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!

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.

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

Skin damage caused by “wrong” sunscreens: the photosensitization phenomenon

 creme solari becAs we have seen in the previous post, many sunscreens get damaged by sun radiation as they absorb it. The modest photo-stability of such sunscreens has important consequences on the safety and efficacy of sun-care products based on them. In the previous discussion we have seen that photo-instability of sunscreens causes a reduction of sun protection factor (SPF) with time. There are, however, additional interactions of sunscreens with sunlight that have even worse consequences on their safety. We will discuss them in this article.
Solar radiation contains sufficient energy to damage some molecules (M), including some molecules found in our skin, as exemplified in the equation:

M + light→ fragment-A + fragment-B

Fragments indicated as A and B, in the example above, are often free radicals that can attack other molecules, damaging or modifying them. For instance, if such a reaction occurred in our skin, damage could occur to structural proteins like collagen and elastin, contributing to the formation of wrinkles and the onsetting of photo-aging. Furthermore, it could start chain-reactions leading to erythema, other inflammatory states and even genetic mutations (skin cancer). Products containing sunscreens are meant to protect skin from all such damages, and normally they do, by decreasing the amount of UV radiation that hits our skin, i.e. acting as “filters”. But CAUTION !!! Not all the sunscreens are friends of our skin, and actually some might cause bigger damage than that they are expected to prevent. How?
Let’s go back to our previous example. In order for M to react with light, it is necessary that molecule M is at least able to absorb the light at quantum level, i.e. it is necessary the energy carried by light photons hitting M corresponds exactly to the energy gap between quantum levels in the molecule. Often this is not the case and molecule M would be perfectly “safe” if it was not for the presence of other molecules called photosensitizers.

benzofenone

Benzophenone and main benzophenone derivatives used as sunscreen in sun-care cosmetic products as well as in the protection of manufacts. The common base structure is drawn in blue

F + light F*  

then…

F* + M F + fragment-A + fragment-B

This process is well known in photochemistry and benzophenone is among the photosensitizers of broader use in industrial processes to induce photochemical reactions. Benzophenone is also the lead structure for many and, unfortunately, very popular sunscreens, widely used in sun-care cosmetics to give sun protection factor. Most common examples are depicted in the figure above. Sunscreens like benzophenone-3 and benzophenone-4 are structurally related to benzophenone and are potent photosensitizers. In case M is a biomolecule in our skin, such as collagen, elastin, an enzyme or DNA, this can be damages by exposure to sunlight in the presence of photosensitizers (like benzophenone derivatives) much more it would happen in their absence. In other words, certain sunscreens can amplify the damage to our skin caused by sunlight.

Many benzophenone derivatives are available today and 12 of them are of common use.  Those more commonly used in the manufacture of sun-care cosmetics and other goods, are listed in the following:

Benzophenone-1: 2,4-Dihydroxybenzophenone
Benzoophenone-2: 2,2′,4,4′-Tetrahydroxybenzophenone
Benzophenone-3 (or oxybenzone): 2-Hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone
Benzophenone-4 (or sulisbenzone): 2-Hydroxy-4-methoxy-benzophenone-5-sulphonic acid
Benzophenone-5 (the sodium salt of sulisbenzone): Benzenesulfonic acid, 5-benzoyl-4-hydroxy-2-methoxy-, monosodium salt
Benzophenone-8 (or dioxybenzone): 2-Hydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl)-(2-hydroxyphenyl)methanone
Benzophenone-10 (or mexenone): 2-hydroxy-4-methoxy-4′-methyl-benzophenone
Benzophenone-11: it is a mixture of benzophenone 2 e 6.

For these reasons BeC does not use benzophenone derivatives in sun-care products !!! BeC uses only physical filters in low protection products and, in high protection products, we use a combination of physical filters and new generation chemical filters, which are highly photostable. Here you can find more info on BeC sun-care products.

Therefore, when we chose a sun-care product, it is very important we pay attention to the label and read the composition: don’t look at the SPF value only!

