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The Blossoming of Naturals

By: Rachel Chapman
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Rooibos extract. A quote about rooibos extract from one industry source offers an impressive claim: “New spa treatments for anti-aging use rooibos extract from South African red bush that has powerful antioxidant ingredients—50 times more effective than green tea.”1 The rooibos shrub is a new and hot ingredient in skin care. It first was used centuries ago by the indigenous Khoisan tribe as an herbal remedy and healing tea. The extract from this shrub is said to be brimming with flavonoids and, as previously mentioned, is more potent than green tea.

Rooibos grows in arid conditions in the Cedarburg Mountains of the Western Cape of South Africa. Its production assists in boosting the economy of that region, which suffers from an 82% unemployment rate. As international demand for rooibos increases, nonprofit organizations have assisted farmers in implementing methods of cultivation in order to compete in the world market. Most products containing rooibos originate outside of the United States in places such as Japan, South Korea and South Africa.

Seabuckthorn oil. Seabuckthorn oil appears to be an ideal ingredient for skin care. Derived from a wild bush that grows in poor arid soils, such as those found in the Gobi Desert, Tibetan and Mongolian legend has it that Genghis Khan considered the oil and berries to be the key to making his army stronger than his enemies. Seabuckthorn oil traditionally has been used in wound healing and is said to counter the effects of sun damage. The oil is processed from seeds and berries, and is the best-known source for a bevy of vitamins, including vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene. It also contains essential fatty acids; amino acids; flavonoids; and omega-3, -6 and -9, as well as more potassium than sodium. The high content of its fatty acids is important to the claim that it can restore skin tissue. This ingredient is useful in anti-aging and sun care products.

Tomato extract. New active ingredients are being derived from colorless carotenoids in tomatoes—the precursors to phytoene and phytofluene—by extracting them before the plant can convert them into red pigment. These colorless carotenoids are said to have antioxidant, UV-protective, anti-inflammatory and anti-mutagenic properties.

Circling back

The Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) program, recently introduced legislation in Europe, could force the beauty industry back to basics of all things being truly natural. According to one industry expert, raw materials suppliers are afraid of what is coming next in regard to the new REACH program. Essentially, the approved bill requires anyone manufacturing or importing more than 1 ton of any chemical substance per year to register it in a centralized database. The intent is to protect the environment and European citizens, as well as to boost competitiveness and innovation within the European chemical industry.