Farmacy Skin Care claims to be “Farmer-Cultivated, Scientist-Activated.” As soon as I saw the word scientist, I was intrigued: As a science of beauty blogger, it’s kind-of my job to discern the false, all-marketing hype science from the real, true blue, new breakthroughs.
As far as Farmacy Skin Care goes, there is a patented Echinacea GreenEnvyTM complex found throughout all of their products. This Echinacea GreenEnvyTM complex contains a high concentration of Cichoric Acid, an active antioxidant complex naturally found in (you guessed it) echinacea. Cichoric acid has significant antioxidant activity (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2000), but also has been found to break down easily in most preparations (Journal of Natural Products, 2000). The beauty of the Farmacy line seems to be that it combines the active antioxidant extract of echinacea with enhanced stability — kind-of like you might remember seeing Topix Replenix enhancing the active antioxidant extract of green tea (EGCG) with increased stability back a decade or so ago.
That said, I like certain Farmacy Skin Care products better than others. Here’s my review of the full current line as of December 2016:
What to Buy from Farmacy Skin Care:
.Farmacy Invincible Root Cell Anti-Aging Serum combines the Echinacea GreenEnvyTM complex with a high concentration of 3-0-ethyl ascorbic acid.
In recent studies, 3-0-Ethyl ascorbic acid has proved to be stronger and more stable than ascorbic acid. In one such clinical skin lightening study, a solution containing just 2% 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid was found to improve skin whitening and radiance after just 28 days of twice-daily application (Cosmetics and Toiletries). Keeping in mind that similar results are produced in separate studies with 7 times as much L-ascorbic acid, this means that 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid is quite potent and certainly holds promise.
Anti-inflammatory turmeric and hydrating sodium hyaluronate (in two forms) round out the reasons why I think Farmacy Invisible Root Cell Anti-Aging Serum is a winner.
.Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask is beneficial because it contains a high concentration of honey.
I love honey in commercial, professionally-produced skincare products, BUT DO NOT PUT EDIBLE HONEY DIRECTLY ON YOUR FACE, AND ESPECIALLY NOT ON THE FACES OF YOUNG CHILDREN. Only cosmetic-grade honeys have been treated to be free of problematic bacteria (Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery). Honey that is sold as a food product can be a breeding ground for bacterial spores and other agents — so much so that it is known for at least 35 infant deaths to date (InfantBotulism.org). Infants cannot break down the bacterial spores in honey as well as adults can, which is what leads to Botulism!
At any rate, cosmetic-grade, sanitized honey has three popular roles in skin care: as a skin cleansing, antibacterial, and wound-healing agent. When using a mixture of olive oil, beeswax and honey, 80% of eczema sufferers with eczema reported reduced itching, oozing, and scaling from their lesions, while 63% of patients with psoriasis also reported improved conditions (Complementary Therapies in Medicine).
As the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery points out, honey’s ability to heal patients’ lesions and wounds may be due in part to its hydrating properties and hydrogen peroxide. When coupled together, these properties give wounds and skin a moist environment where it can regrow skin cells (epithelization), promote granulate tissue growth (which is a sinewy tissue that covers fresh wounds), and overall healthy wound healing. Honey is also able to soothe inflammation and reduce edema (swelling).
Overall, Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask is soothing, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory. If your skin is irritated from the harsh winter weather (like mine is), Farmacy Honey Portion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask may be just the answer. It does have a jam-like consistency — more fruit jam sticky than petrolatum jelly — so keep that in mind if you don’t like products with a certain ick factor.
For the same reasons I recommend the Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask (soothing, hydrating, anti-inflammatory), I recommend Farmacy Honey Savior All-in-One Skin Repair Salve. One caveat: This is also quite sticky and balm-like (I think I just destroyed my keyboard with it being all over my hands, lol), so this is not a great gift for the girly-girls in your life. Aside from that, it really does work: A dab on a chapped nose, for instance, heals and protects it.
Of all of the Farmacy Coconut Gel Masks (and there are 5 total, with your choice of rhubarb, carrot, celery, kale, or purple broccoli), the Rhubarb is by far my favorite. First, it leads off with olive oil esters, which have been shown in many studies to have beneficial properties ranging from UV protective (Carcinogenesis, Toxicology) to anti-carcinogenic (The Lancet Oncology).
Second, rhubarb is the source of a unique class of antioxidant compounds called anthraquinones (Medicinal Research Reviews). These compounds have been found in the same cited study to have UV protective and anticarcinogenic properties, and it may also prevent oxidation (Phytotherapy Research). Interestingly enough, rhubarb is a plant extract that should be used in whole rather than in part: Anthraquinones on their own may lead to irritation, but another component of rhubarb called emodin can keep this irritation at bay (Phytotherapy Research).
So I do recommend Farmacy Coconut Gel Mask with Rhubarb.
.Farmacy New Day Gentle Exfoliating Grains are pretty neat. You take a small amount of cornstarch-and-antioxidant-rich grains, blend with water, and massage the paste onto your face. Rinsing with water and patting dry, you’ll notice softer, more smooth skin.
