Natural remedies against excessive water retention

Swollen legs, tiredness, tingling and water retention are common circulation problems for men and women. Beside being initially beauty problems, they can implicate several concerns. Several systematic causes can determine excessive water retention in tissues: long working hours in up-right position, a sedentary lifestyle, an excessive salt consumption, some kidney disorders,  uncomfortable shoes, high toxins stocking, drug abuse…

depurplus_collageWe can adopt several precautions to overcome these problems: during summertime we should tonify our legs with jets of cold water or enjoy frequent footbaths to reactivate slow blood circulation that can cause oedema and water retention. Further suggestions include lymphatic draining massages and frequent exercise, with a special recommendation for a genuine healthy diet. Drinking a lot of water will help stimulate tissue drainage, which should be associated to increased intake of antioxidants and vitamins – i.e. vitamin C and E, Zinc and Copper with flavonoids of Cranberry – that will contribute by protecting peripheral circulation.

Among natural remedies, diet supplement Depur Plus – which contains the above mentioned ingredients –  is designed to support the physiologic activity of the urinary tract, helping eliminate the residues of metabolic pathways and assure liquid and ionic equilibrium of our organism.

Active ingredients extracted from Cranberry act protecting and reducing inflammatory processes: they help maintain healthy kidneys and prevent the onset of infections.[1] Such an activity is strengthened by the components of Birch, a natural salicilates-rich plant with antioxidant properties,[2] along with the essential oils of Caraway, Cajeput and Juniper.

Depur PlusIn order to favour kidney function and natural purification, several other botanical extracts endowed with known diuretic properties are includedGoldenrodJava TeaMouse Ear hawkweed and Dandelion favour liquids drainage and the urinary function, and contribute to reduce liquid stasis. Moreover, dandelion extract, endowed with choleretic properties, stimulates digestion and diuresis, especially when extra detoxification is needed. The very ancient Equisetum plant, known since ages for the diuretic action, is able to accumulate special minerals in the tissues (i.e. Silicates)  to protect against pathogens’ attacks. Thanks to such ability in restore minerals, Equisetum has been used for a long time in traditional medicine for treating several bone disorder[3] and it is recommended as draining agent that will not decrease physiologic mineral stocks in our body.

Depur Plus takes care of body wellness, protects and favours normal kidney function and it could be “our ally for beauty” against liquid retention and aesthetic problems caused by cellulite. It can also complement wellness massage treatments to obtain more rapid and more satisfying results!!

[1] Maki KC et al Consumption of a cranberry juice beverage lowered the number of clinical urinary tract infection episodes in women with a recent history of urinary tract infection Am J Clin Nutr. 2016; 103(6):1434-42.
[2] Raudonė L et al. Quality evaluation of different preparations of dry extracts of birch (Betula pendula Roth) leaves  Nat Prod Res. 2014; 28(19):1645-8.
[3] Costa-Rodrigues J et al Inhibition of human in vitro osteoclastogenesis by Equisetum arvense Cell Prolif. 2012; 45(6): 566-76.

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!

UV filters in sunscreens: things we should know on their nature and functioning

Sunscreens or UV filters are natural or synthetic compounds that are included in cosmetic formulations to protect the skin from damages caused by solar exposure. In the case of specific sunscreen formulas (to be used for sunbathing), they are responsible for the Solar Protection Factor, SPF, whose value indicates the degree of protection the formula will guarantee to our skin, thereby avoiding erythema and other damages like photo-aging. What do UV filters exactly do and how do they act? The principle is very simple: UV filters reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface on which they are applied, for instance skin surface. The difference among the many UV filters lies in the mechanism by which they achieve this goal and they can be grouped in two categories.

Physical and chemical filter - effecto on skin

Mechanism of action of physical and chemical filters on the skin

Physical filters reflect (back) a portion of solar radiation, letting only a limited fraction of light cross them and reach the skin. Therefore, they do not interact with solar radiation and they are not altered by it at all. Chemical filters, instead, absorb a portion of solar radiation, and use it to achieve a higher quantum energy state. Immediately after, such excess energy is released to the environment in the form of heat, thereby making the filter ready to absorb solar energy again. The different mechanisms of action are summarized in the picture on the left. In both cases, the amount of solar energy allowed to pass – which is not reflected nor absorbed – depends on the amount of filters applied on the skin, which determines the solar protection factor.
Both types of filters offer advantages and disadvantages: physical filters have the advantage of being completely stable and not being damaged by solar radiation. Furthermore, compounds like Zinc oxide are totally inert and are very safe for skin. Their disadvantage lies in the difficulty to reach high SPF values without causing the so-called “white effect”. In order to reduce this effect, it is possible to use them in micronized form, which is much more precious (BeC uses this form in all sunscreen formulas). However, even micronized forms do not allow reaching high protection without becoming “visible” on the skin. Therefore, in high protection formulas they are usually combined with chemical filters. Chemicals filters, infact, have the advantage of being very effective and of offering excellent performance while being completely invisible. They disperse very well in the formulation affording a more homogenous protection (corresponding to a more even tan!); however, since they absorb the solar energy, they are subjected to the risk of photo-degradation, or they could undergo photochemical reactions.
At this point, let’s better clarify a very important aspect. Often, the expression “chemical filter” is confused with “synthetic filter”, i.e. artificial, while it is generally believed that physical filters are natural. This is not necessarily true! Physical filters are normally inorganic, i.e. minerals, and normally they are natural, but they can as well be synthetic, i.e. artificially produced.

Oryzanol

gamma-oryzanol: a natural “chemical” filter extracted from rice

On the other hand, the most common chemical filters are often synthetic, i.e. man made; however, there exist also examples of natural chemical filters. Among the most impportant ones, there is certainly gamma-oryzanol, which is extracted from rice bran (see picture on the left), and other examples are cinnamic acid, typical of cinnamon but found also in Brassica vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, etc) and in shea butter, carotenoids(e.g. from carrots, tomatoes and several red-orange fruits), Vitamin E and many more. These compounds have also the advantage of possessing additional properties (e.g. antioxidant, soothing, calming, anti-age); unfortunately, however, they are nor as effective as synthetic chemical filters. BeC uses natural chemical filters when high SPF values are not requested (e.g. in Huile SolE’), and combines natural and synthetic chemical filters when high protection is aimed at.

The take home message is: don’t be fooled by the words! The adjectives Chemical or Physical, for filters, indicate their mechanism of action not their origin. The origin can either be natural or synthetic, but the most important aspect is their stability toward solar radiation, which is fundamental for our safety under sunlight.