Nature & Science
More than simply natural skin care
Soraya did not set out to create ‘100% natural’ skin care, since to have done so would have meant failing to take advantage of clinically proven and scientifically-derived anti-aging and skin renewal compounds. In fact, Snowberry is created mostly from wilderness and rainforest substances such as White peat, Neem, Lingon and Cloud berry oils. Many of these natural substances have been known for centuries to be beneficial to skin, but they have been used in isolation one from another, and generally in an unrefined form only. Modern skin science and bio chemistry has enabled us to identify the particular effect of specific extracts on skin cellular structure and renewal processes. By combining the best of these with carefully selected anti-oxidants, enzymes and peptide complexes, in Snowberry, Soraya has created a skin care that is a beautiful fusion of ancient wisdom, Nature and science.
Soraya’s idealism meant that she had to find alternatives for other chemicals frequently used in skin care and sunscreens. Some are intended to give a silky feel, or to hasten absorption, and some are simply ‘fillers,’ or cheap sources of emollients, moisturisers, and foaming agents. For Snowberry, Soraya would accept only those ingredients – no matter the cost, that she could trust to be truly beneficial and truly safe. For this reason, and unlike many other brands, Snowberry means:
- No Petrochemicals
- No Propylene or Butylene Glycols
- No Volatile alcohols
- No artificial colours
- No Silicones
- No DEA or MEA ingredients
Avoiding parabens as the preservative system for Snowberry products led to another dedicated research programme. The breakthrough came in the form of an unusual combination of natural ingredients including Totarol from the New Zealand rainforest to form a unique, natural preservative system.
All Snowberry serums and creams are subject to independent dermatological testing and are clinically proven hypoallergenic. Snowberry skin care is for women who wish to be able to trust. It is Soraya’s promise.
What you need to know about how your skin works
It is sensuous and beautiful. It is our protection and shield. It changes day by day and throughout our lives, and it deserves our deep understanding and knowledgeable care.
Begin with the barrier, or epidermis. The tough outer layer is comprised of dead keratinocytes, arranged rather like paving stones with the spaces in-between occupied by ‘fatty’ molecules called phospholipids. This creates the ‘barrier function,’ which means it protects against physical and chemical invasion, whilst preventing excessive water loss. Though not physically part of the skin, an essential part of that barrier is the highly beneficial micro flora that inhabits the epidermis and which helps to repel harmful pathogenic organisms. Clearly, if the barrier function is degraded, for example by harsh cleansers, there is risk of inflammation, infection and accelerated dehydration.
In the lower part of the epidermis are the melanocytes that produce the melanin that darkens the skin, beneath which is the dermis, or cellular matrix formed by the essential structural proteins Type-1 Collagen and elastin. In the cellular matrix are the very important fibroblasts that manufacture the structural proteins collagen and elastin. Here also the sebaceous glands that produce the sebum that helps to lubricate and waterproof the skin; the capillaries or fine blood vessels that nourish new skin cell growth, as well as the lymph nodes that send out the immune cells that protect the skin from microbial invasion. Also within the cellular matrix are the polymer glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Think of these as ‘fillers,’ particularly important for skin ‘plumpness’ because of their ability to hold moisture. The most important GAG when we think radiant skin, is hyaluronic acid.
To enhance skin radiance at any age, we must consider how each of these skin components changes during our lifetimes, what it is that affects that change, and what we can do to slow or reverse the process. Young, healthy skin is smooth and the complexion is generally clear and ‘radiant,’ which is to say it seems to glow. As we age, certain changes take place that result in fine lines becoming wrinkles, discolouration and the loss of that delightful luminosity. They occur because the skin’s ability to counter damaging free radicals, metalloproteinase’s and glycation, declines. The cellular matrix becomes thinner and less flexible; the barrier function is disrupted; fibroblasts wear out and flatten; melanocytes may begin to produce melanin in a somewhat irregular fashion leading to blotchiness or hyper pigmentation; sebaceous glands produce less sebum so the skin becomes progressively dryer; and fewer GAGs are produced, which contributes to thinner and less supple skin.
