As pollutant-free and natural as possible - these were the claims of the pioneers of natural cosmetics in their early days. For example, Börlind was already working on herbal cosmetics at the end of the 50 years, at a time when hardly anyone was concerned with topics such as sustainability or ecology. Also, the abandonment of synthetic emulsifiers in the late 1960-ern by Dr. med. Hauschka was seen as unconventional. Ringana was one step ahead of 20 years ago: the products should always be freshly produced, without pollutants, animal-free and sustainably produced.
No snow of yesteryear: In every fourth cosmetic product tested, Global 2000 found hormonal ingredients such as parabens, which are suspected of disturbing the hormonal balance in the body. For parabens such as methylparaben, hormone-damaging effects on animals were found. And Stiftung Warentest discovered 2015 critical substances in cosmetics. Some of these, like aromatic hydrocarbons, may be carcinogenic. Those who want to play it safe should refrain from containing mineral oil-containing ingredients, the Council said. These are recognized by names such as Cera Microcristallina, mineral oil or paraffin.
"It's not about the cosmetic effect, but about the healing effect, so that the skin benefits."
Medical Helga Schiller
Shining: TCM cosmetics
Today, more and more cosmetic products are coming onto the market, which should not only be pollutant-free and as natural as possible, but also have positive health effects on the body. Behind the colorful crucibles on the shelves is often old knowledge that is combined with new manufacturing processes. For example, in TCM cosmetics. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers people holistically and aims to harmonize imbalances. Thus, the TCM cosmetics aims to bring the skin back into balance. The Austrian company GW Cosmetics has launched the "Master Lin" brand, a luxury natural cosmetics line with ingredients such as fine gold, pearl, medicinal herbs and essential oils based on TCM.
The cosmetic products were created in collaboration with the Buddhist monk and Far Eastern herbal medicine expert Master Lin and contain millennia-old secret recipes, which are said to have used the Chinese empresses for their beauty. Finely ground wild seawater pearls and fine gold are important ingredients of Master Lin products. According to TCM, the pearl repairs skin damage and has a detoxifying effect, while gold stimulates the body's energy pathways and has a balancing effect.
Helga Schiller, a traditional gynecologist in Vienna and director of the Institute for Energetic Regulation, is herself an "enthusiastic user" and knows Master Lin personally. "For me it is important that no chemicals are included, because the skin absorbs so many chemicals. It's not about the cosmetic effect, but about the healing effect, so that the skin benefits. I have no access to TCM and only do energetic medicine. That means, I test energetically, if a product is strengthening or stressful. The herbs contained are energetically curative and can be used by infants through to the elderly. "
cosmetics check - In its second cosmetic check, Global 2000 again tested toothpastes, body lotions and shaving waters for hormone chemicals. 500 personal care products from Austrian drugstores and supermarkets have been screened for ingredients that are on the EU's list of priority for endocrine disruptors based on the manufacturer's information on the product: 119's 531 approved body care products, which are 22 percent, contain such hormonally active ingredients. Two years ago, this share was still at 35 percent.
More than fragrances: essential oils
Since about 6.000 years, essential oils are already used for health-promoting effects, meanwhile, the medical Aromatherapy has developed. They also have a long tradition in cosmetics. Their effect goes far beyond the "scents": The antimicrobial effect has been shown in studies, certain essential oils even act against certain penicillin-resistant strains. Also, herpes and influenza viruses are potential applications. Whether absorbed through the nose, the skin or the bathwater: further positive effects range from mood-enhancing through calming to antidepressant effects, depending on the oil.
Protective shields for the skin
It is important to protect the skin from harmful environmental influences - and there are innumerable, such as UV rays or air pollution. More and more cosmetics manufacturers therefore rely on products that are equipped with certain shields. Thus, anti-pollen barriers ensure that less pollen can penetrate through the skin into the body - with which pollen allergy sufferers can breathe. The manufacturers are also reacting to the increasing pollution of air by CO2 or cigarette smoke. An anti-pollution protection strengthens the defense of the skin from CO2 particles. They also have an effect on the skin cells and make them age faster. Creams with UVA and UVB filters are known, which protect the skin from the sun. But the latest trend is a bluelight protection: Studies show that the waves of blue light like smartphones and tablets also add to our skin and make it age faster. Natural cosmetics manufacturer Börlind is currently working on such a product. The face oil with bluelight protection is scheduled to hit the market in autumn 2017.
