Skin Actives Makes Front Page News!

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At the beginning of April, Skin Actives Scientific was very pleased to be featured in a write-up for our hometown news source, AZCentral. Our Founder Dr. Hannah Sivak and CEO Jonatan Funtowicz were able to get out the message about Skin Actives’ unique philosophy and approach to business.  If you missed out on reading that article, you can find it here.

Much to our surprise, at the end of April the article made it to the print version of our local papers! This resulted in a huge week of requests from Arizona locals for help with their skin care regimes. It was really great getting to meet some of our new friends from all over our home state.

However, you don’t have to be local to get this kind of help. We are an online business, and we would be happy to consult on your skin care needs via email, local or not.

We have also put together a list of common skin concerns and the products we would recommend that you start with. You can always customize your routine by mixing and matching concerns, but it is best to start with just a few products at a time and see how your skin responds.

Acne: Salicylic Wash and Acne Control Cream
Anti-Aging: Collagen Serum and Vitamin A Cream
Clogged Pores: Alpha-Beta Exfoliator and Pore Refreshing Mask
Dark Circles/Puffiness: Bright-I Serum
Dry Lips: Liquid Rainbow
Dry Skin: Every Lipid Serum or Dream Cream
Melasma: Skin Brightening Cream
Nail Health: Nail Care Duo
Normal/Combo Skin Moisture: Hyaluronic Acid Cream
Oily Skin: Salicylic Wash and Vitamin A Serum
Overall Skin Health: Collagen Serum
Rosacea: Redness Reduction Serum
Sun Spots: UV Repair Cream
Thinning Hair: Hair Care Serum

May Promo – Mother’s Day BOGO

May Promotion

~Buy One Mask, Get One Free~

In honor of Mother’s Day, we are offering a Buy One Get One deal this month. Every order of a Pore Refreshing Mask will receive a full size Limited Edition Hydrating Clay Mask at no extra charge!

This mask duo offers the ability for you and your mom to have a spa day together, even if you don’t share the same skin concerns or skin type. The Pore Refreshing Mask is a peel-off mask that is great for oily, acne-prone, or combination skin. The Limited Edition Hydrating Clay Mask is a creamy clay mask that is especially suited for dry skin, but can be used by all skin types. You can each use one or try them both and treat yourselves to a day of pampering your skin!

Pore Refreshing Mask Ingredients: Water, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Honey, Glycerin, SD Alcohol 40, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Nobiletin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Epigallocatechin Gallate, Niacinamide, Arthrospira Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Coleus Forskohlii Oil, Polysorbate 20, PEG-40 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA.Hydrating Clay Mask Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrated Silica, Kaolin, Illite, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Zinc Oxide, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Magnesium Stearate, PEG-16 Macadamia Glycerides, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Tocotrienols, Tocopherols, Astaxanthin, Lycopene, Xanthophyll, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, Beta-Carotene, Bisabolol, Phytosterols.

**Please note: Promotional products are added automatically. No code is required, and they will not show in the shopping cart.**

Misleading Marketing Hijacks Maternal Instincts to Sell Us Flawed Science

The word “placenta” has strong connotations: it is the organ that delivers nutrition to the baby in a mother’s womb. Is human placenta safe for use by humans? The FDA does not think so. It is contaminated with bacteria and probably with some virus. But virus or not, the FDA does not allow human derived materials to be used in cosmetics.

Still, the word “placenta” is worth a lot of money. Companies will take the strong feelings we have for babies and maternity and use them to sell a product unsuitable for the skin.

Biology of the placenta

The placenta is the respiratory, excretory, and digestive organ for the fetus. In humans, the placenta is delivered by the mother soon after the baby’s birth. It is not needed by the baby anymore. But while it is still developing, the embryo has increasing nutritional needs. These are met by the development of an association with the uterine wall into which it implants. A series of synchronized morphological and biochemical changes occur in the embryo and the uterus. The final product of this is the placenta, a temporary organ that allows physiological exchange of metabolites, but no direct connection between the maternal circulation and that of the embryo.

In the placenta, you will find many growth factors. Some that fit in the development plan for a fetus, like Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), plus others that promote the development of blood vessels. This is because, after all, the placenta is a big mass of blood vessels moving everything back and forth from mother to baby, and vice versa.

