With anti-ageing cosmeceuticals like Retinol and Niacinamide,
Its true we’ve all become closet skincare chemists – customising as to what we think our skin needs on any given day,
But have you given phospholipids a second thought? They are one of the mechanisms that maintain the skins natural barrier.
A fragile barrier function means a tendency towards drier skin and therefore more wrinkles, dull skin, lack of tone and sagging,
Lovely Soya lecithin in the form of phospholipids gives the skin a more resilient, first line of defence – a barrier against environmental aggressors and an increased ability to retain moisture, keeping your skin soft, plump, and hydrated.
So join us as we get under your skin, literally, and investigate why these lipids are so important for skin health.
What the Heck is Lecithin Anyway?
The word Lecithin is of Greek origin and is pronounced Lekithos, meaning ‘egg yolk’, but don’t worry you’ll be happy to know you won’t end up with egg on your face if you see this in your products.
This unique ingredient has a real affinity with the skin containing 60% to 70% phospholipids – powerful active agents that immediately penetrate into the bilayers of the skin, supporting the physiology of the skin, metabolising ceramides, forming healthy skin cells, stabilising the skin’s barrier.
Traditionally in skincare, phosphatidylcholine, as it is technically known, is extracted from soybeans or sunflower, which creates a thick, waxy substance that has a number of interesting components; natural phospholipids 60%, Vitamin B8 (Choline), ethanolamine, glycerol, biotin, choline.
It is rich in fatty acids; linoleic acid 16%, linolenic acid 55%, palmitic 30%, oleic 26%, stearic 15%, they are vital for skin health,
A characteristic feature is that lecithin does not just remain on the surface but
The beautifying Benefits
Probably the biggest benefit of this wonderful ingredient is its ability to repair the barrier function – maintaining skin health.
We know from this article, that the stratum corneum our outer layer looks like a brick wall in structure. The dead cells are the bricks and the lipids (oils) between the cells form the mortar, the lipids determine the effectiveness of the skin’s protective layer.
If the skin barrier is disordered, the skin has an undesirable look and feel and is more susceptible to penetration of foreign substances because of its irritated state.
Phospholipids merge with the membrane structure of the skin, keeping the skin soft, supple and hydrated and the barrier in its natural and intact condition, which ultimately wards of premature ageing.
Dry skin conditions: It is an occlusive and helps put moisture back into the skin, which is due to its high levels of oleic and linoleic acid. Imbalances of the skin associated with dry skin conditions like neurodermatitis and psoriasis are influenced in a positive way.
Acne and acne scars: Phosphatidylcholine is effective against minor forms of acne grade 1 and 2 and has been shown to be reduced by 70 per cent within a period of 24 days; at the same time, the sebum production decreased significantly which was a welcome effect especially in cases of acne in connection with oily skin. Clinical studies show a 60% decrease in comedones and a 70% decrease in efflorescences after 28 days with a significant increase in the skin’s linoleic acid content.
Acne scars: The strong regenerating benefits also have the same benefits on the cornification of scars, which can be compared to that of vitamin A acid, or AHA acids, however for a longer period of time around 4 to 6 weeks, without any adverse side effects.
Penetration Enhancer: Because it resembles the membrane structure of the skin, it has the ability to alter the skin structure in a positive way, so it becomes an active penetration enhancer, helping other ingredients to penetrate deeper. this is the reason we include it our Bio lipid complex a unique oil that helps to replenish missing lipids in the skin.
Antioxidant: It helps to repair free radical damage; soothing inflamed, irritated skin.
Barrier repairing: Phospholipids – as they are referred to in the industry – have interesting properties that resemble the skin barrier, so they are particularly suited for skin protection purposes, helping to repair the barrier function.
Hydrating: Hydrophilic ingredient: It attracts water to the skin, working to prevent moisture loss from deep within the skin’s tissues. Vitamin B8 Choline found in lecithin has been shown to increase skin hydration, so it can act as a humectant bringing water to the skin. In one study, the application of lecithin to skin increased water retention by 40% and it lasted about 2.5 hours. Another ingredient in lecithin – inositol – has been shown to decrease trans-epidermal water loss. If that is not enough, it has also been shown to increase moisture retention in our hair. And it’s an antioxidant – so essentially brings three great things to the skin in one, helping to stabilise trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) making it the perfect choice for dehydrated skin. Seriously, with all these lovely hydrating benefits, who could blame us for including this valuable ingredient in our moisture magnet formula Quench ultra hydrating gel, which has a list of ingredients that read like a cooling, soothing drink for the skin.
Moisturising: Lecithin is considered a great moisturiser with those high levels of oleic and linoleic acids, which also help to restore a damaged skin barrier. The stearic acid is also very moisturising. These active omegas last a lot longer because of their slow and even release; due to the phospholipids binding to keratin, the protein in our skin. This is the reason we have encapsulated it in our skin-loving balm Ceramide barrier repair balm. which contains a whole host of skin-identical ingredients, to replenish an impaired skin.
Nail care: When it comes to nail care, lecithin is a Viking a true warrior – it works well at low levels to moisturize our nails and help return some of those phospholipids to dry and brittle nails.
The Natural Emulsifier that Won’t Dry Skin
Many skincare formulae are oil in water, and because of this, they require emulsifiers to help bind the small amounts of oil into large amounts of water.
We use lecithin in Fortify Barrier Repair Cream, instead of traditional emulsifiers. it is specifically designed to replenish and repair a barrier function, emulsifiers can deplete these lipids. It works by preventing water-hating (hydrophobic) and water-loving (hydrophilic) substances – such as oil and water -from separating. This is why it works really well in a barrier cream and the reason we include it in
When you try to get a little bit of water in a lot of oil, you need to utilise an emulsifier that favours the oil phase – one that has a Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance (HLB) at the low end of the scale. This can be anywhere between 3 to 5, which is where Soya Lecithin comes into its own, in a balm formula, for instance, where sugar and water mix and sit on top of oils. When you don’t add a little bit of chemical diplomacy, the formula separates.
The naked truth
So just to recap on the benefits of this skin-loving ingredient:
- a nail and hair conditioning treatment
- supports skin regeneration and renewal
- can help to reduce the depth of acne scars
- a natural occlusive it can protect against barrier disorders
- it helps to balance oily secretions and relieve acne conditions
- hydrating – a natural humectant helps to prevent transepidermal water loss
- a skin-identical ingredient it integrates easily into the skin, helping with dry skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis
So, we think you’d agree, it’s the perfect skin-restoring ingredient – who doesn’t need a little Soya Lecithin in the form of phospholipids in their life.