Ya I'm still alive
Almost died from lack of sleep last week but I'm pretty sure I made up for it this week LOL
Sorry I haven't been replying comments too. Won't make excuses for bad behaviour 😭 sorry!!! 🙇🏻♀️
I'm back today with a post on active ingredients used in cosmetic products! And I'll try to get around replying comments (some of them from 20 days ago O M GEE 😱)
But first, let me attempt to explain what an cosmetic actives are!
What are actives?
I say attempt because there is no legal definition and it really depends on how it is interpreted.
An active, defined by Dr Lintner (a big shot in cosmetics industry research 😂) is a material "for which it is possible to carry out controlled experiments in which a baseline cosmetic effect is measurably enhanced by the addition of the active in a defined concentration."
A bit cheem but basically what this means is that when an active is added to the formulation at a certain concentration, the active should induce a cosmetic effect.
A cosmetic effect is something like moisturising, reducing appearance of wrinkles, lightening, exfoliating etc.
Anything that induces a physiological change, will fall in the boundary zone between pharmaceuticals and cosmetics - cosmeceuticals as they are called in America and quasi-drugs in Japan.
So basically anything that isn't merely functional (i.e. surfactants or lipids etc) but gives a enhanced effect that can be measured like increased hydration, shallowing of wrinkles is an active.
This is where it gets very confusing, because glycerin can be an active or not, and this depends on how the definition is interpreted.
But okay that's not the point of today's post actually.
Factors affecting activity of actives
When someone asks me, "Does ________ work?" I actually don't know the answer.
That's cause it really depends on a few factors:
1) activity of the active molecule - what does it do to the skin
2) size of the molecule - anything larger than 500 Daltons is just going to sit on the surface so pure collagen is not going anywhere
And most importantly,
3) delivery of the active to the right site of action
For example, UV actives should sit on the surface but lightening actives need to penetrate the upper layers of the epidermis to reach the melanocytes (cells that create melanin)
The actives have to be able to get to the right place for them to work.
Absorption and penetration of actives
Just because the product formulation contains the active ingredient doesn't mean the product will work.
It depends on whether the active is hydrophilic (likes water) or lipophilic (likes oil).
The stratum corneum, the topmost layer of the epidermis (the first layer of the skin) consists of corneocytes, flattened skin cells that are filled with keratin, and a lipid bilayer in between the corneocytes.
This means that if the active is meant to penetrate the SC, it has to be lipophilic, or have some sort of affinity with oils in between the corneocytes.
Hydrophilic actives, on the other hand, will have to go through the hydrophilic corneocytes. But that's the problem here.
The active goes through one corneocyte but it has to get through the intercellular lipids before it can get to the next corneocyte.
So does this mean hydrophilic actives are useless?
Not entirely, the lipid bilayer does contain water so this just means that the penetration of these actives might be a little less efficient.
But again it all depends on the chemistry of the active.
😒 I really don't like to say "depends" but I have to LOLOL
And here in lies the problem, the nature of the formulation does affect how much of the active gets to the site of action.
The solubility of the active matters in this case and it is highly technical and a bit too complex to explain but basically this explains why people sometimes find products ineffective.
How will I know whether the actives in a product work?
HAHAHAHA I also don't have the answer lol
But generally, bigger companies will have access to the information, expert consultation and software for the "Formulation For Efficacy (FFE)" model.
Also, another way to know whether something works is to find out through HONEST user reviews I guess.
But yea hopefully this FFE will take off and cosmetic scientists will use it to make new products more efficacious!
#pheebscosmeticsguide #pheebsskincare #dayrebeauty
Friday, 28 Oct 2016
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