The new breakthrough anti-aging ingredients in natural skin care are pretty exciting. Here’s the third and last interview in a series that I’ve been running with Emily Fritchey, CEO and founder of Sunshine Botanicals, and award-winning formulator of botanical products.
S.U.What do you think are the most AGING ingredients that we can put on our skin?
E.F.Allow me to answer your question this way; if you will….over the past several years, I have been astonished by the number of women who come to my clinic for professional anti-aging treatments who are also experiencing some sort of inflammation. This was rare for me to see 15 years ago; now, it seems the majority of women with sun damage and aging skin concerns also present with varying degrees of redness — and this really concerns me. The linking of chronic inflammation to multiple cutaneous and systemic diseases, including skin aging and cancer was suggested more than a century ago, but now has been scientifically accepted. It is now clearly understood that in addition to the health and stress issues that contribute to this condition, a number of widely utilized topical ingredients dramatically contribute to this growing trend as well. Specifically, Retin-A, Renova, and the long term use of highly acidic serums, creams and cleansers can obliterate the delicate acid mantle (barrier function), leaving skin wide open to bacterial infection and creates the ideal climate for the formation of yeast and fungal skin disorders. Continuous use of many anti-aging treatments actually causes inflammation and as a result, causes the skin to age faster. For example, I love to use pumpkin enzymes (extracted from pumpkin wine) to treat aging skin. In addition to its skin resurfacing benefits, it is also rich in beta carotene (a natural source of vitamin A) and doesn’t alter the skins pH like harsh acids do. The are many other effective enzymes that can be found in plant based skin care solutions, and do not produce damage to the barrier function and acid mantle like traditional acids do. There are MANY alternatives to chemical OTC ingredients and aggressive products that are naturally “anti-inflammatory” and anti-aging – you just have to know where to look.
What do you think are the breakthrough/stand-out anti-aging ingredients?
In the world of natural ingredients and plant therapy, these are at the top of my top 10 list:
Plant Stem Cells (not to be confused with human stem cells), are a recent breakthrough in cutting edge, anti-aging plant therapy for the skin. There are several plants in particular that produce highly active stem cells and have amazing effects on the skin – for example, high, concentrated levels of Edelweiss Alpine stem cells have a special affinity to survive extreme altitudes and solar radiation exposure in their native habitat.. Simply put, this plant stem cell (when harvested correctly and used in high concentration) stimulates the production of healthy new skin cells on human skin and has been shown to transform and repair aged and environmentally damaged skin. Clinical studies have shown a 15% wrinkle reduction and improved firmness in the eye area after only 20 days of treatment, when used twice daily. This amazing ingredient is the active ingredient in our Stem Cell Eye Cream. Also, when N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) (an amino sugar that is a precursor to hyaluronic acid and is found throughout nature and human tissues) and Niacinimide (Vitamin B-3) are blended together in high concentration, they create an effective alternative to synthetic chemical skin bleaches such as hydroquinone and topical retinoids. We incorporate this powerful skin brightening combo in our BioPeptide Cellular Complex. The impressive ingredient decks of these two formulas contain some of the most cutting edge botanical ingredients you will find anywhere.
I’m my research, I’ve discovered the key is often the amount of active ingredient that may be in any given product – also how the ingredient is formulated. Would you say that this is the problem with most over-the-counter products for aging and damaged skin?
Absolutely! The active ingredient is only one element of the overall formula. The concentration of the ingredient, the base of the formulas and other ingredients it is combined with must be considered and evaluated when deciding on the quality and efficacy of the overall product.
What are your views about fragrance in skin care?
In the cosmetics industry, fragrance is considered a “trade secret” – meaning, any ingredient may be classified as a “fragrance”. Companies don’t have to disclose what the “fragrance” actually is – the word “fragrance” is all that must be listed on the label. The problem with this is multi-faceted…this catch-all ingredient description can contain just about anything, besides the actual “fragrance” itself. There are hundreds of synthetic chemical compounds that can be in a products and never be listed on a product label, elements that include phthalates (plasticizers), neurotoxins, allergens and sensitizers – just to name a few. I consider this a very deceptive practice. Fragrance was traditionally used to mask odors of the chemical compounds use to make a beauty product and make it more pleasing for consumers to use. With plant extracts and botanical formulations (using ethical and clean extraction and distillation methods), this is not necessary – the scent you experience in our products are the plants and essential oils themselves. There are NO chemical odors to mask
What is the science behind your products and how/where are they formulated?
The science behind our products has been around for centuries, and is based on age-old herbal wisdom and careful research. Our products are “micro brewed” in small batches to insure freshness and potency, and all our herbal tinctures are made by hand…all tinctures are stared on the beginning cycle of the new moon (age old agricultural principles at work here) in order to extract the maximum effect and potency of each plant or herb. We have 2 FDA approved manufacturing facilities, and have both a master herbalist, Dr. Philip Fritchey, and 2 bio-chemists who work with me to carefully create each product in our line. The science behind our approach to product development incorporates the very latest, most up to date research available in the world of plant medicine and herbology. Our goal is to create totally original products that can address the needs of aging and problem skin, harnessing the healing and restorative power of nature.
What kind of preservatives do you use?
