This is where I *try* to push aside thoughts about ingredients and just look at the brand, what this line is advertised for and whether or not it lived up to its claims based on my experience. I used these products pretty extensively through the summer of 2015 and slowed down a bit in the fall. I’m more than halfway through the toner, serum, emulsion and cream. The oil I’m a bit behind in usage.
“Good food for health is also good for the skin” & “To protect your skin for 14 years, not just for 14 days” Showcasing a lot of beautiful fruit photography, they seem to be the masters of marketing ‘natural’ without ever having to mention the word. Something I find that helps me feel a bit better about the strong marketing is reminding myself that they create pretty standard cosmetic formulations and then throw in a particular food ingredient to highlight and advertise. What I really liked is that on this line they actually list the weighted amounts of pomegranate extract and pomegranate seed oil they included in the formulations. (I haven’t purchased any other box sets yet, but I will continue to investigate)
Punica Granatum = pomegranate’s scientific name
석류 추 출물 =pomegranate fruit extract 석류씨오일 = pomegranate seed oil
Black pomegranate Line Link to Skinfood Korea
The story from Skinfood is: This mysteriously dark pomegranate is enriched with a higher amount of ellagic acid and antioxidants than the common red pomegranate. (taken from the back of the serum box) They also go on to say that they’re using a proprietary active extracted from the black pomegranate, which to me means that they won’t patent or publish exactly what the concentration of ellagic acid they are getting so we have to kind of guesstimate the true amount of antioxidants. I admit, I get a little swept up with the notion of pomegranates making me beautiful, I think it might be all the red. Initially my stance is that I feel like the juice should be consumed and not slathered but I’ve had good luck with pomegranate sheet masks so, maybe this will be a nice lotion
What each product is advertised to do:
- Toner: for smooth supple skin. Yes I would say this is a standard toner, felt like a more hydrating style of toner rather than the more alcohol heavy toners I grew up with. Definitely felt more viscous than a standard toner, tested around a pH of 5
- Serum: Hydrate, illuminate, and plump up your skin. Yes to the hydrate and plumping, albeit temporary (24hrs). I have come to realize through attempting to photograph the plumping action… that I don’t have wrinkles to plump. I have some very fine lines and the plumping occurred mostly around the eye area for me, but I just failed at capturing the moment *cries* In terms of illumination, this serum definitely doesn’t dry matte, and does appear just a little shiny on the skin, which is probably where the ‘illuminating’ quality appears.
- Emulsion: for soft plump skin. Yep, checks out. Made my skin soft and plump to the touch. As any lotion should
- Oil: Quick-absorbing, non-sticky Black pomegranate Oil locks in moisture and adds a glow to the skin. Yes this is quick absorbing and yes it is non sticky, but I didn’t feel like it locked in the moisture. Definitely had that silicone dry-oil feel that I like more on my hair than on my skin. The packaging tho… so cute.
- Cream: Luminous resilient skin. I’m not sure how to measure resiliency. I definitely liked this as a night cream or a day cream for patches of dryer skin. I found that this product definitely looked a bit more oilier on the face than the emulsion alone.
Since Skinfood is focusing on the ellagic acid and antioxidants being the important part about this line, I decided to focus this review on the ellagic acid component. Ellagic acid is a phenol antioxidant that is found in many other places aside from pomegranates: raspberries, blackberries and even some tree nuts are where you can find the tannins that can be hydrolyzed to produce ellagic acid (1). If you’re interested in additional pomegranate health information, I’d recommend checking out my first reference at the bottom.
After peeping around the internet I finally found the study that showed specifically an in vivo (meaning a live animal was used, a hairless mouse in this instance) model on how topical application of ellagic acid did seem to provide some UV-B protection through prevention of collagen destruction in addition to diminishing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (2). This study which was conducted at the Hallym University in Korea, used 10µmol/L of an ellagic acid solution applied to the backs of mice that they exposed to only UV-B. Basically it would seem that ellagic acid on its own demonstrates some photo-protective effects on the skin; i.e. good for helping prevent wrinkles but probably not for treating present wrinkles.
