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Skin health and science. Your Skin Actives e-newsletter.

November 2005 - Issue #7.



We hope you will enjoy this newsletter.  If you do not wish to receive further issues, please reply to this email with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line, and we will take you off our list straight away.  If you would like this newsletter to reach other people, please feel free to forward it to them or send us a note at with their email addresses. Thanks!



We decided to skip the October newsletter and go straight into November. This change will enable us to send the newsletter at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month. It makes more sense and we definitely needed the extra week this month.


October was a crazy month for us. Dr. Sivak (Hannah) and I are now working on Skin Actives full time so expect more actives, more information updates, and better customer service. We are slightly nervous, very excited, and really busy. Thank you for your support.


A number of our customers have developed some great recipes. I have put up a page on the web site that contains some of them ( If you have a recipe that you wish to share please send it to


A note about Matrixyl: we have had a problems ordering from Sederma (the supplier). We are currently testing a new active which combines peptides and hyalauronic acid. If the new active works out we will be phasing out Matrixyl and recommending the new active and our natural active peptides instead of Matrixyl.


I would like to thank you once again for your patience and support. We will continue to do our best to bring you the best products at the best prices and to provide the information you need to decide which actives are right for you.


Jonatan Funtowicz



November Product of the Month: Lip Health & Beauty Kit


Your lips will look beautiful and special with the rainbow colored liquid crystal reflections, but this kit is also about long term health and beauty for your lips: the cholesterol derivatives in the liquid crystal will replenish the lipids missing from the cell membranes in your lips and will provide energy for matrix protein synthesis. The kit also includes lipophilic antioxidant complex (with natural vitamin E, astaxanthin, tocotrienols and lycopene), plus essential oils that will give not just fragrance but also stimulate your lips and provide antibacterial and anti-flu power. A beauty shop and pharmacy for your lips packed in a kit!


The kit allows you to create the perfect lip kit for yourself:


Option 1: Use the enclosed antioxidants and oil to protect and stimulate your lips

Option 2: If you want to take the plumping a step further, add some cayenne or paprika from your spice shelf. Cayenne (Capsicum) and menthol are the most common ingredients used to irritate the lips in the expensive lip pumpers.

Option 3: Make a better Freeze 24/7 lip plumper: add niacinamide and GABA.

Option 4: Make a better Perricone lip plumper with alpha lipoic acid.

Option 5: Make a better Patricia Wexler lip treatment with the lipophilic antioxidant complex (includes natural vitamin E).



Amino acids, peptides and proteins.

Amino acids are the subunits (monomers) that make up a protein. Although there are many amino acids, only 20 are common in proteins. Amino acids can join each other in a peptide bond. Two amino acids joined in a peptide bond constitute a dipeptide, three a tripeptide, a few an oligopeptide, and many a polypeptide. A protein can be made up of just one or several polypeptides.


The cosmetic industry uses many different proteins, like collagen or elastin, and proteins with enzymatic activity, like pumpkin proteases or superoxide dismutase.  Some peptides (chains of a few amino acids arranged in a certain sequence) have beneficial effects on skin healing and synthesis of skin components. This is likely to represent a natural regulatory mechanism in which the peptide acts as a signal: if the skin is damaged for any reason, structural proteins are destroyed and peptides resulting from the breakdown of the larger proteins are released. The skin will interpret the presence of these peptides as a signal that it has to build new skin, and for that it has to synthesize new proteins.


Recently, the industry started using synthetic peptides, made to mimic peptides found to have beneficial activity on the skin.  Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 (a.k.a. Pal-KTTKS, Palmitoyl-Lys-Thr-Thr-Lys-Ser, the names of amino acids can be abbreviated as one or three letters) trademarked as Matrixyl is a fatty acid derivative of a synthetic pentapeptide. There are no independent studies on the effectiveness of this peptide on skin ageing but Sederma, the manufacturer of Matrixyl, provides data on the effectiveness of Matrixyl. According to Sederma this peptide mimics a fragment of procollagen type I. Under its influence the skin synthesizes collagen I, III and IV and fibronectin, reducing wrinkle density and volume.


Another example is EEMQRR (trademarked as Argireline). The approach used to choose this particular sequence is very different from that used with Matrixyl. The "creators" of Matrixyl imitated peptides known to have some function in nature. For Argireline, they made many peptides and chose the one that had some effect. Unfortunately, this effect was not very strong and once that the peptide was diluted to concentrations compatible with its manufacturers making a profit, the effect is not very different from water. Synthetic peptides are still very expensive to make, and the longer they are, the more expensive. Every amino acid added to the sequence costs money (so it is so tempting to shorten the pentapeptide in Matrixyl to the tripeptide in Matrixyl 3000!).


Active peptides can also be obtained from a natural source. Our natural active peptides are obtained from natural collagen that have been hydrolized. The peptides can be as short as two, and as long as about 30 amino acids length, up to molecular weight 5,000. Because of their relatively low price, you can use them in concentrations that will allow some of them to act as signals to the skin to make new collagen but also provide the skin the building blocks (amino acids) for protein synthesis. They will even help the skin retain moisture.


A lot of hype and money is invested in the marketing of synthetic peptides, because they can be patented and sold at huge profit. The methodology required to make synthetic peptides was developed by scientists and for scientists as a tool for research. Once that the technology is there, the cosmetic industry adopts it. I don’t mind, because sometimes they get things right and the skin really benefits.


In short, we can live without synthetic peptides, and we do not need Matrixyl as long as we have access to natural peptides.  Vegans may have no choice but to stick to synthetic peptides, because only animals make collagen.


Actives I don't like


*Benzoyl peroxide (BP) is very effective in killing Propionibacterium  acnes, and it has some (minimal) effect on microcomedo formation. BPO will often cause erythema (redness of the skin produced by congestion of the capillaries), scaling and, sometimes, contact sensitivity. Because free radicals can damage DNA, leading to mutations, benzoyl peroxide is also carcinogenic.

Possible alternatives: retinoids will do a much better job of preventing the formation of microcomedos and there is a large number of ingredients that will kill P. acnes, among them Coleus forskholii and tea tree essential oils.



This chemical inhibits the synthesis of melanin by inhibiting one of the enzymes in the synthetic pathway, and it also kills the melanocites that make it. Among its possible side effects after long-term use: exogenous ochronosis, i.e. hyperpigmentation accompanied by degeneration of collagen and elastin. Hydroquinone also irritates the skin and it has been blamed for the carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoking.

Possible alternatives: kojic acid, azelaic and betulinic acid, licorice extract and others, in conjunction with other ingredients. These ingredients may take longer to give visible results but maybe we should remember that melanin takes time to accumulate so it will take time and new cells for the skin to get lighter.



You can buy our products on Ebay or directly from us at  (at a slightly lower price). If you prefer to buy through Ebay, please remember to leave feedback, to help us grow and be able to stock more great Skin Actives. Email us at if you have any questions or suggestions. If we do not know the answer we will do the research and find it for you.

We welcome your compliments and hope to learn from your criticism.
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