You must have heard that hemp in cosmetics has positive effects on the skin. It is an increasingly popular ingredient for the treatment of skin diseases and the care of sensitive skin. Which parts of hemp are at all allowed for use in cosmetic products, what is CBD and what are cannabinoids, what effects does hemp in cosmetic products have on the skin?

Cannabidiol or CBD

First, we explain the basic terms. Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that exhibits biological effects and acts against anxiety and nausea, and also has antitumour effects. Cannabidiol has no psychoactive effects. It has many positive effects on the skin, such as the ability to inhibit the formation of sebum and anti-inflammatory activity, as it inhibits immune responses to inflammation.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids were also proven to have anti-inflammatory and sebostatic (ability to inhibit the formation of sebum) properties. Cannabinoids are capable of inhibiting the maturation of keratinocytes, which is highly desirable in skin diseases, where the maturation of keratinocytes is abnormal, as in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Endocannobinoids have psychotropic effects. THC is the only cannabinoid that is psychoactive, and there are still about 60 (according to some data, even 113) cannabinoids that do not show such effects.

Hemp seeds

In Chinese medicine and nutrition, hemp seeds have been used for more than 3000 years. Seeds are rich in vitamins A, C and E, and β-carotene, proteins (all essential amino acids), carbohydrates, fibers and minerals. The oil is obtained from seeds by cold pressing or by solvent extraction.

The seed also contain terpenoids and cannabidiol, which exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. The oil does not contain THC, unless it is present as an impurity. Concentration of THC in the oil depends on the cultivation itself and on the cleaning process. According to European legislation, the concentration of THC in oil must be less than 0,2%.

Fun Fact # 1: According to some data, Budha only ate cannabis seeds for 6 years. Seeds have an extremely nutritional value, thanks to proteins and unsaturated fatty acids.

Extract from cannabis seed

In the study on men,there was a cream containing 3% extract from hemp seed tested. After application of the cream with this extract, the secretion of sebum was significantly reduced. In men who had erythema, the redness decreased significantly.

What is hemp oil?

Marketing term for cannabis oil is the term “hempseed oil” so that it can be separated from cannabis used as a drug. Hemp oil is not obtained from leaves, but from cannabis seeds. This, of course, leads to the conclusion that hemp oil will not exhibit relaxation effects, as the seeds do not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), except as mentioned above, as an impurity. THC is present only in cannabis leaves.

Fun Fact # 2: Cannabis with low THC value is estimated at $ 100-2000 million per year. What in the euro would mean about 90 – 1800 million euros. Crazy number, huh?

Composition of hemp oil

We have repeatedly mentioned the importance of oil composition. Hemp oil consists of all three of the most important fatty acids that act regenerative and / or antimicrobial. These fatty acids are very unstable because they contain double bonds that are highly reactive.

Linoleic acid – 57% (omega-6) is regenerative and anti-inflammatory

α-linolenic acid – 16% (omega-3) acts regeneratively

γ-linolenic acid – 3% (omega-6) acts anti-inflammatory

The ratio between linoleic and linolenic acid is 3: 1, which is the ideal ratio for dietary and cosmetic products. This oil can also serve as a natural source of antioxidants (vitamin E).

Atopic dermatitis and hemp?

Atopic skin has one disadvantage, namely, there is a defective action of δ-6-desaturase. It is responsible for the enzymatic conversion of linoleic acid into γ-linolenic. So, if desaturase does not work properly, we have an elevated level of linoleic acid, and the level of γ-linolenic acid is reduced. It is therefore desirable to use oils for the care of atopic skin, which also contain γ-linolenic acid, and thus add it itself because the skin itself does not produce it.

One of these oils is a hemp oil containing γ-linolenic acid. Due to the fatty acid composition, it helps to improve all skin diseases in which the skin barrier is weakened.

Studies also show the positive effects of cannabis on the skin

In Finland, a study was carried out in patients with atopic dermatitis, in which the test subjects orally used cold pressed hemp oil (30ml). They found that cold pressed hemp oil in an 8-week study, improved dryness of the skin and itching. The use of hemp oil reduced the use of topical medicines among test subjects. Olive oil was used as a control in which no such skin improvements were detected.

The endocannabinoid system in our skin

It is a biological system consisting of endocannabinoids. These are nonspecific lipid-binding carriers that bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed in the central nervous system (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of various physiological and other processes, including fertility, pregnancy, appetite, feeling of pain, mood and memory.

The effect on the endocannabinoid system would help to improve skin diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, skin fibrosis, skin cancer, and itching.

What about hemp in cosmetic products?

In cosmetic products, oil from cannabis and hemp seed is allowed. Any extracts, tinctures and oils from flowers or fruits are prohibited. On the basis of the Regulation on cosmetic products no. 1223/2009 leaves and trunks are also prohibited. They belong to Annex II on cosmetic products where substances are prohibited in cosmetic products. On the list “Narcotics, natural and synthetic” we find cannabis resin, extracts and cannabis tinctures, which are also prohibited.

Sources:

Río, C. del, Millán, E., García, V., Appendino, G., DeMesa, J., & Muñoz, E. The endocannabinoid system of the skin. A potential approach for the treatment of skin disorders. Biochemical Pharmacology 2018. 

Singh, D., Fisher, J., Shagalov, D., Varma, A., & Siegel, D. M. Dangerous plants in dermatology: Legal and controlled. Clinics in Dermatology 2018; 36(3): 399–419.

Dhadwal, G., & Kirchhof, M. G. The Risks and Benefits of Cannabis in the Dermatology Clinic. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2017; 22(2): 194–199.

Pacher P, Bátkai S, Kunos G. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006; 58(3): 389–462.

Montserrat-de la Paz, S., Marín-Aguilar, F., García-Giménez, M. D., & Fernández-Arche, M. A. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seed Oil: Analytical and Phytochemical Characterization of the Unsaponifiable Fraction. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2014; 62(5): 1105–1110.

This time in the Slovenian cosmetics category we’ll get to know Skinfairytale. It’s been released to the cosmetic market with a different purpose, which is: to relieve the skin condition in patients with dermatitis. To be clear Skinfairytale products are not only for those with skin diseases but also for those who are fighting with dry skin and various allergies.

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease that can be inherited or because we have a predisposition for it. It can be stimulated by several factors, among which are stress and various allergies. The most visible problem in atopic dermatitis is eczema, which is usually red and rough if we touch it. A slightly less visible, but very annoying problem in patients with dermatitis is itch.

Individuals with dermatitis usually have a damaged skin barrier, which means that the substances we get in contact with easily get into/out our skin. It sounds great, but if it’s easier for good things to pass, bad ones (allergens, irritant substances) also pass. As problematic substances pass easier, there is a greater chance that they will cause immune reactions in the skin. In case we get in contact with an allergen or an irritant the inflammatory cells are activated, causing inflammation.

My atopic dermatitis before and 3 days after using Skinfairytale AtopicBalm

Why is Skinfairytale so special?