Strengthen skin specifically
"UV filters are an important first step to limiting the influence of UVA and UVB rays on premature aging. But they have to be combined into a highly effective antioxidant, anti-pollution and skin-strengthening complex, "says Carina Sitz, Product Manager Vichy of Vichy of L'Oreal Austria. For example, probiotics are increasingly found in skin creams. What are the bacterial cultures, which are mostly known from yoghurt, to look in the face? Not only in our gut are useful bacteria. Also on our skin is a microbial layer - with which one has not occupied for years. Pre- and probiotics, such as bifidus bacteria, strengthen the skin's resistance and thus protect against damaging environmental influences.
The wonder weapon of the anti-aging industry is also called hyaluronic acid. There is hardly any product that manages without them. This endogenous substance is located in the interstices of the skin and connective tissue and is able to bind a great deal of moisture. Up to six liters of water should be able to store one gram of hyaluronic acid, cosmetics manufacturers promise. Since the skin loses moisture first, moisture-binding agents are of course particularly sought after. However, less and less hyaluronic acid is produced during life. The cosmetics industry likes to use this active ingredient as an anti-wrinkle agent.
Stem cells for new skin cells
The combination of biotechnology and medicine makes it possible: stem cell research is revolutionizing the cosmetics industry. Embryonic stem cells in the human body can form all cell types of the body as origin cells. In addition, they can multiply indefinitely. In case of skin injuries, they take care of the repair and ensure that new tissue is formed. In the process, plant stem cells are taken from the flower, leaf or root to see if the cells multiply under laboratory conditions. The goal is to use plant stem cells to strengthen the skin's resistance and encourage it to produce new skin cells. This makes them a key technology not only for cosmetics manufacturers. The medicine is also interested in stem cell research. The idea is to replace injured or diseased tissue with healthy ones, which is bred in the laboratory. For example, a patient with skin injuries could be transplanted from skin grown from stem cells. Scientists have also experimented with replacing artificial heart muscle instead of the scar tissue of heart attack patients.
Old and new cosmetic ingredients
The Aloe Vera thrives in the tropical desert and is thus ideally suited for the freshness kick on our skin. Its good moisturizing effect makes dry skin breathe easy. Even in skin diseases, the grass tree plant should be effective: studies attest positive effects of aloe vera on psoriasis. The plant may also improve eczema and wound healing of the skin.
Basen-Kosmetik represents the approach that a healthy, hard-wearing skin as well as the connective tissue are basic. As a result, alkaline products neutralize and protect the skin from acid attack, causing the skin to age less quickly. Wrinkles and cellulitis are considered as consequences of hyperacidity.
TCM-Kosmetik relies on the precious metal in the form of fine gold. Already Paracelsus estimated gold as a universal remedy, in ancient times it was used as protection against dermatitis and to cool swelling. Western medicine also relies on gold: it is used in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The ingredients of the pressed hemp seeds can have a positive effect on skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, as a study has shown. Hemp oil contains plenty of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are said to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. As it can reduce itching and soothe dry skin, hemp oil is used, for example, in skin creams.
Pearl powder has a long tradition in Asia: According to TCM, it repairs the pearl to repair skin damage. Rich in amino acids and calcium, it should not only have anti-inflammatory effect, but also have a balancing effect on the pH of the skin. Modern studies show what the old masters knew: pearl powder helps the skin to regenerate, relieve irritation and promote the healing of injuries. It should also compensate for bumps, lighten the skin tone and reduce wrinkles and small lines. Thus, the pearl is suitable for damaged skin, such as frequent sunbathing, atopic dermatitis or eczema. Pearl powder should also help to prevent wrinkles and age spots.
The medicinal effects of salt baths on skin diseases such as psoriasis or atopic dermatitis are known. Brine baths strengthen the immune system, stimulate the blood circulation and can relieve pain and inflammation. Through brine baths, the body absorbs not only minerals and trace elements from the brine on the skin, but can also release toxins of the body to the water. This is also possible at home: For a full bath you need about 1 kg of salt (preferably sea salt or salt from the Dead Sea). Then for about 20 min. at about 35-36 ° C into the tub, then do not take a shower and relax for some time.
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