A detailed ingredient review of…

Climate Control by SeneGence

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This product serves as an anti-aging moisturizer for sensitive and dry skin types. Aside from LipSense I’ve never seen such a cult following for a cosmetic product. Let’s take a look at why people are losing their goggles over controlling their climate!

Here’s the first thing you need to know:

Climate Control has an aqueous (water) phase and a lipid (oil) phase referred to in the ingredients list as Part I and Part II, respectively.

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These two phases are immiscible as oil cannot be dissolved in water without the investment of significant amounts of energy (hence the need for some shakey-shakey). Once shaken, the components emulsify (mix). This means the oil phase will disperse into the liquid phase. You will notice none of the ingredients are emulsifying agents.

This is a beautifully unique aspect of this product that justifies its claim as fairly revolutionary.

Emulsifying agents are amphipathic (large molecules in which one side of the molecule is water soluble, hydrophilic, and the other is lipid soluble, hydrophobic) and work by keeping the oils and water in as close proximity as thermodynamically possible (keeps it mixed together).

Without these, the product will once again separate (to some extent) and will require a bit of shaking before each application. The purpose of removing emulsifying agents is to prevent the association (or binding) of these large, heavy molecules to the lighter nutrients preventing their absorption deep into the various layers of the skin.

This results in an innovative design that utilizes nanotechnology to allow deep epidermal perfusion and drastically increase micronutrient bioavailability and efficacy. Pretty cool stuff!

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Climate Control is an Emulsion

What’s the deal with the two layers?

The lipid phase (Part II) consists of what the company calls “SelPlex”, a “matrix” (or suspension) of various lipid-based nutrients (composed of a high concentration of Sodium Hyaluronate, a variety of essential fatty acids, and a number of vitamins) that penetrate the skin deeply, soothe irritated skin damaged by the exposure to the elements, and provide pH balancing moisturization.

The lipid phase can be enhanced with a water phase (Part I, referred to as “SenePlex”) to hydrate, enhance the penetrating effect into the deepest layer of the skin, and deliver a mix of the essential fatty acids involved in cellular renewal. “Essential” (the same terminology used for essential elements) means that these fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the human body naturally and thus must be delivered via healthy diet or supplementation.

A SLIGHT CORRECTION OF COMMONLY MISUSED TERMINOLOGY

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Let’s pause here for a moment…

SenePlex (the aqueous/water phase, or Part I) is referred to as having a “kinetic enzyme”. This enzyme is purported to speed up (hence the “kinetic” terminology) enzymes that catalyze reactions involved in skin growth. While no specific enzymes can be found in the list of ingredients, you will find a trifecta of extracts (yeast, algae, and orchid). We’ve seen this combination before in our Lip Volumizer post!

These extracts are what contains the necessary biological components responsible for the hastening of skin growth and renewal. “Kinetic enzyme” or “cellular rushing” are not terms that should be used to market the product. These expressions were made to simplify the finer scientific points involved in how this substance increases the rate of skin cell production. Using them takes away from their majesty!

Fun Fact: There is such a thing as Enzyme Kinetics! This is the study of the speeds at which various Enzymes catalyze chemical reactions. But no “Kinetic Enzymes”. Here’s a site I use to convey this topic to my undergraduate students. Feel free to learn more about Enzyme Kinetics if you are curious!

Time to Breakdown the Ingredients!

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Ingredients List provided by SeneGence for  the product SeneDerm Climate Control

Part I: The Water Phase

Ingredient #1: Water – Agua/Aqua

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This is a water molecule.

Known via the internet meme poking fun at greenies everywhere as Dihydrogen Monoxide, water is the first component of Part I for the SeneDerm Climate Control formulation.

 

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So this is water. It has a pH of 7. Our blood has a pH of about 7.4. Water is safe. The higher the pH, the less acidic the substance. This is why some of these memes are so funny to us nerds!

 

This suggests that Part I is the aqueous or liquid component of the delivery system (prior to mixing and emulsification). Water is a polar molecule and will dissolve polar or charged chemicals. You will notice many of the substances in Part I are either polar or are charged salts dissolved in an aqueous solution with the water molecules.

