Wednesday, 02 May 2018 10:20

It’s a Cold-Pressed World: Using Plant-Based Products to Preserve the Environment

Written by   Trish Green

Humans have utilized plants for healing and health since the beginning of time. Each plant has the unique ability to draw nutrients from the earth and transform them into powerful, bioactive constituents that create a corresponding biological response in the human body. For overall efficacy in both skin care and health care, plants need to be used as close to whole as possible, maintaining their unique chemistry, required co-factors, and, therefore, bioavailability. If plant extracts are used, quality manufacturing procedures are required. If not, absorption and delivery of the extracts can be an issue because, when an individual part is separated from the whole, its benefits begin to degrade and its bioavailability is reduced. In the plant world, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, and the parts depend on each other.



Considered beneficial in many aspects of beauty care, cold-pressed oils from vegetables, nuts, and seeds often form the foundation or primary actives in many cosmetic formulas. Fats and oils are the major components of cell walls and intracellular membranes, so it is not surprising that these cold pressed oils are important in skin care. Containing an abundance of essential fatty acids, ceramides, antioxidants, phytosterols, and amino acids, these oils provide valuable emollient properties to the skin, as well as restoring barrier function. They are chosen because of their low incidence of irritation, sensitization, and comedogenicity. Properly extracted, plant oils that naturally contain antioxidants plus co-factors (such as carrot seed oil, rosehip seed oil, or sea buckthorn oil) are easily recognized by the skin. Oils are more likely to be absorbed than water-soluble actives without further processing.


Inca Inchi is a wonderful lipactive product derived from a development program in Peru associated with Amazonian reforestation. Extracted from the seeds, the crop is guaranteed to have no chemical treatment and is stored in controlled conditions from harvest to industrialization. Of great interest is its ratio between alpha-linolenic (omega-3) and linoleic (omega-6) essential fatty acids, as well as the presence of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) derivatives. In topical application, the unsaturated fatty acids of Inca Inchi oil boost cell membrane structure and help preserve the cutaneous lipidic balance essential for healthy barrier formation.




Used in skin care, essential oils form one of the biggest and most active ingredients used in cosmetic formulations. The chemistry of each essential oil is from two sources: first, from the natural biological activities of the plant during the growing and reproductive phase; second, a result of the byproducts of distillation. These chemical compounds give the essential oil its unique characteristics and therapeutic properties.


The fact that essential oils can penetrate the skin is indisputable. They are known to carry or enhance the absorption of other compounds or ingredients into the skin.


Researcher Anna Herman states that, “There is only a small minority of molecules with specific physio-chemical properties that can actually cross the skin sufficiently to reach subdermal tissue and the circulatory system – essential oils and their active constituents being one of them.”


Herman found four possible mechanisms of action from the reduction of the desmosomal connections, modification, and interaction of the protein in the intercellular domain and natural compounds, such as the terpene group – common to many essential oils and creating a disruption of the highly-ordered, intercellular lipid structure between the corneocytes of the stratum corneum, making this layer temporarily permeable at the point of application to the skin.




People have always been preoccupied with the fight against aging. Advances in research increase understanding of the mechanisms of skin aging and how they can be influenced. Visible signs of skin aging can be masked, but the real revolution arrived with modern science and using plant extracts to, now, be able to prevent and repair the signs and effects of aging.
An example would be Elestan™, which is an aqueous extract from the leaves of manilkara multinervis. Manilkara, also called bullet-wood tree or sleeper wood, grows in the forests and savannas of western Africa, from Cameroon to Senegal. The bark and leaves of manilkara are used in traditional African medicine.


The deleterious role of elastases and the dramatic long-term consequences of glycation are well-known today. Elastases are enzymes naturally present in the skin that regulate the degradation of elastin. The disturbance of this process with aging results in excessive degradation of elastin which causes a loss of skin elasticity. Thanks to its anti-elastase properties, Elestan fights against the degradation of the elastic fiber network, thus preserving the skin’s youth. In the case that the elastic fiber network is already damaged, Elestan contributes to its recovery by stimulating the production of elastin.


A second example, centella asiatica, also known as gotu kola, is a small herbaceous plant native to southeast Asia, Australia, Madagascar, and Africa.


The biotechnology is a unique, total, eco-sustainable process able to physiologically orientate the production of specific substances involved in defensive responses of the plant against environmental physical and biological stress, such as phenylpropanoids. Through the in vitro culture of plant stem cells in protected and highly-controlled conditions, the production of these substances with considerable biological properties is achieved.


Centella asiatica stems are rich in substances with antioxidant activity higher than that of other common natural antioxidants and are known for anti-hyaluronidasic activity. Hyaluronic acid is a major constituent of the extracellular matrix of the dermis and it is responsible for skin hydration and elasticity. A decrease of hyaluronic acid, due to the enzyme hyaluronidase, produces loss of skin firmness. Thanks to the synergistic effect of its constituents, centella asiatica stems are proven to efficiently inhibit hyaluronidase up to 90 percent.


Using plant-based ingredients, like cold-pressed plant oils, essential oils, and other modern ingredients for skin care, will not only benefit individual clients, but will also aid professionals with environmental preservation initiatives.


Trish Green, director of sales and marketing for Eve Taylor North America, has been an educator for 40 years. She is an international speaker, educating aestheticians across the United States and Canada. As a CIDESCO aesthetician and a homeopath, she specializes in the wellness approach in her aesthetic practice, offering a unique approach to the treatment of clients in the spa.

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