Plant extracts

Incorporating plant extracts as supporting anti-oxidants in topical skincare products is extremely important since they are a great source of vitamins, proteins and other bioactive components, having multiple beneficial effects on the skin depending on which plant they are extracted from. Anti-oxidative activity is significant as a method of preventing oxidative stress of the skin’s surface, primarily in order to neutralise the negative effects caused by UV radiation and environmental pollution.

Sources of anti-oxidative activity are found in plants in the form of plant metabolites, phenols (such as flavonoids), while the level of effectiveness of the anti-oxidative impact of these phenols depends on their molecular structure. The main role in the process of natural protection against UV rays is played by melanin, but once it goes into hyper production (due to activation of the tyrosynase enzyme during unprotected exposure of the skin to the sun), sun spots and even melasma very quickly appear. Flavonoids in plant extracts such as liquorice prevent or reduce the appearance of these changes in pigmentation (source: Ana Sofia Ribeiro, Marilene Estanqueiro, M. Beatriz Oliveira and José Manuel Sousa Lobo Main Benefits and Applicability of Plant Extracts in Skin Care Products 2015 Cosmetics, 2:48-65).
liquorice

Further, phenols in plant extracts are capable of effectively inhibiting the development of pathogenic organisms. Extracts from the already mentioned liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is used in many Skintegra products due to the fact that it has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties in addition to possessing a number of flavonoids such as asparagine, isoflavonoid, glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhizic acid as well as glabridin which has been proven to inhibit tyrosynase activity in melanoma cells (ibid., 55).
Green tea

Another extract frequently used is green tea leaf extract (Camelia sinensis leaf extract). Apart from its anti-oxidative effect, this extract has been proven to have moisturising and calming effects on the skin (source: Gianeti M.D., Mercurio D.G., Campos P.M. 2013 The use of green tea extract in cosmetic formulations: not only an antioxidant active ingredient Dermatologic Therapy, 3:267-71). Green tea is a rich source of EGCG and catechin as well as vitamins A, E and C, selenium and zinc. Recent studies suggest that it also has a mild topical effect on hormonal acne since it inhibits 5-alpha reductase, essential for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, a hormonal metabolite responsible for increasing sebum production and creating preconditions for the development of acne in individuals whose receptors have increased sensitivity to androgen activity.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a polyphenol extracted from grapes and it has exceptional anti-aging properties. In-vivo and in-vitro studies have proven that resveratrol as the key antioxidant in topical products is even more potent than vitamin E. After topical application adequate levels of resveratrol were found in all levels of the epidermis which also suggests better anti-oxidative protection (source: Alonso C., Martí M. et al 2017 Skin permeation and antioxidant efficacy of topically applied resveratrol Archives of Dermatological research).

Due to promising preliminary results in in-vitro studies suggesting that resveratrol has the power to slow down or inhibit certain types of skin diseases caused by UV radiation, use of resveratrol-based skincare is recommended in the case of all inflammatory and hyperproliferative skin disorders (source: Mary Ndiaye, Carol Philippe, Hasan Mukhtar and Nihal Ahmada 2011 The Grape Antioxidant Resveratrol for Skin Disorders: Promise, Prospects, and Challenges Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2: 164–170).
Honey

Honey extract is an extremely beneficial addition to skincare products since it simultaneously exhibits both an immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effect, regulating a healthy microbiome on the skin. The skin’s immune system has an important role as defence against undesirable microbes, thereby preserving the skin’s integrity, reducing inflammations and promoting healing of dermal damage. A proper response by keratinocytes (keratin cells in the skin) is an important immunological factor in the skin’s health since it registers microbes which are harmful to the skin and secretes cytokines and antimicrobial peptides as a response to the microbe invasion. By increasing the level of cytokine interleukin-1 in in-vitro studies it has been shown that honey extract has fantastic regenerative properties and that, in that sense, it is excellent as a reparative and preventive measure in the case of fungal infections, atopic and seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis (source: Pauline McLoone, Mary Warnock and Lorna Fyfe 2016 Honey: an immunomodulatory agent for disorders of the skin Food and agricultural immunology, 3:338 – 349).
Gotu kola

Gotu kola or Centella asiatica is rich in amino acids, beta-carotene, fatty acids and phytochemicals such as triterpenoids which effect skin tissue by stimulating collagen synthesis, promoting microcirculation, inhibiting the formation of scars and protecting the dermis through its anti-oxidative effects. In fact, the positive effects of Centella asiatica has been proven even in the treatment of infected wounds, thereby preventing the formation of hypertrophic scarring (source: Wiesława Bylka, Paulina Znajdek-Awiżeń, Elżbieta Studzińska-Sroka and Małgorzata Brzezińska 2013 Centella asiatica in cosmetology Postepy Dermatologii I Alergologii Journal, 1: 46-49). Further, 0.2% Gotu kola applied topically increases the level of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants in new tissue.

Apart from promoting fibronectin, the glycoprotein that binds collagen, Gotu kola also has an effect on the metabolism of lysine, the amino acid which crosslinks collagen molecules (source: Lu L., Ying K., Wei S. et al 2004 Asiaticoside induction for cell-cycle progression, proliferation and collagen synthesis in human dermal fibroblasts International Journal of Dermatology; 43:801-807).
Ginseng

Ginkgo biloba (gingko) is significant due to its anti-oxidant quercetin which gives it exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and aids in the treatment of acne, eczema and all other types of facial redness. Just like rhodiola, quercetin in ginkgo has an effect on the microcirculatory system and increases vasodilation (that is, protects the capillary system). In addition to ginkgo, Skintegra products also often contain the ginseng plant. This extract is a common ingredient in Asian cosmetics (and more and more often in Western cosmetics as well) since it significantly improves skin tone and contributes to skin luminosity, while at the same time having a regenerative effect on damaged skin as well as acting as a soothing agent in case of inflammatory skin conditions.
Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola rosea or rose root is an adaptogenic plant whose scent resembles that of a rose and it grows in extremely harsh climate conditions in the Arctic and in northern parts of Europe and Asia (in Siberia). Proanthocyanidins found in it, as well as rosavines, phytochemicals not found in any other plants, help defend the skin from environmental stressors, prompt microcirculation and have a positive effect on the level of elasticity of the skin. It is therefore no wonder that rhodiola is often used as a valuable anti-age component in cosmetic products.
Willow extract

Willow extract (Salix alba) contains naturally present salicin, precursor of salicylic acid, which has an anti-inflammatory, soothing and clarifying effect on the skin. However, the effect of salicin from willow extract and that of salicylic acid is rather different since salicin does not have exfoliating properties. In concentrations as low as 0.5% in topical products, salicin has proven effects on skin tonus and tone, with the skin exhibiting a statistically significant increase in density, more refined texture and greater softness to the touch (source: Remona Gopaul et al 2010 An evaluation of the effect of a topical product containing salicin on the visible signs of human skin aging Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 9:196–201).
Oats

Oat extract (Avena sativa) is an extremely calming and anti-inflammatory emollient, ideal for all skin types, including the driest and most sensitive skin prone to eczema and atopic dermatitis. In combination with marigold extract (Calendula officinalis) it has an extraordinary effect on dermis which has a compromised barrier or on injured or inflamed skin since marigold also powerfully promotes cell regeneration and healing of wounds and scars.