The magic of words

You will find the word “placenta” in some skin care products. Don’t worry though, those products will not be beneficial or dangerous for your skin because they do NOT contain placenta, human or animal. They may contain vegetable placenta: a thin piece of vegetable tissue that transfers nutrients from the fruit to the seed. But this is not much use unless you are actually a seed.

So what is in this BIO-Placenta product on the market? An assortment of growth factors enrobed in lecithin, nutrients derived from soybean, one amino acid (glutamine), hyaluronic acid and preservatives.

Ingredients: Water (and) Lecithin (and) Acetyl Glutamine (and) sh-Oligopeptide-1 (and) sh-Oligopeptide-2 (and) sh-Polypeptide-1 (and) sh-Polypeptide-9 (and) sh-Polypeptide-11 (and) Bacillus/Soybean/Folic Acid Ferment Extract (and) Sodium Hyaluronate (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Butylene Glycol (and) 1,2-Hexanediol.

What are the problems with this ingredient list? In this case, the growth factors are obtained using biotechnology just like Skin Actives’ growth factors, so I have no problem with that. However, growth factor IGF-1 (sh-Oligopeptide-2), is usually found in blood vessels in the smooth muscles, which makes sense for the placenta but not necessarily for adult skin. It does not make sense to apply growth factors that promote development of blood vessels to the skin. In fact, there should be a warning for Rosacea sufferers. This product is a result of faulty thinking by people who don’t know enough biology or biochemistry.

Skin Actives Scientific’s product with beneficial growth factors

I could give you other examples of products that proclaim to contain growth factors, but nothing in the market comes close to our Collagen Serum.

Ingredients: Water, Seakelp (Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate) Bioferment, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate, Boswellia Serrata Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Carnosine, N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine, Niacinamide, Betulinic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Epigallocatechin Gallate, Glutathione, sh-Polypeptide-2 (Thioredoxin), sh-Oligopeptide-1 (Epidermal Growth Factor), Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid.

When you look at the ingredient list, you will find a few ingredients that are included to provide a suitable medium for our actives, plus a long list of active ingredients. No fragrances and no colorants. There are building blocks the cells require to do their job, plus actives known to protect the structure and function of collagen. The rest are there to hydrate the skin, keep the active proteins active, and keep you safe from bacteria and mold that would love this rich medium. The idea of this product was to include every active known to stimulate synthesis of collagen and/or preserve its structure, because a protein that has lost its original structure is no longer able to do its job properly. By “known,” I mean studied and proven as shown in research that can be found in reputable scientific journals.

The growth factor in our Collagen Serum is Epidermal Growth Factor, which is there to tell your skin cells what to do. EGF (sh-Oligopeptide-1) is safe and present in your body since before you are born, although levels decrease as we age. EGF promotes cell division and survival, and synthesis of cell components. There is no need for a “delivery system,” as the growth factor works by binding to the surface of the cells.

All of these factors make our Collagen Serum the best anti-aging product you can get. Using effective growth factors and supportive actives provides you with almost everything your skin needs. Use this serum with our Every Lipid Serum to provide essential fatty acids, and your skin will thank you.

-Dr. Hannah Sivak

Epidermal Growth Factor: the closest you can get to a miracle ingredient


A good example of an active that has been discussed in articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals is epidermal growth factor (EGF). There are more than 50,000 pieces of scientific literature document the activity of EGF. What is a growth factor? Growth factors are naturally occurring proteins capable of stimulating cellular proliferation and cellular differentiation. Growth factors bind to specific receptors on cell surfaces and are important for the regulation of a variety of cellular processes. Among the practical uses of EGF are its use in accelerating healing of the skin and cornea (the outside coating of the eyeball). EGF was the first growth factor to be discovered and studied, but many more factors have been found since then.

“In 1986, Stanley Cohen received the Nobel Prize for his work elucidating the role of EGF in the regulation of cell growth and development. This small protein (only 53 amino acids) was found to enhance epidermal growth and keratinization. Work by Cohen and his collaborators demonstrated that EGF directly stimulated the proliferation of epidermal cells, and this stimulatory action of EGF did not depend on other systemic or hormonal influences. Cells that respond to EGF do so because they have receptors on the cell membrane that recognize the factor which has been produced by cells that may be near or far from the target cell. The binding of the growth factor to the receptor initiates a cascade of molecular events that will eventually lead, among other effects, to cell division. Among the practical uses of EGF are its use in accelerating healing of skin and corneas. Although EGF was the first growth factor to be discovered and studied, many more factors have been found since then. These growth factors differ in size and structure, and as a consequence, in the receptors and types of cells that recognize them, and the effects they have on the target cell. Not all growth factors are suitable for skin care; some of them can have unwanted effects on normal skin.

