Spotlight On: Goat’s Milk in Beauty Products

A 2 month old goat kid in a field of capeweed

A 2 month old goat kid in a field of capeweed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In some ways, I find today’s beauty industry ironic:  We live in a world where the human genome has been sequenced and technologically-advanced biological laboratories abound, and yet, we’ve turned to increasingly more natural and fewer cellularly-targeted treatments than ever before.  Even though most of our pharmaceuticals are derived from or designed to mimic the active portions of plants, many deem these as “unhealthy” and want to find a more wholesome, holistic approach.

Natural Handcrafted Soaps Goat's MilkBut I digress.  Despite our scientific progress elsewhere, in the current skin care world of ‘green’ and ‘organic,’ it’s no surprise that the latest in anti-aging has come from the farm:  Goat’s milk.  Available from brands like Natural Handcrafted Soaps (shown right) and Goat Milk Stuff, goat’s milk has taken our ‘green’ world by storm due to its gently hydrating properties.

Yet there are a few misunderstandings about goat’s milk, which we will straighten out here.  First of all, the secret to goat’s milk is the lactic acid, not vitamins and minerals.  A popular alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), lactic acid is a powerful humectant.  Proof of its hydrating abilities is the fact that one of the only prescription drugs FDA approved for dry skin, LacHydrin, has lactic acid (12%) as the main ingredient.  Keep in mind, however, that any milk-containing product contains lactic acid, not just those with goat’s milk.

Milk and cooky

Goat's milk contains less vitamins and minerals than regular milk, but a different form of protein that is more easily digestible (Photo credit: Salim Virji)

Also keep in mind that goat’s milk has less vitamins and minerals than regular milk.  According to the USDA, goat’s milk is not recommended for human infants because it contains “inadequate quantities of iron, folate, vitamins C and D, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, and panthothenic acid to meet an infant’s nutritional needs” and may cause harm to an infant’s kidneys and could cause metabolic damage (USDA Infant Formula Feeding, 2010).  Taking it a step further, it may be wise to keep any goat’s milk products far away from children.  “Many infants are exclusively fed unmodified goat’s milk as a result of cultural beliefs as well as exposure to false online information.  Anecdotal reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics have described a host of morbidities associated with infant ingestion of goat’s milk, including severe electrolyte abnormalities, metabolic acidosis, megaloblastic anemia, allergic reactions including life-threatening anaphylactic shock, hemolytic uremic syndrome, and infections (Pediatrics, 2010).

So then why do adults get great results from goat’s milk soap?  The truth is simple and comes down to two things:  One, lactic acid.  Two, goat’s milk soaps typically also contain oatmeal.

Oatmeal Русский: Овсяныехлопья

Gotta love oatmeal! It's typically included in goat's milk soap. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colloidal oatmeal is simply oats ground into an extremely fine powder.  It is one of the few skin care ingredients that is regulated by the U.S. FDA.  As far as calming and soothing ingredients go, colloidal oatmeal is amongst the best, improving barrier function, moisturizing, cleansing, and even containing soothing antioxidant vitamin E (Cosmetic Dermatology supplement, 2008).  Colloidal oatmeal also relieves pain and itching by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis in a mechanism similar to that of the drug indomethacin (Cosmetic Dermatology supplement, 2008).  So when colloidal oatmeal is included in goat’s milk soap, you better believe it’s making a significant difference.

Bottom Line

Goat’s milk soap may very well leave your skin feeling calm, soothed, and hydrated.  While it is wrong to say that there are more vitamins and minerals in goat’s milk than regular milk, it is fair to say the lactic acid naturally occurring in goat’s milk and the colloidal oatmeal added to the soaps may very well leave you thinking there’s something special about it.   Overall, these are sensational products, but take extra caution that you keep your goat’s milk soap out of the reach of infants, just in case.

Product Review: Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles

Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate ReviewWhen it comes to dermatologists who have helped the public better understand the true physiology of the skin, few have done it better than Dr. Howard Murad, M.D.  As a board-certified dermatologist, trained pharmacist and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (Dermatology) at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Murad has always emphasized the importance of hydration, both internally and externally, for the health of the skin.

