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Sea Kelp Bioferment Coral is Ready for Testing

coralThe bonus for this month is an ingredient we call Sea Kelp Bioferment Coral. Coral is an altered version of our current Sea Kelp, designed with antioxidant properties in mind. If the feedback for this ingredient is as good as we expect, we will be releasing new products using this ingredient in the coming months. We are also planning on creating a new kit for home formulators that will enable users to create their own serums using this ingredient.

We have reached a distribution agreement with BioOrganic Concepts. Large wholesale orders of our high tech actives will be sold under their Dermatein label. This will not have an effect on current Skin Actives customers, but we do hope it will allow us to invest further in research of new ingredients.

Hannah has been working on her glossary and is looking for ways to publish it on Amazon. If anyone has any tips on how to do this please send her a note via the contact us on the website.

Skin Actives sunscreen is being used during the filming of 'Death Valley'. Check out our facebook page for a picture and some background information. We are hoping to be invited to the premiere!

March Bonus: Sea Kelp Bioferment Coral

bonusOur new SAS Sea Kelp Coral is a light gel with healing, UV protective and antioxidant properties.
Ingredients: Sea Kelp (Lactobacillus/kelp ferment filtrate) Bioferment, Porphyridium extract, fucoxanthin, astaxanthin.

Sea Kelp (Lactobacillus/kelp ferment filtrate) Bioferment

Kelp, the substrate in our bioferment, is the common name for a number of species of brown algae  (Phaeophyceae). Kelp is a rich source of iodine, potassium and many essential minerals, and has been used as food and for its medicinal powers for milennia. Kelp also contains organic chemicals like alginic acid, laminaran, laminitol, lutein, zeaxanthin, xanthophyll, violaxanthin, fucosterol, sulpholipids, inositol, phytol, phloroglucinol, aldobiuronic acid and much more.

The Sea Kelp also contains Fucoidans.  These are sulfated polysaccharides with a structure that depends on the plant source and growing conditions. Applied to the skin, fucoidan will increase the density of collagen bundles, decrease activity of proteases (enzymes that break down dermal proteins), increase scavenging of free radicals and increase cell proliferation. These effects are mediated through increased expression of integrin a2ß1 and may also help with wound healing. In addition to assisting in collagen synthesis, fucoidan inhibits the replication of many viruses, including herpes, human cytomegalovirus, HIV-1 and others. The action of lactic bacteria on the kelp will solubilize nutrients further and increase bioavailability to the skin.  

Porphyridium extract - The extracellular polysaccharide produced by this red algae has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Xylitol residues may be responsible in part for the anti-inflammatory properties (we use xylitol in our anti-inflammatory cream).

Fucoxanthin is a major carotenoid in brown algae.  Topical treatment with fucoxanthin seems to prevent skin photoaging (wrinkles, hypertrophy, VEGF, and MMP-13 expression) by UVB light, probably via antioxidant and antiangiogenic effects.
Urikura, I.,  Sugawara, T.,  Hirata, T. (2011)  Protective Effect of Fucoxanthin against UVB-Induced Skin Photoaging in Hairless Mice.  Biosci. Biotech. and Biochem, 75: 757-760.

Astaxanthin is not the actual pigment that gives color to the coral skeletons (obviously we can’t use corals as a source!) but astaxanthin is very similar to the pigments in the corals skeleton, derived from photoprotective pigments produced by the endosymbiotic photosynthetic algae that make coral life possible. 

Most Popular Products

1. Collagen Serum
2. Canvas Base Cream
3. Epidermal Growth Factor
4. Ascorbic Acid (L)
5. Vitamin A Cream - Twilight Awakening
6. Bright-I Cream
7. Anti-Aging Cream
8. Brow and Lash
9. ELS Serum: 'Every Lipid Serum’
10. Vitamin C Serum

New Formula: More power to the ZITender
New scientific findings show that the interaction between the bacterial flora and our bodies is paramount for health, and this is also true for acneic skin (Sorel Fitz-Gibbon et al., 2013).  Hormones, oil glands, and clogged pores are also important because these factors help provide the right environment for acne bacteria to thrive.  By now it is “old news” that using benzoyl peroxide to kill everything (including some of our own skin cells) is a really bad idea. Just think of what happens to our gastrointestinal system when our MD has no choice but to give us antibiotics.

