Northern plant-based ingredients of the highest quality and potency that have demonstrable benefit for skin health and vibrancy are the foundation of DU NORD SKIN CARE products. Generally speaking high quality is assured when the plant sources are traceable and the varieties chosen contain high concentrations of particular phytochemicals/phytonutrients; potency is achieved when the integrity and stability of the molecules are maintained in the process of extraction. Moreover, that these ingredients derive from sustainable sources of plant material, eco-responsibly processed is also fundamental.
For a new and small company, it can be difficult to obtain these rarer ingredients, especially with USDA or ECOCERT/COSMOS certification/approval—it is an ongoing process. Perseverance is the name of the game!
I am delighted to announce that we have new ingredients and new sources for several of our ingredients:
- Iceland Moss Extract used in TAIGA Cream and ARCTIC Mask is now USDA-certified organic.
- Meadowsweet/Queen of the Meadow Extract used in PRAIRIE Serum is more concentrated and is an ECOCERT-approved raw material.
- Cloudberry Fruit Extract with a broader and more potent phytochemical profile replaces Cloudberry Seed Extract in TAIGA Cream. It is wild harvested and ECOCERT compliant and will be an ECOCERT-approved raw material.
- Lactobacilli-Fermented Oat Kernel Extract which has in vitro and in vivo studies supporting its skin benefit replaces Oat Kernel and Oat Bran Extracts in MARITIME Cleanser, PRAIRIE Serum, BOREAL and ALPINE Emulsions, TAIGA Cream and ARCTIC Mask. It is an ECOCERT-approved raw material.
- Oat Kernel Oil that has a high polar lipid content (including skin equivalent phospholipids and ceramides) replaces a conventional ethanol-extracted oat kernel oil. It is an ECOCERT-approved raw material and is now used in TAIGA Cream and TUNDRA Oil.
Plant phenolic compounds (flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignans, polymeric tannins) are usually located near the plant surface and serve to protect it from environmental stress and pathogens.1 Northern plants and berries are especially rich in these phytochemicals. For humans, phenolic compounds have been found to possess significant antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic and anticarcinogenic activity. (Besides putting them on your skin, make sure you eat lots of your locally grown fruits and vegetables!).
Iceland Moss (Cetraria islandica) grows in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in northern and Eastern Europe, Siberia and North America as well as mountainous regions in Europe and Russia. It has to be harvested in unpolluted areas because it easily absorbs heavy metals. Its traditional use is principally as a medicinal taken internally to heal sore throats and coughs and to treat digestive and intestinal problems. Topically it is used as a treatment for wounds and rashes/eczema and dry skin.
Iceland moss is nourishing, moisturizing, purifying, soothing and healing. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and provides vitamins (A, C, B1, B12) and minerals. Its high mucilage content contributes to its soothing effect. Some studies have shown that it has significant antibacterial and anti-viral activity, can stimulate the immune system and inhibit cancer cell growth.2,3
The source of Iceland Moss Extract we have now is USDA-certified organic and produced via phytochemical-friendly and eco-friendly low-heat percolation.
Meadowsweet, also known as Queen of the Meadow or Mead Wort (Filipendula ulmaria) is a member of the genus Rosaceae and is native to temperate Western Asia (Mongolia, Siberia, China) and most of Europe north of the Mediterranean region and naturalized in North America. It tends to grow in damp meadows and bogs or on the banks of rivers and streams.
Filapendula ulmaria is found right here in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia as a naturalized species, but we also have a different native species of meadowsweet—Spirea alba var. latifolia. Indigenous peoples and early settlers used this species medicinally both internally and topically, notably for its aspirin-like property (due to its salicylate content).4
The meadowsweet we are now using is produced in France, according to COSMOS standards, by a company dedicated to traceable, eco-responsible sourcing of plants cultivated in partnership with local expert farmers. The plant varieties are chosen for optimization of active phytochemicals. The extract is processed using a green technology designed to maintain maximal phytochemical bioactivity and yield. This concentrated extract has a lovely deep brown hue.