Skinfairytale is a cosmetic line that was first formulated to treat atopic skin. The market is currently flooded with products that are supposed to be adapted to atopic skin, but checking on ingredients often reveals the content of potentially irritant substances that can only worsen the condition. Skinfairytale is another story.

Atopia is nowadays a growing problem, according to some studies it affects 20-25% of children. The frequency of this disease decreases by age. Usually disappears until 5 years of age.

We both got atopic dermatitis in adulthood, unfortunately. Probably because of stress. It’s not a severe form, but still very disturbing. During exam time outbreaks are more frequent and the attacks of itching are on a daily basis (especially before bedtime).

And now serious businesses. We’ll describe the products that we’ve tested and their most important ingredients that benefit the atopic skincare.

Atopic BALM

Calamine

Calamine is a combination of zinc oxide and 0.5 % iron oxide. It’s an ingredient that shows antiseptic and astringent properties. It’s proven to reduce pruritus and skin irritation. Calamine is the most effective while evaporating from the skin because it cools down. After only one application, it offers long-lasting effect, so it calms the skin down.

Mango butter

Mango butter is rich in linoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. In addition, it shows also antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It’s very easy for application and very soft for our skin.

Cannabis extract

It contains 3 most important fatty acids for the skin. These are α-linolenic and γ-linolenic acid and linoleic. They act anti-inflammatory and/or regenerative. In addition, it also contains arachidonic acid that reduces inflammation and helps to heal the wounds.

AtopicCREAM

Black cumin oil

Linoleic acid represents half of the fatty acid composition of the oil. The essential in this oil acts antimicrobial. This prevents the invasion of microorganisms through a weakened skin barrier and prevents inflammation. The oil can also be used for oily skin because it supports normal skin action and doesn’t leave grassy feeling.

Evening primrose oil

It’s a gold standard for anti-age skincare and it’s more and more recommended for the care of atopic dermatitis. It contains 74% linoleic acid and 10% γ-linolenic it contains also phytosterols that help restore the skin barrier. Because of the fatty acid composition, this oil works anti-inflammatory and regenerative.

Zinc sulfate

Local zinc and its salts are used as photoprotective agents, for calming down or as a substance in anti-dandruff shampoos. The use of zinc salts is now used also in many dermatological conditions, including infections (warts), inflammatory dermatoses (acne vulgaris, rosacea), pigmentation disorders (melasma) and neoplasia (baseline cancer). It has antimicrobial and astringent properties.

ProtectBALM

Katarina from Skinfairytale also made Protect Balm, which is not so much for atopic dermatitis, but for several different skin problems. As the name itself says it protects the skin. Especially if we have some dry areas (lips, elbows …) or some scratches, etc. It also protects the pregnant belly, before the stretch marks and cracks appear.

Jojoba oil

This oil is very similar to human sebum. Why is that important? Because our body recognizes oil as part of the skin and for that reason doesn’t cause allergies or unwanted interactions. It works anti-inflammatory and can be used for several skin conditions, from aging to healing wounds. It also helps other active ingredients to absorb quickly, precisely because the body recognizes the oil as its own.

Squalane

While squalene acts antioxidant the squalene derivative squalane shows moisturizing properties. It’s a very good emollient and is absorbed into the skin, which gives us a light feeling on the skin. It can also work as an occlusive and makes a layer on the skin, which also prevents evaporation of the water and keeps more water inside the skin. At the same time, it works as a physical barrier for substances from the outside, which can not enter the skin that easy.

Allantoin

First of all, allantoin acts as a moisturizer and it also helps wounds to heal faster and calms the skin down.

Choice of atopic care products

People with skin diseases must be careful when choosing cosmetic products. It is recommended not to use products that contain fragrances, dyes or many preservatives.

Atopic balm is pink, I’ve made a very strange grimace, because I thought Skinfairytale missed a very important rule – the products should not contain colorants. But because of the content of calamine, which is slightly pink, the balm is colored, but unintentionally and doesn’t harm, because the color is not artificially added.

A slightly different world, as we usually mention, right? We mostly struggle with wrinkles, pigment stains, and greasy/dry skin. Atopia is a completely different problem and we almost don’t talk about it. Many don’t take it seriously. The disease is curable and with the right choice of the products, we can improve the stage of the disease.

What is our experience with Skinfairytale products?

First of all, we were a little in doubt about how these creams can help us when sometimes even corticosteroids (systemic medicaments for atopia) can’t help us. At the first attack of the itch, we have put some Atopicbalm and the pruritus disappeared. We couldn’t believe it because for us it was already completely normal to scratch almost until the bleeding before going to bed. We don’t have this problem anymore. After the first application, we thought that it was just a coincidence, but at the next application we found that this is always like that, itching disappears, end of the story.

Protect the balm is very useful for some of the slightest abrasions. From an exercise, I was doing on concrete I had irritated the skin on my palms and knees. The skin was reddish and burning sensation. After using Atopic balm there was only a bruise, but the flush and burning sensation were gone.

In fact, there is something about this name Skinfairytale. We are very critical, but seeing this, we can only say: Well done! You certainly have made our lives easier while battling with atopic dermatitis.

You can take a look at all Skinfairytale products here.

Alcohols are on a bad voice, just like silicones and parabens. When we see an ingredient with an alcohol ending on the product, we automatically categorize it as bad. But can all products containing any kind of alcohol be declared as bad or are we just being too general?

What are alcohols and what is their function?

Alcohols are compounds having an -OH (hydroxyl) group attached to a carbon atom in the alkyl group. The group may be attached to a primary, secondary or tertiary C atom, so we separate primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols.

Primary alcohols include methanol, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and others. Secondary alcohols include 1-propanol and 2-propanol and others. There are also alcohols with two, three or more -OH groups, which we call diols, triols, etc. Among the most famous poliols are glycerol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, erythriol, and others.

Alcohols have several functions in cosmetic products. They are mostly used as solvents or co-solvents, and in high concentrations they posess antimicrobial properties, and therefore products do not need a preservative.

“No alcohol” doesn’t mean no alcohol

For many years cosmetic manufacturers have marketed certain cosmetic products that do not contain ethyl alcohol (also known as ethanol, or grain alcohol) as “alcohol free”. However, “alcohols” are a large and diverse family of chemicals, with different names and a variety of effects on the skin. This can lead to some confusion among consumers when they check the ingredient listings on cosmetic labels to determine alcohol content.

In cosmetic labeling, the term “alcohol,” used by itself, refers to ethyl alcohol. Cosmetic products, including those labeled “alcohol free,” may contain other alcohols, such as cetyl, stearyl, cetearyl, or lanolin alcohol. These are known as fatty alcohols, and their effects on the skin are quite different from those of ethyl alcohol.

Should any alcohol be avoided?

When we think about “bad” alcohols, alcohol denat, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and SD Alcohol (which means “specifically denatured alcohol”) are the first we think of. These alcohols are commonly used as solvents for cosmetically active ingredients that are insoluble in water. The use of these compounds in cosmetics leaves a cool feeling on the skin, as the alcohol evaporates faster than water, while giving the products a “light-weight” texture. They also help with the penetration of cosmetically active compounds into the skin. Everything okay until now, right? But these alcohols are reputable to irritate the skin and dry it.