Our approach at SAS is NOT to kill the whole microbiome, but to apply topical actives that modify adhesion of the bacteria and enhance our immune response. This is what Glycan 7 will do for you, because of that we are now adding it to our  ZITender. For more information about Glycan 7, please see

The new ZITender ingredient list reads as follows (Glycan 7 components in bold):
Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate, Porphyridium Extract (Polysaccharide),  Laminaria Japonica Extract, Arthrospira Extract, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG, Green Tea, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Oleanolic Acid, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Root Extract, Galangal (Kaempferia galanga) Root Extract,  Salicin,  ZincPCA, Aloe Barbadensis Extract, Apple (Pyrus Malus) Pectin Extract, Galactoarabinan, Beta-Glucan (from Yeast), Laminaria Japonica Extract, Oat (Avena sativa) Extract, Opuntia Fruit Extract, Coleus Forskholii Root Oil, Granulysin.

Reference: Sorel Fitz-Gibbon et al, (2013) Propionibacterium acnes Strain Populations in the Human Skin Microbiome Associated with Acne. J. Inv. Dermatology.

Customer Review - Coral Serum

Greetings Hannah & Jonatan, Just last week received the new serum and wanted to give you some initial impression feedback. Although I've only used the [coral] serum for less than a week I have to say fantastic product! My complexion tends naturally to lean toward ruddy... not a bad thing. But in addition I'm on medications that cause an internal inflammatory response, adding heat that then appears on my face. The overall result, at its worst, is a blotchy skin tone that appears to be a combination of rash and sunburn, throw in propensity for acne breakouts and in a word it's a mess! 
All of the above has been greatly improved since I've found SA and for this I am grateful. But of all your fine products none have brought as swift an affect upon my skin as has the Coral Serum. From the moment it was applied my skin seemed to breathe easier. The result was a reduction of redness and an evenness in skin tone that I have not known in a very long time. And this result is sustained! Not just an initial response that reverts back as the day progresses. And if this wasn't enough it also seems to bring an overall tightening to my skin.! 
It's a winner, it's a keeper and the only thing I need to know is when will it be available for sale?!!? I hope that the feedback you've received from others has been as glowing as mine. Thanks and congratulations on what so far for me is a miracle product... well as close to a miracle as can come in a bottle, anyway. Cheers.
Response: I am not sure we will be selling the coral serum in the future but it will be really easy to make.  It is largely a mix of our new sea kelp coral and dermagen

Product Update - Vitamin C Serum

Our Vitamin C Serum is even better! The simple addition of a third tube means that it is now much easier to mix the serum. Please check out our new youtube video for all the details:

Hahannahnnah's Notes

INCI Names

The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, abbreviated INCI, is a system of names for ingredients of soaps and cosmetics. For pure chemicals, the nomenclature is (loosely) based on scientific names, but in the case of botanical extracts it relies firmly on the botanical names (genus and species) of the plants, following the typical Linnean nomenclature.

INCI names can differ greatly from the  systematic chemical nomenclature or from more common trivial names.  INCI names are mandated on the ingredient statement of every consumer personal care product. The INCI system allows the consumer to identify the ingredient content.

In the last few months I had my first direct contact with the INCI system and I thought our clients would be interested to hear about how the system works.  For a long time I have been complaining about the nomenclature for proteins, because it does not relate to the scientific nomenclature. I blamed the companies requesting an INCI name for a new ingredient. Well, I was wrong. I requested the very meaningful name “glutaredoxin” for the protein that scientists call “glutaredoxin”. The name assigned by the CTFA? sh-Polypeptide-77

We have decided to use the name glutaredoxin on our labels. Labels are supposed to inform the user, not confuse them. 

