Do you know what’s chirality/ chirally correct?
And more importantly, why should you care about this?
This could affect the efficacy of your skin care products. That’s not all, it could also mean the difference between skin irritation or not.
Scroll down to discover what chirality is and much more!
What is Chirality all about?
A chiral molecule is one which its mirror image differs (i.e. they’re not symmetrical). A simple example would be to think of your hands as molecules. They’re a mirror image of each other. However they differ, you can verify this by placing one hand on top of the other. Though both your hands have the same features, these won’t line up with stacked on top of each other. So your hands can be considered as chiral.
Not all molecules are chiral. However those that are, would be made up of 2 forms: L (L for left) and D (D for dextro/right).
How about Chirally-correct?
For chiral molecules, it matters which form of molecule is delivered to your skin. This is because the absorption of the active ingredients only happens for those that fit your cell receptors.
Going back to the example before, your can think of left side gloves is your cell receptors and your hands as the active ingredients. So in this case, only your left hand (L form molecule) would fit the left side glove (your cell receptors) and get absorbed. What this means is that unless your skin care’s active ingredients are chirally correct (all consists of L form molecules), only up to 50% of the active ingredients can be absorbed by your skin.
So chirally correct active ingredients are important as they’re in the correct form which fits your cell receptors. As opposed to a mixture of both forms (i.e. only a portion of the active ingredients can be absorbed by your cell receptors).
Skin care which uses chirally correct actives are almost always more potent than another which the same percentage of active ingredients but do not use chirally correct actives.
Why not just increase the percentage of active ingredients?
Ingredients of the wrong form (not chirally correct) are not only ineffective (i.e. just sit on top of your skin), they can also be a source irritation and other negative side effects on your skin! So applying skin care products with chirally correct actives helps you minimise any skin irritation. This is especially important if you’re dealing with aged, sun damaged, acne, or sensitive skin, because the wrong skin care could further deteriorate the integrity of your skin, causing more damage than good.
Secondly, higher percentage for active ingredients is good, however this only true up to a certain amount. For different ingredients, the percentage differs. For example, for L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C derivative), a pH of 2.6 and a concentration of 20% maximises the biological activity and penetration into your skin. Therefore, it is important to go for well formulated skin care products. A product with a higher concentration of active ingredients might be easier to market and sell, however it is not necessarily the best for your skin!
So if chirally correct ingredients results in a more effective product with fewer side effects, why aren't more manufacturers using them?
Put simply, it has to do with costs. To get chirally purified ingredients, you’d need another added step in the development of the raw ingredients. And this makes chirally purified ingredients up to 20 times more expensive than the conventional 50:50 mixes. Besides that, they’re also harder to source for.
When Medik8 use an ingredient we always choose the chirally correct form. However some ingredients which are isomeric eg. retinol. There is no right or left handed retinol. Instead retinol ‘forms’ geometric isomers (dia-stereo-isomers) meaning it has a -cis and -trans format. In this case, Medik8 will use the correct geometric format. Or where there is no particular physiological preference, we will choose the isomer most used in studies or simply where the raw material is presented to us in the most suitable format.
Medik8 products are designed with green chemistry techniques that is kind to your skin and to the environment. At the same time, they contain the active ingredients in innovative delivery methods that have been scientifically proven to deliver you results!