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol

Ethanol is widely used in all types of products to which our skin is directly exposed. Scientific literature contains contradictory evidence of the safety of such topical alcohol applications.

Ethanol is known to improve the penetration of other substances and can be used in transdermal delivery systems. In his study, Bommannan found that ethanol enters the skin in vivo and removes measurable amounts of lipids from the surface of the skin. Removing the lipid layer can reduce the function of the skin barrier, which makes the skin more permeable. Because the skin is more permeable, a larger transepidermal loss of water and less hydration of the epidermis results in further skin dryness. Longer use can cause dry, leaking skin due to a reduced amount of lipids and moisture and also causes local inflammation.

Alcohol denat

Alcohol denat is an abbreviation for denatured alcohol, which is used in cosmetics and personal care products. Denatured alcohol is a denaturant containing ethanol. The usual denaturants in cosmetic products and personal care products are: denatonium benzoate, t-butyl alcohol, diethyl phthalate and methyl alcohol. The method of denaturing alcohol does not chemically change the ethanol molecule.

Denatured alcohol is generally noted as alcohol Denat or SD (especially denatured) alcohol.

It acts as anti-foaming agent, adstringent, antimicrobial agent and solvent. One of the main reasons for the use of denatured alcohol is its adstringent action. Adstringent is a substance that reduces the permeability of the mucous membrane or skin and capillaries, thereby reducing the inflammatory response and sensitivity to external influences. Adstringent interacts with certain functional groups, in particular sulfhydryl, on the surface of the proteins, and thus causes their precipitation. Adstringents cool the skin and cause temporary toning effect.

Use of denatured alcohol

Denatured alcohol is commonly used in acne treatment. The product containing denatured alcohol dries faster, which gives it a cooling effect and immediately degreases the skin. However alcohol-based products can actually encourage sebaceous glands to produce more oils, which causes the skin to become even oilier than before. Excessive sebum production combined with irritation that may be caused by denatured alcohol can lead to increased acne production.

In case of long-term use of skin care products containing high concentrations of denatured alcohol, dryness and irritation may occur. Denatured alcohol can also cause erosion of the surface layer of the skin, leading to a weakened skin barrier.

Denatured alcohol is common in post-shave products, where the skin needs an adstringent effect. Often it is also found in sunscreens because it is a good solvent for UV filters in plays a role in their distribution over the skin.

Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol or 2-propanol is a flammable liquid that is obtained from propylene. It is a solvent that acts as a anti-foaming agent, an adstrigent and a viscosity reduction agent.

A spray with an isopropyl alcohol concentration of 80.74% did not show any possibility of dermal sensitization in 9 human participants. In one of the studies, it has been shown that isopropyl alcohol strongly irritates the eyes of rabbits, at a concentration of 70% of the solution in water.

Isopropyl alcohol, which some consumers consider that dries skin, is rarely used in cosmetics.

Let’s not throw everyone in the same basket, not all alcohols are bad!

So, many products on the market are labeled ” free of alcohol ” and then a look at the INCI list reveals compounds that end with the name alcohol. Is this a trap? Should we throw a bad light on such products? No. Not all alcohols are bad. Many cosmetic alcohols, such as cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol and lanolinic alcohol, are also used in cosmetics.

These are long-chain aliphatic alcohols (usually between 12 and 18 carbon atoms), which are often used in lotions and creams. They serve as emollients, plasticisers, emulsion stabilizers, foam stabilizers and viscosity control agents.

Cetyl alcohol is used primarily as a softener to prevent drying and cracking of the skin due to its water binding ability.

What do you think about alcohols in cosmetics?

Sources: Lachenmeier DW. Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside the oral cavity. J Occup Med Toxicol., Final Report of the Safety Assessment of Alcohol Denat.,
Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Cetearyl Alcohol , Cetyl Alcohol , lsostearyl Alcohol , Myristyl Alcohol , and Behenyl Alcohol, FDA

The didn’t discover the effects of hydroxy acids yesterday. According to some testimonies, Chleopatra bathed in milk, as they already knew about the effects of lactic acid against aging.

How do we categorize the hydroxy acids?

Category Example Occurence/source Antioxidant
Alpha-hydroxyacid (AHA) Glycolic sugar cane NO
  Lactic sour milk, tomatoes NO
  Citric lemon, orange YES
  Malic apple YES
  Tartaric grape YES
Beta-hydroxyacid (BHA) Beta-hydroxybutanoic urine NO
  Tropic plant NO
Polihydroxy acid (PHA) Gluconic Commercially derived from corn YES
  Gluconolactone Commercially derived from corn YES
Aldobionic acid Lactobionic Lactose from milk YES
  Maltobionic Maltose from strach YES
Aromatic hydroxy acid (AMA) Salicylic acid Ester form in winter green leaves NO


Alpha-hydroxy acids

AHA’s are one of the most studied hydroxy acids on the market and in the 1990s were considered miraculous compounds. Nowadays, for use in cosmetics they are synthesized. Mostly used in cosmetics are glycolic and lactic acid. α-hydroxy acid is a common name of a low molecular weight organic acid which, in addition to -COOH, is an OH group at the α site.

α-hydroxy acids can be divided into:

Mono-carboxylic: glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid

Di-carboxylic: malic and tartaric acid

Tri-carboxylic: citric acid

For free sale, AHA can be purchased at concentrations up to 10% in case they are not rinsed. At this concentration, they exhibit keratolytic effects, stimulation of epidermis renewal, stimulation of collagen synthesis, and increased skin moisture. For professional use, AHA can be used at higher concentrations (30%) – at such a high concentration of these compounds exhibit epidermolysis. Epidermolysis is a chemical peel for the removal of acne scars and pigmentation abnormalities.

Beta-hydroxy acids

BHA is a common name for low molecular weight organic acids having an -OH group at the β site relative to the -COOH group. Some beta-hydroxy acids are present in the tissues as an intermediate product of cellular metabolism and as an energy source (β-hydroxybutanoic acid). The market share of BHA in skin care is limited, as these acids are poorly commercially accessible and expensive.

Salicylic acid is not a beta-hydroxy acid

Yes, almost everyone classifies salicylic acid as BHA. Salicylic acid is a derivative of benzoic acid, which belongs to hydroxy acids in a broader sense, but exhibits different effects than other hydroxy acids. Salicylic acid is, in principle, a classic keratolytic, which causes peeling of the corneocytes – a layer and layer from the surface to the interior of the stratum corneum. AHA and BHA, in contrast, have an effect on the inner (lower) parts of the skin. Salicylic acid reduces the thickness of dermis, while other hydroxy acids stimulate the synthesis of dermis components and increase its thickness.

In cosmetics it can be used in concentrations up to 2%.

We also know the lipophilic salicylic acid derivative, named β-lipohydroxy acid, which penetrates the skin more slowly and works exfoliatively at low concentrations. It works antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticomedogenic.

