Sun and age spots? How to treat them with natural cosmetics…

Sun and age skin spots are an unpleasant beauty problem featured by localized and uneven dark color distribution. They appear on face, hands and back, with the passing of years, and they are frequently correlated to wrong solar exposure. Such aesthetic conditions are often hidden by excessive and covering  make-up, especially when spots appear on face.

Perla di Luna_confezioneThe use of high protection sunscreens is the best prevention of sun-spots, but it does not fully prevent age spots’ appearance, which become much more evident as time goes by. Moreover, solar protection helps only prevent formation of new spots, but it is useless for treating the already formed spots. The complex phenomenon characterized by uneven color distribution with localized or diffuse pigmentation is generally known as hyperpigmentation: the overexpressed melanin concentrates in tiny areas of our skin, which become much more noticeable after intense UV rays exposure at the seaside or in a sunbed.

Some topical remedies, such as dermatological formulation with hydroquinone and retinoids – prescribed by dermatologists – have been used in the past for important hyperpigmentation disorders. Although effective, they were endowed with relevant toxicity, limited tolerability and harmful effects. Hydroquinone acts by means of a severe oxidative mechanism; therefore, it is not authorised in Europe since 15 years ago, for harmful effects following prolonged use. Other actives have been evaluated for their whitening activity, but resulted in harsh effects connected to inhibiting pigmentation, with the final result of  melonocites’ death (cellular apoptosis = cell’s suicide).

Alternative natural cosmetics could treat skin spots with a variety of successful lightening actives. Skin whitening cosmetics contain functional ingredients that inhibit melanin biosynthesis through different mechanisms: most important are tyrosinase inhibitors (i.e. arbutin and kojic acid) and inhibitors of melanin transfer to keratinocytes. Challenging research of new natural whitening phyto-ingredients allowed to evaluate several botanical extracts endowed with lightening activities for solar and age spots, in order to obtain active, effective and better tolerated formulations. Inhibitors of tyrosinase, the key enzyme in melanin biosynthesis, represent the most used agents for depigmentation cosmetics. Among them, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) boasts the most interesting lightening potential due to a component named Glabridin, which showed to be the most potent inhibitor of tyrosinase known so far.

In designing our innovative multi-level whitening cream Perla di Luna® we chose glabridin as principal  functional active with lightening action, combined to Melinjo extract (Gnetum gnemon): both ingredient inhibit tyrosinase directly. Moreover, the extract of Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit) and Vitamin B3 inhibit melanin transfer to keratinocytes, tackling skin hyperpigmentation. Retinol (Vitamin A), Willow and Cumin extracts with the synergic action of the essential oils favor the renewal of epidermis (cellular turnover) and natural skin exfoliation, helping remove dark spots. We combined different precious elements of Nature to counteract hyperpigmentation in a combined and synergic way, respecting skin health.

Since dark age spots normally go along with other “signs of aging”, formulation research of Perla di Luna® was focused on significant anti-age activity, taking advantage of the longstanding BeC experience and tradition in the field. The overall activities was strengthened by key essential oils, whereas Aloe juice and Hyaluronic acid were added to afford deep moisturizing activity and Ribose increases skin tone and elasticity. Vitamins E and C and Magnolia extract have anti free-radicals and anti-age activity, boosted by the vegetable oils and the unsaponifiable fraction of Olive. The special formula increases hydration, elasticity and reduce skin wrinkle in only 2 weeks!

Perla di Luna® is a synergic and effective depigmentation treatment for skin spots with multi-level action and tested efficacy in preventing the recurrence of skin dyschromia, in de-stocking accumulated melanin, in giving consistency to skin color. The special formula contributes to increasing skin tone and elasticity and reduces skin wrinkles. This effective formula with natural sunscreens (with γ-orizanol from rice as the key active component) is ideal to treat localized or diffuse hyperpigmentation, spots from sun-exposure, scars and age spots. In addition to lightening dark spots, it gives firmer, more youthful complexion with smoothing and anti aging effect. It improves skin’s elasticity with deep moisturizing action.