We often hear that we should not expose to sunlight after having used perfumes or other products, as they can give photosensitization problems. The typical recommendation is to use only sunscreen products, but caution should be paid when we choose the sunscreen product, as even sunscreens can cause the same problems. Therefore, even if you have no particular problem of sensitivity to sunlight and think that any product will do the job, think again and don’t overlook the importance of choosing high quality sunscreens, so to make sure that the problems you don’t have will not be caused by the wrong product.

Photo-degradation of sunscreens and skin damaging

soleWe have previously discussed the mechanism of action of sunscreens, underlining that chemical sunscreens absorb the energy of sunlight and subsequently re-emit it in the form of heat, possibly without any alteration in the structure of the sunscreen itself. Possibly… does it always go this way? Unfortunately it doesn’t. For this reason we wish to discuss here a bit more on the photostability of sunscreens. Although this aspect is often overlooked (guess why?), it has major consequences on our health.
After having absorbed sunlight energy, chemical sunscreens are in a higher quantum energy state, from which they can undergo one of three processes:

  1.    they can go back to the lower energy state by loosing energy in the form of heat (which is often not perceived by our senses), thereby making ready to start over again and absorb more solar energy;
  2.     they can release the excess energy by breaking their structure into fragments, i.e. they degrade and form free radicals or use the energy to react with other molecules (photochemical reactions);
  3.     they can transfer the excess energy to another molecule by “hitting it”, i.e. they behave as photo-sensitizers.

Ideally, sunscreens should use only the first route; however, not all the sunscreens are identical and some of them, which are less stable than others, after several absorption-emission cycles, may take the second route (we will discuss in a following post of those sunscreens that take the third route and act as photosensitizers).
If the sunscreen degrades, it most commonly produces free radicals and other dangerous species. If the sunscreen has been absorbed deeply into our skin, those free radicals can attack and damage proteins and DNA, accelerating the photo-aging processes of the skin. In high quality formulations such damages can be prevented by the abundant presence of antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E) in the formula, so to block free radicals before they can cause any damage. Therefore, it is very important to always choose high quality products after careful reading of their label.
There is, however, another point to take into account: as the sunscreen degrades the solar protection factor (SPF) of the product progressively decreases. And antioxidants cannot help in this reguard.

photo-degradation_EN

Variation of the UV-Vis absorption spectra of two examples of sunscreen formulation, after exposure of the formulation to the same “dose” of sunlight (UV irradiation). The upper graph refers to a formulation with NON photostable sunscreens, which evidently shows a reduction of the spectrum after UV exposure, meaning a marked decrease in the SPF. The lower graph, instead, shows the behavior of a (BeC) formulation with photostable sunscreens: only negligible variation of the spectrum is displayed after irradiation implying no loss of SPF and more durable performance.

The fact that a sunscreen formula looses its SPF on exposing to sunlight depends on the phostability of the sunscreens: with highly photostable sunscreens the phenomenon has negligible relevance; however, with little photostable sunscreen molecules, which are unfortunately the most common in commercial formulas, the phenomenon is very relevant, as illustrated in the graphs on the left, displaying the comparison between two real formulations: a famous commercial products (don’t ask which one) and BeC sunscreen SPF15 cream.
Many of us think that “waterproof” sunscreen formulas – which can resist for several minutes of swimming in seawater – would provide a safer protection for the entire day, since the product would not be washed away. A look at the graphs clearly tells that this is not the case: a waterproof sunscreen formula does not guarantee safer daylong protection. First of all, we should consider whether the sunscreen contained in the formula is photostable!!! Secondly, we should consider that, even if the sunscreen is photostable, during a typical day at the seaside, we dry ourselves with a towel; we roll up in the sand, which we clean up by rubbing or washing our skin; we sweat in the heat or during physical activity (e.g. beach sports). All such actions end up removing the sunscreen form our skin anyway. Therefore, a high quality sunscreen formula, based on photostable components, is the ideal choice for a safer protection, but we should not forget that it is wise to re-apply the product several times during the day, particularly in the case of children.