By Bob Root, Keys Founder & CTO
One of our friends, Beatriz, suggested that we write something about our important ingredients and the actions. I actually had something we wrote for a reseller seminar series last year, so I dusted it off for this article.
It is a good idea with some caveats.
I think you know as a Keys follower that the quality and quantity of an ingredient is of the utmost importance to us. Making sure an ingredient is the best money can buy and using enough in a formulation to be effective is of equal importance. What you might not understand it that there are two equally important components. That is how ingredients interact in a formulation and how the formula is made or the process of combining the ingredients.
In food, it is easy to understand that the ingredients are as important as the process of making that food. A good salsa comes from quality ingredients combined with adding the ingredients in the right order and marinated for the right period of time. So, everything is important. This is true of making natural skincare products. Ingredients, ingredient quality, therapeutic proportions, ingredient interaction and process are needed to make an outstanding product.
So, herein are some of the very most important ingredients that we use in the making of Keys products. There are others as well as ingredients we make ourselves that I will show you at a later date.
Avocado contains oils which are similar to human skin oils – sebum. Avocado offers the skin moisture. Avocado oil has both Vitamin A and a natural form of Retinol. The Vitamin A component helps promote a healthy skin microbiome to reduce skin blemishes (acne). The retinol component is whole and not esthered like synthetic Vitamin A. It provides natural skin lightening, uniformity of texture and color as well as acting as a natural exfoliant without the use of abrasives or salts. Avocado oil is also helpful in treating dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne and dry skin conditions. Keys uses both a virgin expeller pressed avocado oil and a filtered pharmaceutical grade in therapeutic proportions.
- Proteins and Fatty Acids. Avocado oil contains a high amount of proteins and unsaturated fats, both of which are strong skin agents. Avocado oil contains omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish oil
- Sterolin. Avocado oil is high in a substance called sterolin, which case studies have shown softening of the skin and reduce the incidence of age spots
- Antioxidants. Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, making it useful for healing sun or chemical damaged skin. Antioxidants like vitamins A, D and E in avocado cause the skin to be suppler, and are thus particularly good for dry or aged skin.
- Lecithin and Potassium. Avocado oil contains lecithin and potassium, which are all highly beneficial for the skin as well as the hair.
Agave Aloe Vera – Since the era of Ancient Egypt, humans have been using aloe. Cleopatra was said to have used aloe as a beauty tool. The gel found in the leaves is used for soothing minor burns, wounds, and various skin conditions like eczema and acne.
Keys uses a blue agave Aloe Vera from Texas. The leaf gel is extracted and them jet dried to maximize the polysaccharide levels compared to liquid aloe gel. We reconstitute it with either purified water or one of our extracts at various levels of hydration depending on the product.
- It treats burns and sunburn. Aloe Vera helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps hold in moisture. Because of its nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties, disrupted skin heals faster.
- Aloe as moisturizer. Aloe moisturizes the skin without feeling oily, it helps with oily skin . It helps with mineral-based make-up, acting as a moisturizer and is great for the face prior to the application to prevents skin drying.
- Aloe treats acne. Aloe vera gel contains the hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins. These hormones offer wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Giberellin in aloe vera acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells. It allows the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring.
- Aloe is soothing and can reduce skin inflammations, blistering and itchiness, while helping the skin to heal more rapidly. Additionally, in Ayurvedic medicine, Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.
- Anti-aging. Aloe leaves contain many antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin’s natural firmness and keep the skin hydrated.
Carrot Seed Oil – is an essential oil for treating dry skin and can provide a good level of protection against wrinkles and aging or liver spots. It has many therapeutic values that are antiseptic, and cytophylactic,(stimulates cellular regeneration).
Carrot seed oil highly valued for skin care. It is used in skin creams to nourish, tighten, revitalize, and rejuvenate skin. It visibly improves skin tone, elasticity, and general skin health. It is claimed to slow the progression of visible wrinkles. Carrot Seed Oil is calming and appropriate for irritated skin. It is a good, essential oil for anyone who spends time outdoors. Carrot seed oil has high activity antioxidant properties.
Carrot seed oil may be found in many formulas dealing with skin conditions ranging from revitalizing and toning to eczema and ageing.
Carrot Oil has chemicals with these properties – analgesic, androgenic, anti-acne, anti-aging and anti-asthmatic activity. Carrot seed oil also assists in removing toxin and water build up in the skin giving it a fresher more firmer appearance. The aroma is earthy with a medium note.