Perla di Luna®  gives your skin the brightness and perfection of the most precious pearls!

Getting a perfect suntan: things we should do immediately

Even if this May has so far been a little uncertain, the good season is coming and, with it, also the first sunshine and the consequent desire for suntan. Indeed, a beautifully tanned skin is often perceived as healthier and more seductive, therefore it is understandable that both men and women are attracted by it, but we should not forget the good rules to be followed to achieve a beautiful suntan that will also be long-lasting and, more importantly, really healthy.

Scrub

From proper nutrition to body pampering, there are some strategies we should start adopting immediately, if we want to develop a nice tan and glow all the summer long and beyond! Indeed, exposing to sunlight with the proper preparation – which includes the use of a sunscreen – will improve our health and mood, beside contributing to our beauty. The reason is Vitamin D: a real blessing for our immune system.

Savage suntanning, beside being out-fashioned, is actually unhealthy and was shown to be the main cause of early skin ageing. The keyword for a perfect tan is “gradually”. Suntanning is a natural skin protection process (let’s keep it in mind!), therefore exposing too harshly, for too long and without adequate skin preparation can cause minor issues, such as uneven tan, to more serious issues, such as sunburns, erythema and photo-aging.

Oxidative stress is the result of an unbalance of the delicate equilibrium between physiological production of free radicals (also caused by exposure to specific environmental factors like sunlight, radiations, pollution and xenobiotics) and the body antioxidant defenses. Whatever your photo-type is, it is highly recommended that, at least one month before exposing to sunlight, you start building up the reserve of antioxidants by eating antioxidant food. The easiest way to intake these precious elixirs is a diet rich in fruit and vegetables with red, orange or yellow peel or pulp. Enjoy them raw, so to get the best of their properties – eating them with their peel would even be better – in the form of salads, smoothies, gazpachos or fruit salads.

Alternatively or additionally, you can take a specific diet supplement for 30 days at least. Radical Stop® by BeC is a supplement of vitamins, minerals and vegetable extracts and is a precious aid to contrast cell ageing processes induced by free radicals. Dosed in vegetable gelatin capsules, hence ideal also for people on vegetarian or vegan diet, it can be a valuable supplement in our daily nutrition, as it enriches our diet with extremely important elements to maintain cell integrity and fight ageing, to protect our body and help prevent the many pathologies which have been shown to be, directly or indirectly, related to excess free radicals (among them cardio-vascular diseases, liver affections, etc). Particularly useful to fight free radicals are vitamins A, C and E, which trap these highly reactive species, thereby protecting our cellular structures from their aggression. Extremely important are also the vegetable extracts provided by Radical Stop®, such as the extracts of Blood Orange, Olive, Grape, Pine bark, and Blackberry, especially rich in tannins, bio-flavonoids, and other polyphenolic compounds, able to revert the action of free radicals.

maggio_senzascrittaIt should, however, be kept in mind that a proper diet and the intake of diet supplements cannot replace the sunscreen, which needs to be used in all cases to avoid sunburns, erythema and photo-aging.

In order to prepare skin to sunlight, we also need to work from outside. A deep scrub, at least once a week, will remove dead cells from your skin, making it smoother, free to deeply breeze and ready for sunlight.

Geo green by BeC is a body mud-mask based on natural silt with skin-purifying action, ideal to remove the “winter layer”,  since it offers a delicate and physiological peeling that will remove from skin those impurities that have accumulated in wintertime. Its special formula rich in vegetable oils and extracts brings hydration and trophic activity, aiding epidermis renewal and leaving the skin smooth and silky. Furthermore it is an excellent aid to drain liquids and help cellulite’s treatments, thanks to the extract of Ivy, Fucus, Birch and Boswellia, which shape and tone our silhouette, making it firmer and helping us successfully pass the stressing “bath-suit test”.