Ingredient #2: Butylene Glycol (AKA: 1,4-Butanediol) – A Preservative and Humectant not to be confused with Anti-Freeze people!

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Structural Formula: Butylene Glycol

You will see many non-scientific resources that will come up on the Google machine for the dangers of this ingredient. ALL supported, purported, and paid for by companies who sell products that boast being free of this chemical. Classic fear tactics. Is it toxic? Sure, IF YOU USE INTERNALLY OR EAT/DRINK THE SUBSTANCE.

The consumer advocacy group Environmental working Group ( EWG), with no affiliation to any industry, companies or organization rates Butylene Glycol as 0 (zero) on its health concern scale (0=10 Scale). This means zero effect on the skin. The safety of Butylene Glycol and related ingredients has also been addressed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that “Butylene Glycol…are (is) safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products”.

In addition, US Advanced Medical Research has reviewed all published scientific research confirming that Butylene Glycol is safe for topical use and possess no irritation (inflammation) potential (thus it is not a sensitizer like propylene glycol).

Anyhow, this substance is excellent for maintaining tight control over fungal, bacterial, and viral growths in the substance in addition to serving as a humectant.

Ingredient #3: Sodium Magnesium Silicate – An Earthy, Binding Agent

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Structural Formula: Sodium Magnesium Silicate Complex

This silicate clay mined from the Earth serves to bind and increase the viscosity of the liquid phase. It is often used in cosmetics to stabilize formulas and can also act as a mild astringent.

Synthetic magnesium silicates are white, odorless, finely divided powders formed by the precipitation reaction of water-soluble sodium silicate (water glass) and a water soluble magnesium salt such as magnesium chloride, magnesium nitrate or magnesium sulfate (MgO: XSiO2•H2O).

Ingredient #4: Glucosamine HCl (Hydrochloric Acid)- Move over “fountain of youth”! Science is coming…

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Structural Formula: Glucosamine HCl

Glucosamine (C6H13NO5) is an amino sugar and a precursor in the synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. This chemical enhances the skin’s ability to generate collagen without the need for injections. Whoop whoop!

In vivo, scientific studies have concluded that topical treatments with a formulation containing N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG) led to an increase in skin moisturization and the normalization of stratum corneum exfoliation.

Ingredients #5-7: The Trifecta – Algae Extract, Yeast Extract,

& Orchid Extract

The literature has been exploding with data supporting the efficacy of botanical extracts for a wide range of functionalities including protection from photo aging, reducing inflammation, and providing antimicrobial activity.

Algae (Seaweed) Extract

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Powdered Seaweed, Yum!

Mixed species and whole plant algae extract can be dissolved in a base of glycerin and water. You’ve likely seen this substance before under its other common names: Laminaria or Seaweed. Algae extract nourishes the skin & hair with vitamins and minerals and protects the skin from antioxidant stress. It also hydrates the skin.

Essentially a highly purified seaweed extract that provides the skin with energy in the form of micronutrients, this extract helps to enhance energy stores in skin cells and reactivates the natural protective mechanism to restore and maintain health. It can be used to purify wastewater much in the same way it can be used to purify and tone the surface of the skin.

These qualities are owed to the nutrient density of seaweed. Full of amino acids, trace elements, vitamins, and mineral salts, algae extract contains numerous proteins that aid in the production of cellular energy.

The mucus coating found in algae protects skin cells from environmental influence and serves as a potent antioxidant. Chock full of chlorophyll (a pigment used in the process of photosynthesis), algae extract contributes significantly to the provision of oxygen to the skin, as it functions similarly to the pigment in our blood (hemoglobin).

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Manufactered Algae

Orchid Extract – Cymbidium Grandiflorum (Orchid) Flower Extract

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Orchid Extract

This gorgeous plant is native to regions in the South Pacific and has long been a source in the preparation of the emollient product. A potent antioxidant that serves as an immensely useful UV radical eliminator (acts much in the same way as sunscreen), orchid leaves contain Orchicyanin I, Orchicyanin II, and Cyanin, all of which belong to a group of plant pigments called Anthocyanins (not to be confused with cyanide!).

Anthocyanins serve as part of a plant’s protective mechanism and are synthesized in response to environmental stressors such as UV radiation, drought, and pollution. This extract results in a fine line reduction and also possess humectant properties to help the skin restore and maintain a bright and radiant complexion.

Yeast Extract

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Three cheers for yeast!

Yeast is a potent dietary source of folic acid (a member of the vitamin B complex). Folic acid aids in the formation of new healthy tissues and promotes new cell formation (many of you many be familiar with this benefits of folic acid from your experiences with prenatal vitamins).

A strong humectant comprised of proteins, sugars, and amino acids, this substance reduces the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation by discouraging melanin production. Most of the literature suggests results including boosting collagen production and contributing to the overall brightening of the skin. Yeast is also a great source of beta-glucans, which stimulates the immune system, and vitamin B.

Ingredient #8: Synthetic Urea – NOT PEE!

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Structural Formula: Synthetic Urea

Nope! Not mammal pee! Yes, Urea, a carbamide, is an organic compound that is expelled upon the digestion of proteins and is filtered through the kidneys and expelled as urine. However, “synthetic” urea is made from synthetic ammonia and carbon dioxide.

Why is it used in cosmetics? Well, urea slows down the loss of moisture from a product (slows dehydration), and when used in skin care products it increases the available water content of the top layers of the skin, acts as a preservative, and also buffers (or minimizes changes to the pH) to accommodate the addition of other products that could acidify the formulation (I.E. amino acids).

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I repeat! No one is peeing in your favorite beauty products.

Ingredient #9: Sodium Hyaluronate – More anti-aging goodness.

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Structural Formula: Sodium Hyaluronate

Sodium Hyaluronate is a ubiquitous carbohydrate polymer comprising part of the extracellular matrix and an extremely effective humectant (about 100x more effective than Glycerin). It is proven clinically effective for anti-aging due to the fibroblast-induced collagen production it affects.

The effects of this chemical are much more prominent if injected. Recent studies have determined that advanced infiltrative nanotechnology for the topical application of sodium hyaluronate will yield lesser, but noticeable, effects via the same mechanism.

EXCELLENT PRODUCT FACT

This effect is amplified by low-weight-molecular formulations and is one of the reasons why climate control is particularly effective due to its dual delivery system and the lack of emulsifiers!

Ingredient #10: Phenoxyethanol – Antibacterial

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Structural Formula: Phenoxyethanol

Phenoxyethanol is naturally found in green tea but is often synthesized by treating phenol with ethylene oxide in an alkaline medium creating an effective antibacterial to prevent the botanical garden that is this formulation from becoming a bacterial love shack.

Phenoxyethanol also does not react with other ingredients, air, or light. Included in the Handbook of Green Chemicals and approved by the Whole Foods Premium Body Care, this item has become a media troll as poorly interpreted science has given the substance a besmirched name.

COMMON MISCONCEPTION ALERT

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Many of these studies are based on full-strength, high-dose, internal exposure that is often not applicable to cosmetics. Often a simple google search will bring forth ingredients listed as harmful to reproductive systems and gastrointestinal toxicants. They are toxic… in great amounts… IF consumed orally!

I’m looking at you SD Alcohol 40.

A more approachable example… whilst cooking, adding a cup of salt to your cupcake recipe would result in some disgusting, possibly “toxic” cupcakes. However, a pinch is needed for the “formulation” of delicious cupcakes.

Ingredient #11: Potassium Sorbate – Stabilizer and Preservative

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Structural Formula: Potassium Sorbate

Potassium sorbate (the potassium salt of sorbic acid) used as a food preservative, stabilizer, and antimicrobial (molds and yeasts). Pure potassium sorbate is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant. Again, this isn’t a pure formulation consisting of a high concentration of potassium sorbate and these negative effects are not purported at the minuscule amounts found in this (and many other) cosmetic(s).

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If consumed in great amounts, it is genotoxic and mutagenic to human blood cells. So don’t drink tons of this cosmetic. Or don’t drink your cosmetics at all. Whichever you prefer…

Ingredient #12: Hydantoin DMDM – Another Preservative

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Structural Formula: Hydantoin DMDM

Another preservative, blah blah blah, don’t drink it, toxic in high concentrations if consumed, prevent molds, mildews, and bacterial spoilage. We should just call this “THE USUAL”.

Ingredient #13: Blue 1 (AKA: Brilliant Blue FCF or CI 42090) – A pretty, blue dye

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Structural Formula: Brilliant Blue FCF

An organic compound classified as a triaryl methane dye. A food-grade colorant with a color index of 42090. Brilliant Blue FCF is an approved food colorant and pharmacologically inactive substance for drug formulations in the EU and the United States. This dye gives climate control its beautiful blue hue.

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Love that beautiful blue hue!

Ingredient #14: Red 33 (CI 17200) – A dye

D&C Red 33 also known as Acid Red 33 or simply Red 33 is a red azo dye (a disodium salt of 5-amino-4-hydroxy-3-(phenolazo)-2,7-naphthalenedisulfonic acid) used as a colorant. Safe in small quantities.

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Structural Formula: Red 33

Part II: The Lipid Phase

Ingredient #15: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – Coconut Oil Derivative

Serving as the base for the oil phase, this substance is an oily liquid made from coconut oil. No reliable resources for whether or not this derived substance could elicit allergic responses for those who have sensitivities to coconut oil. Anyone have something to add here? Feel free to comment below!

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Structural Formula: Capric Triglyceride

Ingredient #16: Phenyl Trimethicone – No foam for you!

A silicon derivative used as an antifoaming agent to ensure the solution is applied as a smooth serum or lotion. Toxic if ingested and can cause acute (immediate) allergic responses in a small percentage of the population.

It is listed as an “irritant” on many a cosmetic blog alarmist site. There is no scientific evidence found to support this claim in reference to cosmetics used topically just yet. Feel free to bring one to my attention but please ensure it is referenced in a medical/scientific peer-reviewed journal.

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Structural Formula: Phenyl Trimethicone

Ingredient #17: Fragrance (Parfum) – Comprised of Ingredients #19-22

A series of potentially proprietary ingredients and essential oils that contribute to the scent of the product. See ingredients NUMBERS for a more detailed breakdown.

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From the FDA Website…

Interesting Tidbit from the FDA:

I know there is concern surrounding the theory that companies can hide unsavory ingredients under the label of “parfum” or “flavour”. While that is technically true, they COULD do so, they are financially and legally obligated to specifically list any and all ingredients that are documented to cause harm. The rest of the ingredients under this label are intended to “protect proprietary information”. Believe what you would like, however, a company’s priority to avoid a lawsuit often trumps (no pun intended) the protection of its trade secrets.

“According to the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), this is something fragrance suppliers are increasingly willing to do, despite wishing to keep trade-secret protection in place.”

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Screenshot from the FDA Website Specifically referring to Parfum and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA).
Read more: https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/ingredients/ucm388821.htm

Ingredient #18: Tocopherol (AKA: Tocopheryl Acetate and Vitamin E) – Taking your vitamins! 

Essential for maintenance of cellular enzyme activity and for the formation of red blood cells, this antioxidant has been proven to inhibit skin cancer and aid in the healing and rejuvenation of skin cells.

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Structural Formula: Tocopherol

Tocopherol is a naturally-occurring form of Vitamin E (fat-soluble vitamin potent with antioxidant properties) and is considered essential for the stability of cell membranes. It inhibits angiogenesis (the process by which cancer cells root into nutrient systems of the body essentially halting squamous cell cancer propagation) by suppressing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene transcription!

Ingredient #19: Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil – Sufferers of Eczema Rejoice!

An effective and powerful herbal ingredient in the treatment of eczema, Evening Primrose Oil is cited for this healing effect due to its high content of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA, an essential fatty acid).

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Evening Primrose Oil

GLA is used in the preliminary stages of prostaglandin synthesis (a hormone needed for tissue construction and repair). Symptoms and diseases like endogenous eczema, the Sjögren-syndrome, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), polyarthritis, multiple sclerosis and menopausal symptoms can be induced by a prostaglandin deficiency.

The Mayo Clinic examined the evidence for the safety and effectiveness of evening primrose for several conditions; it was considered that there was good evidence (grade B, vs “strong evidence”, grade A) that it produced a moderate improvement in eczema.

