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Excellent Extracts

By: Desiree Mattox
Posted: September 24, 2010, from the October 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Similar to most other industries, the spa industry has had to make a few adjustments in order to survive this unfortunate economy. Although the spa was once a haven of luxury and relaxation, it has become increasingly important to establish the need for spa services in clients’ minds—and on their priority lists. In the marketing realm, some key tips to increasing revenue have been to focus on quick or immediate results, add express treatments to the menu and offer a selection of add-on services to maintain the luxury aspect of the spa. These are all great tips that are strongly based on something that may be easily overlooked—ingredients.

The ingredients used during a service can make or break a client’s overall experience. Although a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere paired with a skilled spa professional make the spa visit enjoyable, clients will ultimately remember how well a service lived up to the promises made on the menu. The spa culture was built on the use of natural ingredients from throughout the world. Now that more and more consumers are hopping on the natural and organic bandwagon, it’s a great time to implement less common natural and organic ingredients to make services stand out. See Marketing Natural and Organic Ingredients in Services.

Chemical components

Botanical and fruit extracts offer a number of skin benefits that appeal to the growing market of clients interested in anti-aging and sun care treatments, which often work hand in hand, as well as moisturizing and exfoliating treatments. By definition, an extract is a comprehensive collection of beneficial chemical components found in a plant or fruit. In essence, it is a highly concentrated version of the leaf, stem or seed of a particular plant or fruit. Often extracts can be standardized to further capitalize on the benefits of a specific chemical component. Standardized extracts are natural actives for cosmetic preparations that allow for increasingly results-driven products. When considering which extracts are best suited for your services, it is important to understand the role various chemical components play in skin care.

Vitamin A. Also known as retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate and retinoic acid, is a tried and true anti-aging ingredient. Research has shown that when applied topically, vitamin A can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.1 As the skin ages, collagen production decreases, leading to thinner, less taut skin. Vitamin A has been shown to increase the production of procollagen, the precursor to collagen production, and glycosaminoglycan, which is known to retain significant amounts of water.1 Thus, vitamin A aids in the maintenance of skin structure and moisturization to reduce the signs of aging.

Vitamins C and E. Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that can combat free radicals caused by sun exposure. Free radicals act as scavengers looking to find suitable mates. As a result, they attack structural components of the skin, such as collagen and elastin, which can lead to aging in the form of fine lines and wrinkles. Although vitamin A helps restore the skin post-aging, vitamins C and E are more preventive ingredients.