The final secret is to apply everyday a good moisturizing cream and, after a day of sunbathing at the seaside, a specific aftersun lotion that will help sooth possible reddening. Indeed, suntan will rapidly fade away if it is not taken care of. This happens because of the continuous renewal or outer epidermis layers, with continuous removal of dead cells. However, de-hydration would accelerate the process and favor the peeling of tanned epidermis. By using a moisturizing product since the first sunlight exposure, we can, instead, slow down the peeling process and greatly extend the duration of our even suntan.

SÉ® body cream by BeC, thanks to its emollient and moisturizing principles, helps re-establish the physiological skin balance, particularly for dry, dehydrated or cracked skin. Furthermore, thanks to the extract of Centella that stimulates the biosynthesis of collagen, and tanks to the extract of Echinacea that inhibits the degradation of hyaluronic acid, SÉ® increases skin elasticity and inhibits the free radical processes that would damage collagen and elastin, thereby contrasting stretch marks. Aescin extracted from horse chestnut works synergically with Rutin (from rue) in protecting blood vessels and reducing edema, improving peripheral microcirculation and giving relief to swollen legs. Its smooth texture and the rapid absorption, along with 100% natural fragrance on citrus and almond notes, will make your skin silky smooth and sensual.

A healthy and golden suntan is to be gained before exposing to sunlight. As summertime is coming, start pampering yourselves with specific and effective products, so to fully enjoy sunlight beneficial action and get a glowing suntan that will turn your friends jealous.

Tired and stressed during springtime? Let’s get back strength and energy from Nature!

We have all been waiting for the good season to enjoy longer days and the pleasure of sunshine, but, along with good weather, spring brings tiredness, sleepiness, irritability, fatigue, difficulty to stay focused: typical seasonal discomforts. If the problem has no biological causes and is just the consequence of spring, one can seek help from diet supplements, rich in oligo-elements and standardized vegetable extracts, to guarantee the correct daily “re-charge” to our body, along with the proper nutritional intake. Diet supplements are not meant to replace a proper diet, but to contribute to the correct balance of those nutrients that can sometimes be lacking, or that we might need to have more, in specific periods. Indeed, diet supplements can help us live better!

vitalmenteVital Mente, thanks to its composition, is suited for all the states of mental and psycho-physical fatigue and to improve peripheral microcirculation. Therefore, it is particularly suited to this period of the year. It can also be a valid help in case of tiredness associated to the change of season, or to intense work, and it can help students approach semester’s tests and final examinations, in case they feel their memory needs some support.

According to the herbal tradition, many plants can serve as remedies for tiredness. Among them Ginseng, a long used remedy in traditional eastern medicine for its ability to “energize” both mind and body, to increase physical strength and prevent ageing. These properties have recently been supported by modern research, which attributes to Ginseng a stimulating activity on cerebral function with an improvement of the learning ability and reduction of memory loss[1]. The capacity to better manage fatigue and give positive response to stress is the basis of the activity of plants defined as “adaptogens”, among which we find Eleutherococcus, also called Siberian Ginseng, for which recent studies highlight the ability to support brain function and memory[2]. Eleutherococcus acts in sinergy with Ginkgo biloba and Centella, which also are investigated for their ability to protect brain function, particularly form age-related decline[3]. Vitamin C and Vitamin E, along with Zinc and Selenium, protect cells from oxidative stress, aiding the function of the immune system. Active principles of Blueberry give relief to “heavy legs” and, together with Centella, Ginkgo biloba[4] and Zinc, they protect the eye function.

vitalmenteVitamins and minerals, particularly B-group vitamins, contained in Vital Mente are fundamental nutrients to overcome fatigue and difficulty to focus. Indeed, such nutritional factors decrease tiredness by regulating the physiological mechanisms that bring to a fuller metabolism of macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), favoring the conversion of food into energy. They also express a protective activity on nervous system, together with minerals like Magnesium, Copper and Zinc, which eventually aid the cognitive function, i.e. the ability to learn and elaborate.