Cornstarch may be best for minimizing acne, as it has been found to absorb oil and to be somewhat antibacterial. Some persons are allergic, so if you have a known allergy, this is a product you should avoid. Aside from that, it’s a pretty neat exfoliant that works.
Buy #6: Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream
First, the good news. Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream is a solid, mildly preventative, hydrating eye cream. There’s nothing in here that should be irritating for most persons, and the lead-off with jojoba esters as one of the top four ingredients is a solid win in my book. Jojoba creates modest swelling, indicative of moisture retention, in the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of skin) after use (Journal of Dermatological Science, 2008). Jojoba can also help to increase the penetration of other ingredients into the skin, something that may be useful for the other antioxidants in Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream (Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 1984).
Next, the ‘eh news: Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream isn’t going to eradicate your dark circles like retinol and vitamin K have been proven in independent studies to do, Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream isn’t going to treat fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes like retinoids have been proven to do, and Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream isn’t going to treat puffy eyes like formulations with a high concentration of green tea and caffeine can. That said, if you’re young and/or blessed with amazing undereye skin, Farmacy Eye Dew Total Eye Cream is a solid bet.
.Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm has some of the best of the best of natural ingredients: Rice bran oil, which is an emollient, moisturizer and cleansing oil that contains unsaponifiable antioxidants such as gamma-oryzanol and vitamin E (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2001; African Journal of Biotechnology, 2005). Grape seed extract, which is rich in proanthocyanidins that may improve skin elasticity and tone, prevent or ameliorate scars and stretch marks, and prevent or reduce wrinkling by protecting against UV radiation.. And of course jojoba oil, which mimics skin’s natural oils and gives you a youthful, smooth glow.
Why it is at the bottom comes down to the fact you don’t really need a night balm. Especially if you’re already using a nightly moisturizer and/or serum. It might be overkill, except for the most dry of skin types.
What to Pass By from Farmacy Skin Care
And then there are the doozies.
I don’t use products with lycopene. Period.
According to this 2002 study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, irradiating the skin with UVA light not surprisingly led to a 10-to-15-fold increase in the amount of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), or collagen degrading, mRNA. What the study found that was surprising was that application of lycopene or beta-carotene to the skin was found to actually increase matrix metalloproteinase (collagen-degrading) formation by 1.5-to-2-fold, unless vitamin E was applied in conjunction with lycopene or beta-carotene, in which case damaging matrix metalloproteinase mRNA levels did not increase.
I mean, Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask – Oil Control with Carrot Extract does have sources of vitamin E, so I’m sure it won’t destroy your skin’s collagen. But I’m also not sure it has benefits like the products I recommend at the top of this post do.
It’s just boring. And while most cleansing oils are rich in, say, sweet almond, jojoba, or olive oil, this cleansing oil falls flat by leading off with ingredients like cetyl ethylhexanoate, tridecyl stearate, and PEG-20 glyceryl triisosterate. It’s not that these ingredients are particularly bad or damaging, it’s just that these ingredients don’t provide much benefit aside from cleansing, and feel woefully off-brand. A little bit of grape seed oil helps, but even then, with so many other antioxidant-rich cleansing oils out there, I feel like this one is very meh.
Pass By #3: Farmacy Rise ‘n Shine Daily Moisture Lock
Yes, you still get the Echinacea GreenEnvyTM complex, which has a surprising amount of antioxidant activity. But what you’re not getting is equally as important: There isn’t vitamins C and E, amino acids, AHAs or sunscreen, all of which I love for daily topical use in the morning hours. Instead, you’re getting a pretty average antioxidant-rich moisturizer that may be somewhat hydrating and mildly preventative, but nothing that is going to eradicate fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, or skin sagging — at least in my opinion.
Pass By #4-6: Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask in Celery (Firming), Kale (Soothing), and Broccoli (Brightening)
Unlike the Rhubarb (Anti-Wrinkle) Mask, I’m not enthused by the Celery, Kale, or Broccoli varieties of this mask. I think it’s clever marketing, but truth be told, there’s not a lot of research to support that celery is firming for the skin or kale is soothing for the skin.
And while broccoli is naturally rich in skin-brightening vitamin C, it’s much better to get the effects of vitamin C as an isolated concentrate (as in the highly-recommended #1 Farmacy Invincible Root Cell Anti-Aging Serum, above). Because, as I always say, your digestive tract can break down broccoli and other vegetables into their beneficial components and absorb them. On the other hand, your skin is designed to protect, and it can’t extract the vitamin C out of the broccoli. While some whole plant-based ingredients still have benefits, broccoli hasn’t been shown to be one of them, at least as far as I’ve seen.
Farmacy takes skincare science a step further than many of its competitors, using natural-meets-the-future ingredients like grape seed extract, 3-0-ethyl ascorbic acid, PURIFIED honey, jojoba esters, and its own patented Echinacea GreenEnvyTM complex.
That said, some of its products are better than others. Its hard to beat their Farmacy Invincible Root Cell Anti-Aging Serum for brightening and anti-aging prevention amongst current natural or organic products, whereas the Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask and the Farmacy Honey Savior All-in-One Repair Salve is hard to beat for dry, irritated or inflamed skin. The scrub is also a nice experience for creating softer, smoother skin.
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