As we all know, the sector of dermo-cosmetics is a highly competitive segment, and as such, the marketing effort connected to dermo-cosmetic skin care products has gained significant momentum in the past decades.
We are now all used to seeing the infamous before/after pictures of patients’ faces, but which never specify treatment durations, or brands boasting spectacular product success rates, but which deliberately omit to mention the protocol used or size of the study sample which effectively skews the results showcased. This problem has become so chronic, that in stricter countries such as Japan, the use of before and after treatment photos in aesthetics is now banned.
Another plague of this industry is the race to display inflated percentages of active ingredients as a deceptive tool to capture patients with the lure the more is better. But like everything in life more is not necessarily better, rather it’s a question of reasonable and sufficient quantity and proportion
There are many stratagems used by skincare brands – often based on ingredient presentations- used by skin care product manufacturers in the skin depigmentation sector. Let’s take a look of three specific examples of ingredients often touted as having more effect than they actually do.
One of the most classic stratagems surrounds the ingredient vitamin C. This vitamin indeed is one of the most effective and scientifically proven with an excellent safety profile. It plays a major role in collagen synthesis, which means that it stimulates the production of this protein and in turn has an effect on skin depigmentation, which is one of our main concerns here at NUNII. However, as is often the case there is a race to the top for who has the ”highest” concentration of vitamin C. Firstly there are many types of vitamin C, with varying stability and penetration capacities to the skin. Not all vitamin C and their esterified derivatives forms are physiologically effective so it can be helpful to do some research on which form it contains. Even stabilized Vitamin C can still oxidize easily and can break down in UV light which lessen its potency, so it’s best to opt for formulas in air-tight packaging, pumps or single-use, individually wrapped products, not in packaging that are opened and closed on a daily basis.
The fact is that super doses of vitamin C do not bring any extra benefit even if they are often sold at premium prices. Why ? Because clinical research has proven that the maximum skin absorption of vitamin C occurs at 20% strength and increasing the concentration beyond this limit does not result in greater skin absorption as it simply cannot be absorbed or stored in the skin. Vitamin C products even with concentrations of between 10-15% or more are also more likely to run the risk of causing skin irritation.
The second element often praised by companies’ marketing campaigns are SPFs. We at NUNII have run across a newly advertised sun protection factor rated 130, which, in spite of the fact that it contains some depigmenting agents, displays a uselessly high sun protection factor, since it is a known fact that a conventional SPF 15 is sufficient enough to protect skin against 93% of UVB rays. What’s more, using sunblocks with high SPFs can even reveal outright hazardous to one’s health, as they lead to a false sense of security among patients leading them often to over expose themselves to the sun. High SPF also contain high levels of harmful chemical filtres they are today known to be endocrine disruptors. Once applied on the skin, these disruptors travel through the cutaneous barrier, then can go through the blood system to eventually reach other organs. Endocrine disruptors are highly polemic because are likely to interfere with our hormonal balance and can have a negative influence on the body, namely by being responsible for diseases developed later in life because they have a long-term effect on the body.
The third category of ingredients often trumpeted in marketing campaigns are plant extracts, but in fact one must rather focus on the quality and purity of plant extracts used in the composition of skin care products. The general process used to obtain plant extracts from plants used in skin care products consists in collecting a plant’s active molecules, and there are several ways to achieve this molecule extraction.
The first approach consists in using the process of water extraction, very much the same way as when we prepare tea, using hot water. This process enables to collect a cocktail of molecules from plants with water or another extraction medium. Active ingredients issue from such production methods are typically very low in purity, containing sometimes as little as 10% of the active molecules. So if a plant extract such as licorice root extract known for its lightening action on the skin is used at 1% in a cream, in reality the cream only contains 10% of 1% = 0.1%, which well as you can imagine is not going to have much of an action on the skin. The other plant extraction approach as used in pharmaceuticals uses solvents such as alcohol, hexane or even super citrical CO² for example. This method captures and separates specific molecules for their collection. The result becomes a true molecule concentrate which contains active ingredients, which can be as high as 95% rich in concentration. Such pure molecules obtained are then used to accurately target a particular protein or gene.
Regarding skin pigmentation based on a better understanding behind the mechanism of melanogenesis and skin pigmentation, we now know that to have an effective action one needs not only to use quality pure ingredients for strong action but one must also target the problem at multiple target points of the melanogenesis process with pure actives rather than simply targeting it with fewer supposedly higher concentration but often less pure and controversial ingredients which can potentially lead to irritation and undesired side effects.
This is the very reason why NUNII Laboratoire uses simple, yet highly effective formulations with high purity active ingredients which are scientifically accessed and dosed with the minimum recommended doses to target multiple pathways in the melanogenesis ; the priority being to avoid the potential risk of undesired side effects.
Check us out on this blog, as we soon will share a dedicated report to endocrine disruptors, which according to the World Health Organisation are a global health concern, and which unfortunately are still present in many cream formulations. This article will be a valuable opportunity to clarify their role in general and to raise your awareness about the effects of certain chemicals and ingredients and how they impact adversely on our general health and wellbeing.