Thursday, May 2, 2013

UPDATE: Green Tea Extract in Mineral Makeup: Was I Wrong?

Professionalism Is Key

Well....  it seems I have been nicely called out on the carpet again by someone claiming to be an ingredient supplier that provides Green Tea Extract to many cosmetic manufacturers, including well known mineral makeup brands.  This was discussed in my last article Mineral Makeup with Green Tea Extract, Just More Hype?

And as is fitting, I will always attempt to share both sides of the equation on an ingredient as I did with my Bismuth Oxychloride article with comments by the ingredient supplier.  I then was faced with making corrections to the Diamond Powder article with an updated Response article to address our many email exchanges we had many moons ago.  These two ingredients, I felt were not beneficial in the manner they were used through my own research.  I also had further consultations with the actual chemists that have gone through extensive R and D to create and provide many improved alternative, innovative ingredients to cosmetic manufacturers.

As luck would have it, I am no stranger to controversy since I am currently the liaison for my state in regard to ongoing cosmetic legislation and I will challenge and debunk marketing hype, along with addressing completely inaccurate pseudo science that is presented as I continue to do through my blog and over at Personal Care Truth.  I will only acquire and provide scientific facts within my research data and not support snake oil salesmanship that goes on within my own industry.  In case you missed it: Beauty Industry Professionals May Be Their Own Worst Enemy!

The supplier who contacted me in regard to my latest article on Green Tea Extract and other antioxidants was nothing short of professional and courteous, however they replied under the veil of anonymity through my blog, as was the similar case with the Bismuth Oxychloride and Diamond Powder article (using a Pseudonym).  This started a firestorm of comments on the BO article from many users of this potential skin irritant, and the Lumiere Diamond Powder caused me to prepare an updated response and correct the original article.

The supplier of this particular antioxidant conveyed to me that my description was not completely accurate.  It seems it did not correctly depict other available delivery systems which help to stabilize and prevent degradation, while preserving the phytochemical efficacy necessary that the antioxidant properties of herbal extracts, vitamins and minerals provide.  

So, I stand corrected in this regard, yet I chose to not publish their comments left anonymously since this leaves me at a disadvantage and lacks professionalism.  I decided after the comments on my Bismuth Oxychloride and Diamond Powder articles, those conveying their message under the shroud of the internet curtain will not get my full attention.  If someone wishes to engage me in a discussion and declare a statement as fact and present the science, then they should also stand behind it and the name the supplier or affiliation they represent.  However, out of respect for my customers and as a professional courtesy, I will acknowledge their comments were still worth noting and forced me to research the facts further, so let's just say for a moment, "not so fast!"

Researched and Documented

There is unequivocally no dispute as to the skin health benefits of Green Tea Extract.  It is proven to be quite effective as are vitamins A, C and E along with many other extracts.  It is the method of delivery that is called into question.

The supplier explained to me, and I am paraphrasing, through a liposome preparation, the freeze dried antioxidant can be delivered and preserved for extended periods so skin can benefit based on a liposome utilizing mild penetration enhancers.  Once it is encapsulated, sustainability and delivery of phytochemicals is improved and increased.....the length of sustainability was not determined or clarified except to be noted as many months.  Unfortunately, further research did not yield me an exact shelf life so I cannot comment further in this regard.

Now of course, I have discussed in past articles about delivery systems, including the use of penetration enhancers which have been proven beneficial based on substantiated research.

I located two PubMed articles.... the 1st PubMed  is as it relates liposome use in treatment of skin cancer, and the  2nd PubMed also reporting similar research in support of the claims this ingredient supplier made to me about antioxidant delivery and sustainability.  My long time readers know I am always about presenting true and accurate science on any ingredient, not marketing claims made by suppliers, company chemists or cosmetic formulators willing to stretch the truth so it sounds much better than it is just to sell a product.

In this case, however, I am impressed with the research and pleased to share it with you.  But as the article concurs with my past articles, these types of antioxidants are destroyed by light and oxygen, so sustainability is vital whether the ingredient is stabilized and delivered with liposomes or with the use of a preservative system and additional penetration enhancers.  Furthermore, based on scientific accuracy, these liposomes are delivered through the mean size of nano scale.  Although liposomes have been used for many years in delivery of vaccinations, medical creams and other beauty treatments, I'll limit my comments to cosmetic uses only, except for purposes of comparison.

Does This Information Negate My Last Article

Well let's see if what I presented is still accurate.  In followup, I did further research and contacted suppliers of this liposome ingredient, including acquiring a direct informational page about Liposome delivery of green tea extract.

Unfortunately, some cosmetic ingredient suppliers are not timely in their response or they ignore the email altogether.  And a phone call.... well I may be able to discuss it with them, but sometimes the hard questions about an ingredient can get muddied up or avoided if the question might challenge the "love" for their ingredient as exampled in my other two articles above.

Quite frankly, there are enough of the blind leading the blind in our industry, from product labeling to medical claims and SPF claims, or all natural cosmetic creators slamming synthetic cosmetic creators based on a belief of harm and not actual science.  And for me ethically, it is and always will be about the chemistry and the science of any ingredient I may choose or not choose to use in my cosmetics and skincare products.