With the help from all these combined nutrients, we can safely overcome fatigue and stressing times, as well as periods of most intense study.

[1] Kwang-tae Choi, Botanical characteristics, pharmacological effects and medicinal components of Korean Panax ginseng C A Meyer Acta Pharmacol Sin 2008; 29 (9): 1109–1118.
[2] Panossian A, Wikman G, Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009; 4(3): 198-219.
[3] Howes MJ, Houghton PJ, Ethnobotanical treatment strategies against Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2012; 9(1):67-85.
[4] Seong Hee Shim, et al Ginkgo biloba extract and Bilberry anthocyanins improve visual function in patients with normal tension glaucoma J Med Food 2012; 15 (9): 818–823

Earth Day, a little help for our Planet!

Earth-DayWe are now entering the 46th year of Earth Day, the occasion that constantly attracts the interest of critical and eco-friendly consumption. Several challenging ideas and good actions are on the table to ignite passion and motivate people to action in saving our Planet. In 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness: channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, earth day movement continues to lead with groundbreaking ideas and with the power of a simple example: TREES for the EARTH, let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth! Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable. Among principal goals of Earth Day, there is the need to promote a major consciousness in the citizens with respect to purchases and life-style. Hoping that the decision makers will be guided by means of strict criteria of social and economic sustainability.

In our own small way, how can we contribute to the main goal of environmental protection and promote ethic and eco-friendly consumption?  BeC, as a natural cosmetics company, has recently devoted a growing attention toward organic and eco-friendly cosmetics, for this reason we created our organic cosmetics line Terra biocare. Beside having a high amount of ingredients coming from organic farming, the organic cosmetics have low impact on environment during each production process. Indeed, even natural ingredients will not allowed in a certain formulation if they do not guarantee low environmental impact. Such  attention includes packaging materials in the overall supply chain. In eco-friendly cosmetics development, particular attention is paid to the easiness of waste management in the overall supply chain.

On the occasion, we report here an abstract of an interview by CosmesiDoc where we’ve been asked how sustainability issues could be linked to the cosmetic world:

Environmentally conscious consumers address their attention to environmental protection by choosing not only sustainable food but also eco-friendly wellness products. In particular, organic cosmetics are eco-friendly products that represent the harmony between Man and Nature. Our certified organic cosmetic line is directed to everyone who wants to approach a more conscious, ethic and eco-friendly life-style, without sacrificing their efficacy. This very relevant point deserves further attention: if consumers give away their full satisfaction with the efficacy of a certain product, sooner or later they will be disappointed and will change their mind, the will go back looking for something that better meets their actual needs.  It would be a failure! It is important that organic products have good efficacy and fully satisfying performance, in order to be perceived not as a renouncement. The environmentally conscious choice will then be sustainable in the long-term for the consumer… that is really sustainable!

However, BeC commitment to the environment does not deal exclusively with the organic Terra biocare line: since long ago, BeC has been adopting an integrated Quality and Environment Management System, for R&D, production and commercial activities, according to the international standard ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environment). The system guarantees the continuous improvement, year by year, of both the performance and the monitoring of environmental impact, prompted by previously achieved results. Among the pursued goals, BeC uses only certified FSC paper as material for secondary packaging of all products. This guarantees the responsible management of forests and the sustainable handling of natural resources.

Environmental protection, ecology and sustainability are the driving forces that have to lead industrial production, from little craft business up to the big industrial firms, wishing more awareness for every actor of the supply chain. Thanks to Earth Day, let’s commit to promoting knowledge and exchange of ideas for an eco-friendly and better future… the Earth will thank us!

Cellulite, how to treat it?

silueCellulite  (or edematous sclerotic – fibrous edematous paniculopathy) is an aesthetic condition characterized by alterations of the subcutaneous tissue, uneven fat distribution and tissue tone loss. Sex, ethnicity, genetic and hormonal disorders, skin thickness and distribution of body fat, along with a lack of fitness and a high-fat diet, are all factors that can influence the formation of cellulite.

