- VIEW ALL
This plant has actually nothing to do with tea plant (Camelia Sinensis) – the name “Tea Tree” was given to it by the sailors of Endeavour, who used its’ leaves as a replacement for the tea during legendary Captain James Cook’s voyage to Australia.
Aboriginal Australians used besoms made of tea tree shrubs to clean their houses and treated skin infections by crushing tea tree leaves over skin infections. And they were right – the composition of Tea Tree Oil is very similar to Eucalyptus – another great disinfectant.
In cosmetology, Tea Tree oil is mainly used to treat acne and troubled skin, thanks to its outstanding anti-bacterial and antifungal properties.
Also known as Madecassoside, Tigerkraut and Gotu Kola, Centella Asiatica has been used in medicine for more than 3000 years.
It is said that humans have learned about its healing power thanks to tigers – a wounded tiger looks for a place where the Centella plant grows, and rolls itself around the ground, so that its wounds heal faster.
Antioxidant-rich, Centella extract is widely used in cosmetics for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties to treat troubled and acne-prone skin. If used regularly, Centella also strengthens blood vessels and reinforces skin barrier functions – utmost vital for sensitive and mature skin.
In virtue of its properties, Green Tea has always been a favorite in Asian beauty rituals. People used to wash their faces and hair with it, they added it in soaps and oils and, of course, drank it.
Nowadays, Camelia Sinensis has not lost its popularity, rather, it gained even more. For one of its’ main properties is to repair the blood microvascular system*, responsible for the condition of our skin.
Moreover, Green Tea smoothens out the microrelief of the skin, thus improving rough skin texture and reducing the depth of wrinkles.
Green Tea is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as it cleanses the skin from bacteria causing the inflammation, hence diminishing redness and swelling.
Aloe was highly valued already in the Ancient World – the legend says, that Alexander the Great, after being gravely wounded, was healed by aloe vera, brought to him by a priest in the Oasis of Siwa. This aloe vera came from the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, so Alexander undertook an expedition to conquer the island and seize the aloe plantations, for he and his army believed that the plant will make them invincible.
Aloe contains more than 210 substances – vitamins, minerals,amino acids, polusaccharides, antioxydants and many more. That is why it has so many different properties – aloe soothes irritations and inflammations, heals skin injuries (for instance sun burns), stimulates the production of collagen and elastine, hydrates the skin, while Aloe Ferox Extract acts as a natural antibiotic for troubled and acne-prone skin. In addition to all this, one of the main values of the plant is that the skin recognizes it as its own, so it is suitable even for the most sensitive skin types.
A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C is best-known for its anti-ageing properties, amongst which: stimulation of collagen production, skin brightening, reduction of hyperpigmentation and protection from photoaging are present. Impressive? There's more!
Besides the above listed features, it can also control the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals behind acne, as well as promote wound healing and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
However, whilst making use of a cosmetic product with Vitamin C, be sure to protect yourself from UV rays using a sun protection, as your skin becomes more reactive to sunlight, which may lead to burns.
Snail slime is not a modern cosmetic ingredient – it has been used back in ancient Greece and Middle ages, but when some 20 years ago Chilean snail farmers noticed wounds on their hands healed faster and became softer after contact with snails, snail slime gained back its popularity.
In fact, snail slime contains the remarquable Allantoin – a soothing, skin-conditioning* agent, that stimulates skin regereration and healing processes, smoothes rought, flaky and dry skin, and boosts collagen production. Allantoin can also be extracted from plants (i.e. Symphytum officinale) or synthesized chemically, but note, that snail smile producers have already found a cruelty-free way to extract snail slime (using a special steam bath), so snails are not harmed.
AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy-acids, are acids commonly used in exfoliating products and can have a range of skin benefits including brightening, acne-controlling, increasing collagen production, and more. AHAs include glycolic acid, malic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, and mandelic acid.
AHAs work by dissolving the bonds between skin cells on the top level of the skin, allowing dead skin cells to slough off and revealing brighter, more youthful skin underneath. Of all the types of AHA, glycolic acid has the smallest molecular structure and is able to penetrate the skin the most deeply. This can promote faster visible results, but can also irritate sensitive skin. Mandelic acid has a larger molecular structure and is a good choice for more gentle exfoliation.
At lower concentrations, products containing AHA may be used daily, whereas at higher concentrations AHAs are used less frequently as peels. AHAs can have very visible benefits for exfoliating, brightening, and anti-aging, but should be paired with a good hydrating and moisturizing routine. AHAs can make your skin more sensitive to sun damage, so using a broad-spectrum SPF during the day is essential.
Niacinamide is one of the workhorses of skincare ingredients. This form of vitamin B3 does everything from brightening skin, preventing hyperpigmentation, reversing damage, tightening pores, and soothing acne.
Niacinamide helps support your skin’s natural defenses by increasing the skin’s ceramide production and regulating sebum production. It also calms redness and sensitivity, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. As a brightening ingredient, it inhibits an enzyme in melanin production, therefore preventing and reducing hyperpigmentation and brightening general skin tone.
This powerhouse vitamin also has amazing anti-aging properties. A potent antioxidant, it scavenges free radicals and prevents environmental damage. By supporting the skin’s barrier function, it increases collagen and elastin production and helps skin to retain moisture, making it look smoother and more youthful.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in our skin that plays a key role in cell renewal process. No matter our age, the production of HA can vary – accelerate or slow down - depending on our skin condition. For instance, it can accelerate during an inflammatory phase of wound repair or slow down after a sun burn (UVB rays are damageable to HA)
When the synthesis of HA slows down, our skin becomes more sensitive and vulnerable, skin barrier functions* and skin elasticity decrease, healing processes take more time.