One Company known as Cosmetochem International offers a technology known as Liposome Herbasec.
  • This is a novel range of concentrated / standardized, liposomal-based botanical extracts in a lyophilized powder form.
  • Phospholipids and lecithin are the safest, mildest, natural substances which allow the penetration of actives into deeper layers of the epidermis.
  • Unsaturated phospholipids (used in Liposome Herbasec) have been shown to be excellent penetration enhancers.
  • INCI Name: Maltodextrin, Plant Extract, Lecithin
    Cosmetic and Toiletries also gave this company props for their innovation on providing a wonderful delivery system of antioxidants for many skincare or personal care products.

    However, I was made aware that depending on the composition of the overall formula, an adverse effect can occur causing a loss of  liposome stability, making it ineffective, (example: use of emulsifiers) so cosmetic science must be sound in regard to the delivery system for best purported benefit.

    Liposomes themselves are penetration enhancers, whether purchased in aqueous solution or freeze dried requiring some form of liquid be added. It is vital to be cognizant of what they are being combined with since other less desirable ingredients entering into the deeper layers of skin may cause concern and further argument from NGO's.  With them it is always about blood brain barrier interaction of what chemicals, synthetic or natural, can cause...proven or doesn't seem to matter.  Hence why different types of penetration enhancers are used extensively in the delivery of topical drugs, such as cortisone creams and HRT for their ability to cross the blood brain barrier.

    So can green tea extract in mineral makeup offer similar benefits in the same fashion as it does in liquid preparations?   Scientific research and ingredient descriptions along with the recommendations of usage dictates the answer.

    Back to the subject at hand....
    With the links I provided above, along with my many science based articles published at PCT, and through countless discussions I have shared with cosmetic scientists whom I have a long standing relationship with, including those that are located in the EU which have been guest writers for my skin care guide as well.....the actual chemistry and science cannot be manipulated or refuted for the purposes of pseudo scientific bogus claims.

    It is this same fight we currently are dealing with yet again, as in the case of the most recent draft of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act 2013.... onerous regulations being proposed based on non peer reviewed science, cosmetic medical claims by our industry, and the precautionary principle.

    Furthermore, this is prompting some physicians to also share their views about cosmetic companies pushing the envelope on over promising and under delivering in order to sell skincare and cosmetics.  Dr. Ourian expressed in an interview we need better regulation to control these misleading claims, which falls back on my article about our beauty industry leaders being their own worst enemy.  Large to small companies do it because they can and they are only damaging the rest of us in the beauty industry that won't fabricate science.  However the larger firms like Loreal, the parent company of Lancome are beginning to get slapped for some of their anti-aging claims because they are highly visible, while smaller companies violating FDA and FTC regulations fly under the radar....

    I believe it is only a matter of time before more whistle blowers, especially with new regulation, come forward to report those in violation....large or small.

    Final Answers To This Debatable Question

    Is Green Tea Extract wonderful as an antioxidant?.... absolutely.... as I conveyed in my last article by applying directly to the skin after brewing tea or delivered within a skincare product containing the hydrated form.  But, I also now have been further educated on how liposomes have improved on the delivery system of antioxidants based on the science of skincare and cosmetic products. 

    Is it absolutely possible for freeze dried liposomes to be blended into mineral makeup.....of course....yet without compromise due to shearing.... well that is another story, but that point is moot.  Plus, based on the suppliers recommended dosing which is as high as 5%, nice efficacy can be achieved.

    However, the key factor in all research articles and ingredient information as it relates to skin health benefit when used dry is irrefutable; an aqueous solution or similar is used and recommended in order for this ingredient to become viable as demonstrated

    When used in mineral makeup, the benign liposome encapsulated Green Tea Extract will happily sit atop the skin without harm or penetration .... not a bad thing and definitely safer since no blood brain barrier confusion would occur with NGO's like the EWG or Campaign for Safe Cosemetics....well maybe.  So used in this application, science shows, that enjoying any skin health benefits is highly improbable.

    Bottom line and with all due respect to the cosmetic supplier's valid point on sustainability, as science is shared with me through direct contact with actual innovators of these types of delivery systems and ingredient preparations... no matter how hard one tries to meet a marketing agenda, you can't change the science as to how and what any ingredient is capable and incapable of achieving. 

    I am always grateful to those in the science community for providing pertinent information in regard to this valuable research as it pertains to improving sustainability to a beneficial antioxidant for skin health.  You may also enjoy this very informative editorial by BioEncapsulation Research Group addressing encapsulated ingredients used in personal care products today and in the future, presenting excellent innovation on bio-encapsulated research for many other consumer products we use for delivery of healthy nutrition in our foods as well.

    I continue to learn something everyday.  Though it happens rarely, for those challenges that come my way from cosmetic ingredient suppliers, manufacturers and formulators, I will always meet them head on respectively where respect is given.  I am beholding to them as well since they encourage me to continue my research which keeps me on my toes, which in turn helps me to maintain the integrity I strive for in truth in marketing and labeling, and to make corrections when necessary.

    Education is never-ending as Science is ever evolving!

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