Excerpt From: Hannah Sivak, PhD “The Scientific Revolution in Skin Care.”

Everything you need to know about peels and skin renewal

What does “skin renewal” mean?  

Nothing and everything: it depends on the context and who is talking. What do you need to do to renew your skin? Nothing. Your skin renews itself all the time.   

So what does the skin care industry mean by skin renewal?
Generally, they mean that you should peel your dead skin cells off. But those dead skin cells, which make up the stratum corneum, are what make your skin impermeable to water using chemicals like ceramides.

If we want to be more specific in defining what renewal means, we first need to understand what is going on in the anatomy of the skin.

Skin structure

The skin is made of two “sections”: the epidermis and the dermis. The subcutaneous fat, which underlies the dermis, also affects the way the skin looks and the shape of the face.


Figure. Skin structure showing epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Notice the blood vessels and nerve fibers that connect the skin with the rest of the body.

The epidermis

The stratum basale is primarily made up of basal keratinocyte stem cells, which are the stem cells of the epidermis. They divide to form the keratinocytes of the stratum spinosum, which migrate to the surface. Other types of cells found within the stratum basale are melanocytes (pigment-producing cells), Langerhans cells (immune cells), and Merkel cells (touch receptors).

The keratinocytes change in shape, structure and biochemistry as they are being pushed outwards by new cells produced by the basal layer. Keratinocytes mature and die in a very special way, in a progression that will form an almost impermeable layer of dead cells. Many chemical reactions happen in this gradual process, and one of them is the formation of ceramides from fatty acids present in the keratinocytes. One lesson here is that if we want ceramides in our epidermis we should feed our skin plenty of unsaturated fatty acids.

Melanocytes are cells located in the epidermis, but they have more in common with the brain (they originate from the same embryonic tissue) than with the epidermis itself. Their function is to protect the skin from UV light. The melanocytes by themselves will not be sufficient to protect your skin from the sun. To delay skin aging and prevent skin cancer you will need to supply further UV blocking.

Your job is to facilitate the job of the epidermis by covering the epidermis with a cream, lotion or gel that retains water. You should also make sure that the cracks in the epidermis, visible and otherwise, are taken care of. Do we need to supply ceramides to the skin as well? Not really. If our skin has the required nutrition, including unsaturated fatty acids, it will be manufacturing and modifying a variety of ceramides that skin care products can’t hope to match. However, if for some reason you have not been doing a great job of supplying nutrients to your skin, you may need to supplement the skin barrier with a ceramide substitute like petrolatum or lanolin.


Section of the epidermis showing the five layers. You can see individual, nucleated cells in the two bottom layers and how the cells lose structure as they mature to form the more superficial layers of the epidermis. Structural changes are accompanied by changes in chemical composition. Skin cells change shape and structure as they transit the different layers of the epidermis. Cornified cells are dead cells, but together they make the stratum corneum that prevents water loss and the entry of microbes.

The dermis

Just as the epidermis is formed mostly by cells (alive or dead), the dermis is a matrix made of mostly proteins and polysaccharides, with scattered cells (fibroblasts) that synthesize these macromolecules. Many of the changes we see as skin ages reflect changes originating in the dermis, so it is a good idea to look after the dermis too. You may think that the epidermis, in charge of protecting the underlying tissues, would not let anything go through. But the epidermis is far from impermeable. When intact and healthy it will protect from water loss, but this does not mean that chemicals cannot penetrate. The skin of a 50 year old is no longer intact and will allow water to escape and many more chemicals get through.

So, you want smooth skin?

A peel may improve the way your skin looks and feels by removing the upper layers of the epidermis. These are dead cells, but they are the ones that are providing you with a barrier against water loss. A peel also allows damaging UV light into the deeper layers of your skin. Sometimes the end result of a peel is scarring, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.

Exfoliators remove the top layer of dead skin cells to make the skin feel smooth. There are three ways of exfoliating your skin: physical scrubs (which involve a gritty texture that can come from sugar, salt, crushed nuts, crystals used in micro-exfoliation, etc.), chemical peels, and enzymatic peels. You need to be cautious with exfoliation because you can cause permanent damage to your skin. Mistreatment can lead to scars and/or hyperpigmentation.

