For January 2008, the Total Beauty network selected Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex ($75.00, Sephora.com) to be the product for its bloggers to review. The product claims to “rescue skin from external aggressors like harsh weather” and to “provide comfort after dermatological procedures and surgeries.” However, does the cream live up to its claims?
Peptides, but not palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 or palmitoyl oligopeptide
One source of confusion I have been noticing lately in skin care products is the use of the name “peptides.” While a peptide is a protein sequence of amino acids, not all peptides have been found to increase collagen production or to repair the skin. On the product information sheet, Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex claims that its peptides “help relieve skin irritation and discomfort by stimulating the release of endorphins and modulating release of tension-causing neurotransmitters.” While this could be the case, no published scientific studies or reviews have documented that Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex or any other topical treatment with peptides affects hormones and neurotransmitters. (Of course, if such a study arises and I find it, I’ll write about it, or if you know about one, alert me!)
Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex does not contain either of the two most researched anti-aging peptides, which are palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 and palmitoyl oligopeptide. Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 is the amino acid sequence lysine-threonine-threonine-lysine-serine, which has been demonstrated to stimulate feedback regulation of new collagen synthesis and to result in an increased production of extracellular matrix proteins (types I and II collagen and fibronectin). Palmitoyl oligopeptide is a sequence of peptides that reads valine-glycine-valine-alanine-proline-glycine combined with a palmitic acid in order to increase penetration through the epidermis.
According to the product brochure, the Biospheric Complex “delivers Iceland’s natural resources (water, earth, and air)” and consists of mineral-rich Icelandic glacial water (water), indigenous arctic berries (earth), and oxygenated liposomes, butterfly bush and thyme extracts (air) to “dramatically soothe, strengthen, and stabilize stressed skin”. Unfortunately, there is no peer-reviewed published research that says “water, earth and air” should be combined to provide better skin. But if we take the “earth, water, air” theme as just good marketing, the actual Biospheric Complex does not have peer-reviewed published research demonstrating its effects, so I personally would not buy the cream for the addition of the Biospheric Complex (at least not at this time).
Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex contains a fairly high concentration of sodium hyaluronate. In skincare products, natural moisturizing factors like sodium hyaluronate are able to draw water into the skin, reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and creating a slight swelling of the skin that slightly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (For more on sodium hyaluronate, please visit the entry in the Ingredients Dictionary here.)
Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex contains retinyl palmitate. According to a 1997 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 0.6% retinyl palmitate was less effective in penetrating human skin than 0.025% retinol (these concentrations are similar to those found in many over-the-counter skincare formulations). In addition, another study found retinol is 20 times less potent than prescription retinoic acid in the skin. However, even though retinyl palmitate is less potent than retinol, it has been shown to exhibit the collagen-stimulating, smoothing, and wrinkle-reducing properties of retinol over time, and has also been shown to be less irritating.
Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex contains Avena Sativa (Oat) Extract, which has documented hydrating and soothing effects for the skin. In fact, a 2002 study in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that topical application of practical concentrations of Avena Sativa (Oat) Extract reduced skin irritation in twelve individuals, as measured by using the sodium lauryl sulfate model. Avena Sativa (Oat) extract has also been documented to be effective as a soothing and anti-inflammatory agent, according to the journal Phytotherapy. Together with anti-irritating bisabolol and aloe, the cream was clearly designed to be non-irritating.
Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex contains a fair concentration of green tea extract. Green tea contains the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to have remarkable preventive effects against photocarcinogenesis and phototoxicity in mouse models. While EGCG comprises only 50% of “green tea extract” found in skin care and cosmeceuticals (Mukhtar), there is still enough EGCG to demonstrate anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties in most skin care and cosmeceuticals.
In a 2001 study in the journal Carcinogenesis, topical application of EGCG to human skin resulted in decreased oxidative stress and an increase in antioxidant enzymes after UV irradiation. Specifically, catalase and glutathione activity were increased due to the application of EGCG. A further 2003 study in Molecular Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention found that the polyphenols in green tea prevent UVB-induced oxidation of lipids and proteins and prevents against the depletion in antioxidant enzymes experienced after UVB exposure in mouse skin.
Personal Use and Opinions
From personal use as a blogger through the Total Beauty Network (thank you!), Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex feels thick on the skin, but drinks in well, leaving dry skin looking and feeling more hydrated. I was surprised to find that the cream had a definite scent, for it says it is fragrance-free. I personally wouldn’t apply Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream in the morning, because it does not contain sunscreen and is too heavy to apply sunscreen over (at least in my opinion). For dry skin as a night cream, it seems like it would be very hydrating.
As A Result…
Based on the ingredients and personal usage, Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream with Biospheric Complex seems like a good hydrating night moisturizer for dry skin. However, I would not personally buy this product for anti-aging purposes, as there are formulations with high concentrations of more established peptides and antioxidants and higher concentrations and a more potent form of retinol than retinyl palmitate. As an emollient cream, however, I give it a thumbs-up. Product Rating: 5.5/10 (Ingredients with substantive research backing in high concentration: 1.5/3, New technology: 2/3 (results of the Biospheric Complex are not published in peer-reviewed scientific journals), Value for the money: 2/3, Sunscreen: 0/1).
Ingredients (courtesy Sephora.com)
Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrogenated Didecene, Angelica Archangelica Root Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Canola Oil, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Bisabalol, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf Extract, Simondsia Chinensis, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Rubus Chamaemorus Seed Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Gold, Silver, Copper Sulfate, Glycosphingolipids, Cetyl Alcohol, Oleth-10 Phosphate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Stearic Acid, Sorbitan Monostearate, PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides, Lecithin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Perfluorodecalin, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Trideceth-6, Lauryl Glucoside, Laureth-3, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol. Fragrance-free, paraben-free, petroleum-free, mineral oil-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, 100% vegetarian and allergy tested.