Friday, June 24, 2011
Why did I buy that? Banana fruit extract
Banana fruit extract (INCI Musa sapientum (banana) fruit extract) comes in a powdered form that is water soluble, so we'll want to add it at up to 0.5% in the cool down phase of our product. (I like to dissolve my extract in a little warm water before adding it to most of my products!) I've seen the same write up at far too many different suppliers, so I think it's important to quote what they're saying.
"Banana fruit powder extract is rich in potassium and Vitamin A. In formulations it has proven to be great for dry skin, and contains no known substance to aggravate or irritate the skin. Some users have used banana fruit extract by itself as a rich, moisturizing facial mask. The recommended usage rate should not exceed 0.5% of the weight of the final product."
What does this mean? Potassium is found in our stratum corneum in our natural moisturizing factor and it has has been found to reduce irritation to our skin when studied in Dead Sea Salts, so it could help reduce irritation to our skin.
Vitamin A is an oil soluble molecule that can improve skin barrier function, increase cell proliferation, increase thickening of the skin, and increase collagen production. It can also help increase skin's water retention, and it may be effective in preventing, retarding, or restoring changes associated with the aging process. It is also effective in wound healing. It is the most abundant vitamin in our skin (in the form of ester retinyl palmitate), which is hydrolyzed to form Vitamin A, which is then oxidized to produce retinoic acid (the active form).
I'm not sure about the sentence about containing no known substance to aggravate or irritate the skin. This is a bizarre thing to say in a world in which people have reactions to water, and it seems like everyone has some kind of allergy, sensitivity, or aversion to one ingredient or another. We know that too much Vitamin A can irritate our skin, and there's no evidence that other ingredients in bananas won't aggravate skin. But let's not dwell on this aspect.
Bananas themselves contain inulin, a polysaccharide that can behave as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and surfactant. (It's also a source of fibre you can find in those powdered Crystal Light beverages I like so much!) I don't know if you'll find it in this extract, but you can find it in bananas!
I've been playing with banana extract in my toners and I think I like it. I've been adding it at 0.5% in the cool down phase (dissolved with a little warm water, then added, although you could just add it directly to a toner), and I think it's making the toner a little more moisturizing. I hate to be so non-specific about it, but I put so much stuff into my toners it's sometimes hard to figure out what is causing what sensation. (Which is why I say to start simple, then add things.) I should play with this in the future with just some aloe vera, hydrosols, witch hazel, and preservative to see how it feels. I don't have dry skin, but I want moisturizing in that product!
Join me tomorrow for more fun with fruit extracts!