A body affected by cellulite presents skin with “orange peel” or “mattress” texture. Several factors may contribute to the appearance of this condition. Fat cells or “adipocytes” tend to increase in volume with subsequent compression of the surrounding blood vessels. The slowing down of blood circulation determines an inflammatory state that limits the request of oxygen and nutritients from the surrounding tissues, thus preventing liquid drainage. The subsequent drop of local temperature contributes to the thickening of fat clusters and it is responsible for the orange peel appearance of the skin. State-of-the-art anti-cellulite cosmetics must contain ingredients that simultaneously counteract the various causes of cellulite’s insurgence, i.e. agents that facilitate water drainage and endow tissues with elasticizing, vasotonic and lipolytic properties.

The dedicated passion of BeC research laboratories for developing effective wellness products gave birth to SiluÈ: the new formulation against cellulite beauty problems. SiluÈ is a rich and fast-absorbing body cream based on all natural ingredients, with a very soft touch and silky texture obtained with no silicones. SiluÈ can used both at day-time and night-time and it gives skin brightness and deep hydration since the first applications, thanks to its unique combination of synergic active principles. SiluÈ activates lipolysis and local lipidic metabolism thanks to extract of Fucus vesiculosus alga [1], rich in iodine and to the extract of Pao Rosa, rich in pterocarpans. The methylxantines, such as theophylline and caffeine[2] contribute to the lipolytic effect in a synergic way, both by enhancing adipocytes’ metabolism and by stimulating fat stock mobilization.

Indeed the 100% natural extract of Pao Rosa from Madagascar (approved by organic certification bodies) boasts diverse beneficial properties: it limits the new formation of fat cells (adipogenesis), inhibits fat stocking into adipocytes (lipogenesis) and increases the lipolytic effect of caffeine. Such a complex and synergic mechanism produces good results in the early stages of cellulite development as well as in more advanced stages.

silue2Anti-oedema and draining actions are obtained by the presence of several essential oils such as Caraway, Juniper, Fennel, Lemon, Lavender, Thyme, Rosemary and Clove, endowed with anti-inflammatory properties, too. Such activities also promoted by Centella asiatica extract, rich of triterpenes, and by Fenugreek, rich of polyphenols, both endowed with draining and protective action of blood vessels. Aescin, a triterpenic saponin from Horse chestnut help protect vessels. The essential oils of Thyme, Mint and Rosemary assure homogeneity of blood perfusion and help toxins removal. Besides the lipolytic ingredients with draining and vasotonic activities, SiluÈ contains precious vegetal oils which help skin elasticity. Vitamin E, Sweet Almonds and Jojoba oils, along with Olive Unsaponifiable fraction contribute to increase skin hydration (+46% !)  after only one month of treatment. Moreover, hydrating agents such as Hyaluronate, Saccharide Isomerate and Propandiol contribute with deep moisturizing action.

The good diffusion properties of ingredients from the formulation through stratum corneum assures optimal overall action. Moreover, the exfoliation agents determine a faster cellular turn-over, working through indirect enzymatic mechanism with no irritation. The vegetal lipophylic esters from Willow and Cumin help give silkiness and smoothness to the skin.

Cellulite doesn’t appear in one day and it can’t be removed in two weeks! We do not offer miracles but verified results obtained in our R&D laboratories and confirmed by efficacy tests on human volunteers. Our common goal is to guarantee the real effect… and it works! Let’s take care of our skin’s wellness: this is the key to genuine beauty!

[1] Hexsel D, Orlandi C, Zechmeister do Prado D. Botanical extracts used in the treatment of cellulite. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):866-72; discussion 872.
[2] Herman A, Herman AP. Caffeine’s mechanisms of action and its cosmetic use. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(1):8-14.

Springtime: let’s take care of our hands and feet!

