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Natural Skincare Breakthroughs

When Mother Nature meets advanced technology, the results are exciting new products in the never-ending quest for smooth, glowing, young skin.

January 16th, 2013

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Natural Skincare Breakthroughs

Forget goopy creams laced with mega moisturizers and a few medicinal botanicals.

Reaching for skincare formulated with natural ingredients doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice major beauty benefits such as collagen boosting, skin brightening and cellular repair. The latest natural skincare launches take ingredients plucked right from Mother Nature and couple them with Sci-Fi-worthy technology, giving synthetics a run for their money.

These nature-inspired beauty breakthroughs are steeped in hardcore skincare science and have cutting edge formulas. 

Cosmetics 27 by M.E. SkinLab Plasma 27 Bio Lifting Cell Restoring Mask, $105 for four

Created in 2009 by pharmacist Michèle Evrard (which is where the initials in the company name come from), every product in Cosmetics 27 (including the new pre-formed cloth masks) use 95 percent naturally purified extracts of centella asiatica (aka gotu kola), an herbaceous plant indigenous to India, China, Indonesia and Madagascar where it is a go-to in natural skincare to soothe psoriasis and easily irritated skin. Evrard discovered centella asiatica when using a balm laced with it to treat a scar on her knee post-surgery (which she says disappeared into a teeny tiny line because of it) but realized that although widely used in the natural skincare arena, the key extracts of the plant aren’t always the focus—nor is the delivery system necessarily stellar.

MORE: Are Your "Natural" Products Really Natural?

Cosmetics 27 uses a plant-based liposome technology they call phytosomes, which enhance the prettifying power of this natural ingredient by getting it into skin. “Centella asiatica extracts are known and have been studied for their properties on skin regeneration,” she says. “The particular ones we use, such as asiaticoside and madecassoside, have proven activity on the production of collagen—and we did specific ex vivo testing that showed the synthesis of collagen as well as glycoaminoglycans, both of which are key in the skin structure.”  

Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals Blue Plasma, $95

This non-acid peel uses sustainably sourced (and 100 percent biodegradable) salmon egg enzymes (aka roe) to gently exfoliate skin. “The salmon eggs hatch in a secluded lake famed for the quality of its water—and the animals aren’t harmed in any way. The production process is eco-friendly, utilizing low energy consumption and has no environmental impact,” says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a dermatologist and founder of Perricone MD skincare.

Why not just reach for a classic, lab-concocted glycolic serum for exfoliating and call it a day? “Unlike alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids, which can cause redness or inflammation, these natural enzymes have no down time—and don’t create any photosensitivity and are gentle enough for every skin type,” he says. “The hydrolyzed roe gently exfoliate dead skin cells by detaching the dead cells in the stratum corneum; however leaving the healthy skin cells untouched.”

Circ-Cell A.B.O +/- Blood Serum Face Rejuvenation, $168

(No, there is not actual blood in it.)

As we get older circulation slows, as does the strength and performance of vessels throughout the body, including those found throughout skin. The science used in this new face serum was snatched from the medical arena—where researchers were trying to harness the power of a synthetic blood substitute to help bring oxygen to regenerate and repair (particularly focusing on perfluorocarbons—compounds that have carbon and fluorine together and have crazy-good oxygen-carrying ability). “Published data reveals that, with age, stagnant microcirculation leads to thinning of collagen and elastin, resulting in decreased elasticity,” says Michael Galitzer, MD, medical director at The American Health Institute in Los Angeles and medical advisor for Circ-Cell. “Our idea was to counteract the loss of internal microcirculation by utilizing perfluorocarbons to perform similar functions topically, i.e., delivering oxygen to tissue, stimulating microcirculation, and purging metabolic waste.”

What you’ll see on the label that sounds like lab-made hoopla but is totally tied to nature: AE advanced BTX, essentially a mix of medical-grade and oxygen-rich perfluorocarbons as well as Pepha-Tight, simply an extract of microalgae shown to protect cell fibroblasts against oxidative stress (so you see skin tightening). And Saliporine-8, an extract of the salicornia plant which produces a protein similar to human aquaporins, a family of proteins that act as water channels in cells  (and has been shown to increase moisture levels in skin by up to 6,000 percent in as little as 30 days, says Galitzer), plus C1C2, an extract of sea fennel that helps regulate pigment production as well as increase hydration, collagen stimulation and healing.

QUIZ: How Old is Your Skin?

Bel Mondo Beauty Bio Cellulose Facial Masks, $24.99 at M.S. Apothecary

Pre-cut fabric masks (the ones that look Freddy Krueger-ish) are not new. But they are not all created equal. According to Lou Martelli, president of Bel Mondo Beauty, most are made of coarse (non-woven) fibers and produced with petrochemicals. “Essentially, these low-end, low-tech masks have the texture of paper and dry-out fairly quickly,” he says. What makes Bel Mondo’s stand out from the cloth mask pack besides being founded by an MIT engineer? “They’re created through a microbial process that produce a tightly-woven, gel-like fabric (where the bio cellulose comes into play) that is thick, durable, and incredibly moist and soothing,” he says. “Then the masks are infused with a rich concentration of skin care ingredients that are transferred during a 20-minute application.”

What the heck is bio cellulose you ask? True bio cellulose is grown through cultured bacteria. “And we use the same grade used in medical applications—used to bind to skin for occlusive wound healing—not cheaper versions derived from wood pulp or fermented fruit like coconut,” says Martelli. “Therefore, its affinity to bind to skin, and to retain and transfer fluids (aka hydrophilic) is unsurpassed.”

Shop Our Favorite Anti-Aging Skincare Products, From BeautySage.com

 

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