Products with HA create a moisture barrier on the skin – an HA molecule attracts and holds up water molecules hundreds of times its own weight (!), thus smoothing and hydrating the skin, maintaining its elasticity and soothing irritations.
BHA products used in skincare include salicylic acid and its more gentle form, betaine salicylate. Like AHAs, BHA products exfoliate dead skin by dissolving the bonds between skin cells on the surface of the skin. However, unlike AHAs, BHAs are oil-soluble, meaning they are able to penetrate inside sebum-filled pores and exfoliate dead skin cells within. This makes BHA products excellent for treating blackheads and acne, and keeping pores clear of excess sebum and debris. In addition to their exfoliating properties, BHAs are also anti-inflammatory and may help calm acne-prone skin.
Red wine is great internally, but it can be an excellent skincare ingredient when used externally too! The process of fermentation transforms humble grape juice into an antioxidant and nutrient-rich (and incredibly delicious) substance. Red wine is high in polyphenols like resveratrol, a potent antioxidant that combats damage caused by free radicals, while catechins reduce inflammation and boost regeneration. These antioxidants can help skin stay more firm and elastic over time.
When it comes to skincare, it’s best to look for red wine extract or grapeseed extract instead of plunging your face straight into a bowlful of wine. Red wine in its pure form contains alcohol and other compounds that can be irritating to the skin. When properly extracted, however, the antioxidants in red wine can be used by the skin without causing irritation.
Kaolin is a very fine silica-based clay that is excellent for sensitive skin because of its non-irritating and non-allergenic properties. It effectively absorbs oil and draws out dirt and toxins from deep within the pores, leaving pores looking cleaner, more refined, and less visible. When used regularly, kaolin clay helps to regulate sebum production, preventing that dreaded midday shine!
Kaolin clay can also gently exfoliate, removing excess dead skin cells without overly stimulating the skin. This type of clay contains important trace minerals that nourish and soothe the skin.
Kaolin clay can come in a range of colors such as red, yellow, and green kaolin clay. The most gentle form is white kaolin clay, which is the best for sensitive skin, is non-drying, and contains the purest minerals.
In Greek literature, there is a myth about a beautiful water- nymph called Minthe who fell in love with Hades, god of the underworld and who loved her in return. There was only one issue with their relation: Hades was married and when his wife Persephone discovered their affair, she took revenge on the mistress. Minthe was metamorphosed into a sweet-smelling garden plant, that we still know today as the mint plant.
Among other things, this aromatic herb contains menthol – a curious compound, that triggers the cold-sensitive receptors in the skin (that’s where the cooling sensation comes from, though the body temperature remains the same). That is why mint is popular with those with enlarged pores and is often used in products that relieve heavy legs as well as a topical analgesic. Mint has also anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, that makes it a good ingredient for problematic skin. However, mint can often induce an allergic reaction, so should be used with caution.
Ginseng root has been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. Known as the “man root” because its branching roots look like legs, ginseng has a host of benefits for the skin as well as the body.
The variety most often used in skincare is Korean ginseng, or red ginseng. This type of ginseng has high concentrations of phytonutrients and antioxidants and is commonly used in brightening and anti-aging products.
The vitamins and antioxidants in ginseng aid in combating skin damage from free radicals, contributing to a smoother and more youthful appearance. Ginseng has also been known to lighten hyperpigmentation and stimulates circulation to refresh and revitalize the skin. It has even been known to have benefits in treating atopic dermatitis and eczema. When fermented, red ginseng extract has been shown to be even more effective in brightening and nourishing the skin.
Just as rice has been used for thousands of years as a staple in people’s diet, so has rice been used as a beauty treatment. The water used to steep rice is known to have moisturizing and soothing benefits. In past times, Japanese court ladies would comb their hair with rice water, and washing one’s face with rice water has been a beauty treatment for many years in Asia.
Rice water and rice extract contain naturally occurring antioxidants, vitamins, and oils that help to protect the skin from damage, as well as repair and moisturize the skin.
When rice is fermented, the fermented rice extract is known to have even higher concentrations of skin-friendly substances, such as nourishing amino acids, antioxidants, and brightening compounds. In one story, workers at a sake brewery had their hands immersed daily in fermented rice water, and were known for their incredibly soft and youthful hands. Fermented rice skincare products can have similar softening and anti-aging effects when applied to the face.
Charcoal is one of the most popular ingredients for cleansing and purifying the skin. Activated charcoal is used to detoxify poisons when taken internally, and it does much the same thing when applied topically to the skin -- when dirt and toxins come into contact with the charcoal, they are absorbed into the carbon so that they can’t harm your skin. It is effective for treating acne-prone and blackhead-prone skin.
Charcoal also absorbs excess oil, so can help to regulate sebum production when used regularly. It is a non-irritating, non-allergenic skincare ingredient that should be well-tolerated by most skin types. Look for charcoal-infused clay masks, sheet masks, peel-off masks, and cleansers.
a substance that inhibits oxidation, especially one used to counteract the deterioration of stored food products.
*Skin barrier functions
The Barrier Function is an extremely important concept in skin care. It describes the strength of the skin barrier and how well it protects skin from the external environment.