Our Vitamin A cream vs. RetinA

vitamin a creamRetinoids are a group of compounds with vitamin A activity: retinal, retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinoic acid.  Each name represents a different molecule with different biological activity. What is the difference? They are different chemicals, and the subtle differences in chemical structure will be recognized by your skin. Retinyl acetate (the vitamin A we sell at Skin Actives) will be converted by your cells before they can attach themselves to the receptors on the surface of the cell nucleus and give instructions. You have the enzymes to do this job and the advantage is that retinyl acetate is much more stable than retinol.

For serious acne your doctor may prescribe a cream containing retinoic acid or for tretinoin (also known as all-trans retinoic acid). These chemicals are much harsher on the skin. The question is are they more effective than the milder forms like the retinyl acetate that we use? New research suggests that for wrinkle reduction and acne, the milder forms are just as effective. 

If you are using a prescription cream, check with your doctor and see whether our Acne or Vitamin A creams would be a good alternative. If you are considering obtaining a prescription, try one of our creams first, you may obtain the same beneficial results without the drawbacks and at a much lower price. 

J.J.J. Fu, G.G. Hillebrand, P. Raleigh, J. Li, M.J. Marmor, V. Bertucci,_P.E. Grimes, S.H. Mandy, M.I. Perez, S.H. Weinkle and J.R. Kaczvinsky (2010). A randomized, controlled comparative study of the wrinkle reduction benefits of a cosmetic niacinamide⁄peptide⁄retinyl propionate product regimen vs. a prescription 0.02% tretinoin product regimen. British J. Dermatology, 162: 647–654

More information on our vitamin A creams can be found here: 
Acne Control Cream -
Vitamin A Cream -

We also use retinyl acetate in low amounts in our Bright-I cream.

Questions and answers

Question: What are the preservatives in your sea kelp bioferment?

Answer: At a certain point fermentation needs to be stopped. This is achieved by ultrafiltration, i.e. filtration through extremely fine filters that retain the fermenting bacteria.
Preservatives are employed to prevent growth of extraneous bacteria and mold that are present in the environment. The preservatives used in the process vary. We used to employ propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, clorphenesin and dehydroacetic acid sodium salt, but lately we are favoring the combination phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol and sorbic Acid. The preservatives left over from this process and the antimicrobial chemicals produced by Lactic bacteria during fermentation mean that no additional preservatives are required.

Please note that when creating a serum base with bioferment and distilled water formulators will require additional preservatives if the concentration of sea kelp is below 75%

Question: I was placing my order this morning of collagen serum and my usual Antioxidant Booster, when I noticed (maybe it is not new, but new to me) the Antioxidant Serum with Glutaredoxin and SOD.  Is this new or did I just miss it before?  I don't know which to go with now.  I have used the Antioxidant booster for a few months now and use it mixed with my daytime moisturizer as extra protection from free radicals.  Is this serum used in the same way? Does anyone have experience with both and prefer one over the other?  

Answer:  The serum used to be called CHAS, we changed the name when we updated the formula a few months ago. The antioxidant serum can providea great protection for city living and is specially good for users who are exposed to cigarette smoke. Mixing a little antioxidant booster with your regular cream is a great option though and using both provides the best of all possible protection.

Question: What's the difference between the classic vs. new collagen serum?

Answer:  The antioxidant combination glutathione-thioredoxin in the new serum improves the antioxidant power of the serum. It also increases the color stability. I added glycerin because glycerin is really useful at improving skin hydration, it also increases the solubility of some actives. Horse chestnut and pomegranate have been removed from the old version to improvove color, smell, and feel.

Question: Have you heard about Rucinol and sophora-alpha? I have a severe melasma and I have been buying Skin Actives to lighten it up but I don't see it is helping much? Do you have products similar to those mentioned above?I stop going to dermatologist as my melasma never disappear, only my money.