So I was really excited to hear about his new Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles ($54.95, Amazon.com).  One of the truly superb releases in over-the-counter skin care for 2012, the cream features three of my all-time favorite ingredients, retinol, peptides, and hyaluronic acid.  I’ll go into more detail about the science behind each of these here:

Time-Release Retinol

Retinol 3D structure

Retinol 3D structure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time-release retinol is nothing new, as Neutrogena released a similar technology within the past two years.  What is novel about Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles is that it contains a seemingly higher concentration of time-release retinol than the Neutrogena products, resulting in faster results.

Although this 2001 study in the journal Clinics in Dermatology found over-the-counter retinol is 20 times less potent than prescription retinoic acid in the skin, over-the-counter retinol use is still recommended, as similar results can be achieved with retinol over longer periods of time.  What’s more, over-the-counter retinol is an excellent option for those with sensitive skin who cannot tolerate prescription retinoids.

Matrixyl Synthe’6

Matrixyl Synthe'6

Matrixyl Synthe'6 is the newest Matrixyl peptide from Sederma. (Photo credit: Sederma)

There is an impressive amount of research support for Matrixyl 3000, a combination of palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl oligopeptide clinically proven to have notable collagen-stimulating properties (Bioorganic and Medical Chemistry Studies, 2010).

But just like car companies keep coming out with new models, so cosmetic manufacturers keep on reinventing their ingredients.  The new model of peptides, so to speak, is Matrixyl Synthe’6.  A fancy name for palmitoyl tripeptide-38, Matrixyl Synthe’6 was designed by Sederma to stimulate collagen production by stimulating the 6 major constituents of the skin matrix, as well as the dermal–epidermal junction (DEJ) (Sederma, 2012).

The ingredient is rather new, so it is difficult to find independent, non-company-affiliated studies testing Matrixyl Synthe’6 at this time.  In vivo studies from Sederma demonstrate that, after 2 months of twice-daily use, the forehead and crow’s feet wrinkles are visibly smoothed from the inside of the skin. Many parameters demonstrated this smoothing effect (wrinkle volume, depth, surface).  Considering the amount of research support for Matrixyl 3000, I would not be surprised if Matrixyl Synthe’6 had similar results.  Still, I won’t jump the gun in this review, and will merely say the peptide is a selling point for Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles, though perhaps not the selling point.

Hyaluronic Acid

SportVis is a peri-articular injection of Hyal...

This is a peri-articular injection of Hyaluronic Acid for ankle sprains. Keep in mind hyaluronic acid has many uses, including injectable as well as topical. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s no wonder that the author of The Water Secret would include hyaluronic acid in his skin care.  One of the most highly water-binding ingredients on the skin care market, hyaluronic acid has been demonstrated to hold up to 1000 times its volume in water, as documented in the textbook Cosmetic Dermatology.

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in connective tissue, lending strength and flexibility to the cartilage, blood vessels, and the skin.  When applied topically, it acts as a humectant, able to form multiple bonds with water molecules in the surrounding areas.  Cosmetic companies love it because it instantly makes the skin appear more hydrated.  In the long-term, other ingredients, like retinoids and peptides, are more effective, but hyaluronic acid is still a great ingredient because it provides superior moisturization.

Bottom Line

Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles is one of the best releases of 2012 so far.  With a higher concentration of retinol than other time-release products I’ve seen, it’s a superior anti-ager, and with the new peptide Matrixyl Synthe’6, it’s really a great serum.  I give it a 10/10!  For best results, use it at night.

  • High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients:  3/3
  • Unique formulation or new technology:  3/3
  • Value:  3/3
  • Sunscreen:  N/A

Ingredients (Links Direct to Wikipedia)

Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Glycine Soja (Soybean ) Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Lauryl Lactate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Retinol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Trehalose, Inositol, Taurine, Betaine, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Laureth-23, Trideceth-6 Phosphate, Triethanolamine, Ceramide-3, Punica Granatum Extract, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Propyl Gallate, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow 5 (CI 19140).

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