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For those times when you feel exceptionally light-hearted and full of whimsy, it’s best to match you mood with fun cosmetics and products. Philosophy offers lines of whimsically-scented shampoos, lip glosses and other beauty products with names like “Senorita Margarita” and “Ooey Gooey Cookie.” Recently they sent us Philosophy Pink Frosted Animal Cracker Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Bubble Bath (amazon.com, $19.99) to test out, and while the ingredients are great, I found it to be drying.
Sunflower Seed Oil and Skin
Seeing something as bright and beautiful as a sunflower will surely make you smile — but all of the benefits that it yields on your skin will make you absolutely giddy. For example, sunflower was shown to have remarkable antibacterial properties in a 2004 study from the Pediatric Journal of Infectious Diseases. Researchers topically applied sunflower oil twice a day on infants who had contracted nosocomial infections (infections obtained while in a hospital). After approximately three weeks, 54% of infants had a reduced chance and severity of nosocomial infection.
Researchers believed on of the reasons chance and severity of infection were reduced is because of sunflower seed oil’s ability to form a protective barrier on the skin. Sunflower seed oil formed a topical barrier that not only retained water, but also strengthened the skin’s natural barrier of babies’ delicate skin. Moreover, sunflower extract created a semipermeable layer that allowed sunflower’s natural lipids to enter and nourish the skin, and fortify the foundation for a stronger, natural skin barrier (Pediatric Journal of Infectious Diseases).
A study from the Acta Cirurgica Brasilera focused on sunflower extract’s role in wound healing. After three weeks of application, wound areas had shrunk by 68%, and the wound had contracted significantly as well. Sunflower seed oil stimulated fibroblast proliferation, which plays roles in the extracellular matrix, collagen formation, and granulation tissue formation, which is crucial to proper wound healing. The number of inflammatory cells also decreased when sunflower was applied topically, and cell re-epithelialization was greatly improved in the wound area.
For patients who had scaly, dry patches on their skin and a lecithin deficiency, which plays a part in skin moisture. After applying sunflower seed oil for two weeks, the patients’ dry patches healed significantly, moisture returned to the skin, and the patient with a lecithin deficiency had normal levels of lecithin in the skin. However, this study used a small sample size (3 people), and needs further research to support the findings (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).
So what does all of this mean? If you use Philosophy’s Shampoo as a body wash, that means it would not only cleanse the skin but moisturize it, encourage wound repair, and possibly strengthen the skin barrier.
Sunflower Seed Oil and Hair
While sunflower oil’s role in hair health remains isn’t well studied, its main component —linoleic acid — plays a major role in hair hydration. A recent study on topical linoleic acid and scalp penetration found that it was able to effectively penetrate the scalp and follicles, ensuring better hair health (International Journal of Cosmetic Science)
This omega-6 fatty acid retains hair’s moisture, and make it more fortified and elastic,by seeping into the cell membranes found around the hair follicle. It also protects against frizzy and dry tresses, dandruff, and hydrates the cuticle. But linoleic acid’s most crucial function is its forming a barrier over the hair strand and connects the cuticle cells together. The cuticle is the outermost layer of hair, and when it becomes damaged, hair loses its natural luster and bounce (Centre Clauderer). In short, sunflower is a great moisturizing and barrier-forming agent that will both lock in the moisture and keep out harmful bacteria from entering the skin.
Green Tea Extract and Skin
Green tea is a great extract, known especially for being anti-carcinogenic and anti-aging agent. Green tea’s polyphenols, especially EGCG, combat inflammation that can result in cancer cell formation and proliferation, as well as tumor formation when untreated (JAMA Dermatology). When researchers applied EGCG to mice that had been exposed to UV rays, they saw an improvement in both benign and malignant tumors (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology).
Similarly, green tea is able to soothe skin that is affected by sunburn or erythema (JAMA Dermatology). The polyphenol GTTP also combines with reactive oxygen species to protect against UV damage in mice, though its effect on humans has not been well studied (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology). Green tea has also been linked to reversal of photodamage. If left untreated, photodamage can cause wrinkles, collagen lose, rough uneven skin, depleted skin lipids, release free radicals, and a host of other problems. Fortunately, green tea can restore/protect our skin’s natural lipid levels, which leave skin looking soft and full. It also does some work to repair damaged protein and collagen fibers in the skin, which also contribute to skin’s firm and supple appearance. By inhibiting the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase, green tea fortifies the cellular matrix (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology).