Salicylic acid and its lipophilic derivative substantially penetrate the skin better than glycolic acid. In the table below we presented the absorption of individual acids in the skin.

% of used product4% glycolic acid, 24 hours1% salicylic acid, 16 hours
Stratum corneum2,75
Other layers of epidermis13,546

Poli-hydroxy acids

Polyhydroxy acids are organic carboxylic acids having in the molecule two or more -OH groups. Some are intermediates of carbohydrate metabolism in tissues. Among PHA we count gluconic acid and gluconolactone.

Poli-hydroxy bionic acids

These acids are composed of a sugar (monosaccharide) unit that is linked to polyhydric acid. They have a higher molecular weight than other hydroxy acids (about 360 Da), but they still pass into the skin. Representatives are:

Lactobionic acid = galactose + gluconic acid

Maltobionic acid = glucose + gluconic acid

Characteristics of hydroxy acids

The ability to bind water

Polyhydroxy and bionic acids are very hygroscopic compared to AHA and BHA, which means they can attach a large amount of water to themselves. PHA and bionic acids are gentle and non-irritating cosmetically active ingredients that are also suitable for sensitive skin care.

Antioxidant properties

Most PHA and bionic acids exhibit antioxidant activity, and some exceptions can be found in AHA – especially those with at least two -COOH groups. Gluconolactone, lactobionic and maltobionic acid inhibit the oxidative degradation of hydroquinone and banana peels.

On the in vitro photoageing model, gluconolactone (PHA) offers up to 50% protection against UV damage (demonstrates the ability to chelate metal ions).

Lactobionic acid is used as an antioxidant in the solution for the storage of organs for trasplantation because it inhibits tissue damage under the influence of hydroxyl radicals (Fe 2+ cell).

Does daily use of AHA and PHA increase skin sensitivity for damage under the influence of UVB radiation?

The use of AHA and BHA acids increases the sensitivity of the skin to damage under the influence of UV radiation. It is necessary to use SPF with acids. Polyhydroxy acids should not increase sensitivity to the sun as they exhibit an antioxidant effect. But, better than sorry, use sunscreen.

Do hydroxy acids exhibit anti-aging effect?

Metalloproteases are enzymes that destroy the extracellular matrix. With aging and under the influence of UV light, the activity of metalloproteases is increasing and the inhibitors are declining. Lactobionic acid is an inhibitor of metalloproteinases in the skin and helps protect against UV damage.

AHA, PHA and bionic acids make surface skin peeling and accelerate the regeneration of the skin. At appropriate concentrations, the condition of photoaged skin is normalized by increasing the thickness of the epidermis and dermis, improving the barrier properties of the skin, increasing the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and other glycosaminoglycans, increasing the overall thickness of the skin.

The daily application of AHA to the skin of the forearms caused an increase in the thickness of the dermis (without further application this effect lasted for several months).

Cosmeceutical use of hydroxy acids

Hydroxy acids exhibit beneficial effects on dry skin, in wrinkles and photoaged skin, in keratoses and in the depigmentation effect, in acne skin care (removing the “plug” from the pores – salicylic acid, azelainic acid).

Glycolic acid when using high concentrations 1 x per week under the supervision of an expert demonstrates a comedolytic effect and helps eliminate pimples.

2% lipohydroxy acid exhibits a potentially comedolytic effect on the skin prone to acne. Lipophilic hydroxy acid penetrates well in s.c. (especially in the production of sebum rich in sebum).

The efficacy and safety of hydroxy acids

The effectiveness of hydroxy acids depends on the concentration, product pH, type of acid, vehicle, time of application and skin type. For optimum effect, the pH of the preparation should be between 3.0 and 3.5 (with increasing pH, the acidity of the acid decreases, but the irritation is reduced). Possible side effects: irritation, burning sensation on the skin, redness of the skin, burns, blisters, rash, itching, bleeding and discoloration of the skin.

Safe preparations with AHA at concentrations up to 10% must have a pH greater than 3.5. Professionals can use them in concentrations above 30%.

This time in Slovenian cosmetics we will talk about a brand that makes very nice smelling organic kinds of butter for skin care. Butters is a Slovenian company specializing in the manufacturing of all kinds of butter by a cold process.

What are vegetable butters?

Vegetable kinds of butter are mainly a mixture of different triglycerides, which represent more than 98-99%, and other components (1-2%) like phytosterols, phospholipids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, carotenoids, vitamin E. The composition is influenced by the botanical species and the subtype of the plant, climate, location, season, day, plant part and plant treatment on the ground and after transportation from the field and proper storage.

Vegetable butter consists mainly of fatty acids with 16 to 18 C atoms: palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid. Butters consist of mostly saturated fatty acids. These have a higher melting point than unsaturated fatty acids, that’s why butters are solid at room temperature.

How Butters company produces their butters?

Kinezika company have developed a special process to manufacture kinds of butter by themselves. Two of the most common methods of obtaining oils and kinds of butter, a warm (standard) and cold process are known.

Usually, all kinds of butter are heated in order to pass from a solid aggregate state into a liquid, adding some other substances. But in this company butters are manufactured by a special cold process. By mixing kinds of butter are converted into a creamy texture. The creamy texture makes it easier to apply the product. A good side of the cold process is that they retain all butter’s special properties, which would be lost for sure by heating to high temperatures.

We tested all four kinds of butter that Butters released recently. Three of them: Toffee Butter, CBD Butter and Amaretto-banana Butter are based on shea butter. And one special butter – Pineapple Butter, which is based on the cupuacu butter.

We’re for something tropical, right?

Tropical Pineapple Butter is basically a cupuacu butter with coconut oil and pineapple aroma. The product just like a mousse, it’s soft and easily absorbed into the skin, without leaving a greasy feeling.

Cupuacu butter or Theobroma grandiflorum seed butter is an alternative to the problematic lanolin (wool sheep wax that causes many allergic reactions). Cupuacu butter is capable of retaining moisture, but at the same time, it penetrates very quickly through the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and it’s suitable for vegans.

Interesting fact: Cupuacu butter is able to bind 440% of water. So, 1 kg cupuacu butter absorbs 4,4 kg of water.

Source: Fleck, C. A., & Newman, M. (2012). Advanced Skin Care – A Novel Ingredient. Journal of
the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists, 4(4), 92–94.

Effects of cupuacu butter

It’s an emollient that helps to increase the elasticity of the skin. In addition to emollient action, it also exhibits antioxidant and moisturizing effects. In fact, they call it “super humectant”. It makes the skin softer, more elastic and flexible.

As we have said many times, to oils and butters we can’t attribute SPF values, but many studies prove that they absorb harmful UVA and UVB rays. This is especially important in case of photo-aging because the skin is unintentionally protected from the sun. It calms our skin, which is why it’s also suitable for taking care of sunburned skin.

Cupuacu is suitable for the care of dry and oily skin.

How is this even possible?

1. Dry skin – contains phytosterols and sterols that are regenerative and have a beneficial effect on dry skin

2. Oily skin – this butter has the ability to moisturize, which is a MUST for every type of skin

Some use cupuacu butter to treat eczema and psoriasis. The fatty acid composition of this butter is special, it contains up to 35% oleic acid, up to 25% of lauric and stearic, up to 6.5% linoleic and fatty acid, which made it so special – called arachidonic acid (up to 4.5 %). Arachidonic acid is omega-6 acid, which is necessary for the functioning of cells in our body (nerve and immune cells, joint cells). It indirectly helps to reduce inflammation and wound healing.

Butters based on Shea Butter

Shea Butter is already well known.

The fatty acid composition of shea butter is quite different from cupuacu, containing up to 49% oleic acid, up to 38% stearic acid and up to 5% linoleic acid. The specificity of this butter is the high content of terpenoids (30,000 mg/kg) that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also contains phenols that have antioxidant properties.

Due to the content of terpenes (in butter) in laboratories have been demonstrated anti-inflammatory and preventive antitumor activity. Antitumor action of the butter is not very accurate, but good prevention can’t hurt anyone. Because it’s regenerative it’s also very popular for the care of atopic skin it helps to establish a broken skin barrier. Unrefined butter has a strong smell (like goat’s milk) but that’s exactly that kind of butter has the best quality.

Interesting facts about Shea butter

Interesting fact # 1: Shea butter helps to prevent mosquito bites. According to a study, the probability of a mosquito bite was reduced by about 40% after applying Shea Butter. Especially in the summer, this would be a very good solution, right? We can probably just add a drop of essential oils of lemongrass or lavender and the unpleasant itching will be gone for quite some time!

Interesting fact # 2: Shea butter is apparently more effective in unclogging the nose when we catch a cold than conventional nose droplets.

All Butters products with shea are soft and spreads very well. After application to the skin, they are absorbed quickly and don’t leave a greasy feeling.

Which are the new Butters products based on shea?

CBD Butter – behind the name shea butter with hemp is hiding. Cannabis in cosmetics is becoming more and more popular because it actually has a positive effect on the skin. It very efficient in improving the condition of skin diseases.

Amaretto-banana Butter is butter that smells like ice cream. It has a sweet, but fresh smell. Very appropriate for cuddling.

Toffee Butter is shea butter with a caramel flavor. The smell of butter gives you the feeling that you are having a bath of caramel, but unlike the real caramel, you aren’t sticky and the feeling on the skin is pleasantly soft.

Which body butter do you like the most? Check out Butters.si for a good smelling body product!

Have you ever showered with a shower gel that gives such silky feeling that you don’t want to ever leave? Well, silicones are responsible for this feeling. Also silicones can be found in most primers. They are ˝guilty˝ for the smooth effect and we can’t blame them. #sorrynotsorry

What are silicones ?

Silicones are synthetic organic polymers of silicon. They can form silicones, silicates, silanes, or siloxanes. These can connect to larger molecules, which are normally flexible.

  Chemical structure State of matter
1. Silicone oils (dimethicones, cyclomethicone…) Liquids
2. Silicone waxes (alyildimethicones) Resins
3. Silicone emulsifiers (silicone polyether) Elastomers (dimethicones)

Approximately 85% of all silicones in cosmetic products are classified as silicone oils. That’s why we’ll give them a little more attention.

Silicone oils

Dimethicones

Dimethicones are waterproof ingredients, that distribute well over surfaces and are inert (they don’t react with other compounds). In one of the studies, more than 60 different dimethicones were observed to see which one is most common in cosmetic products. The most commonly found are dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crospolymer (in 457 cosmetic products) and dimethicone crospolymer, which was present in 442 products.

Cyclomethycones

Cyclomethycones are volatile compounds, but they don’t leave a cold feeling while evaporating as ethanol does. They are odorless and non-toxic. Usually they are used as solvents or carrier systems for other silicones. With their incorporation into lipsticks, we can prolong their persistence.

Silicone waxes

Alkyldimethicones

Alkyldimethicones improve the compatibility of ingredients with oils and increase the stability of cosmetic products containing silicones. They work as moisturizers as well. They are used in many cosmetic products such as lipsticks, creams and lotions. They are very welcomed in suncreens since they are able to increase their effectivness.

When can we use silicones?

Silicones are safe and compatible (aren’t complicated and can get used to the new environment quickly). They are excellent ointments and lubricants, antifoams, emulsifiers, emollients and surfactants. Almost everything, right? But recently they are not that ˝in˝ anymore, since almost every package has a ˝without silicones˝ inscription.

Where can we use them?

Silicones are very common in decorative cosmetics and in skin care products. They are also found in products for children and products for sensitive skin, because they don’t irritate the skin. They are also suitable for application to deeper skin layers. Their origin isn’t animal so they are also suitable for vegans.

1. Hair: accelerated drying, increased shine, easier combing, regeneration

2. Give a good sensory feeling on the skin

3. Moisturizing (formation of a film that can beathe)

4. Skin protection (waterproof)

5. Cleaning ability (silicone powder – the ability to absorb lipophilic substances, including sebum)

6. Increase the effectiveness of active ingredients

7. Matting effect (for oily skin products, since silicones aren’t comedogenic)

8. Adhesion of pigments (used in primers under our make-up)

What are their advantages?

Silicones can get very well distributed and well smeared. They are surface-active (surfactants) substances that are colorless, tastless and odorless. Absence of color, taste and smell is very important in the formulation of cosmetics. They are inactive, temperaturely and chemically stable (they don’t interact with other substances).

Studies show that silicones are very safe for the consumer. They belong to the “Clean Beauty” substances. Clean Beauty is a platform where you can find safe products, they can be made of natural or synthetic materials. The point is, they are safe for the user.

Myths about silicones

“Silicones are toxic to nature because they rinse into rivers and seas.”

Health Canada has concluded that cyclomethicone (a type of silicone) has a low or no probability of environmental pollution and there is no necesity for any restrictions about the use of this substance. Very volatile silicones quickly evaporate and degrade in the air under the influence of the sun. Smaller quantities that remain in solid or liquid state are hydrolysed.

“We inhale silicones inhale and can be loaded in the lungs.”

Approximately 95-99% of the particles in sprays are bigger than 10 μm. According to the study, the particles inhabited by mistake are located and remain in the nasal cavity. They don’t go anywhere, regardless of the amount of silicones we inhale. So the chances of inhaling silicones, which can get and stay in the lungs is equal to almost 0.

“Silicones can clogg the pores.”

Silicones as substances aren’t occlusive (we still know what that means, right?), So they can’t clog the pores. They help to protect our epidermis and are also allowing our barrier to “breathe”. There are no reports proving that silicones irritate our skin, they actually do all the contrary, the feeling they leave is very ligh and soft.

However, due to the whole chaos, they are looking for alternative forms. Substances that are recently replacing silicones are olive oil derivatives, argan oil derivatives, coconut derivatives, alternatives to silicone elastomers, wheat sprouts.