PiediManiHave you ever thought about how hands are important in our life? Hands clearly substitute a missing word in a conversation,  give love with a caress, carry out our daily activities. Our hands powerfully communicate: they are our business card. They barely lie to us about age and they reveal evidently age’s signs, when detracted.

How many times our hands are subjected to continuous injuries? Let’s think about the simple gesture of washing hands with ice-cold water, changing suddenly from warm to frozen places during winter or using harsh detergents in home cleaning activities. After such a harsh treatment, our hand skin become certainly red and dry. Our skin – being the first defense barrier – is made of hydro-lipidic film, which naturally protects our hands from environmental changes but it has a limited resistance. Our hands are more fragile than other body areas due to the limited amount of sebaceous glands, that make them more subjected to dryness. Moreover, they are always exposed to sunlight, also during winter.

You should everyday protect hands from external injuries, re-equilibrating natural hydrolipidic protective film with the aid of a suitable nourishing and moisturizing cream.

The hand cream GlovÉ is a complete wellness treatment for hands with protective, moisturizing and elasticizing action. Precious elements, such as natural ceramides  and  vitamin E along with pure essential oils and  distilled water rich of oligoelements, give elasticity and hydration to the skin tackling redden skin and irritations. With a silky texture and  a gentle non-greasy touch, the hand cream represents an invisible glove that naturally protect hands from external injuries, such as cold, detergent and chemical compounds.

maniepiedi_aprileFeet deserve equally our attention especially during springtime when they usually are exhibited. Even if they are in the spotlights during summertime, they should not be detracted during the rest of the year. In foot reflexology, body shape is compared to a tree: roots correspond to feet, trunk is our spinal column whereas leaves are represented by face. According to this methodology feet maintain the microcosm of human being so that they should be kept stable and healthy. If they are neat and beautiful, they could be appealing, especially when uncovered.

In spite of not being so prominent, feet should paid a special attention too. C.R.P. foot cream is  specifically designed to give relief to tired feet and attenuate problems related to strong dryness, such as hard skin and calluses. Talc, with the absorbing action, reduces abundant sweat whereas Tea Tree oil and the antiseptic essential oils help in protecting feet from mycosis and from excessive bacterial proliferation caused by closes shoes.

Beauty wakes up during springtime! Let’s take time to regenerate and shine our hands and feet with dedicated specific treatments.

Ingredients’ purity: efficacy and safety

I have been frequently come across in cosmetic company websites which excessively boast the importance of purity of vegetal extracts for the efficacy of cosmetic products. I end up with catchy phrases such as “…our cream is the most effective product on the market, because our Ginseng dry extract e is assayed 10% in  ginsenosides differently to the majority of competitors who use 3% assayed Ginseng…”

glass-containers-1205652_1920Well, let’s clarify the topic in two points:

  1. Efficacy is associated both to the extract purity and to the used amount in formulation
  2. If certain extract is assayed in 60% of something, what is the remaining 40%?

The first point is related to the fact that an extract 100% pure could be ideally used. For instance,  using one tenth of a certain ingredient in the formulation means that a less effective product (or with lesser amount of ingredient) it will obtained in comparison to the use of the same amount of the less pure extract. The real amount of the active extract in the final formulation relies on the efficacy of the product.

The second most important point is linked to safety of the cosmetic product: a botanical low-percentage pure extract will contain higher amount of impurities (extraction solvents / not declared components) in comparison to purer extract.

Modern cosmetic science crosses over pharmaceutical field so that we usually talk about cosmeceutics that support the topic that the functional and technical ingredients (commonly known as excipients) play a major role in activity along with the proper active ingredient. For instance, we demonstrated the ability of certain essential oils or fatty acids (from vegetable origin) to behave as enhancers for cutaneous absorption for some hydro- or liposoluble vitamins. The results were published in some relevant scientific journals.[1-4]

Definitely, ingredients’ purity relies on high percentage of the active ingredient: the purer is the extract, the lesser is the room for unknown ingredient and dangerous components (additives, plasticiser, solvents, dyes, etc.) in the formula.