At Keys, carrot seed oil makes up our base triangle of ingredients for the skin. It is used in conjunction with Avocado oil and Black Cumin (black seed) oil
Black Seed Oil aka Black Cumin – Nigella sativa is one the most revered medicinal seeds in history. Black cumin seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. The oil is used externally, for beauty as well as for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. We seek out the finest grade for our products.
- Black Seed Oil Benefits for Eczema
Black seed oil has lots of positive benefits for the entire body, but especially for the skin. The vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids are just a few of the advantages. Taking black seed oil can improve skin overall, but it can also do much more than just give skin a healthy glow. For more extreme issues, like eczema, black seed oil can offer much-needed relief. The symptoms of eczema can be uncomfortable and often painful, but there is hope.
- Soothing Properties of Black Seed Oil
People who suffer from eczema experience a sore, red rash that can show up all over the body. The rash is often accompanied by swelling and inflammation. Black seed oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties and is known to help with swelling. The fatty acids and Omega-3 in black seed oil help with moisturizing; therefore, rubbing the oil on the affected skin can help immediately lessen the pain and itching caused by the eczema. It also softens skin and helps with the dryness that often accompanies eczema. The benefits from topical use often provide instant relief.
- Black Seed Oil Benefits for Your Skin
While ingesting black seed oil can have amazing overall benefits for your health, using black seed oil can also have huge benefits for your skin. Black seed oil promotes overall health, so obviously the skin will get some benefits as well. But for specific skin problems black seed oil could be the right herbal remedy for you. The oil can be used in a product or directly applied onto the skin. Here just a few of the benefits black seed oil has for your skin.
- Using Black Seed Oil as a Moisturizer
Essential fatty acids maintain skin nourishment and hydration. Black seed oil can certainly help in this department. The body cannot recreate these fatty acids; they have to be replenished from an outside source. Oils help maintain the lipid barrier that protects the skin from day-to-day oxidation as well as harsher elements such as acne, scarring and overall aging. Black seed oil contains both amino and fatty acids that help shield the skin.
- Antioxidants to Prevent Aging
Antioxidants are the number one way to fight aging. Oxidation degrades the skin’s cellular structure which gives the appearance of lines, wrinkles and discoloration. Black seed oil’s major component is thymoquinone, which is filled with antioxidants to prevent this kind of break down. Using the oil on your skin regularly can prevent the long term effects of aging, but can also immediately add a healthy glow to your face.
- Other Vitamins and Benefits
The benefits of black seed oil don’t stop there. Black seed oil contains Vitamin A, which is known to reduce wrinkles and also shadows under the eyes. Vitamin A can also make skin sensitive to sunlight, so best to use it in the evenings before bed. Black seed oil also has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. This stops certain skin infections as well as the spreading of acne. The anti-inflammation reduces overall puffiness in the face and skin.
Shea Butter – African Shea butter has been used for centuries for its unsurpassed ability to protect and regenerate the skin. It comes from the nut of the Karite (ka-ree-tay) tree, which grows throughout West Africa. The name Karite means the Tree of Life, due to the multitude of important uses that shea butter provides. Shea Butter contains several natural anti-inflammatory agents and a minor sunscreen agent. Clinical studies have shown that this product transforms the skin in as little as 4-6 weeks, into a softer, smoother, and better looking skin. Those who routinely use Shea Butter report a number of other special benefits for skin ailments, including relief from blemishes, itching, sunburns, small skin wounds, eczema, skin allergies, and wrinkles.
NATURAL SHEA BUTTER” is an all-natural vitamin A cream. Shea Butter has shown to be a superb moisturizer, with exceptional healing properties for the skin. We now have a growing list of skin conditions where 100% Premium Shea Butter has shown to be effective.
Vitamin A in Shea Butter is important for improving a number of skins conditions, including blemishes wrinkles, eczema, and dermatitis. Additionally, Premium Shea Butter cream has properties to treat skin allergies, insect bites, sunburns, frostbites, and a number of other conditions of the skin. Shea Butter’s unparalleled moisturizing property is due to several natural moisturizers present in the cream. The moisturizers in Shea Butter are the same moisturizers produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. If you buy the concept that the skin sebaceous glands produce moisturizers for the skin, then it’s no wonder that Shea Butter is such a superior moisturizer. The positive biochemical and physiological effect Shea Butter has on skin injuries makes this cream ideal for wound healing. Many users of Shea Butter have reported that Shea Butter promotes and accelerates wound healing.
