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In today's "green" age, we who formulate and market skin care products must all turn out thoughts to economizing in packaging. "Big being beautiful" should be changed to "precious provides perfection." Our product's effect on the environment is an issue that can no longer be avoided. We must give the consumer better value in smaller packages. Combining natural skin care ingredients is concentrated formulations is one way to market skin care products for a "green" age.
This approach draws on solutions of the past and applies modern technology to make those solutions useful in current times. It also incorporates brainstorming and lateral thinking to help us find real innovation is related sciences.
Our search for a "green" concept utilizes the author's extensive database on natural and medicinal plant extracts compiled from literature obtained from all over the world. (A general reference list of the major volumes has been included for further reading.)
We draw, for example, on the extensive knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine. Chines herbal medicine, ancient Egyptian herbal knowledge, American Indian herbalogy, European folk lore, aromatherapy and the experience of herbalists and phytotherapists.
The extracts recommended in this paper have been fully investigated, but the enormous volume of data does not permit a full reference listing. The ultimate objective must be safety, with products that not only maintain, but also improve the skin, while remaining in the confines of cosmetic and medicinal legislation.
The product benefits sought in this paper will come from selected plant materials, which must be professionally extracted from high quality sources in order to preserve the trace elements present in them. Aqueous, hydroglycolic, alcohol and distilled extracts will be employed, as well as the essential oils.
In use, these products will need to be applied sparingly and consistently over a considerable period of time. Unlike physicians' potent drugs, which act almost immediately, herbal extracts used in cosmetic preparations work slowly but effectively over a period of weeks or even months. Those who doubt the efficacy of plant extracts are normally using the wrong yardstick against which to measure and assess their performance. It should be remembered that the foundation of modern medicine (200 years old) was built on that of herbalism (6000 years old).
Using Concentrated Products
In order to reduce product volume and thus also packaging, the major component to target in most formulations would be water. Most formulators (myself included) throw their hands up in horror at this stage! Non-aqueous products are normally heavy to apply, occlusive and sticky--or at least they have been so, historically.
It certainly is not a new concept, however. The use of unguents was well understood and documented by the ancient Egyptians, who were not familiar with emulsion technology (apart from the use of animal milk). Furthermore, use of salves and ointments is quite normal in the pharmaceutical industry where small quantities of applied product pack a heavy punch of benefit.
For Sensitive or Delicate Skin: A blend of natural oils can offer better possibilities than a detergent-based skin cleanser for sensitive skin. There are so many carrier and essential oils available that one is spoiled with choices. Obviously, the higher the degree of saturation, the less chance there is of oxidation and subsequent rancidity.
The main criteria for selection of carrier oils should be maximum lubricity, pale color and low odor. To this blended carrier, one can add the essential oil(s). Typical choices for the carrier oil are shown in Figure 1. One could select a variety of themes, such as seed oils, nut oils or grain oils.
The addition of wheat germ oil (fortified with additional vitamin E) will not only provide antioxidant properties, but will also give …