For acne suffers, green tea inhibits 5 alpha reductase, an enzyme that disrupts hormone levels and contributes to acne formation. It also regulates sebum production, which can clog pores if it becomes excessive. If you have acne that typically scars or that become open lesions, green tea encourages cell reproduction so that wounds can heal more quickly (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology).
Green Tea Extract and Hair
But green tea’s benefits are limited to the skin — they have also been shown to greatly improve hair growth. In a study published in Phytomedicine, researchers analyzed the effect of EGCG amd its effect on the hair follicle. When applied topically, green tea significantly lengthened the hair follicle, and encouraged hair growth and dermal papillae cell reproduction. Dermal papillae cells (DPC) are cellular protrusions that grow from the dermis into the epidermis, and are often realized in fingerprints. They are particularly important for nourishing cells and encouraging growth, especially hair follicle cells (Journal of Cell Science).
Moreover, green tea’s EGCG stimulated the ERK pathway, which is used in cell growth and mitogenesis (beginning of cell division). It also encouraged AKT pathway stimulation, which is used to elicit survival signals/responses, and may even be linked with dermal papillae cell life. Each of green tea’s benefits, from ERK pathway activation to hair follicle growth, increased when applied directly onto a human scalp than when studied ex vivo (removed from a living subject) (Phtyomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology).
When administered EGCG, hair began to regrow and regain its former health. The scientists theorized that the EGCG lessened testosterone-induced cell apoptosis and encouraged cell epithelialization (the growth of more cells). It is also possible that EGCG could inhibit androgen’s effect on hair health (Experimental Dermatology). In a separate study, one third of mice who were orally administered green tea exhibited significant hair regrowth over a six month period (Journal of the National Medical Association).
Panthenol and Skin
Panthenol is a great ingredient for hair, skin, and nails. When applied topically, panthenol significantly reduced redness and improper pigmentation for scarring, pimples, and other skin lesions (The Indian Journal of Dermatology). It has also demonstrated its potential as an anti-aging and wound-healing agent by encouraging fibroblast proliferation (Drug and Cosmetic Industry). Fibroblasts play roles in the extracellular matrix, collagen production and wound healing (News Medical). Therefore, when fibroblast production is increased, so is the skin’s general appearance. In addition its internal structure is fortified, and cell reproduction is improved, all of which contribute both to wound healing and fuller-looking skin.
Panthenol also has beneficial humectant properties. This means that it pulls water from the environment into the skin. Being a humectant, panthenol also makes skin more elastic, less prone to drying/flaking/cracking, and soothes it from irritation and inflammation (Heather Brannon, MD).
Panthenol and Hair
Panthenol is one of the best things you can ever use on your hair. Coupled with its humectant properties and its ability to deeply penetrate the hair cuticle, panthenol helps hair and skin to it retain moisture and pull moisture from the surrounding environment. Even better, using just a 1% concentration of panthenol significantly reduced water loss after blow drying hair Panthenol also fortified hair that it was less susceptible to strain and breakage, and promoted regular keratinization, which means that hair cells can reproduce regularly (Panthenol – The Beautifier).
Personal Use and Opinion
I was really excited to give Philosophy Pink Animal Cracker Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Body Wash a try, but I was very disappointed with the results. First, the scent is very overpowering — it will definitely cover any perfumes or scented lotions that you wear and is so pungent that it gave me a headache within a few hours. The shampoo also was exceptionally thick, and even when using a quarter-sized amount it took me along time to rinse it all out. Afterwards, it made my hair feel very dry, weak, and knotted. Even after using a conditioner, my hair tangled very easily, and was frizzy and frayed all day long. When using it as a body wash, Philosophy’s product left my skin feeling dry, flaky, and unclean. Moreover, I found that using the shampoo made my hands dry out, even though it was on my hands for a matter of seconds.
Philosophy Pink Animal Cracker Shampoo, Body Wash, and Bubble Bath boasts some impressive ingredients, like panthenol for moisture and hair thickening and sunflower seed oil for antibacterial. Unfortunately, the shampoo made my hair and skin feel exceptionally dry and unclean — after using a conditioner, my hair was still tangled, frizzy, and flyaway all day long. This shampoo and body wash is probably good for those with oilier hair and skin types, but if you have regular to dry skin, this shampoo and body wash will only disappoint you and take away your natural moisture.