Traditionally meadowsweet has been used most commonly as a fever-reducing and inflammation-reducing agent. In terms of skin benefit, meadowsweet is astringent and firming, analgesic and soothing and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity.5,6
Meadowsweet is good source of flavonoids, salicylic compounds and tannins. The tannins and flavonoids contribute to its antioxidant activity; the salicylic acids to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Tannins can stimulate blood flow and may help to improve the tonicity and resistance of the skin’s blood capillary walls (the smallest of the blood vessels that transfer oxygen and other nutrients to the skin and remove waste products). Tannins bind to collagen and elastin fibres making them more degradation-resistant. Meadowsweet extracts have been shown to inhibit the elastin-degrading enzyme, elastase and may thus help to retain the skin’s elasticity.
Thus meadowsweet extract may help to tone and firm skin, stimulate circulation as well as help to soothe and repair. Its antioxidant activity may help protect the skin from environmental assaults. A perfect ingredient for PRAIRIE Serum!
Attribution: U. Snyder & C. Banks
Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) belongs to the genus Rubus as does raspberry. In both, the dominant phenolics have been found to be elligitannins and the metabolite ellagic acid.7 Elligitannins/ellagic acid have high anti-oxidant activity and also anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects; recent studies suggest that ellagic acid may be a potential anti-cancer agent.8,9 Ellagic acid has also been shown to inhibit the melanogenesis pathway, and especially in the presence of other anti-oxidants in a formulation may help to reduce hyper-pigmentation associated with natural skin aging and premature skin aging due to over-exposure to UV radiation.10 In fact, ellagic acid has been shown directly to protect against UV-B-induced oxidative stress in human dermal fibroblasts.11 Cloudberry extracts have also been shown to have robust antimicrobial activity.3
In addition to being rich in elligitannins, cloudberry is especially rich is carotenoids, anthocyanins, vitamins C and E (alpha-tocopherol) and the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, alpha-linoleic acid and linoleic acid respectively.12
The extraction process is done at very low temperatures so that the phytochemicals remain intact and active. Wow! A potent and skin-beneficial northern berry! Both Cloudberry Fruit Extract and Cloudberry Seed Oil are used in TAIGA Cream. Cloudberry Seed Oil is also used in TUNDRA Oil.
Finally, I am very excited about the new sources for all our oat ingredients! When I went to Amsterdam I had the opportunity to meet with ingredient producers/manufacturers and their representatives directly. For a small business, this can make all the difference in the world with regard to making a reasonable deal for procurement. I had been trying to get these particular oat ingredients for some time with no luck. It is such a pleasure and a relief when one can meet someone face to face to discuss one’s particular circumstances and be met with positive interest and response!
Attribution: Henrik Sendelbach / Wikipedia
The oats (Avena sativa) used in the new extract are a special variety that have a high beta-glucan content. They are cultivated in a farming co-operative in Finland dedicated to environmentally sustainable farming methods. The kernels are processed in an eco-responsible process (no chemical waste streams or heat treatment) and then fermented with a Lactobacillus strain that has been developed over 40 years—the older, the more stable. The fermentation process follows COSMOS natural standards and the final product is ECOCERT approved.
What is important about the fermentation process is that it breaks down the kernel extract into biomass and phytochemicals, making more skin-bioavailable anti-oxidant polyphenols (the unique polyphenols of oats are avenanthramides), oat peptides/amino acids, phospholipids, polyols (anti-irritant compounds), glycolic acid and lactic acid. The product is pasteurized so there is no live culture in the finished products.