In one study, however, it was confirmed that silicones pass the skin barrier and are loaded into epidermis. It’s expected to have negative effects on the epidermis, which we can see as a reduction of it. However, the whole study is imprecise, as they didn’t specify which parameters they took into consideration, so it’s difficult to be sure about the relevancy of this study.

Conclusion

If you are still afraid that the use of cosmetic products with silicone will clogg the pores, don’t worry, it won’t. Whether silicone compounds cross the skin barrier or not we know that such large compounds don’t cross neither healthy or damaged skin. Silicones have many advantages, even though they aren’t natural.

We already opened the shorts season, when travelling in Sicily and Morroco. And by this we opened the season of hairless legs. Hairs have their purpose to protect us from mechanical and thermal effects of the environment. But nowadays because of the impacts of the society and aesthetical reasons we remove the hair with several different depilation and epilation techniques.

Let’s get to know our hairs!

On our body there are two types of hair: fluffy and terminal. Terminal hairs are longer (more than 1mm), thicker, more pigmented, usually there is one hair for pilosebaceous unit and have longer life cycle. Fluffy hairs are shorter, thinner, there are more hairs growing in a pilosebaceous unit, are non pigmented and have a shorter life cycle.

Phases of hair growth

Hairs go through 3 different phases. First is anagen phase or phase of growth, that lasts approximately 6-8 years and depends on gender, age and health. Second is catagen phase or phase of transition – in this phase the growth in hair bulb starts shutting down and slowly stops. Last is the telogen phase is which the hair dies off, the hair bulb moves towards the surface and the hair falls out. When the last phase elapses, new cycle begins.

Photography: Neja Stojnič

Methods of hair removal

We know depilation and epilation techniques. And many people use this two terms wrong. With the term depilation we always think off removing hair with the wax, but this is wrong.

Depilation methods remove hairs without the effect on a hair bulb, the effect of depilation lasts around two weeks. Under the term depilation we count shaving and chemical depilation.

Epilation methods remove hair, including the bulb, the effect lasts around 6-8 weeks. Under term epilation we count waxing, pulling, laser methods and electrolysis.

Physical methods shaving, waxing, pulling hairs with tweezers, use of abrasives
Chemical methods chemical and enzymatic depilation

Shaving

We will not discuss this for long, like the effect of the shaving doesn’t last long (maybe 3 days). Shaving is the most popular method, because it’s fast, simple, cheap and the least painful. Hairs are removed only from the skin surface.

Shaving accelerates hair growth and makes them thicker.

Photography: Neja Stojnić

Waxing

Waxing counts as a epilation method. The effect last around 6-8 weeks.Waxing does not accelerate hair growth. For this methods hairs need to be at least 3mm long. It is unsuitable for diabetics and patients with vascular diseases. It can also cause some side effects like folliculitis, hyperpigmentation and scars.

Ingredients in waxing cosmetic products are usually: resin, bees wax, paraffinum, camphor, local anesthetics and ingredients with antibacterial effect.

Hot waxing is the process, where we heat up the wax and then apply it on the skin so it surrounds the hairs so they become a part of the wax. We remove the wax in the opposite direction of the hair growth. In cold waxing there is no need to heat up the wax.

Chemical methods of hair removal

Hair removing runs with chemical compounds and enzymes. The procedure happens without pain and it’s effects are visible for 2 weeks. Chemical compound penetrates in the hair cortex, where the reduction of disulphide bond in keratin happens. Simply, this means that the bonds that hold the hair together splits and this causes the hair to fall out. Hairs are removed on the skin surface or little underneath.

Active ingredients for hair removal
Active ingredientPropertiesSide effects
Sulfide (barium sulfide)– most effective
– strong unpleasant smell
Toxic for the skin, hair grows back into the skin
Sulfite– less irritation and absence of the strong smell
– ineffective
/
Mercaptans– methyl, butyl, benzyl-mercaptane have very strong smell
– less smell from polar mercaptans (tiolactic acid, tioglycolic acid) – slower but safer
Skin irritation, inflammation, chemical burns, scars
Photography: Neja Stojnić

Cosmetic products for depilation based on thioglycolates

First ever patented depilatory creams were based on thioglycolates and until today they still present a standard for chemical depilation. Most commonly used it calcium thioglycolate in combination with calcium hydroxide. A reversible reaction happens between hair keratin and alkaline thioglycolate. Depilation effect happens after 5-15min, pH rises above 10. These compounds are safe in concentrations up to 15%, show low systemic toxicity and are stable (in concentrations between 2,5-5%).

Side effects may be: skin irritation, inflammation, chemical burns and scars.

Laser hair removal

Discovery that lasers unspecifically destroy hair follicles was made more than 60 years ago. Laser enables selective photothermolysis – hair removal without damaging the surrounding tissue.

How does a laser work?

Exact certain wavelength of light and the duration of laser pulse leads to thermal damage of target tissue, that contains a chromophore. Melanin in hair follicle absorbs the laser light. Laser energy in the form of a light transforms into heat, that causes selective destruction of a hair follicle.

With this procedure the final destruction can be done to the hairs, that are in the moment of procedure in growth phase (5-15% of all body hairs), that’s why this procedure needs to be repeated (5-8 repetitions).

Nd:YAG laser

This laser can have a continuous source of light or pulse with wavelength of 1064nm. Melanin badly absorbs light with wavelength as high as this, that’s why this laser is ineffectual for permanent hair removal. Fast warming causes photomechanical damage to melanocytes in a hair bulb, wherein there is no damage done to the hair follicle. This is the safest and most efficient laser for dark skin (type IV). It only causes the delay of hair growth not the permanent removal.

Effectiveness of laser hair removal

One treatment only delays the hair growth for a short period of time. Before the treatment hairs need to be removed with shaving. While doing the treatments with the laser you should avoid exposure to the sun. Laser is the most effective on light skin with dark hairs, and not so effective with light or blonde hairs.

Fotografija: Neja Stojnić

IPL technology

IPL regulates the spectre of light with wavelength from 550nm to 1200nm with filters and so adjusts considering the skin phototype and hair color. More treatments lead to permanent hair removal. At IPL technology the light effects all the skin surface, not only hair follicles like the laser does. Because of this fact the risk of skin damage is higher with IPL. Effectiveness of IPL compared to laser is lower, because the energy is more scattered and is not concentrated just on the hair.

Nanoparticles are one of the latest threats to humankind. Almost. Certainly not in cosmetics. Nanoparticles don’t exist from yesterday, they have been here for quite some time. Only science, that studies them – nanotechnology is relatively new.

What are nanoparticles?

Nanoparticles are small units of material, that is smaller than 100nm. We know that nanometer is 10⁻⁹ right? Nanoparticles can come from a different origin: natural (desert dust), unintentionally produced (burning out biomass and fossil fuel), engineer (sunscreens and other cosmetics, textile).

Photography: Neja Stojnić

Why do we even use nanoparticles?

Nanoparticles exhibit new properties and functions of already known materials. This properties are very different than the properties from the same ingredients, but bigger order of size. Not only in cosmetics, but also in food technology and medicine they show a lot of advantages.