Answer: I do understand your frustration. Melasma is very difficult to manage and I hope we never gave you the impression that melasma could be made to "disappear". As far as I know, there are no products that can do that. What people have done is kill the melanocytes so that their skin is totally white.  For the time being I don't feel comfortable using Rucinol. I don't have enough information about its safety. We use actives that may work more slowly (and the sun will reverse their effects) but I know I am not hurting anybody.

Iklen serum is very interesting. Here is the ingredient list, which includes alcohol, never a good idea in a skin care product: Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, 4-Butylresorcinol, Sucrose Cocoate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Peg-32,Peg-6, Sodium Lauroyl Hydrolyzed Silk, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin

Why do I find it interesting?  Glycyrrhizic acid is an interesting chemical. Present in liquorice extract (which we sell) it helps decrease inflammation. However, it also promotes melanin synthesis. The component of liquorice that inhibits melanin synthesis is grabridin, and it is hugely expensive. This is why we use a total liquorice extract, so that we can keep the two benefits of liquorice: anti-inflammatory and inhibitory of melanin synthesis. This Iklea serum uses dipotassium glycyrrhizate, an extremely inexpensive chemical but one we prefer not to sell because not many people want to promote melanin synthesis. On the other hand, 4-Butylresorcinol is a derivative of resorcinol, an old (but effective) antiseptic and disinfectant with a variety of benefits but also toxic at high concentrations.

As for 4-butylresorcinol, I found a lonely article published recently (2012). 4-butylresorcinol inhibits tyrosinase and the synthesis of melanin. Please remember that many chemicals have a similar action, including kojic acid, arbutin etc. 4-butylresorcinol works at lower concentrations but until we have more evidence of its safety, there is no much point using it instead of our other preferred skin lightening actives. I suggest you look at our skin brightening cream and, for hyperpigmentation caused by stress to the skin (sun damage, burns) look at our UV repair cream.

Reference: L. Kolbe†, T. Mann, W. Gerwat, J. Batzer, S. Ahlheit, C. Scherner, H. Wenck, F. Stäb
 (2013) 4-n-butylresorcinol, a highly effective tyrosinase inhibitor for the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Volume 27, Issue Supplement s1. pages 19–23, January 2013

Question: What is amno-fill 33? Are you planning to sell it or use it in your products?

Answer: “Novelty” ingredients is the name I use for ingredients that offer nothing new but are used for their label value, posing as “magic” ingredients that will solve all our skin problems. They are usually obtained by chemical modification of common ingredients. I don’t use them, because I prefer the “older” version, safer and less expensive. I don’t like hype. A-F33 (Amino-Fill 33) is a tyrosine amino acid derivative, acetyl tyrosinamide.  We use tyrosine in our amino booster, hair serum and other products. Tyrosine is one of the amino acids used in the synthesis of proteins, so it needs no hype. It does not need chemical modification either!

Question:  I have just purchased Environ Focus Frown Serum that claims to increase the time between botox treatments. Do you have anything similar? Could I make my own serum? What are the active ingredients in it?

Answer: The ingredients are of Environ Focus Frown Serum are water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentapeptide-3, Xanthan Gum, Pentapeptide-18, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben.

The effect of this serum is probably due to the xanthan gum. It will dry as a film, stretching the skin as it dries; the possible effect of the synthetic peptides is probably negligible to nil. There is no evidence that short peptides applied topically to the skin can mimic the effect of the botulinum toxin.  If there was such evidence, these peptides would be banned because they would be powerful poisons.

Question:  I am  new to  skin actives and formulating my own cream to suit my skin needs. I am a 40yr old  black woman with serious hyper pigmentation  problems,very dry skin fine lines and wrinkles. My skin also looks pasty.

Answer: Many ingredients used in 'skin lightening' products can aggravate hyperpigmentation. This is because the skin response to these chemicals as stressors, and stress leads to hyperpigmentation.

In general, Vitamin A cream, our skin brightening cream, and UV repair cream can help. But there is no way to estimate how much or how quickly they will help a particular person. What I do know is that it will take time, months, if not years, to see an improvement. Our goal is to make sure that we are careful not to cause additional damage. 

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