$1.81 US per fluid ounce on CremoCompany.com
Water (Aqua), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Jojoba Esters, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Pentylene Glycol, Algae Extract, Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Allantoin, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Methylpropanediol, Farnesol, Linalool.
The product contains an emulsion of oils and water, with additional moisturizers, in a xanthan gum and polymer thickened base.
Safflower and avocado oil will provide emollience to the skin as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits due to their linoleic acid and vitamin E content. These ingredients may clog the pores of those sensitive to acne.
A synthetic film former, polyisobutene and jojoba esters will help create a barrier on the skin reducing the rate of evaporation of water out of the skin.
Humectants such as urea, and glycols (neopentyl glycol diheptanoate and pentylene glycol) will attract and bind moisture to the skin over time.
Algae extract, aloe vera and allantoin provide skin benefits such as anti-oxidant activity, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Things to consider…
Because the product does not contain SPF, it would be best to use this product either before a sunscreen during the day time, or in the evening.
The product does contain the fragrance linalool, which does have cytotoxic and possibly estrogenic effects. Though the concentration of linalool is likely low, the ingredient has been shown to be active in even minute concentrations.
Mugwort extract is relatively unstudied as a skin care ingredient, but is known to be an allergen, as well as contain the toxin thujole. It does contain an active ingredient also present in Eucalyptus, but the benefits may not outweigh the risks.
The product is preserved with phenoxyethanol, which some people may have concerns with. However the dangers of phenoxyethanol may be overstated and some have not been fully studied in humans. A preservative is required to reduce bacterial and fungal growth.
The Cremo Cream is packaged in a white opaque squeeze bottle, this will reduce the product’s exposure to air and contaminants which will prolong the effectiveness of its ingredients, as well as keep bacterial contamination low. Ideal packaging would be an airless pump packaging, as this would reduce exposure to an absolute minimum. Airless pump packaging is generally more expensive and presents a design challenge.
What’s in it?
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, safflower oleosomes are produced by Botaneco. They are made of safflower oil, the emulsifier lecithin and a protein oleosin. The lecithin content allows formulators to use this ingredient to prevent oil and water from separating. Oleosins may act as a humectant, by attracting water to the skin from the environment. Safflower oleosomes present formulators a natural alternative to synthetic emulsifiers. Whether they have skin or functional benefits beyond a regular emulsion is not known, but unlikely.
Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate is a film forming thickener. It can also act as a solvent (the glycol portion) and help dissolve ingredients that do not dissolve in water or oil. It can also function as a lubricant,providing a slippery texture to the product when applied. As a glycol it can also act as a humectant bringing water to the skin from the environment.
Pentylene Glycol is used as a solvent to help dissolve ingredients that may not dissolve in water or oil. As a glycol it can also act as a humectant bringing water to the skin from the environment.
Xanthan Gum is a water soluble thickener, it helps suspend and stabilize an emulsion. It is a the coat of a strain of bacteria, which is harvested off of corn most commonly. It’s most commonly used to keep things in water suspended and to prevent them from settling, like in salad oils. Xanthan gum as a polysaccharide can have some humectant benefits to the skin, it can also form a layer on the skin (if in high enough concentration) that can tighten and smooth the skin temporarily. Xanthan gum has been found to be non-irritating and sensitizing to the eyes and skin.
Polyacrylate-13 is a polymer thickener.
Polysorbate 20 functions as an emulsifier and is a non-ionic detergent. Polysorbate 20 has a low risk of irritation, and can enhance skin penetration of active skin care ingredients (like medications) in certain conditions.
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, due to its content of safflower and lecithin, this ingredient also acts as a moisturizer to the skin. High linoleic acid strains of Safflower contain around 70% lenoleic acid which has shown anti-inflammatory, moisturizing (another study), anti-acne and hyperpigmentation benefits. However we don’t know if this product uses a high linoleic acid or a low linoleic acid strain.
Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, used as an emollient, avocado oil has a similar fatty acid structure as olive oil. A higher palmitoleic fatty acid content makes the oil slightly thicker than olive oil. Avocado oil is relatively low in the skin beneficial fatty acid linoleic acid, about 10%. Linoleic acid has shown anti-inflammatory, moisturizing (another study), anti-acne and hyperpigmentation benefits. Avocado oil does contain higher levels of the antioxidant vitamin E, but the amount is dependent on the variety of avocado.
Hydroxyethyl Urea is a compound that is found in urine, however it is now manufactured. Urea acts as a moisturizer, comparable to glycerin. It offers benefits over glycerin due to its texture, it is light, water soluble and not sticky or film forming. A study found that a lotion containing 10% urea improved the skin’s water barrier function, reducing water loss to the environment. A study found that urea may also reduce irritation caused by sodium lauryl sulfate. Anecdotally urea has been used as a weak exfoliant, however this study showed that application of urea did not increase skin shedding.
Jojoba esters are hydrogenized and/or interesterified jojoba oils. This produces a solid waxy product which is emollient and barrier forming on the skin. Jojoba ester forms a barrier on the skin, similar to petrolatum, which can temporarily increase water content in the skin. Liquid jojoba oil is also an ester.
Polyisobutene is a synthetic oil that acts like petrolatum in forming a water proof barrier on the skin. Studies have found that in common usage levels (between 1.44% and 4.00%) it posed no irritation, allergenic or photoreactive risk to the skin.
