocotrienols make them more powerful antioxidants than tocopherol. They also give the molecule a better insertion into the lipid bilayer that is the core of every single biological membrane.

 

Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)

Found in TCA Peel

Our TCA peel uses an unbuffered water solution of trichloroacetic acid, at the optimal concentration for treatment of hyperpigmented sun spots. This treatment reduces the appearance of dark age spots. The TCA solution must be used only as described in the instructions enclosed, and only on very small areas. Larger areas can be treated but this must be done in a medical facility under close medical supervision.

 

Please note that TCA acid is a strong acid used in biochemistry to precipitate proteins and this is why you will see "frosting", a whitish color develop in the treated skin after application.

 

U

Ursolic Acid

Found in UV Repair Cream.

Ursolic acid has anti-irritation properties. Ursolic acid is present in many plants, especially in extracts of pomegranate, rosemary, Greek sage (salvia triloba), oleander, periwinkle, spike lavender and more. Ursolic acid increases ceramide and collagen and helps preserve the structure of collagen fibers. These properties, together with its inhibition of elastase activity, make it a good anti-aging and anti-wrinkle ingredient.

 

W

Wheat Germ Oil

Found in Cleansing Oil.

Cold pressed from the germ of the wheat kernel, this oil contains some good fatty acids, including linoleic acid (omega-6), palmitic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid (omega-3), and the wax octacosanol. It is also very rich in vitamin E and contains vitamins A, B, D, lecithin and antioxidants.

 

White Willow Extract

Since ancient times, white willow bark has been used to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. The active chemical is salicin, an alcoholic β-glucoside.

 

This is an example of a natural extract working as well or better than a prescription synthetic medicine. It reduces inflammatory exudates, inhibiting leukocytic infiltration, preventing the rise in cytokines, suppressing leukotrienes and prostaglandins.


Wild Yam Diosgenin

Isoflavones are polyphenolic compounds capable of exerting estrogen-like effects, meaning they will bind weakly to the estrogen receptors on the surface of your skin cells. When the estrogen levels decrease with menopause, the skin and hair begin to age very quickly. Skin becomes drier and thinner, and its efficiency as a barrier between body and environment decreases. Wild yam diosgenin has estrogenic and antioxidant properties.

 

Witch Hazel Extract

Found in Marine Toner.

This herb has been used for centuries as an astringent, painkiller, for bruises and inflammatory swellings, etc. This plant extract contains a collection of chemicals with beneficial properties, including gallic acid, isoquercitrin, kaempferol, quercetin, quercitrin, and many more.

 

X

Xanthophyll

See Lutein. This is the INCI name for lutein.

 

Z

Zinc PCA

Zinc PCA contains the zinc salt of L-pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. L-pyroglutamate (PCA), a derivative of glutamic acid (an amino acid) is very hygroscopic, and is one of the skin’s natural moisturizing factors. Zinc PCA offers the benefits of PCA and those of zinc. Zinc PCA can decrease the redness and irritation caused by acne, as well as reducing oiliness.

 

Formulation Aids By Function

 

Acidity Adjusters - Weak acids and bases used to take a skin care formulation to the desired acidity (pH).

 

Cyclodextrins - Polysaccharides obtained by enzymes acting on starch to form a circular ring of glucose monomers linked between them, like in amylase. In space, the shape is more like a truncated cone, with the interior more lipophilic than the exterior. Chemically modified cyclodextrins are used to solubilize chemicals.

 

Gums - Natural polysaccharides that, when dissolved in water, can increase the viscosity. They can be used as thickeners, gelling agents, emulsifiers, etc. Many plants, including algae, contain such gums.

 

Other Formulation Aids -  

Butters and Oils (shea butter, tucuma butter, palmarosa oil, palm oil)

Emulsifiers

Essential Oils

Floral Waters  

Physical Exfoliants (walnut shell powder, strawberry seeds)

Preservatives (Germaben, Geogard Ultra)

Proteases (pumpkin enzyme, papaya enzyme, pineapple enzyme)

Solvents (PEG 16 Macadamia, PEG 10 Sunflower)

Solvents (phenoxyethanol)

Surfactants (cocamidopropyl betaine)

Synthetic Peptides

Sweeteners (stevia extract)

Thickeners (polysaccharides)

 

Ingredients NOT Used by Skin Actives Scientific

 

Benzoyl Peroxide – Benzoyl peroxide is very effective for acne-prone skin, but it isn’t great for the health of skin overall. Benzoyl peroxide will often cause erythema (redness of the skin produced by congestion of the capillaries), scaling and, sometimes, contact sensitivity. It is also an oxidant which can damage skin. We use actives such as retinyl acetate and coleus forskohlii essential oil instead.

 

Hydroquinone – Hydroquinone inhibits the synthesis of melanin by inhibiting one of the enzymes in the synthetic pathway, and it also kills the melanocytes that make it. Long-term use of hydroquinone can cause exogenous ochronosis, which is hyperpigmentation accompanied by degeneration of collagen and elastin. Hydroquinone also irritates the skin. We prefer actives like kojic acid, arbutin, betulinic acid, licorice extract and others. These ingredients may take longer to give visible results because new cells need to be produced for the skin to get lighter.

 

Menthol and Related Compounds - Menthol is an irritant, but it is widely used in skin and hair care because it gives people the illusion that “something must be working”. Skin Actives prefers to use ingredients with proven activity instead of masking agents like this.

 

Petrolatum (VaselineTM) - Petrolatum (petroleum jelly) was invented in the mid 19th century and has been used since then in skin care. It is a very useful ingredient when trying to prevent water loss. However, we at Skin Actives don’t have much use for petroleum jelly. We deal with other aspects of skin health and you can always layer some petrolatum on top of any Skin Actives product if needed.

 

Copyright Skin Actives Scientific LLC, 2016.

 

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