By now, it's practically impossible not to have come across the term "superfood". Nowadays, it seems like we're nobody if we don't add a little kale, goji, or pomegranate to our diet. The boom of this trend has extended the use of these ingredients to cosmetics. In this article, we will try to understand if their properties and benefits can truly be transferred to the skin.
Get comfortable because before we start, we'll put a little order so that no one gets lost. Let's start with the basics: what is a superfood.
A "superfood" is... a super food :-), a nutrient-rich food with beneficial properties for our body and health. Something similar to what every good mom would always put on our table. In reality, this definition is not very precise and may even seem like it has been coined by the market. We prefer to rely on science and scientific evidence, which more rigorously endorse certain benefits of these foods.
The common characteristic of these superfoods is the abundant presence of antioxidant compounds, a compendium of wonderful agents that help our body neutralize free radicals.
Antioxidant compounds are naturally generated during metabolic processes and can damage our cells.
Some people claim that these oxidative processes should already be naturally controlled by our body and its antioxidant mechanisms. But sometimes our body doesn't work as "well" as we would like, and some help may be worthwhile.
Among the fruits, we find several of the most popular superfoods:
- Pomegranate and blueberries, açai berries, rich in fiber and low in sugar.
- Goji berries, very rich in vitamin C; avocado, the only fruit rich in polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats), ideal for regulating cholesterol and immune system function.
And more among the vegetables:
- Black cabbage and kale, spinach rich in vitamins and minerals. .
- Broccoli and cauliflower, rich in isothiocyanates, which in several studies have shown some anticancer activity.
- Red turnips, rich in betaine, essential for the absorption of vitamin B12, calcium, and iron. .
Among the seaweed, we have:
- Spirulina, with a high protein content, with multiple properties but be careful, also contraindications.
And among the spices and other foods:
- Chia, rich in omega-3 fatty acids; quinoa, with a high content of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
- Turmeric, ginger, cocoa, rich in flavonoids, kombucha, and matcha, powder obtained from green tea, rich in antioxidants and catechins, compounds with anticancer action.
Many of them have always been part of the Mediterranean diet, while others are more exotic, although they have also managed to carve out their own niche.
Skeptics argue that efficacy studies on superfoods are often conducted with concentrations of the active ingredient that are much higher than what the food naturally contains. It would then be almost impossible to ingest an amount that can replicate the context of the study, in addition to the fact that these substances would be quickly eliminated in the body without performing the specific function evidenced by the studies in question.
The best way to eat is to pay attention to our diet as a whole. It is useless to binge on avocado and pomegranate salads if we have chocolate and churros for dinner every night... It is more advisable not to rely on the selection of a few miraculous foods, but to maintain a healthy and varied diet, including of course, these superfoods whose properties are a fact. And of course, without forgetting to lead a healthy lifestyle.
We have come to the crux of the matter; could we apply the above considerations to the cosmetic environment? What kind of benefits would these ingredients bring if applied to the skin?
The incorporation of superfoods into cosmetics, especially the more exotic ones, usually follows the same pattern. First, their centuries-old use in traditional medicine of a particular culture or civilization is evidenced, their efficacy is tested through ingestion, and finally, their use and study in cosmetics is extended with results that prove that these benefits are transported to the skin.
Although our true intentions may be seen ;-) we propose delving into goji berries. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for 2000 years, goji plays a vital role in this culture, which included it in ancient infusions due to its multitasking ability to stimulate the immune and circulatory systems, improve vision, and increase sperm production, among other miraculous actions.
The properties of goji berries are supported by a scoring system that measures the antioxidant power of foods. On this scale, goji fruit has a score of 25,300, while an orange has a score of 750.
Goji contains polysaccharides (the most important being conjugates, especially proteoglycans) and antioxidants such as vitamin C, flavonoids, and carotenoids, particularly a biologically active form of β-carotene that allows the body to use it more efficiently. Proteoglycans are related to inhibiting the enzymes involved in the degradation processes of fibroblasts, the cells that produce collagen and elastin.
Furthermore, the efficacy of goji has been demonstrated in stopping the activity of tyrosinase and reducing melanin production, thereby helping to delay the appearance of skin spots and improving its tone and uniformity.
These claims about the effectiveness of goji berries (Latin name Lycium barbarum) for cosmetic use are supported by various studies. At the end of this post, we provide some of them for when you have some free time*.
In conclusion, certain superfoods like goji berries have scientific literature supporting their antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It is our task to ensure this.
With these premises, at UMOA we have decided to include goji berry extract as one of the star actives in the formula of the Goji Nectar Reviving Serum; This is a high-power antioxidant facial serum that is effective in preventing and reducing the effects of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines.
Goji Nectar also acts on skin hydration, contributing to the recovery of hyaluronic acid levels, which decrease as our body ages. The result is a luminous, juicy, smooth, and more even-toned skin shortly after starting to use it.
An independent laboratory has conducted a clinical study on Goji Nectar reviving serum, with a panel of volunteers aged between 24 and 45 who have used the product continuously for 28 days. The results of the clinical study have revealed that:
- 91% of panelists who have tried Goji Nectar Reviving Serum indicate noticing more hydrated, soft and uniform skin.
- 86% notice firmer skin.
- 82% feel their skin is more elastic and notice an improvement in skin texture.
- 73% indicate that with product use, wrinkles and fine lines are softened.
- 95% believe that the product leaves the skin more luminous.
- 90% consider that the product is quickly absorbed and does not leave residue after absorption.
- 95% indicate being satisfied with the product and its results and would recommend it to a friend.
* We list some studies that support the effectiveness of goji berries for cosmetic use for when you have some free time:
- Zhao, H. et al. Lycium barbarum glycoconjugates: effect on human skin and cultured dermal fibroblasts. Phytomedicine 12.1, 131-137 (2005)
- Huang, H. et al. Supercritical fluid extract of Lycium chinense Miller root inhibition of melanin production and its potential mechanisms of action. BMC complementary and alternative medicine 14.1 (2014)
- Fernanda de Godoy Leite, et al. Joao Augusto Oshiro Junior, Leila Aparecida Chiavacci, Bruna Galdorfini Chiari-Andréo, Assessment of an anti-ageing structured cosmetic formulation containing goji berry (2018)