We use a number of different preservatives, and there are specific preservatives that are needed for different types of products. Here are a few of our favorites that are highly effective and anti-microbial: Japanese Honeysuckle: (Lonicera Japonica) a natural preservative from Malaysia, Alpha tocopherol (also known as vitamin E – a potent antioxidant), tincture of benzoin and grape seed extract, benzyl alcohol, and citric acid – just to name a few.
Dr. Philip Fritchey has written an incredible book called “Practical Herbalism” Did he help you formulate the products.
He is responsible for the original product formulations that started this company. He still makes the herbal tinctures we use in our products by hand. This is a labor of love that can be clearly felt in the each finished product. What he does is both a science and an art. In addition to being the author of “Practical Herbalism - Common Plants with Extraordinary Powers” , he teaches “Herbology:101” and the “Herbal Medicine Makers Boot Camp” – wildly popular educational seminars presented by the Certified Natural Health Professionals – a division of the Trinity College of Natural Health. His talent is truly inspiring and amazing – he has a real gift with plant extraction and making natural medicine. There is an intense vibrational energy you can feel when using our products – I feel it is because of this very special touch and intent that is used in the development of each product. I call it pant “alchemy”, if you get my meaning.
What is the basic skin care regime that you recommend to most of your clients, regardless of their skin type? I know you have a unique approach to cleansing.
You must cover the basics of healthy skin care before you ever reach for a specialty serum or treatment if you ever expect to achieve your treatment goals. Regardless of your skin type or condition, the foundation of any effective skin regimen is simply this: effective cleansing, exfoliation, hydration and UV protection, with cleansing being the MOST IMPORTANT step of your daily routine. Most women over moisturize and UNDER cleanse their skin…pores clog, skin becomes congested and serums and treatment products struggle to effectively penetrate and be absorbed. As strange as it sounds, very few people cleanse their skin correctly! We tend to scrub, blast and strip the skin with harsh products to achieve clear skin, while bypassing the most basic important step. Research shows that American women only spend and average of 15 seconds once a day cleaning their skin! The rest of the time, we apply topical products and treatments of all kinds trying to get great skin. This problem with this is HUGE! If excess oils and daily skin secretions are not emulsified and cleared, dead skin cells begin to build up, pores begin to clog and skin becomes congested. As a result, effective penetration of active tropical serums and specialty treatments is greatly effected. The truth here is – if you spend a little extra time each day cleansing your skin correctly (morning and evening), and match the correct ingredients to your specific skin condition, you will see your skins appearance change faster, and many skin imbalances begin to clear as a result!
With this in mind, I have developed a very unique 2-step cleansing process that removes surface debris and grime, as well as the epidermal waste and skin secretions that usually go untouched in daily skin routines. Step 1 is our Dermal Detox Pre-Cleanse. This product is designed to use BEFORE your primary cleanser to cut through oils and waxes that build up daily, and allows your primary cleanser to dig deeper into the pores to cleanse and purify the skin. Step 2 is your primary skin cleanser that contains specific ingredients for your individual skin type to detoxify and purify the skin at the deepest level. A few examples of some of our unique skin cleansing products include our PhytoActive Brightening Bar (fabulous for discoloration and sun damage repair), our Organic Cleansing Milk – (a fresh, crisp milky cleanser that is ideal for all skin types and conditions), and our special cleansers for redness, Rosacea and sensitive skin conditions - PhytoCalm Redness Relief Bar and PhytoCalm Mineral Rich Cleansing Cream.
Which of your products would you most recommend for someone with oily skin?
Our Dermal Detox Pre-Cleanse will effectively dissolve oils and waxes that clog pores and this step will allow our Arctic Mint Exfoliating Wash to dig deep to refine surface texture, minimize pores and balance oil production. Here is a simple, effective daily skin care routine for oily and problem skin that provides total UV protection, natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits and deep skin cleansing and purification:
Our Organic Cleansing Milk has been a favorite of many people with oily skin as well and is a preferred, non-acidic creamy cleanser for anyone having aggressive treatments or who may be using strong topicals like benzoyl peroxide, Retin-A or other strong acne medications. More sensitive oily skin types love this product.
Which product for dry/damaged skin?
My absolute favorite product combination for major moisture replenishment is our Cellular Firming Cream and EFA Lipid Booster. If you add 3 – 4 drops of the EFA Lipid Booster to the Cellular Firming Cream, mix them together in the palm of your hand then blend evenly into the skin, it feels like warm butter and melts deeply into the epidermis for instant repair and moisture balance. The beauty with this combination is simple – any time you skin needs a richer level of moisture (aggressive skin treatments, drier climates, seasonal changes, sun exposure) or just anytime your skin needs “more” – just combine these two products to customize the level of nourishment you need on any given day. Our Cellular Firming Cream is a light, cranberry based cream with high levels of betulinic acid (white birch bark to repair UV damage), lactic acid and potent antioxidants that smoothes the skins surface and respires environmental damage. Also, our PhytoActive Anti-Aging Collection has all the cutting edge botanicals necessary for aging and damaged skin, and we have just introduced our PhytoActive Anti Aging Kit – an on-the go travel kit that is perfect for busy summer schedules. A great way to try our complete collections of anti aging botanicals….
So that’s it from Emily Fritchey of Sunshine Botanicals. We are going to try to get some more of her products onto Open Sky, so if you have any specific requests, let me know..