The exact benefit of the Vitamin E in Shea Butter is less clear. Vitamin E is a vitamin whose exact function in human being is not entirely clear, although it has been described as effective in a number of conditions or circumstances. Among these include anti-aging, anti-free radical agent, and exerting a positive effect on increasing the micro-circulation. If the vitamin E in Shea Butter is helpful for the skin, such benefits could be accomplished by at least two methods. First, by increasing the micro-circulation to the skin, which results in increased blood supply to and from the skin. Second, vitamin E may serve by as an anti-free radical agent thereby aiding in preventing the deleterious effects of sun and environmental exposure.
Dry skin, skin rash, blemishes and wrinkles, Itching skin, small skin wounds, skin cracks, tough or rough skin (on feet.), stretch mark prevention during pregnancy, Eczema, Dermatitis and skin damage from heat
Neem – In India, the tree is variously known as “Divine Tree”, “Heal All”, “Nature’s Drugstore”, “Village Pharmacy” and “Panacea for all diseases”. It is considered a major component in Ayurvedic medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin disease. Neem oil is used for skin care such as acne, and keeping skin elasticity. Neem has many skin healing properties and acts as a broad-spectrum insect repellent.
Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, hair products, body hygiene creams, hand creams) and in Ayurvedic, Unani and folklore traditional medicine, in the treatment of a wide range of afflictions. The most frequently reported indications in ancient Ayurvedic writings are skin diseases, inflammations and fevers, and more recently rheumatic disorders, insect repellent and insecticide effects.
Traditional Ayurvedic uses of neem include the treatment of acne, fever, leprosy, malaria, ophthalmia and tuberculosis. Various folk remedies for neem include use as ananthelmintic, antifeedant, antiseptic, diuretic, emmenagogue, contraceptive, febrifuge, parasiticide, pediculocide and insecticide. It has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of tetanus, urticaria, eczema, scrofula and erysipelas. Traditional routes of administration of neem extracts included oral, vaginal and topical use. Neem oil has an extensive history of human use in India and surrounding regions for a variety of therapeutic purposes. Puri (1999) has given an account of traditional uses and therapeutic indications and pharmacological studies of this oil, in his book on neem.
Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced to many other areas in the tropics. It is the most important of the commercially available products of neem for organic farming and medicines.
Neem oil varies in color; it can be golden yellow, yellowish brown, reddish brown, dark brown, greenish brown, or bright red. It has a rather strong odor that is said to combine the odours of peanut and garlic. It is composed mainly of triglycerides and contains manytriterpenoid compounds, which are responsible for the bitter taste. It is hydrophobic in nature; in order to emulsify it in water for application purposes, it must be formulated with appropriate surfactants.
Azadirachtin is the most well known and studied triterpenoid in neem oil. The azadirachtin content of neem oil varies from 300ppm to over 2500ppm depending on the extraction technology and quality of the neem seeds crushed. Neem oil also contains steroids(campesterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol).
|Average composition of neem oil fatty acids|
|Common Name||Acid Name||Composition range|
|Palmitic acid||Hexadecanoic acid||16-33%|
|Stearic acid||Octadecanoic acid||9-24%|
|Palmitoleic acid||9-Hexadecenoic acid||?%|
Karanja – Karanja oil is popular in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of biliousness, eye ailments, leucoderma, worms, wounds, sores, scabies, eczema, psoriasis. itches, herpes viral infection, ulcers, and other skin diseases as well as for skin protection, as it is believed to enhance the UV absorbing properties of conventional sunscreens.
Karanja oil, like Neem oil, has been widely tested for its insecticidal, nematicidal, antiseptic, bactericidal, and cleansing properties. The oil has a high content of triglycerides.