Skin Actives has products that use these three exfoliation methodologies without resorting to brutal treatments. The skin doesn’t need to be treated like an old wall in need of resurfacing by sandblasting. The skin is not an inanimate object but a living organ, and our goal at Skin Actives is to preserve your skin’s health.

Our Alpha Beta Exfoliator is a mild form of chemical peel that is safe to use on the face, décolleté and hands weekly without problems. When used as directed, it will provide an invisible peel, and you will have satisfyingly smooth skin without down time or visible peeling.

Pumpkin Enzyme Peel is great for more sensitive skin types. This is a natural, gentle enzyme peel that leaves the skin cleansed and silky smooth. You will see no peeling, but your skin will feel smooth and look great.

Skin: dermis and epidermis.  How far does a peel go?

A peel is a controlled chemical burn of your skin that can go from superficial (top layers of the epidermis) to deep (halfway through the dermis). If you go any deeper, you will end up in the emergency room.

Chemicals peels are usually made of weak alpha hydroxy acids (ie: lactic or glycolic) dissolved in water. These acid solutions (often called “chemical peels”) will break down the proteins in the most external layers of the skin when used appropriately and with caution. If used without great caution they will burn the skin. As the solution denatures the proteins in the upper layers, it penetrates further and further, eventually reaching the inner layers of the epidermis and even the dermis. The acidity of the peel and the time until neutralization occur are factors in how far the peel will penetrate. Other chemicals that are used in the peels may act in different ways, but their action usually involves denaturing proteins and killing cells. Please remember: an acid peel is a controlled chemical burn. It must be controlled carefully.

Lactic or glycolic?

Does it matter which acid you use? Not much. What matters is how acidic the peel is. The desired pH can be obtained with many different acids, all of them suitable for use on the skin. The pH depends on the concentration of the acid, in molecules per unit volume, and the pK of the acid (how likely it is to release its protons). This can be slightly confusing to non-chemists because the molecular weight of glycolic acid is lower, so you get more molecules per unit of weight. 

Don’t play with fire (or acids)

Glycolic 70% will burn your skin. I am confident working with it because I have decades of experience in a laboratory and the necessary tools to deal with strong acids. It is concerning that solutions claiming to be 70% glycolic acid are readily available for purchase online.

Why would people risk “burning, dermatitis or rash, swelling, pigmentary changes, blisters or welts, chemical burns” by buying and using such a solution? And why would an honest seller risk breaking the law?

Dermatologists are allowed to use peels with a pH as low as 0.6, and may even add dangerous chemicals like phenol in order to kill cells deep within the skin. These doctors have very high insurance premiums because peels can go terribly wrong. They also have an office where medical emergencies can be managed appropriately.

Your skin renews itself, so why push for more?

There is no need to push for skin renewal, unless you have very good reason, like acne.

Pores can get clogged with sebum, keratin, and dead cells. This results in an environment lacking in oxygen and favorable to the growth of the acne bacterium, Propionibacterium acnes. These products of bacterial metabolism cause the inflamed pimples known commonly as acne. This is a real problem and one that adequate skin care can help to prevent and correct. A comedo may be closed by skin (whitehead) or open to the air (blackhead). Being open to the air causes oxidization, which turns the lipids in the top of the ‘plug’ black or brown.

What can you do? Use a retinoid that will normalize keratinization and maintain epidermal integrity, like vitamin A. It will help to keep the skin healthy by switching on genes and differentiating keratinocytes (immature skin cells) into mature epidermal cells. There are many retinoids that are available, at Skin Actives we use retinyl acetate because it doesn’t cause unnecessary irritation.

What do people expect from a peel? 


A good peel may cause no visible peeling or a light fluffy peeling. People tempted to “help” the process along by peeling the skin away may find that the skin revealed is raw and painful. People expect the skin to peel like a fruit. If their skin just gets red that is not enough.

People go to Ebay hoping to find a strong enough peel (70% glycolic acid, anyone?) that will peel their skin and show beautiful baby smooth and clear skin below. This is not how things happen.

To satisfy unrealistic expectations, a formulator may mix a mild acid with a chemical that will dry as a film so that you have something to peel off. The rest is a fantasy of a snake-like miracle peel in which an old, ugly skin peels off and a new, luminous glowing skin is being revealed, a sort of Cinderella story. Skin does not peel like this. The skin is not a film to be removed, but a structure made of cell layers.

