Friday, June 24, 2011

Why did I buy that? Banana fruit extract

I love bananas! They feel like a very silly fruit, all yellow and bendy, and they taste great. With high levels of potassium and Vitamin A, I try to eat one every single day! I've been playing around with powdered banana fruit extract lately, so I thought I'd share my thoughts!

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!


Lise M Andersen said...

thanks Susan. Another great post!

Anonymous said...

One supplier mentions that banana fruit powder is oil soluble as well...what are your thoughts?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I tried it, it didn't work, so anecdotally I can say that the powdered banana extract from Aquarius isn't oil soluble.

Anonymous said...

Where did you purchase your banana extract from?

McKenzie :) said...


I love your blog and it's been incredibly beneficial to me as I've started moving beyond just DIY crafting into the how does it work and can I take it to the next level of cosmetic chemsitry.

I hadn't looked at many fruit extracts for my recipes before, but was recently intrigued by banana extract and a few other powdered yellow extracts that were described as pale yellow creamy powders by my supplier. The creamy texture and color with the obvious gaggle of benefits of each made me curious about mixing several together with a small percentage of opacifying agents etc, to make a face powder or the like to have a creamy, good-for-you color cosmetic. In the case of banana extract which is so moisturizing, that would even sound nice in theory applied neat to the undereyes!

My problem comes with the usage rates. Many do say not to exced 0.5-5% final product, but they also usually call for it being a tincture first, so I'm not sure if this is a seperate usage rate from the rest. My questions are then:

1. Is it safe to use something like this applyed directly to the skin, or in rates far above the usage rate? Or are the any avenues to research/how to know if the manifacturor suggestion can be exceeded if it is not noted in the data sheet?

2. Would combining multiple extracts up to the level of their usage rates be harmful? For ex., if I combine 4 extracts that can be up to 5% in final formulation and the mixture comprises 20% of the final product, will so many active ingredients be troublesome even though their individual maximums were not exceeded? Particularly for cases were fruit enzymes and natural acids are present.

Sorry for such a long post, but I really love the blog and appreciate your time and knowledge! Can't wait to learn some more!! :D

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi McKenzie! I've written up my response to your comment at the Weekend Wondering for Sunday, December 13th. There really is no short answer to your wonderful questions, so you'll have to check out the post when it shows up tomorrow!

Oh, and never apologize for a long comment. It gives me so much to write about!!!