For help and further information regarding mixing actives please visit the forum This is the Skin Actives Scientific website in the U.S.

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Skin Care & Active Ingredients

What is an active?

 We define an active as a substance that scientific research has shown to help skin in one way or another.  Among our actives you will find natural plant extracts, synthetic oligopeptides, chemicals purified from algae, and lots more. What they all have in common is that they have been shown to benefit the skin, and that the data has been published in scientific journals that are in the public domain, most of them in peer-reviewed journals. What we do not include: ingredients whose only support data have been obtained by other commercial companies.

What is the general shelf life of products, do they need to be refrigerated?

Please keep refrigerated serums and creams that contain proteins, like  Collagen Serum and Restoration Cream (proteins are more stable when refrigerated, NOT frozen). For serums and creams, 6 months is a good estimate of shelf life in regards to both quality and activity-level of the products. Powder actives are fine in a cool, dark place, with the lids firmly closed. Some actives (like L-Carnitine) will absorb moisture more readily, so it is important that they are kept well closed. Most powder actives will last for years. All our products are shipped to you very fresh, so you can count the 6 months from receipt. Please remember that a cream will not work unless it is applied to the skin, so don’t just buy our products, USE them!

Can l mix skin care products together?

Our Ready to Use products are designed to work in concert with one another and we do not recommend that you "blend" them together to try and achieve a mega-cream or serum. Don’t mix serums together in the same bottle; they are O.K. as they are. Some cannot be mixed, like water-based (CHAS) and oil-based (ELS) serums. Ready to Use serums and creams have been specifically formulated to achieve the best possible outcome – and making sure there are no unwanted chemical reactions. If you are interested in using a combination of products, remember to follow the rules of layering.

How do l layer products?

Exfoliators (acidic: Alpha Beta Towels, protease-based:Pumpkin Enzyme peel or physical: Exfoliation Powder) will increase skin permeability, so take advantage of this by using Collagen Serum immediately after exfoliation. After a shower or bath, the skin becomes more permeable to water soluble actives. Take advantage of this by using serums first. Then you can layer oil-based serums or creams over.

Are there any actives that shouldn't be used together?

There are not many rules here. Be nice to proteins (like Epidermal Growth Factor, Keratinocyte Growth Factor, or Superoxide Dismutase), by keeping them cold (NOT frozen) and not mixing them with acid solutions. For example, rinse your skin well after using the Alpha Beta Exfoliator Towel, one of the few acidic products we sell. There is a theoretical point about Vitamin C derivatives and metals like Copper and iron, so don’t add Copper Peptide to products containing Vitamin C

What is solubility and how does it work?

Solubility has to do with the ability of an ingredient to dissolve into a solution. Solubility can be affected by the chemical makeup of the ingredient, the solution, the quantities of both, the temperature of the mixture, and the implements being used to mix.

The Science:
We have no control on the solubility of our actives, because solubility depends on the chemical structure of the chemical/chemicals in that powder or liquid.

For Formulation: 
Try to "work with the active" rather than trying to push chemicals beyond what they are supposed to do. Solubility is intrinsic to the chemistry of the chemical, you can't change that. Our actives will dissolve in our Canvas Base Cream or European Base Cream, because a cream contains several ingredients, giving the chemicals in an active the "option" of finding the right molecules to interact. Just the same, an active may or may not be soluble in water, or glycerol, or vodka (I think this is alcohol 40%, water 60%), or oil. It will depend on the active. 

Often, an active will dissolve in your solvent of choice, for example distilled water, but even if the chemical is water soluble this does not mean "infinite solubility". You can add a bit, of an easily soluble active like Ascorbic Acid, and it dissolves…but if you keep adding more and more Ascorbic Acid to your water, eventually the crystals will remain in that form, just sinking to bottom of your solution. Even if you heat up the mix, say in the microwave, the solubility depends on temperature, so after cooling it down, crystals will re-appear.

Just remember to add a little at a time, do your research – and you will have great formulations

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