According to Hartwell (1967–1971), the fruits and sprouts are used in folk remedies for abdominal tumors in India, the seeds for keloid tumors in Sri Lanka, and a powder derived from the plant for tumors in Vietnam. In sanskritic India, seeds were used for skin ailments. Today the oil is used as a liniment for rheumatism. Leaves are active against Micrococcus; their juice is used for colds, coughs, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, gonorrhea, and leprosy. Roots are used for cleaning gums, teeth, and ulcers. Bark is used internally for bleeding piles. Juices from the plant, as well as the oil, are antiseptic. It is said to be an excellent remedy for itch, herpes, and pityriasis versicolor. Powdered seeds are valued as a febrifuge, tonic and in bronchitis and whooping cough. Flowers are used for diabetes. Bark has been used for beriberi. Juice of the root is used for cleansing foul ulcers and closing fistulous sores. Young shoots have been recommended for rheumatism. Ayurvedic medicine described the root and bark as alexipharmic, anthelmintic, and useful in abdominal enlargement, ascites, biliousness, diseases of the eye, skin, and vagina, itch, piles, splenomegaly, tumors, ulcers, and wounds; the sprouts, considered alexeteric, anthelmintic, apertif, and stomachic, for inflammation, piles and skin diseases; the leaves, anthelmintic, digestive, and laxative, for inflammations, piles and wounds; the flowers for biliousness and diabetes; the fruit and seed for keratitis, piles, urinary discharges, and diseases of the brain, eye, head, and skin, the oil for biliousness, eye ailments, itch, leucoderma, rheumatism, skin diseases, worms, and wounds. Yunani use the ash to strengthen the teeth, the seed, carminative and depurative, for chest complaints, chronic fevers, earache, hydrocele, and lumbago; the oil, styptic and vermifuge, for fever, hepatalgia, leprosy, lumbago, piles, scabies, and ulcers.
Reported to contain alkaloids demethoxy-kanugin, gamatay, glabrin, glabrosaponin, kaempferol, kanjone, kanugin, karangin, neoglabrin, pinnatin, pongamol, pongapin, quercitin, saponin, -sitosterol, and tannin. Air-dry kernels have 19.0% moisture, 27.5% fatty oil, 17.4% protein, 6.6% starch, 7.3% crude fiber, and 2.4% ash. Fatty acid composition: palmitic, 3.7–7.9%, stearic 2.4–8.9, arachidic 2.2–4.7, behenic 4.2–5.3, lignoceric 1.1–3.5, oleic, 44.5–71.3, linoleic 10.8–18.3, and eicosenoic 9.5–12.4%. Destructive distillation of the wood yields, on a dry weight basis: charcoal 31.0%, pyroligneous acid 36.69, acid 4.3%, ester 3.4%, acetone 1.9%, methanol 1.1%, tar 9.0%, pitch and losses 4.4%, and gas 0.12 cu m/kg. Manurial values of leaves and twigs are respectively: nitrogen 1.16, 0.71; phosphorus (P2O5), 0.14, 0.11; potash (K2O), 0.49, 0.62; and lime (CaO), 1.54, 1.58%. Such manure reduces the incidence of Meloidogyne javanica.
Clary Sage – Clary Sage is known to be euphoric, giving a sense of clarity and empowerment. It also has a rejuvenating effect on the endocrine system, helps with hair growth, and is good for acne and inflammation. It rejuvenates the cells and is uplifting for the spirits.
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a short-lived perennial native to the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. The clary sage oil has a wealth of benefits.
The scent is often used in perfumes, but it is capable of much more than just adding a pleasant aroma. It’s said that the plant offers euphoric sensations, increasing joy, confidence and even sexual drive while combating stress and depression.
Clary Sage Oil – Many Health Benefits
- Reduce inflammation
- Strengthens skin
- Reduces stress
- Improves mood
Blood Orange – The pigment in blood oranges is anthocyanin; it is not typically found in citrus and is usually associated with other red fruit and flowers. Anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the effects of free-radical chemicals within the bodies of living organisms.
Common Uses: The uplifting and stimulating scent of Blood Orange Essential Oil is considered by aromatherapists to have anti-depressant and aphrodisiac properties. Its chemical constituents are antiseptic and anti-spasmodic as well. Their red pigment, anthocyanin, is an antioxidant that is rare in the rest of the citrus family.
Therapeutic Benefits: Anti-anxiety, Anti-bacterial, Anti-depressant, Anti-emetic, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-microbial, Anti-oxidant, Anti-septic, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-viral, Carminative, Digestive stimulant, Digestive tonic, Disinfectant, Immune support, Lymphatic support, Sedative, Stimulant, Stomachic
Brassica Oil – is a genus of plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It includes over 30 wild species and hybrids, and numerous additional cultivars and hybrids of cultivated origin. Brassica vegetables are highly regarded for their nutritional value. They provide high amounts of vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties: 3,3′-Diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and selenium. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have recently discovered that 3,3′-Diindolylmethane in Brassica vegetables is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity.