A CASE TO AVOID TINCTURES & POWDERED EXTRACTS IN SKINCARE PRODUCTS
By William Soukup, formulator, Owner of Anti-Aging Extracts LLC.
The success of your product line depends on how well you formulate your products. Poor product performance may reduce its competitiveness with most brands or require considerably higher marketing budgets. Also, formulations can be made to provide your customers with the product results they seek; thus, your marketing budget should bring better results.
An important concept to understand in skincare formulations is the difference between denatured and non-denatured botanical extracts. Denaturization is where the extract is exposed to heat over 106° Fahrenheit, 40° Celsius, or used alcohol as the solvent, other than glycerin. Denaturization kills biological properties in the extract. Non-denatured extracts provide a multitude of synergistic anti-aging skincare benefits with retained proteins, amino acids, peptides, enzymes, and natural vitamins.
Powders may or may not be denatured. Most powdered extract manufacturers use alcohol as the solvent to extract the plant properties, which then are dried via heat or vacuum. The alcohol typically isn’t noted or conveyed on the product ingredients. If alcohol was used, traces of solvents are likely present in the extract, thus posing possible skin irritation problems for your customers. Cosmetic manufacturers who formulate with powdered extracts may well not know that the extracts are denatured and provide little or no real benefits to their products. For cosmeceuticals, non-denatured extracts offer so many more benefits than denatured extracts. Do powdered extracts provide desirable skincare properties? In most cases, yes. The formulator must understand the desired compounds and properties they seek when using denatured extracts.
Tinctures are made using 25-90% alcohol as the solvent. All tinctures are denatured and will have lost their biological properties. No tincture for skincare products could be considered organic or natural, even if they used organic plant material — alcohol is not a natural product. Alcohol has a sterilizing action that kills bacteria and contaminating organisms. The sterilization action of alcohol is not biased and negatively affects the natural plant material properties. Herbal products processed with alcohol will contain many extracted constituents and compounds that have been rendered useless by alcohol’s denaturing action. Tinctures will not contain water-soluble vitamins B & C.
STRENGTH OF TINCTURES
If the alcohol is evaporated off, most tinctures are less than 1% concentration.
Considerations When Purchasing Tinctures or Powdered Extracts for Your Skin Care Products
There are so many things to consider when purchasing powdered extracts for your skincare products, including:
Did the manufacturer use alcohol as the solvent? If yes, the product is denatured, and there would be a likelihood of alcohol residue in the extract.
Was the extracted material ever exposed to temperatures over 106° Fahrenheit, 40° Celsius?
Much of the performance and success of your product depends on the extracts you choose. Denatured products will not contain highly beneficial and synergistic plant properties such as proteins, enzymes, peptides, and natural vitamins.
Do you need a denatured extract in your natural skincare products? No, there are no benefits to denaturization in skincare products other than known isolated compounds the cosmetic formulator desires. Denatured plant extracts contain undetermined content of dead biological material that could potentially affect the skin.