  • they stabilize and protect ingredients and extend the time of usage (fatty acids in oil, vitamins and antioxidants)
  • they affect  solubility and speed of solution of the ingredients
  • better activity on the skin
  • higher effectiveness and tolerance of UV filters
  • delivering cosmetic active ingredients in deeper layers of the skin

But everyone says, that nanoparticles are bad,..

Every good invention has a bad side, right? Nanoparticles can be toxic. Toxicity can be a consequence of damaging effects of decomposed products from nanoparticles. Physical properties of nano sized particles (big surface, charge), regardless the chemism of the products that compose nanoparticles, can be a reason for toxicity as well. Nanoparticles show unique physical-chemical properties because of their size. They can be more chemically reactive and can express higher biological activity.

Photography: Neja Stojnić
The connection between nanoparticles and unwanted effects

In the last few years the exposure to nanoparticles has risen because of development of different techonologies. Scientists have figured out, that this leads to a lot of unwanted effects on your health system. Connection was made between nanoparticles in the environment and unwanted effects of respiratory tract and cardiovascular system.

Special physical-chemical properties of nanomaterials lead to forming reactive oxygen species in cells. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) cause oxidative stress. Cells react to this kind of stress with inflammation. Research on rodents had shown that empty nanoparticles have a much higher inflammation effect on the unit of mass than bigger particles with the same chemism.

Inhalation of nanoparticles leads to loading in the lungs, they can also enter the bloodstream and brains. That’s why their use is forbidden in aerosols.

Now before you panic, close your computer and throw all of your sunscreens with nanoparticles away

Nanoparticles don’t work like that when applied to the skin. Our epidermis provides effective protection from effects of the environment. They can pass through the cells, hair follicles or sweat glands. But they don’t pass healthy skin. Damaged skin is another story, in this case the particles can pass the skin, but under what conditions remains unknown.

Why are mineral UV filters in sunscreens in nano size?

Mineral filters in their normal size (200-400nm for zinc oxide and 150-300nm for titanium dioxide) disperse really badly and because of that the application is difficult. They reflect and scatter the light and that causes an unwanted white layer on the skin surface. With the help of nanotechnology we are able to reduce the size of the parcticles under 100nm. With doing that we achieve easier application and transparency.

Photography: Neja Stojnić

Do nanoparticles cross the skin – main subject of scientists

There are a lot of arguments between scientists whether nano sized particles pass the skin barrier and what are the effects of penetrating into the deeper layers. Some studies prove them passing the skin and their toxic effects on the cells, while others disprove this theory.

There are many differences depending on the sort of the vehicle in which we include nanoparticles. Researches had shown that nanoparticles in mineral oil did not pass the skin, while the ones included in O/W emulsion (oil in water – usual for all the creams) did penetrate. Penetration was much higher in the area with a lot of hairs, which shows the penetration through the pores and hair glands.

The smaller the particles, the bigger the chance that they will penetrate the skin. There is a big difference between a particle that is 2nm big and particle that is 50nm big. As we mentioned before, the smaller the particles, the bigger the chance that their properties will change.

Does a regulative on cosmetic field protect us?

We’ll be honest, not really. Cosmetic producers are not obligated to tell what size of  nanoparticles are included in their products. They are obligated to write ‘’NANO’’ next to the filter that is in nano size, but whether this means particles 2nm or 100nm large no one knows, except them.

They represent a big progress in cosmetic industry

Usage of nanometer delivery vehicles is the future. Until now all the cosmetic products contained highly effective ingredients, that manufacturers bragged about. But whether this ingredient will achieve the wanted target in the skin was another thing. Only molecules smaller than 500Da can penetrate in the skin. And if we include a peptide with a molecular mass of 4000Da in our products, it will most certainly not penetrate in the skin. Nano delivery vehicles enable reducing these big molecules into smaller ones, so they can be included to the systems that will reach the target area. This delivery systems are liposomes, dendrimers, solid lipid nanoparticles,..

What is your opinion on nanoparticles in cosmetics?

Surely there was a time when you wanted a beautiful bronze skin without having to roast under the sun. Self-tanning products are a good solution. That may be because of today’s world where tanned skin represents an ideal. But is that really a healthy ideal?

Nowadays, the majority of people are already aware that UV rays are responsible for aging and increased chances for skin cancer. In some countries the sun doesn’t shine as often as for example in Barcelona. That’s why the needs of the consumers have shifted from sun creams to tanning lotions.

What determines our skin colour?

In our skin, there are 2 different types of melanin pigment: eumelanin (brown pigment) and pheomelanin (orange pigment), which are responsible for the colour of our skin.

What even are self-tanning products?

Self-tanning products are products that help us achieve beautiful bronze skin without sunbathing. Such products do NOT contain protection against UV rays. Keep in mind that products that provide UV protection need to be applied additionally.

In laboratory in college we made a self-tanning product (photo is posted with approval of the author)

Which active ingredients help us to achieve apparent tanned skin?

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)

DHA is the most known active ingredient that causes skin coloration. It’s formed in our body, so therefore it is harmless. DHA is present in almost every self-tanning product on the market. It is also the only colour supplement used in self-tanning products authorized by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

How and when did they even realize that the DHA can work as a self-tanning ingredient?

In 1950s, at the American Paediatric Hospital. They performed an oral DHA test in children who previously had problems with proper glycogen storage (diabetes). Because some children experienced regurgitation (some medicines have been spit out), the DHA accidentally got to the surface of the skin. Where it affected the skin, the skin darkened. That is how it has been found that DHA acts as a tanning agent. By accident of course.

The first self-tanning products came to the market in 1977 (according to some data already in 1959). Since then, demands for such products have grown. The biggest problem of DHA was and still is, the unevenness of the application and the unnatural appearance of the colour, the tone is also dark orange, which is not very tasty to see.

How much time after application can I expect effects?

DHA is usually present in self-tanning lotions in concentrations from 3 to 5%. The change in skin tone is usually seen 1 hour after the application, but requires 8-24 hours to fully develop and lasts for 5-7 days.

The number of applications depends on the location and composition of the skin (the face needs more frequent deposits than arms and legs for example).

Fotografija: Neja Stojnić
Weak points of DHA in self-tanning products

The biggest problem of DHA is the yellow/orange skin tone that it causes and which looks very unnatural. DHA also heavily drains our skin. It’s sensitive to strong acids and bases, increased temperature, the presence of microorganisms and is stable at pH 4-6. It is not appropriate for pregnant women, asthmatics and those who have an allergy to self-tanning products. Regular and long-term use is not recommended. It mustn’t get in touch with your lips, eyes or mucous membranes. It can irritate the skin, but studies say that in moderation DHA is safe.

Erythrulose

L-erythrulose is another active tanning ingredient. The skin looks much more natural after the application of the product and also coloration is more even. That’s because the reaction in the skin is much slower (the colouring occurs within 2 days) and is also less intense (in comparison with DHA). It is found in self-tanning products in concentrations from 1 to 3%. It doesn’t dry out and doesn’t irritate the skin, nor does it cause allergic reactions.

