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Consumer Perspective—Skin Care From Nature
By: Katerina Steventon, PhD, FaceWorkshops
Posted: August 2, 2013, from the August 2013 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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In acne therapy, Mahonia, tea tree oil and Saccharomyces may have the potential to become standard treatments. However, the safety risks of plant extracts, particularly those related to sensitization, i.e., citrus essential oils, require further investigation.6
Plant scents are attributed to secondary metabolites, terpene and phenolic substances that protect the plant from predators and pathogens. Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender), for example, yields an essential oil with antiseptic and calming properties for the skin. Research also indicates that the scent of lavender decreases the level of stress hormone cortisol and enhances free radical scavenging activity, thus preventing the oxidative stress implicated in inflammation and aging.7 Notable to formulators, however, these essential oils are volatile at ambient temperature and sensitive to light.
Organic and Biodynamic
Within the naturals segment, consumer research indicates a preference for certified organic products,8 and this author would be amiss in this respect to not name Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients, who is a champion of such products.9 His mission is to “make beauty products that are good enough to eat.”
Rechelbacher sees no alternative to organic skin care, and in fact stresses reducing exposure to non-plant based materials in skin care. The recent upsurge in plant stem cell technologies he believes is “going above and beyond organic,” to sustain and protect plant species. Rechelbacher uses seed oils from cranberry, raspberry, black cumin, red grape and pumpkin for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. He terms these materials “embryonic foods,” as they can be ingested or applied topically. He also works with the natural aromas of organic essential oils to reduce stress and provide other therapeutic benefits.
In relation, this author’s clients have shown interest in biodynamic skin care—i.e., products based on a spiritual, ethical and ecological approach to agriculture. In fact, the Biodynamic Association10 has recently been accredited to certify according to the NaTrue standard. The group’s Demeter logo, a truly biodynamic product certification, is difficult to obtain for skin care. In the U.K., some skin care brands including biodynamic ingredients are Weleda and Dr. Hauschka.
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