-Dr. Hannah Sivak

**Note: We have recently removed the TCA peel for sale on our website due to concerns about potential chemical burns. It will still be available to licensed professionals. Please call 480-813-5633 or email for more details.** 

Squalane vs. Squalene, what is it derived from?

Squalane Oil, the serum base in the new Oil Serum For Beginners Kit, is extracted from olive fruit, not from shark liver. This light oil is full of beneficial actives 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.


Why Squalane?

Lipids are an important part of our skin chemistry, they are necessary for the skin to do its job of limiting water loss from the body. Lipids also work by blocking pain signals. It is my hypothesis that the explosion in people with “sensitive skin” has to do with the obsession (planted in our brains by the skin care industry) that our skin has to be ultra clean. We are forgetting that the primary function of the skin is to prevent water loss and the entrance of noxious substances and microorganisms into our body.

Squalane versus Squalene

You may remember from high school that hydrocarbons (made only of C and H atoms, no N or O here) have a special nomenclature. Names ending in “ane” are saturated: each carbon has its 4 bonds occupied. Names ending in “ene” mean that there is an unsaturated carbon there, with a double bond somewhere.

Squalene, with 6 double bonds, is a natural chemical present in many plants and animals, including humans.

Squalene is also a triterpene, a class of chemical compounds composed of three terpene units with the molecular formula C30H48. Animals, plants and fungi all create triterpenes, with the most important example being squalene as it forms the basis of almost all steroids.

Squalene sounds like a potentially good emollient for skin care but, because of its chemical structure, it is not stable enough. For this reason, natural squalene is first reduced to squalane before being added to creams and serums.

What do you have in common with a shark?

Squalene. There is no reason to source squalane or squalene from sharks. At an estimated annual global cosmetic use close to 2,000 tons, this would mean millions of shark livers would be required to satisfy global demand. Because this hydrocarbon is present in practically all plants and animals, it makes a lot more sense to extract it from plant oils. This is why our Squalane Oil is sourced from olives; it is just as good for the skin and much better for the environment.

Share the Love Campaign- Valentines Day 2017

For Valentine’s Day this year, we want you to share the Skin Active’s LOVE with one of your friends! Click on the link below to submit their name, address and email and we will send them a deluxe sample! (Domestic US addresses only**).



**For our international customers: When placing your next online order, please put “Share the Love” in your ‘Customer notes’ and we will add a deluxe sample to your order for you to gift your friend.**

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Stocking Stuffers:
Nail Care Duo
Brow and Lash Serum
Liquid Rainbow
Celestite Spritz
Soft Lip Balm


Anti-Aging Wish List:
Skin Actives Essentials Kit
Cream Trio Set
Serum Quartet


Acne Wish List:
Acne Control Set
Alpha Beta Exfoliator
Acne Control Mask


Dry Skin List:
Dream Cream Trio
Every Lipid Serum
Rosehip Seed Oil


Body Care Wish List:
Desert Salt Scrub
Hand and Body Lotion
Dream Cream


For Him:
Shaving Lotion
Coral Nutrient Serum
Salicylic Wash


DIY Wish List:
Formulation for Beginners Kit
Sea Kelp Coral
Canvas Base Cream


Actives Wish List:
Epidermal Growth Factor
Hydrolyzed Collagen
Tetrapeptide Solution (Matrixyl 3000)


Need help finding the perfect gift?
Email or call 480-813-5633

Elixir 10- Phytoestrogen Booster

Our Anti-Aging Cream contains soy isoflavones and resveratrol, but if you are a woman over 50 you may need even more help. Our Elixir10 booster is a mix of beneficial botanical extracts that can supply your skin (and scalp) with beneficial chemicals that will bind to the estrogen receptors left vacant by menopause.  

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 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 our Elixir10, we are using botanical extracts standardized for chemicals with estrogenic properties.  As a bonus, many of these chemicals have other beneficial properties, including antioxidant and anticancer activities, and protection from UV damage.  Please note that the beneficial properties enumerated below are on top of the estrogenic properties.

Ingredients: Soybean (Glycine max) Genistein, Flax (Linum usitatissimum) Lignans, Wild Yam Diosgenin, Soybean (Glycine max) Daidzein, Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) extract, Luteolin, Resveratrol, Apigenin, Phloretin, Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) Puerarin.