Small studies on the Lactobacillus Oat Kernel Ferment indicate it helps to heal damaged or irritated skin and may be doing so in part by supporting and accelerating the recovery of the skin’s microbiome. It improves skin texture (and may diminish wrinkles) by increasing the thickness and lamination of the outer skin layer— the stratum corneum—and the epidermis which help to keep the skin hydrated and firm. Study results also show that skin treated with Lactobacillus Oat Kernel Ferment appears more radiant and toned, and according to study participants felt and looked better (nourished, suppler, firmer, brighter, moisturized, more uniform in terms of complexion).13
Win-Win-Win-Win: for the DU NORD SKIN CARE customer, the producer, the farmer and the planet.
The oat oil we are using is derived from oats grown in Sweden. Ethanol is used to extract the oil from the oat kernels according to COSMOS standards and the oil is an ECOCERT-approved raw material. It is unique for its high ceramide content (1-2%). Our own ceramides help to maintain the integrity of skin cells and form a protective layer that keeps the skin firm and hydrated. The ceramides in the oat oil may help to replenish the skin lipids that damaged by environmental stressors, the use of drying products on the skin and the inevitable process of aging. It is a lovely oil that is rich but doesn’t feel greasy and absorbs beautifully! A small study has also shown that it is non-comedogenic, and also that it can reduce papules, blackheads and lesions.14 One more reason I use TUNDRA Oil daily!
The mission of DU NORD SKIN CARE is to produce the most effective, luxurious natural skin care products eco-responsibly using Northern plant-based ingredients. These new additions to DU NORD SKIN CARE formulations are something to celebrate!
All photos taken by Ursula Snyder, except as indicated. ©2018 Ursula Snyder/DU NORD SKIN CARE
1 Nohynek LJ; Alakomi H; Kähkönen MP; et al. Berry phenolics: antimicrobial properties and mechanisms of action against severe human pathogens.Nutr Cancer. 2006;54(1):18-32.doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc5401_4
2Róbertsdóttir AR. Icelandic Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2016.
3 Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC), European Medicines Agency. Assessment report on Cetraria islandica (L.) Acharius s.l., thallus. 2014. https://www.ema.europa.eu/documents/herbal-report/draft-assessment-report-cetraria-islandica-l-acharius-sl-thallus_en.pdf
4 Meadowsweet – Spirea alba var. latifolia. https://herberowe.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/meadowsweet-–-spirea-alba-var-latifolia/
5 Technical document. Meadowsweet. Provital Group.
6 Rauha JP, Remes S, Heinonen M et al. Antimicrobial effects of Finnish plant extracts containing flavonoids and other phenolic compounds. Int J Food Microbiol. 2000; 56 (1):3-12. doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1605(00)00218-X.
7 Kähkönen M1, Kylli P, Ollilainen V, et al. Antioxidant activity of isolated ellagitannins from red raspberries and cloudberries.J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Feb 8;60(5):1167-74. doi: 10.1021/jf203431g.
8 Ríos JL, Giner RM, Marín M, Recio MC. A Pharmacological Update of Ellagic Acid.Planta Med. 2018 Oct;84(15):1068-1093. doi: 10.1055/a-0633-9492.
9 Corbett S, Daniel J, Drayton R, Field M, Steinhardt R, Garrett N.Evaluation of the Anti-inflammatory Effects of Ellagic Acid J Perianesth Nurs. 2010 Aug;25(4):214-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jopan.2010.05.011.
10 Ortiz-Ruiz CV, Berna J, Tudela J, et al. Action of ellagic acid on the melanin biosynthesis pathway.J Dermatol Sci. 2016 May;82(2):115-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2016.02.004.
11 Baek B, Lee SH, Kim K, et al. Ellagic acid plays a protective role against UV-B-induced oxidative stress by up-regulating antioxidant components in human dermal fibroblasts.Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2016 May;20(3):269-77. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2016.20.3.269.
12 Jaakkola M1, Korpelainen V, Hoppula K, Virtanen V. Chemical composition of ripe fruits of Rubus chamaemorus L. grown in different habitats. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Apr;92(6):1324-30. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4705.
13 Technical document. Oat Cosmetics. April 2018.
14 Technical document. Oat Cosmetics. June 2018.