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Botanical Ingredients for the Medical Spa

By: Katherine Tomasso
Posted: October 31, 2013, from the November 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Botanical Ingredients for the Medical Spa

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Aloe vera. From the genus aloe, this is a succulent, stemless plant with plump, fleshy leaves. The leave’s rosettes are processed to produce a hydrating gel that is rich in amino acids that gently stimulate the cell-renewal process. It contains more than 70 nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, and has exceptional properties by virtue of its genetic structure. Aloe is very high in B vitamins, which help to renew the skin’s resistance and strength, and sustain it during times of stress.

In addition to the antibacterial and antifungal properties of the gel, glycoproteins and salicylates found in aloe vera gel have powerful anti-inflammatory abilities to aid with the skin’s healing process. The gel also supports the formation of collagen, which provides strength and structure to skin.

Imperata cylindrica. An intense and long-lasting hydrating action is achievable using products containing Imperata cylindrica, a subtropical plant that originates from Asia or Australia. Imperata cylindrica is a type of grass called Saccharum cylindrcum, which belongs to the common saccharum family (sugar cane). The root of the plant contains starches and sugars rich in potassium and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), and operates as a water sensor.

In skin care, Imperata cylindrica is best known for its unique hygroscopic feature, making it capable of trapping water in the cells and slowly releasing it over time. The results if an independent lab test performed in vivo on a product containing Imperata cylindrica resulted in more than 96% hydration eight hours after application.

The action of this extract is enhanced when it’s paired with hyaluronic acid, a super humectant that formulators are now using in both heavy and light molecular weights. The tissue-friendly characteristic of the hyaluronic acid light improves hydration levels at the deepest layers, helping skin maintain its balance and resistance. The heavier molecular weight controls transepidermal water loss (TEWL), so there are multiple benefits when the two weights work in tandem.

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