Antioxidants and Actives
Algae Extract describe a variety of possible strains of algae. Certain strains of algae extract have exhibited photo-protective and anti-oxidant effects (reduced UVA and UVB induced damage) as well as moisturizing benefits. Algae extract may pose an allergenic risk to those sensitive.
Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris) Extract as a skin care ingredient has not been studied extensively, however its allergenic potential in those with hayfever has been researched thoroughly. Mugwort does contain eucalyptol as well as the toxin thujone. Eucalyptol may be antibacterial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it may also be may also be an irritant to some people. Thujone may cause rash and irritation when applied topically.
Aloe Vera, in common-knowledge is known as a skin soother, healer, and sunburn treatment, However research backing up these claims are a little bit scant and sometimes conflicting (This study found that aloe had both anti-oxidants and pro-oxidants which damaged DNA). Aloe contains salicylic acid, magnesium lactate and gel polysaccharides. Salicylic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory on the skin. Magnesium lactate may also reduce histamine production in the skin which is largely responsible for causing itchiness. Polysaccharides act as moisturizers and water binders. Aloe vera may also possess antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, but that hasn’t been thoroughly researched yet on human skin. In rats, aloe vera gel was found to improve wound healing, specifically a glycoprotein found in aloe vera may be responsible. Aloe vera was shown to reduce erythema (redness and inflammation) caused by UV radiation in a study.
Allantoin is an ingredient found in comfrey as well as mammalian urine. Allantoin will help skin shed, and may act as an antioxidant. Allantoin has been shown to increase skin healing in rats. Allantoin is combined with onion extract in a scar treatment gel, though silicone scar gels may be more effective.
Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Methylpropanediol are components of a preservative manufactured by Inolex under the name Phenostat. Caprylhydroxamic acid functions as a chelator, binding metal ions which can cause undesirable chemical reactions in the product. Phenoxyethanol has allergenic potential, slight irritation potential. A study found that phenoxyethanol may penetrate the skin, though the test was performed on animals. Phenoxyethanol can also break down in to the toxins phenol and acetaldehyde, but only in the presence of very strong acids. I’ve seen mention on-line regarding pheoxyethanol and it’s possible estrogenic effect, but have not seen any studies to corroborate this. Methylpropanediol is used as a solvent and carrier for the two aforementioned ingredients.
Farnesol is used as a fragrance that enhances the “sweet” smell, of most commonly floral fragrances. Farnesol has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal (another study) activity. High concentrations of farnesol pose an irritation to risk, low concentrations of farnesol may pose a risk to those with sensitive skin.
Linalool is a component of lavender essential oil and used as a fragrance. Linalool has been found to be cytotoxic at minute doses to human fibroblast cells which are responsible for production of collagen and other connective tissue. Linalool also exhibited estrogenic and anti-androgenic activity in a study using human skin cell cultures (in vitro).
Quoted from the Cremo Company website, “It contains a calming, natural antiinflammatory, Triple-A Complex, rich in plant amino acids & polypeptides: it immediately & dramatically heals & soothes. Used for 2 weeks, you will see visibly improved skin. It contains unique microscopic moisture beads, Oleosomes, and other compounds so it hydrates for 24 hours without leaving skin sticky, shiny or greasy.
This also make it uniquely light and fluid, not pudding-like, so it spreads and absorbs quickly. It won’t clog your pores. It leaves your skin looking and feeling absolutely fresh, natural and healthy. Enjoy!”
Quoted from the Cremo Company website, “No Fragrances or Dyes.”
The Match Up
“It contains a calming, natural antiinflammatory, Triple-A Complex, rich in plant amino acids & polypeptides: it immediately & dramatically heals & soothes.” The Triple-A Complex is made up of the Algae and Mugwort extract and a third unidentified ingredient, possibly Aloe Vera. The term “Triple-A Complex” is a marketing tool, and no studies have shown that these three ingredients enhance each other’s skin benefits, nor are there studies showing that algae and mugwort extract work synergistically. Alone, algae and aloe vera do provide skin benefits.
“Used for 2 weeks, you will see visibly improved skin” This is quite dependent on the individual, but most people will see improvement in the skin using any skin care product after 2 weeks, especially if they do not have an allergic reaction or irritation.
“It contains unique microscopic moisture beads, Oleosomes, and other compounds so it hydrates for 24 hours without leaving skin sticky, shiny or greasy.” Oleosomes are not unique to the Cremo Company and are no different from other oil in water emulsions in their effect on the skin. 24 hour moisturization is again, dependent on the person, but the glycol humectants in the product will help increase skin moisture over time.
“This also make it uniquely light and fluid, not pudding-like, so it spreads and absorbs quickly. It won’t clog your pores.” The lightness and fluidity of the product has no relation to the olesomes or the “Triple-A Complex”, it’s solely dependent on how much thickener was used in the creation of the product. No ingredients in this product have high comedogenicity (pore clogging) potential, but again those sensitive to developing acne may have issue with the product.
“No Fragrances or Dyes.” Unfortunately the product does contain the fragrances farnesol and linalool. Linalool is a problematic ingredient to the skin as it exhibits cytotoxic and possibly estrogenic activity.