What's inside the Creme de la Mer? Part #2

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The first 'What's inside the Creme de la Mer' was extremely fun to do so, as promised, here is part 2!  You can read the first one here if you haven't yet which discusses, I believe, the main components of the cream that are in highest concentration.  Concentrations are not listed on the product therefore, this is simply an educated guess.  

**DISCLAIMER: I am not a dermatologist.  If you have any specific questions or issues, do consult a GP or qualified dermatologist first before introducing any new product into your skincare regime.  My information is based on the sources listed below and my own knowledge and understanding obtained from my undergraduate degree in Molecular Medicine.  I simply wanted to share my findings and verdict.  Take whatever is said with a pinch of salt.

Heliantus Anuus (sunflower) seedcake

I was struggling to find information using the term 'seedcake' but there is a wealth of information discussing it in oil form.  In fact, there is a skincare brand called 'My Trusty Skincare' which is a brand made and ran leading NHS scientists.  They discussed the importance of linoleic acid in sunflower oil which has many beneficial properties in the skin.  The product range is centred around sunflower and their benefits.  (1)  In 2016, a randomised control trial was conducted regarding the use of olive oil, sunflower oil, or no oil for babies with dry skin.  It was found that the oils did improve hydration but this study was not powered for clinical significance and was a pilot study that focused on the correlation between oils, dry skin, and dermatitis/ezcema formation.  (2)  Going back to linoleic acid, it was found to increase wound healing mass and aid in the inflammatory phase in rats.  Thus, it could speed up the wound healing process which is beneficial. (3)  Other studies have labelled it as an essential nutrient that could help treat skin-related disorders that can result due to linoleic acid deficiency.  (4)  Along similar lines, it was found that dietary alpha linoleic acid suppresses UVB induced skin injury in hairless mice in comparison to other linoleic acids.  However, the same result was not seen when used topically.  (5) Overall, there seems to be positive results with regards to the use of sunflower especially with regards to wound healing and scarring.  

Prunus Amygdulus dulcis (sweet almond) seed meal 

I was really struggling to find evidence for sweet almond in skin care in scientific journals.  However, it goes without surprise that almond is used in a lot of product ranges of various companies and brands such as Holland and Barretts and The Body Shop to name a few.  Almonds are rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and vitamin E and zinc, which we learnt was an antioxidant to help with free radicals.  Apparently, almond is not only beneficial for the skin topically, but also has dietary benefits in hair growth and acne but there are no official scientific studies supporting this claim.  (6) A 2007 study found that topical use of sweet almond oil in mice can prevent initial UV light induced photoaging and have protective effects.  It can also decelerate the effects of photoageing. (7)  Furthermore, it has been found that sweet almond oil helps brighten and depuff the under eye area which could be beneficial with regards to the Creme de la Mer.  (8)  Lastly, sweet almond has been found to have a protein hydrosylate fraction which can modify the proinflammatory cytokines and enzymes in activated macrophages.  This means, that the use of sweet almond could potentially aid inflammatory conditions such as ezcema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.  (9) A list of all the potential benefits can be found here but do mind the credibility of the source.  However, it can be helpful guidance. 

Sodium/Potassium/Copper/Magnesium Gluconate 

So there are many gluconates.  Copper gluconate is found to be an antioxidant molecule with anti-ageing properties.  (10) Sodium gluconate on the other hand is a skin conditioner that aids in moisture retention and is commonly used in mouth washes, bath, shampoo, and skin care products. (11) Magnesium gluconate is meant to function similarly as a skin conditioner. (12) (13) Potassium gluconate is also a skin conditioner. (14) In terms of gluconates, there is little scientific research about gluconates and their benefits or risks in skincare.  

Paraffin 

Apparently, there is a risk of catching fire and dying with regular use of paraffin due to its flammability. Between 2010-2017, there have been 37 deaths. A common cream being E45 so a warning label must be on the product for flammable risks.  (15)  Paraffin is commonly used to soften and smooth the skin, and act as a barrier to prevent moisture loss.  However, some dermatologists believe that paraffin is not actively aiding skincare repair but rather helps the product spread easily.  Therefore, this is most likely added to improve the texture of the cream than to have skin care benefits. (16)  However, as with anything listed here DO NOT EAT IT.  

Tocopheryl Succinate 

Tocopheryl succinate has the chemical structure of C33H54O5.  It is also known as Vitamin E succinate, thereby exhibiting antioxidant properties which will aid in counteracting free radicals.  It has shown use as both a supplement and topically in creams.  (17) This suggests that it is safe to use topically and will provide a level of skincare benefits.  However, other sources are concerned with its use as an ingestible as there are data gaps present. (18) The CIR claims that Vitamin E succinate acts more as a light stabiliser and skin conditioner than an antioxidant but dermal use showed very little side effects or negative outcomes. (19) There has been debate on whether synthetic vitamin E succinate is as favorable as naturally occurring vitamin E succinate.  Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that naturally occurring vitamin E succinate is more effective.  (17) Although there are studies which suggest that it can prevent free-radical mediated damage (21), it was found that it does not aid in preventing photocarcinogenesis which should be considered. One must use an SPF with this product because studies shows that it does not protect against UVB rays. (20)

Niacin 

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3, a water soluble B vitamin, which facilitates metabolic reactions, cell signalling, and DNA repair.  (22)  It plays a vital role in getting rid of toxic and harmful chemicals from the body and is said to have anti-ageing properties.  This is done by increasing vasodilation which allows increased blood flow to the cells for oxygen saturation and removal of waste products of metabolism such as carbon dioxide.  (23)  The American Academy of Dermatology believes that topical use of niacin has anti inflammatory properties, treat dry skin, and improve discoloration.  (24) Users have also shown a reduction in wrinkles with the use of niacin published in March 2010 by Proctor and Gamble after 8 weeks of use with 0.02 concentration.  Lastly, there have been claims of it being beneficial against acne and acne prone skin such as study published in 1995 in the International Journal of Dermatology. (25) In relation to dermal toxicity, studies did not find any irreversible side effects.  For example, although there is risk with irritation of the skin and eyes, these were recorded as 'marginal' and is to be expected with multiple skincare products. (26)

1. https://mytrustyskincare.co.uk/about-us/
2. https://www.medicaljournals.se/acta/content/abstract/10.2340/00015555-2279
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17918246
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650500/
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650500/
6. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/Benefits-of-almonds-for-skin-hair-and-health/articleshow/26842229.cms
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17348990
8. https://draxe.com/almond-oil/
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23575976
10. https://www.paulaschoice.com/ingredient-dictionary/antioxidants/copper-gluconate.html
11. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/sodium-gluconate
12. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/703692/MAGNESIUM_GLUCONATE/#.Wu3lKNOUu8o
13. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/magnesium-gluconate
14. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/potassium-gluconate
15. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/skin-creams-paraffin-link-fire-death-inquest-christopher-holyoake-a7637806.html
16. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/paraffin-wax-beauty-products-treatments_n_7544194
17. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/425400#section=Top
18. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706907/VITAMIN_E_SUCCINATE/#.Wu3rPdOUu8o
19. https://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/tocoph032014FR.pdf
20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875555
21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12227877
22. https://www.dermstore.com/blog/niacin-skin-benefits/
23. https://www.dermascope.com/aging/niacin-more-than-anti-aging
24. Hilton, Lisette. An Update on latest in cosmeceuticals. Cosmetic Surgery Times Reports 2004.
25. https://www.livestrong.com/article/461488-skin-benefits-of-niacin/
26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16596767
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