I’d like to highlight the importance of quality and purity of the extracts and active ingredients to be used in cosmetic formulation in order to assure efficacy and safety. At last, don’t be fooled by advertising slogan which reveal meaningless at the end.

[1] S. Gabbanini, E. Lucchi, M. Carli, E. Berlini, A. Minghetti, L. Valgimigli, In vitro evaluation of the permeation through reconstructed human epidermis of essentials oils from cosmetic formulations, J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 50 (2009) 370–376.
[2] S. Gabbanini, R. Matera,  C. Beltramini, A. Minghetti, L. Valgimigli. Analysis of in vitro release through reconstructed human epidermis and synthetic membranes of multi-vitamins from cosmetic formulations J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 52 (2010) 461– 467.
[3] L. Valgimigli, S. Gabbanini, G. Arniani, E. Lucchi. Influence of the lipid-phase composition on the trans-epidermal transfer of vitamin B6 from O/W emulsions. HPC Today, 2013, 8, 24-27.
[4] L. Valgimigli, S. Gabbanini, E. Berlini, E. Lucchi, C. Beltramini and Y.L. Bertarelli. Lemon (Citrus limon, Burm.f.) essential oil enhances the trans-epidermal release of lipid- (A, E) and water- (B6, C) soluble vitamins from topical emulsions in reconstructed human epidermis, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 34 (2012) 347–356.

Parfum analysis at BeC: not only essential oils

Flavors, essential oils and perfumes play a key role in appealing cosmetic consumers as commonly known by marketing experts.  “Olfactory memory” is an unconscious mechanism that influences learning process and is able to stimulate other senses. Until Second Industrial Revolution (1870) perfumes were only obtained from essential oils or natural extracts (from animal or vegetal origin), but the organic chemistry opened the way to new cheaper and more accessible synthetic molecules rather than natural perfumes. Nowadays, perfume companies utilize synthetic molecules and nature‑identical fragrances (endowed with a defined flavor) that make them easy to blend with essential oils to design more sophisticated fragrances.

oli_essenzialiPerfume factories usually holds expensive patents for their own blends so that they are allowed to indicate them in the list of ingredient (INCI) with the term “Fragrance / Parfum” without any legal obligation to specify chemical composition. While this position protects intellectual properties of perfume factories, it definitely allows to omit in ingredients list some regulated or banned substances (i.e. some preservatives, dyes and sunscreens) in spite of consumer safety. In order to primarily protect consumers, the European Parliament Directive 2003/15/CE identifies 26 fragrance allergens (found  mainly in perfumes)  that have to be indicated in mandatory way on label when they are beyond of a certain concentration. Moreover, the adoption of the European Regulation  (CE) n.1223/2009  implicate – for cosmetic products  and perfumes – the mandatory drafting of the Product Information File (PIF) with punctual information on toxicological data of each ingredient, substituting the outdated technical dossier.

The importance to operate serious qualitative control on fragrances stimulated many fragrance producers to test their products – for quality assurance and certification – in order to get all information for PIF drafting. Our analysts in BeC laboratories can perform a variety of tests to fulfill technical data:

  • Qualitative and quantitative analyses of essential oils and other volatile mixtures by gaschromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Qualitative and quantitative GC-MS analyses of allergens (Directive 2003/15/CE)
  • UV-VIS spectrophotometric analysis of color
  • Refractive index determination
  • Stability study to PAO (period after opening) evaluation
  • Accelerated aging with GC-MS qualitative and quantitative analysis

With this service, BeC makes available a more than thirty-year expertise in essential oil with the final aim to guarantee consumer safety and contribute to protect global health.

