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CHOLLEY Techniques: Phytocosmetics part 5

Phytocosmetics are cosmetic products whose principal active ingredients are derived from plants as opposed to being produced synthetically.  Phytocosmetics owe a great debt to popular and empirical medicine that over thousands of years through the crude technique of trial and error has identified the beneficial properties of innumerable plants.  Today equipped with our knowledge of chemistry and biology we can understand the scientific foundation of these properties.  However, there are still many natural mysteries that are beyond our current state of knowledge.

Chemistry of Phytocosmetics

To understand and appreciate phytocosmetics a basic knowledge of chemistry is indispensable.  The following is the second part of our overview of the basic concepts for better comprehension of the active ingredients used in CHOLLEY products. In the previous post we explored Saponins, Tannins, Resins and Alkaloids. In the following post we will talk about Vitamins.

Vitamins

Vitamins are relatively simple organic compounds that are present in small quantities in almost all natural foods.  They are indispensable for normal execution of animal metabolism.  Vitamins take part in enzymatic processes and regulate certain activities of higher organisms.  From a cosmetics viewpoint the most important are:

Vitamin A
Flavin-Adenin-Dinucleotide

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining structural and functional integrity of the cellular membrane.  It stabilizes lipo-proteic composition of the membrane and regulates its permeability.  Vitamin A has an important role in growth, development, and nutrition of epithelial (skin and mucus membrane) tissues.  It also regulates the keratinization process of epidermis.

Shortage of this vitamin results in hard, dry, peeling, and irregularly pigmented skin.  It also has important roles in respiratory and digestive functions, as well as in adaptation of eyes to darkness and night vision.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is largely synthesized by plants.  The active form of this vitamin are Flavin-Adenin-Dinucleotide (FAD) and Flavin-Mononucleotide (FMN) which are distributed in all tissues especially those of the liver.  This vitamin has an important role in catalyzing numerous cellular reactions. Lack of vitamin B2 manifests itself as retarded growth and evident alterations of skin, hair, and nails.  Redness and flaking of skin, atrophy of hair follicles, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands, erythema and irritation of mucus membrane are other common symptoms.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 is found in many plants and animal foods.  This acid is a constituent part of the Coenzyme A (CoA) which plays a catalyst role in numerous lipidic and proteic metabolic reactions.  It is an invaluable substance in growth and health of skin, hair, nails, and mucus membrane. Lack of vitamin B5 manifests itself as headache, fatigue, depression, and gastrointestinal disturbances.  The “burning feet” syndrome is also thought to be associated with the lack of this vitamin.

Vitamin B5 is an anti-irritant and it has an important role in cellular regeneration.  It is widely used in treatment of a variety of skin and hair diseases, and lesions of the mucus membrane.  Vitamin B5 is also important for growth of the skin and production melanin.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxyn)

This vitamin is found in a variety of foods of animal or vegetal origin.  Lack of it is thought to lead to glossitis and seborrheic dermatitis around eyes, nose, and mouth.

 Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

This vitamin is largely found in fruits and vegetables.  It helps stabilize the blood hemoglobin.  Of primary importance is its role in oxydrilation processes such as synthesis of steroid hormones from cholesterol and in transformation of proline and lysin into hydroxyproline and hydroxylysin (fundamental building blocks of collagen.)  It plays a similar role in biosynthesis of polysaccharides which are the fundamental substances of the connective tissue. Lack of vitamin C weakens the capillaries since the collagen needed to reinforce their walls is not synthesized.

a-Tocoferol

Vitagen F (Essential Fatty Acids – EFA)

Essential fatty acids are a family of insaturated organic acids that have numerous functions in our organism.  They enter into the composition of biologic membranes in the form of phospholipids.  They play an important role in growth of children, cellular respiration, and the barrier function of the skin.

Vitamin E (a-Tocoferol)

This vitamin has antioxident properties and serves as the biological protector of vitamin A and insaturated essential fatty acids.  It inhibits the action of free radicals by preventing formation of lipoperoxides.

Vitamin E has an important role in minimizing skin damage caused by ultraviolet solar radiation.  It also helps prevent destruction of vitamin A and its precursor provitamin, b-Carotene.  In this respect, vitamin E, plays an important role in preparation of cosmetic products for daily use and especially suntan lotions.

Vitamin PP (Pellagra Preventing)

Vitamin PP or nicotinamid (amide of nicotinic acid which is considered a provitamin) is present in many foods with the exception of fats.  Lack of this vitamin causes disturbances of digestive and nervous systems.  Its most characteristic manifestations are on the skin in the form pellagra which appears as lesions on face, back, forearms, hands, and feet.  These are the most exposed areas of skin to heat, pressure, and other environmental factors that interfere with normal cutaneous functions.

The initial lesions appear as bright red spots similar to a sunburn which then turn to blisters and crusts that begin to peel off and leave behind brownish-red marks.  Vitamin PP is not the only vitamin involved in preventing pellagra; vitamins B1, B6, and B5 also play significant roles.

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