My next step was to try and get a ballpark figure for how much ellagic acid was in a generic pomegranate extract. This where the hand waving/assuming begins because Skinfood is using proprietary knowledge/techniques for creating their pomegranate extract. I did find one study which had the objective of preparing pomegranate peel extract for use in cosmetics (3) This group used nanostructure lipid carriers (sound familiar… like that ‘new’ encapsulation technique that’s being used in skincare… or the one that’s used to deliver pharmaceuticals…liposomes) to deliver their pomegranate extract, but also tested their extract in a ‘free’ in solution cream. This group created a pomegranate peel extract (they refer to it as EPP = ellagic acid rich pomegranate peel) that had a standardized 12% w/w ellagic acid. This study also mentioned ellagic acid possesses very poor aqueous solubility and that in vitro release studies from both cream containing free EPP and cream containing the nanostructure lipid carriers showed optimal release of the ellagic acids with the NLCs showing a prolonged effect vs the more immediate effects from the free ellagic acid. Good to know that it seems to work well in creams!
Lastly, since we’re dealing with free ellagic acid (to the best of my knowledge) in the form of a pomegranate extract I had to ask: how stable is this antioxidant rich ingredient? Unfortunately this publication from the Journal of Food Science (which I found all too appropriate for this review on Skinfood) had the article behind a paywall (4). But the abstract & preview did provide insight into how pH, temperature and light can all have effects on antioxidants and that after 180 days in optimal conditions, extracts showed a diminished phenolic concentration antioxidant activity: 67% and 58% respectively. I feel like this is reflected in the Black Pomegranate serums box recommendation to use the product within 5 months of mixing.
Did I lose anyone? If so, here’s a recap: ellagic acid seems to provide some UV protection at 10µmol/L applied topically, fruit & rind extract seems to be effective as well (due to higher antioxidant content see paper 3) and can be generated to have a 12% ellagic acid w/w, and after about 6 months these antioxidants appear to be half as effective/concentrated.
- Using the study by Bae et. al., I can convert their 10µmol/L ellagic acid to .003mg/ml for the topical application that appeared to show photo-protective abilities.
- Then I could divide the amount of extract by the volume of the product to determine how much extract you would get per ml/g
Toner 180ml – 20mg extract/ml Emulsion 150ml – 20mg extract/ml Cream 50g – 40mg extract/g Punica Granatum Extract (3600mg) Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (3000mg) Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (2000mg) Serum Emulsion 50ml – 100mg extract/ml Punica Granatum Seed Oil (75mg) Punica Granatum Seed Oil (25mg) Punica granatum Fruit Extract (5000mg) Oil 40ml Punica Granatum Seed Oil (125mg) Punica Granatum Seed Oil (200 microliters) Serum Powder 0.3g – .417mg extract/ml Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (.04 microliters) Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (125 micrograms) Approximations Toner: 2.4mg/ml ellagic acid Emulsion: 2.4mg/ml ellagic acid Serum (mixed): 12.1mg/ml ellagic acid Cream: 4.8mg/g ellagic acid
- My last portion of the chart shows the approximate concentrations per ml of each product using the 12% w/w ellagic acid concentration as discussed in reference 4. You may be wondering why I’m skipping the oil. Well, there’s 40 ml of product and only .2 of those milliliters is pomegranate seed oil. Words cannot describe my disappointment, in what is by far the cutest packaging for oil I’ve seen yet.
Ok I’ll be honest, I went into the literature review thinking that I was going to show how little Skinfood added of a ‘natural’ product that would still be effective. I’m still unclear as to what their ellagic acid, or even their antioxidant concentration is among their extract. Even without certainty, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to compare the figures from other studies showing 12% w/w ellagic acid content especially when they’re using high-ellagic acid pomegranate peel. Do I feel like this product is shelf stable? that I’m not so sure, based off of the last study.
And for all the anti-wrinkle talk in the advertising (at least in Korean), based off the studies, pomegranate extract seems to only be helpful in preventing wrinkles caused by UV damage. The formulation of the cosmetics though does include a spattering of humectants (evident through the hyaluronic acid and amino acids they added) that should help pull water through the skin and plump it up a little. But most the ingredients wouldn’t impart any substantial wrinkle repair (based off my glances, I didn’t go too deep into research) The serum and the cream do include Acetyl hexapeptide-8 & 38 (at the end of the ingredient lists) which I believe is synthetic botox. Some companies claim that this peptide has wrinkle repairing abilities or can act like botox topically. Since the method of action (paralyzing facial muscles) requires botox to be at the muscle itself (and it can’t diffuse through skin) this should only act like the other peptides, a humectant. I’ve inlcuded ingredient links below since they’d take up soo much space if I published them.