  • Kudzu Puerarin– Pueraria is a rejuvenating folk remedy in Thailand, a tradition passed on from generation to generation. The Thai name is White Kwao Krua or Kwao Keur. Besides puerarin, the 8-C-glucoside of daidzein, kudzu contains other phytoestrogens, like miroestrol, deoxymiroestrol, daidzin, genistein, and coumestrol.
  • Genistein and Daidzein- Stimulate the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. Genistein induces collagenation in soft tissue wound healing and inhibits tyrosine kinase.
  • Flax Lignans- A class of phytoestrogens with antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties, and their skin strengthening properties will help preven scarring and stretch marks.
  • Daidzein- Activates all three peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) isoforms, a group of nuclear receptor proteins that function as transcription factors regulating the expression of genes, cellular differentiation, development, and metabolism.
  • Luteolin – A flavonoid with great properties: protection against lipid peroxidation  and protease activation  by UV radiation, anti-age, anti-itch, anti-inflammatory. We will soon start selling this active individually.
  • Resveratrol (3,5,4′-trihydroxystilbene)- A polyphenolic antioxidant found in grapes and red wine, blocks UVB-mediated activation of the factor NFkappa-B, and this is the mechanism of protection against photocarcinogenesis.  Plant polyphenols like resveratrol  may benefit the skin with anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity through their interaction with growth factor receptors (and the cytoplasmic and nuclear pathways these receptors control) besides direct antioxidant activity.

Easily add Elixir 10 to your ready made or base creams. This video shows you more about formulating with this active.


-Dr. Hannah Sivak

FDA rules “not enough science” to show antibacterial soaps have a benefit. Soap and water “more effective”.

From the FDA’s Consumer Updates page:

“Because the manufacturers haven’t proven that the antibacterial ingredients are safe for daily use over a long period of time. Also, manufacturers haven’t shown that these ingredients are any more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illnesses and the spread of certain infections. Some manufacturers have already started removing these ingredients from their products, ahead of the FDA’s final rule.”

“Following simple handwashing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness at home, at school and elsewhere,” says Theresa M. Michele, MD, of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products. “We can’t advise this enough. It’s simple, and it works.”


So, what exactly is the FDA saying to consumers? Triclosan and 18 other ingredients have failed to show a true benefit in fighting germs and COULD HELP make bacteria resistant to antibiotics. These soap companies have one year to remove the 19 active ingredients from their formulas or they will no longer be available to consumers.

washing_hands-02Here are the top reasons to NOT use antibacterial products (including soaps) on the skin regularly:

1) It may promote the development of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics.

2) Killing some bacterial populations will push the microbiome off-equilibrium, allowing other bacteria to colonize the skin.

3) Some antibacterials (natural or synthetic) are also irritating and/or allergenic to the skin.



Skin bacteria:

It used to be that we only discussed bacteria when speaking about infections. In skin care, it was all about acne and how to kill Propionibacterium acnes. Now, you can see bacteria and the “microbiome” everywhere in magazines to advertise skin care products.

Human skin functions as a physical barricade to stop the entry of pathogens, but also hosts innumerable commensal organisms (commensal means living in a relationship in which one organism derives food or other benefits from another organism without hurting or helping it). The skin cells and the immune system constantly interact with microbes maintaining an equilibrium, despite a continuous change in the environment.

Bacteria are essential to the function of the human body, and many species live in us, and on us. We are familiar with the negative effect of taking oral antibiotics on our gastrointestinal track and the flora that resides there. The probiotic supplement market is booming and even major yogurt brands now carry probiotic formulas.

The type of bacteria depends on the part of the body and on the person, but there will be many in each part, living in peace with each other and with us. So many factors influence the composition of the microbiome, like diet, gender, the environment including ultraviolet radiation, family and other factors that will impact the species composition.

In the skin, many bacterial species will not grow well in culture, so a complete identification of bacteria requires the use of DNA technology. The dry skin surface is dominated by Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteriodetes, and Firmicutes. Moist areas are rich in Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium spp. A lower bacterial diversity is seen in oilier sites, suggesting that only few bacterial communities, like Propionibacterium, can flourish under those conditions; in acne the problem is the abnormal proliferation of this bacterium.

Scientists are getting to know more about the skin microbiome but it will be a lot of research and a long time before we know enough to effect a positive change.

Also, just in case you are not doing it already, stop using antibacterial soaps. Frequent use of some antibacterials will promote the development of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, promoting the proliferation of drug resistant infections, a scourge of medicine.


-Dr. Hannah Sivak