Home' Spa and Clinic : SPA Vol-68 Feb 2017 Contents petrochemicals and mineral oil bases with
sy nthetic actives.
Trademarked compounds with
intergalactic acronyms packaged with
upward-trending bar graphs were
presented as the holy grail of anti-ageing.
The claim of a patented synthetic
ingredient was a marketing win
guaranteed to boost commercial viability
and enable product credibility.
Now cosmeceutical ingredients are
not only tested to their longer term effect
on oxidative stress, barrier function,
nutritional support and sensitivity, but
are also measured on the synergy of other
ingredients in the mix.
So, can a natural ingredient be classed
as a cosmeceutical? Sure! After all, when
exactly did the biochemistry that exists
in natural plant compounds cease to
Biochemistry and the potent array of
nutrient-rich plant actives that can be
harnessed to maximise the therapeutic
benefits of skincare are over whelming.
“Biomimicry” was once seen as science
trumping nature. When we consider the
intricacy that exists in a single botanical
ingredient and the inter woven synergy
created by hundreds of individual
chemical constituents, how can we possibly
expect a single patented compound
By trying to recreate nature we have
poorly reinvented the wheel in the effort
to dazzle consumers with the promise
Let’s consider how natural
cosmeceutical actives fit in the picture.
Lactic acid is a great example, the
byproduct of fermenting lactose, a
naturally-occurring milk sugar converted
to a simple carbohydrate.
Its known topical effects on the
skin - apart from the obvious kerolytic
benefits - is a proven ability to stimulate
That’s truly fabulous, but here’s the
thing: what’s the point of stimulating
collagen production if the building block s
to create healthy collagen are not in
Collagen requires essential fatty acids,
vitamins and antioxidants not only to
build healthy connective tissue but protect
it from oxidative stress, free radical and
UV damage along with the environmental
pollutants that cause degradation.
Without these other essential ingredients
we are only doing half the job. Healthy skin
formulations are not just relying on the
“ceutical” content but utilising bioactive
naturopathic-style ingredients as the
foundation of the formula.
Cosmetic offerings can be broadly
divided into two distinct families:
• Remedial and corrective ranges, not
unlike an antibiotic prescription from a
doctor to remedy an infection.
• Maintenance lines, similar to the way
we’d view a supplement or v itamin from
a naturopath for longterm nutritional
health and vitality.
Ceuticals are now ack nowledging
powerhouse bioactive nutrients bestowing
dual rewards. Examples include antioxidant
super stars like vegetable concentrates,
coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid
and potent vitamins.
Educated consumers are honing their
ingredient sav v y skills and the discussion
is putting actives under the microscope:
What is the ingredient exactly? What is the
concentration? What is the deliver y system?
How was it sourced and what was the
method used for extraction?
The ingredient source and complete
chemical profile along with the methods
used to activate transdermal penetration
are now forging a v igorous conversation
around product effectiveness and results.
Ingredient suppliers are also honing
their technology with the focus on
extraction methods being as important
as the nutritional signature of the
Food appeal is no longer the sole domain
of digestion. Ingredients like broccoli and
kale are not just used as a label listing
but using nature identical extraction
methods can be exploited to deliver skin-
Technology is taking the potent
concentrates curated by nature and
delivering them in a format that protects
their chemical identity and integrity thereby
boosting their therapeutic benefits to
Nutraceutical deliver y systems are also
being channelled to infuse fat soluble
vitamins, antioxidants and omega plant oils
to the skin topically.
The benefits are not only a safer and
more natural technique offering increased
stability and purity of ingredient but,
excitingly, clinical trials are demonstrating
deeper transdermal penetration with longer
The belief in a single bullet active is
beginning to wane. Unlocking phyto -active
ingredients delivers a broad spectrum of
naturally occurring essential minerals,
vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, lipids
and trace elements in concentrations rich
enough to both support and correct skin.
Using whole plant extracts instead of
replicating only the key active offers a
complex chemical plant profile with the
added benefit of being biochemically
compatible with the skin.
With the product variety on offer how
can therapists navigate their way to deliver
an effective home care prescription for
clients looking for real results? Here are
what I feel are the key considerations when
looking for a “ceutical” solution:
• The active ingredients need to be
present in clinically-trialled doses to
deliver therapeutic benefit. This needs
to disclosed and reinforced within the
• A broad range of nutrients needs to
be present in effective concentrates in
a transdermal deliver y system. Let’s
remember that no single ingredient can
be solely relied upon to deliver all of the
nutrients required for great skin.
• There can be no compromise on
an omega-based deliver y system.
Inflammation is the precursor to all skin
disorders and essential fatty acids are
vital to optimal skin health.
• Bioactive plant-based “ceuticals” are not
celebrating natural because they are
deemed “safe”. These are the formulation
ingredients that comprise the same
biochemical building blocks found within
us. Our cells have the innate capability
to recognise, metabolise and uptake
their benefits, enabling beautiful healthy
* Aromatherapist and natural medicine advocate,
Michelle Reeve is the founder and formulator for
the botanical Australian spa brand, Waterlily.
SPACEUTICALS is the newest retail addition
to the Waterlily collection, created by combining
advanced cosmeceutical actives, antioxidants and
vitamins with potent botanical
concentrates. Waterlily is
stocked in leading day spas and
spaandclinic.com.au | 77
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