Many of these ageing processes are unavoidable, however, we do know that the rate at which they occur can vary enormously, and their impact on the skin’s appearance at different ages and stages of life, is also highly variable. For this reason, we very much need skin care that is formulated to precisely target the enemies of radiant skin, with clinically proven ingredients and delivery systems. That is the Snowberry mission.
Enemies of Skin
While skin is extraordinarily resilient, there are a variety of everyday enemies, beyond the obvious physical hazards that we should take care to avoid:
The major environmental enemy, and in fact the major cause of skin aging, is the sun (called photo aging). And while UVB has traditionally been thought the principal aggressor, new research shows that UVA also, has a deleterious effect on skin structure. Other environmental enemies are the wind, which can exacerbate the impact of UV and cold, and heat. All can alter the skin’s cellular structure and especially the amount and nature of its natural oils.
Dirt and grime will block pores, reducing the ability to sweat and creating ideal conditions for infection.
Some chemicals can pass through the skin – indeed, many of the components of skincare products are designed to do just that. Common chemicals that may break down lipid structures or increase the skin’s permeability for example, are acids and alkalis, solvents of all kinds, cleaning agents and detergents, and many common gardening substances.
Ironically, many skin care products contain chemicals that we believe are harmful to skin. These include petrochemicals, anionic surfactants and volatile alcohols for example. Some silicones are known pore blockers. We will not include any chemical in Snowberry skin care that might harm the skin in anyway, and we will always choose natural herbal extracts over synthetic chemicals.
There is an old adage that says we ‘look as good as we feel.’ When we are continually stressed or tired, it is evident in the skin. The radiant glow that is characteristic of a contented state of being is typically replaced by a ‘flat’ complexion.
Much has been written of the benefits of regular exercise and a modest, well-balanced diet. Skin that does not regularly receive the essential vitamins, oils and anti-oxidants provided by fresh fruit and vegetables, or that isn’t ‘flushed’ by moderate exercise, loses its natural and attractive vitality. And new medical research shows that regular aerobic exercise is good not just for skin but also for the thinking processes centred in our frontal lobes.
The adverse impact on skin of excessive alcohol and smoking is well documented.
Protecting your skin
Emollients reduce water loss from the epidermis by covering it with a protective film. How much moisturisation you need depends very much on your skin type and natural level of skin oil content. Emollients do not get absorbed through the skin into the body. Generally, the higher the lipid content the greasier the emollient and the shinier it looks on the skin. Consequently, it is preferable to choose an emollient that does ‘just enough’ to relieve dryness.
Stimulating collagen production
Where emollients moisturise, advanced skincare products can also help the skin to regenerate the essential protein collagen. Collagen is the main structural element of the living layer of skin (the dermis) that lies below the keratin-rich epidermis. As we age, collagen production tends to diminish, one obvious result of which is an increase in the depth and length of wrinkles.
Anti-oxidants and skin care
Anti-oxidants are nutrients commonly found in fruit and vegetables that neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or molecules in which an electron is missing – an unstable state most often caused by excessive exposure to the sun. Free radicals are extremely damaging to the skin and especially to collagen and elastin (the protein that gives skin its elasticity). Free radicals also damage melanin production, resulting in blotching and discolouration. The best way to minimise free radical damage is to include lots of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet, and to minimise exposure to direct sun light. But bear in mind that the body’s main source of Vitamin D (a critical nutrient for bones, teeth and skin) is produced in the skin in response to sunlight!
The sun is essential for the production of vitamin D. However, prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays causes the formation of free radicals (mostly oxygen derived) that attack skin molecules. Anti-oxidants are effective in countering free radicals, but the best form or defence is to avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Make sure that your sun screen works as a barrier to both UVA and UVB.
Though it may be ‘dead,’ the skin’s outer layer is a highly active zone! Sweat, uric acid and sebum (the skin’s natural waterproofing agent) are excreted continually through the epidermis, and dead keratinocytes and keratins are continuously sloughed away. So rapid are the changes occurring in the epidermis that the skin completely renews the epidermis over a period of three to five weeks.