So would I buy these products again? Some of them yes. This line does not include niacinamide which makes it nice for applying immediately after vitamin C serums and I did really like the serum and emulsion combo since they seemed provide pretty consistent hydration throughout the day. The only product I’m not happy with is the oil; I’m very happy with the packaging but I’m a bit upset at how little pomegranate seed oil it contains. The toner I’ve taken to using on my body pre-moisturizer and the cream has been nice as well for boosting my nighttime moisture.
Edit: almost forgot to mention… I bought these from RoseRoseShop!
[SKINFOOD] Black Pomegranate Toner -180ml $24.40
[SKINFOOD] Black Pomegranate Voluming Serum – 50ml $23.45
[SKINFOOD] Black Pomegranate Oil – 40ml $16.41
[SKINFOOD] Black Pomegranate Cream – 50g $22.07
[SKINFOOD] Black Pomegranate Emulsion – 150ml $24.40
Lastly, a table that I found kind of useful to have on hand and I think some one out there might find it interesting too
|Table 1||Reference 5|
|Principal constituents of different parts of pomegranate tree and fruit. The different parts of pomegranate plant like peel, root, bark, flower, leaves, and so forth exhibit different phytochemicals.|
|Pomegranate||Pomegranate juice||Pomegranate root||Pomegranate flower||Pomegranate leaves||Pomegranate seed|
|(i) Gallic acid||(i) Simple sugars||(i) Ellagitannins||(i) Gallic acids||(i) Carbohydrates||(i) 3,3′-Di-O-methylellagic acid|
|(ii) Ellagic acid||(ii) Aliphatic organic acids||(ii) Piperidine alkaloids||(ii) Ursolic acid||(ii) Reducing sugars||(ii) 3,3′,4′-Tri-O-methylellagic acid|
|(iii) Punicalin||(iii) Gallic acid||(iii) Pyrrolidine alkaloid||(iii) Triterpenoids||(iii) Sterols||(iii) Punicic acid|
|(iv) Punicalagin||(iv) Ellagic acid||(iv) Pelletierine alkaloids||(iv) Fatty acids||(iv) Saponins||(iv) Oleic acid|
|(v) Caffeic acid||(v) Quinic acid||(v) Flavanoids||(v) Palmitic acid|
|(vi) Ellagitannins||(vi) Flavonols||(vi) Tannins||(vi) Stearic acid|
|(vii) Pelletierine alkaloids||(vii) Amino acids||(vii) Piperidine alkaloids||(vii) Linoleic acid|
|(viii) Luteolin||(viii) Minerals||(viii) Flavone||(viii) Sterols|
|(ix) Kaempferol||(ix) EGCG||(ix) Glycoside||(ix) Tocopherols|
|(x) Quercetin||(x) Ascorbic acid||(x) Ellagitannins||(x) Sex steroids|
- Zarfeshany, Aida, Sedigheh Asgary, and Shaghayegh Haghjoo Javanmard. “Potent Health Effects of Pomegranate.” Advanced Biomedical Research 3 (2014): 100. PMC. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. Retrieved from: NCBI
- Bae, J.-Y., Choi, J.-S., Kang, S.-W., Lee, Y.-J., Park, J. and Kang, Y.-H. (2010), Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation. Experimental Dermatology, 19: e182–e190. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.01044.x Retrieved from: Wiley
- Tokton, N., A.Ounaroon,P.Panichayupakaranant and W.Tiyaboonchai, 2014. Development of ellagic acid rich pomegranate peel extract loaded nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCS). Int. J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci. 6: 259-265. Retrieved From: Link
- Qu, W., Breksa III, A. P., Pan, Z., Ma, H. and Mchugh, T. H. (2012), Storage Stability of Sterilized Liquid Extracts from Pomegranate Peel. Journal of Food Science, 77: C765–C772. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02779.x Retrieved from: wiley
- Sreekumar, Sreeja et al. “Pomegranate Fruit as a Rich Source of Biologically Active Compounds.” BioMed Research International 2014 (2014): 686921. PMC. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.