Ingredient #20: Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil – Elastic, Youthful Skin

Jojoba Seed Oil serves as a moisturizer and emollient agent to improve the skin elasticity and suppleness. A potent carrier of Tocopherol, this substance aids in the minimization of lipid oxidation in response to environmental stressors.

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Jojoba Seed Oil

Rich in numerous fatty acids, Jojoba Seed Oil can also provide skin-soothing benefits. Jojoba Seed Oil has the distinction of feeling light and less greasy when compared to other oils as it more closely resembles natural human sebum.

Ingredient #21: Rosa Moschata (Rosehip) Seed Oil:

Derived from cold pressing the hips of a rare forest shrub (Rosa affinis rubiginosa or Rosa moschata) is found near the Andes Mountains in southern central Chile. When it’s pink flower petals fall, the shrub develops vivid, orange-red seed pods called “rosehips”. Rosehip Seed Oil has been used by indigenous populations for its soothing and moisturizing properties.

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Rosehip Seed Oil

Rich in antioxidants and Vitamins A and E, Rosehip Seed Oil helps neutralize free radical damage and promote renewed cell growth. Rosehip Seed Oil is also comprised of exceptionally high concentrations of Linoleic and Linolenic essential fatty acids. These components support skin’s elasticity and reduce the prevalence of scarring by restoring skin to its natural tone and color.

Ingredient #22: Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil – Fragrance and Soothing

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Sandalwood Oil

S. album is extracted from the central part of the tree (the heartwood) and is the only part of the tree used for its fragrance. This substance soothes inflamed and chapped skin with moisturizing and hydrating properties while also serving to tone oily skin.

References:

  1. 1,4-Butanediol, International Chemical Safety Card 1104, Geneva: International Programme on Chemical Safety, March 1999
  2. Ciesielczyk, F., Krysztafkiewics, A., Jesionowski, T. Physicochemical studies on precipitated magnesium silicates. J Mater Sci. 42, 3831, 2007.
  3. Mammone T, Gan D, Fthenakis C, Marenus K. The effect of N-acetyl-glucosamine on stratum corneum desquamation and water content in human skin. J Cosmet Sci. 2009 Jul-Aug;60(4):423-8.
  4. Sundaram H, Mackiewicz N, Burton E, Peno-Mazzarino L, Lati E, Meunier S. Pilot Comparative Study of the Topical Action of a Novel, Crosslinked Resilient Hyaluronic Acid on Skin Hydration and Barrier Function in a Dynamic, Three-Dimensional Human Explant Model. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016 Apr;15(4):434-41.
  5. Lowe I, Southern J (1994). “The antimicrobial activity of phenoxyethanol in vaccines”. Lett Appl Microbiol. 18 (2): 115–6. doi:10.1111/j.1472-765X.1994.tb00820.x. PMID 7764595.
  6. Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate. (1988). UITO International Journal Of Toxicology Int. J. of Toxicology, 7(6), 837–880. http://doi.org/10.3109/10915818809078711
  7. El Ali, Bassam M.; Bassam El Ali; Ali, Mohammad Farahat (2005). Handbook of industrial chemistry: organic chemicals. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-141037-6.
  8. Horrobin, D. (1992). “Nutritional and medical importance of gamma-linolenic acid”. Progress in lipid research. 31 (2): 163–194.
  9. I. J. Heilweil. Review of Lubricant Properties of Jojoba Oil and its Derivatives.
  10. J. Concha; C. Soto; R. Chamy; M. E. Zúñiga (2006). “Effect of rosehip extraction process on oil and defatted meal physicochemical properties”. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. 83 (9): 771–775. doi:10.1007/s11746-006-5013-2.
  11. Misra, BB; Dey, S (2013). “Biological Activities of East Indian Sandalwood Tree, Santalum album”. PeerJ PrePrints. 1: e96. doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.96v1.
  12. Misra, Biswapriya B.; Dey, Satyahari (2013). “Evaluation of in vivo anti-hyperglycemic and antioxidant potentials of α-santalol and sandalwood oil”. Phytomedicine. 20 (5): 409–16. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2012.12.017. PMID 23369343.