There are also vegetable dyes that improve the self-tanning process. They are based on henna and walnut, which are not so persistent and therefore less common in cosmetic products.

Otherwise, the best compromise is the combination of DHA and erythrulose. Why? Because using both helps to get fast coloration and more natural tan (erythrulose). That’s exactly what we want, don’t we?

How do self-tanning ingredients work?

DHA and erythrulose work on the same principle. They react with amino groups, peptides and proteins in the corneous layer of the epidermis. The reaction occurs on the surface of the skin and doesn’t penetrate deeper, therefore the colour is only persistent for relatively short amount of time. The self-tanning reaction may be influenced by several factors or skin characteristics (type, firmness, dryness …). But the colour fades because of the natural peeling of the skin.

How to get a nicer tan?

In the table, we collected data on how certain substances in self-tanning products work (what’s their effect). There are different results if we are talking about dihydroxyacetone or erythrulose. All these ingredients beautify the tan and ˝kill˝ the red or yellow tone.

  DHA ERYTRULOSE
Humectants (up to 5%) High impact in yellow and red High impact in yellow
Emolients High impact in yellow, less in red High impact in red and less in yellow
UV filters (up to 2%) High impact in yellow and red TiO2 – red High impact in yellow TiO2 – yellow
Vitamines (up to 5%) Low impact in yellow and red Retinyl palmitate – the most intensive colour High impact in yellow, less in red. Ascorbic acid – red
Thickeners High impact in the yellow, low impact in red Low impact in yellow, no impact in red
Active ingredients Low impact in yellow and red Low impact in yellow

In addition to all of these, the final effects of the self-tanning product are also affected by aminoacid derivatives and antioxidants in combination with active ingredients.

After application, it is recomended not to expose to the sun for some time; the skin shouldn’t be wiped with a towel. Skin shouldn’t come in contact with water.

How about you? Do you use self-tanning products or do you rather sunbathe? Or maybe the third option, you are rather pale, like we are.

How little does it take to get a new idea. An e-mail from a Slovenian cosmetic company called Koko cosmetics caused some brainstorming. We had decided to create a new category on our blog: Slovenian cosmetics. Why? We just want people to realize that there are a lot of small companies, that create wonderful cosmetic products.

Natural cosmetics and certificates

What makes natural cosmetics different from conventional? Ingredients, ofcourse! Properties of extracts, hydrolates and oil are the ones that make natural cosmetics so special. But cosmetic manufacturers are not limited by any legislation and law, so the manufacturer himself decides whether he will work according standards that are defined by certificates. On the other hand the manufacturer can just advertise his cosmetics as natural and doesn’t work according to standards.

On the field of natural cosmetics exist numerous certificates that are very different from one another. Even in Slovenia a cosmetic brand can recieve a ‘’natural cosmetics’’ certificate by an institute called Kon-cert that prescribe, that cosmetic products don’t contain disputable ingredients.

Tonic and cleansing milk

Why is goats milk as an ingredient so desired in cosmetics?

The data from history reveals that Cleopatra took baths in goats milk. So it’s obviously something on this milk. Goats milk has a few special properties, because of which it shows good effects on the skin.

  1. It doesn’t cause inflammation or allergic reactions (cows milk can cause allergic reactions) – very suitable for sensitive skin
  2. Contains lactic acid, which is a alpha hidroxy acid (AHA) – AHA stimulate skin proliferation, increase skin moisture and work as a keratolytic (they accelerate exfoliation)
  3. Has a proper ratio between omega-6 : omega-3 = 5:1 fatty acids – omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids show a really good effect on the skin, they help to restore the skin barrier especially on the individuals with skin diseases
  4. It’s rich with retinoids (vitamin A) – retinoids normalize keratinization and posess anti-ageing properties (concentrations in goats milk are too smal to show that properties)
Cream for sensitive skin

How about cannabis oil?

Cannabis oil is extracted from a plant named Cannabis sativa. Oil is rich with canabinoids, which are attributed with good effects on the skin. Cannabis oil is rich with omega-6 and omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids.

  1. Regulates skin inflammation – it exhibits anti-inflammatory properties with effect on immune system cells
  2. Can reduce pain and itchiness – stimulation of CBD2 in keratinocytes causes secretion of analgetic opioid peptydes, that reduce pain
  3. Regulates sebum secretion – with an effect on hair follicles it reduces sebum secretion from glands

Because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties it is recommended to people that suffer from skin disease’s such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and others. Because of it’s possibility to regulate sebum secretion and anti-inflammatory properties it is also good for acne-prone skin.

What is Koko cosmetics?

Koko cosmetics is a brand that creates 100% natural products. It combines unique properties of goat milk and Cannabis oil in all of their face creams. This two ingredients are enriched with addition of hydrolates, that are very good humectants.

Hydration cream Koko
How did their products do on a test?

For the testing we received: cleansing face milk, cleansing facial tonic and two face creams, one for sensitive skin named Madame Chamomile and one moisturizing cream named Lady Rose. To be honest none of us really likes the taste and smell of goats milk so we were concerned about the smell of the products. But let us tell you that yes, maybe creams have a little specific smell, but the other products smell like flower hydrolates.

All the products are packed in a quality, air-free packaging. This is so important when the products are natural, because the manufacturers are limited with preservative choices and that’s why this products are more likely to get a microbiological contamination.

We both have skin, that is quite hard to satisfy, since we get little pimples if the products does not fit our skin needs. The products did a really good job on a test, since we did not break out (yay!). Both of the creams are really moisturizing and the moisturizing cream does a really good job on greasy skin as well.

How did Koko products perform in a laboratory test?

This is where it gets interesting. We decided to test Koko cosmetics cream Madame Chamomile for sensitive skin. With the test we wanted to see whether the application on the cream on the skin will rise skin hydration. All of the measurements were made with a Corneometer – this is an equipment that measures hydration of upper skin levels.

Relative values of skin hydration are stated in arbitrare units and these units can not be equated with the percent of relative skin hydration.

very dry skin< 30 arbitrare units
dry skin30 – 45 arbitrare units
normal skin> 45 arbitrare units

We measured skin hydration before applying Koko face cream on colleague’s dry skin. After the measurement we applied the cream on the face for a half an hour to let is soak into the skin. After half hour we measured skin hydration again. This were the test results:

AreaSkin hydration before applying cream (in arbitrare units)Skin hydration after applying cream
(in arbitrare units)
Cheeks43,365,2
Forehead44,051,2

Skin hydration has risen after the application of Koko cosmetic product. We have to realize that the measurement’s weren’t made in the ideal environment, so they can deviate a little in a positivne or negative way. But after all the skin hydration did rise quite a lot.

Measurement with Corneometer
We came across another beautiful Slovenian brand

Koko cosmetics turned out to be a wonderful brand, that performed good at home and laboratory tests. Ingredients in Koko products are just brilliant.