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Luminara Japonica and Safflower Extract Make Dermatouch Oxygen Night Protector Decent, But Unexciting

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Dermatouch Natural Skin recently come out with it Oxygen Night Protector ($12.99, amazon.com), designed to an eco-friendly alternative to moisturize the skin, encourage natural oil-production, and increase skin firmness. The company prides itself on the use of natural ingredients and other eco-friendly materials, as well as their products’ ability to “penetrate the skin.” Though the title mentions “oxygen” and brings to mind images of breezy days and supple, exfoliated skin, I wasn’t able to find anything on the ingredients list which explicitly mentions “oxygen” as a major component.

In fact, Dermatouch’s product name is a bit misleading – oxygen cannot penetrate one’s pores,  and is instead more of a way to conjure ideas of open, exfoliated skin rather than a medical reality. I chose to investigate some of the more novel “natural “ ingredients in the Night Protector  – safflower seed oil, laminaria japonica extract, and soluble collagen and elastin.

[Read More: Future Derm – Interview with Dr. Leslie Baumann]

Soluble Collage + Elastin: Won’t Give You the Benefits You Think They Will

[caption id="attachment_19317" align="alignright" width="300"]retinol elastin cream Applying retinol and elastin topically won't do anything for you, unfortunately.[/caption] Two of the most frequent players in the cosmetic arena, soluble collagen and elastin are popularly lauded for firming the skin, eliminating wrinkles, and returning a healthier, more natural look to one’s body. It’s true that collagen is responsible for the supple skin that we all covet, however, it is somewhat difficult to recover (but still possible!). Collagen-containing creams and lotions are ineffective at plumping the skin because the collagen and elastin molecules are much larger than our skin pores, even after exfoliation and meticulous washing. Therefore, the collagen particles cannot penetrate one’s skin, leaving the cream as more of an external moisturizer (Dr. Ananya Mandal – Collagen Medical Uses). Of course, you cannot forget the benefits that a healthier diet, non-smoking, and exercise will yield, as well as surgery/injections if you seriously desire more youthful skin. And, if you want more collagen, ingredients like retinol, which work to rejuvenate and maintain cell growth, can increase one’s collagen production ( University of Maryland Medical Center).

Laminaria Japonica Extract: Good for Scars and Bruises

[caption id="attachment_19315" align="alignleft" width="300"]Dried Laminaria Brown kelp might help stimulate collagen production, but not as much as other ingredients will.[/caption] Laminaria Japonica is a brown kelp found primarily in the Pacific Ocean, with a heavy distribution amongst Asian countries for both nutritional and cosmetic value. Eco-friendly enthusiasts most often praise the chemical Fucoidan (also found in other kelp species) for its anti-inflammatory and rejuvenative effects when applied topically, and nutritional value and potential to enhance one’s immune system. A study by Fujimura found that applying a Fucoidan-based cream twice a day for five weeks resulted in not only thinner skin, but more elastic and supple skin. While reduced skin thickness sounds like a bad thing, it’s actually quite beneficial: by thinning the layers of skin, Fucoidan allows the skin to tighten and repair  its connective tissue (formally called dermal fibroblast proliferation), especially after injuries, bruises, scarring, etc (Macrolagal Fucoidan Extracts). Plus, fucoidans allows for a more enhanced and evenly distributed collagen absorption, which is responsible for skin’s firmness and flexibility during youth (we gradually lose skin collagen as we age, which is what causes wrinkles).  Research is still being conducted as to whether Fucoidan works as a topical and ingestible anti-inflammatory agent, nor is there any definitive research that Fucoidan can penetrate the skin (Macrolagal Fucoidan Extracts).

Safflower Seed Oil: Medicinal Gold

[caption id="attachment_19316" align="alignright" width="300"]Safflower Safflower seed oil may help reduce scars.[/caption] You would never think to look at it, but the small orange safflower plant is a medicinal pot of gold. Research has demonstrated myopia-reduction in children with safflower oil eye drops. It has been shown to dilate arteries, reduce hypertension and promote blood flow and is hence popular with cardiovascular treatments. Sunflower oil and dragon blood (a plant resin) compresses have soothed cartilage stress and degeneration. Dermatologically speaking, safflower seed oil has cleared vitiligo (skin pigment discoloring) , mild rashes, acne rosacea, and high rates of alopecia recovering when coupled with hair-restoring mixtures (International Plant Genetic Resources Group 25-30).  Yasukawa et al. found that tumor formation was greatly reduced in mice, while Solanki et al. noticed that babies who were rubbed four times a day for five days with the safflower oil had increases in essential fatty acid levels, especially linolenic and arachidonic acids (Leslie S Bauman – “Safflower Seed Oil”).

Personal Use and Opinion

When I used the Dermatouch Oxygen Night Protector, I did find it really helpful in moisturizing my skin and the cream had a very light but pleasant spring-breeze fragrance, though I can’t say that it made my skin feel any more moisturized or smooth than other lotions. Plus, the cream wasn’t too heavy and didn’t leave residue on my pillow (as some other night cream do) despite liberal application. The one downside: it causes some trouble washing off of your hands, so when I went to use my computer after applying it (and washing my hands), there were some oil spots on my keyboard.

Bottom Line

If you have scarring or bruises, or are looking for some at-home treatments for ailments like vitiligo, you may want to give the Oxygen Night Protector a try and see if its safflower oil lives up to its renown. But, then again, there are products that will serve you better in all of those pursuits. And if you are looking to return some of the elasticity and youth to your skin, look elsewhere – this isn’t going to boost collagen or collagen production. At the end of the day, Dermatouch’s Oxygen Night Protector is a very good moisturizer, and since it contains healing agents like fucoidans and safflower seed oil, it may even be good at clearing acne, mild rashes, and scarring. Post by Taylor Barbieri