Essential oils and Nutraceutics

Libro_essential_oilsAt BeC, we have been using essential oils in cosmetics and diet supplements for more than 30 years. Our natural cosmetics boast a unique touch not only for special flavours but also for important beneficial activities provided by such a “Nature’s distillates”. Today we recommend a relevant publication where typical features and innovative properties of essential oils were described, ranging from multiple uses in traditional Eastern medicine to Western culture and much more. We suggest the book “Essential Oils as Natural Food Additives” published some years ago by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (New York, 2012) because we have proudly contributed to scientific and reliable information in accordance to BeC’s choice to invest successfully in Research & Development.

Plant essential oils have been used for centuries in the preparation of cosmetic fragrances and food flavors, as well as in traditional medicines as therapeutic remedies. In recent years they have been attracting the renewed interest of both the scientific community and the general public. Their use in different aspects of human life is generally regarded as being part of a healthier, natural-oriented life style. On the other hand, a wealth of scientific studies has been documenting their biological properties, particularly associated with their antimicrobial and antioxidant activities, although additional medicinal properties have also been brought to light. This book offers an up-to-date examination of scientific literature on the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of main dietary essential oils from all over the world, together with a general introduction to their chemistry, classification, bio-synthetic origin, preparation and analysis.

Further information on Publisher’s website

https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=28680

Magnolia: a Nature’s gift! The beneficial properties of the Eastern bark

magnoliaMagnolia officinalis is one of flowering plant of Magnoliaceae family, originating from Far East (China, Thailand, Korea and Japan). Several officinal extracts from bark and strobili have been used in traditional eastern medicine. In particular, special decoctions or teas from Magnolia bark have been used for 2000 years in traditional Chinese medicine for treating different disorders, such as cough, asthma and gastrointestinal or urinary tract illnesses. The eastern herbalist preparation, known as “Saiboku-to” – containing Magnolia bark – have been used up till now to alleviate asthma and  anxiety as well.

The majority of beneficial activities of Magnolia derive from certain allyl-phenols, such as magnolol and honokiol. Several pharmacological activities are ascribed to Magnolia:  the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotectant activities along with the ability to inhibit platelets aggregation. Among the new promising actions it should be cited the action in contrast angiogenesis and certain tumor mechanisms. Bioactive components of Magnolia (above all honokiol) have been attracted deep interest: scientific community is investigating beneficial activity toward anxiety, depression and stress treatment. Among documented scientific properties, particular attention is addressed to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepato-protective properties.

The relevant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Magnolia have been explored for cosmetic purposes, as well. Very recently, great interest have been addressed to antimicrobial activities in topical formulation: Magnolia shows beneficial effects in  young skin in limiting acne related bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes. Moreover, recent studies on oral-care applications have been shown magnolol and honokiol are able to modulate cellular activities of microorganisms causing dental caries.

magnolia2Thanks to antibacterial properties of Magnolia, the bark extract have useful cosmetic applications both as new organic or natural preservative and as active ingredient with antiseptic and dermo-hugienic properties, useful in preventing skin infections. Magnolia officinalis could represent an alternative preservative in skin-care cosmetics and a functional ingredient being twice as precious and useful. For these reasons, we envisioned to include Magnolia extract in several products of our traditional BeC cosmetic line. In particular, it is an ingredient of Nuova Maschera and Pasta Idrogel, contributing to important dermopurifying properties. The soothing cream VelvÈ contains Magnolia extract (rich in magnolol and honokiol) that helps in tackling cellular aging, alleviates irritation phenomena and contributes to limit skin oxidative processes.

Thanks to its clean and eco-friendly production processes, approved by certification bodies like Ecocert, Magnolia extract could be included also in our new organic cosmetic line Terra biocare, We include it in the specifically designed formulation for delicate and impure skin: the face organic cream PuraBi.

Definitely, Magnolia bark with its synergic properties appears as a Nature’s gift: traditionally used for calming and relaxing properties since centuries, it has nowadays showed precious antioxidant, antimicrobial and dermohygienic properties, exploited with knowledge in natural cosmetics.