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Superfoods + Science—What Does It Mean?

By Faith Cummings, she/her

One thing we know for sure after years of both experimenting and falling in love with skincare is that there is no one-size-fits-all ingredient that works for every skin type. It’s all about the formulation and the efficacy of how ingredients can work together in a product. Your skin is multifaceted, thus it needs a multi-pronged approach to getting it healthy and glowing—and to keep it that way. It’s why Youth To The People formulates with both superfoods and science.

Superfoods, the first part of that equation, help deliver a potent mix of antioxidants to your skin.  

“Superfoods became sought out for their nutrient-dense properties and their body-loving benefits, so it only makes sense to apply those practical uses in the formulation of skincare,” says Jacob Tomás del Rosario, Youth To The People’s Senior Manager of Field Sales + Education. “When we talk about nutrients, by definition, these are substances that provide nourishment essential for growth and maintenance of life.” This includes antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that benefit the skin both internally and topically. 

Shout out to nature which has created these incredible sources of phytonutrients. 

“When extracted carefully and refined for topical use, they impart a global protection system and promote the natural health and function of the skin as a whole,” del Rosario says. “Youth To The People was inspired by cold-pressed superfoods like kale, spinach, green tea, aloe, alfalfa, and many others. It started this mindset of doing more with less and using ingredients that are already jam packed with the ingredients that we know our skin not only needs, but loves.”

The second piece, no less important, is science. 

Synthetics can be a clean and more environmentally-responsible and efficacious source of a raw material to deliver clinical actives that can make a real change in your skin,” says Laura Cline, Youth To The People’s Director of Education. “We also choose synthetics that will support the benefits of a superfood material in a formula. Using things from both science and nature that are efficacious and responsibly sourced will amplify the results of a product.” 

Youth To The People believes in modern cosmetic science to achieve formulas that provide experience and results—without irritation. Del Rosario adds that it’s all about “efficacious, innovative ingredients that are safe for people, animals, and the planet.” It’s a balancing act. 

Read on for details on some of our favorite superfood and synthetic ingredients below:


Superfoods:

Kale and spinach have become two of the buzziest ingredients today and they fall into the dark leafy green category. They’re both incredible sources of nutrients like zinc, iron, vitamin C, and folate and they are brimming with carotenoids which are anti-inflammatory compounds. Dark leafy greens are known for their potential to reduce the occurrence of chronic illnesses (like diabetes or heart disease) if they’re incorporated into your diet.

Green tea is another powerful ingredient, originally hailing from China. It is also said to provide protection against chronic illnesses due to the anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants in its makeup including catechin epigallocatechin gallate which is better known as EGCG.

YTTP’s Superberry lineup expands on the antioxidant-dense natural properties of superberries. “It was inspired by the age-old call of our elders to ‘eat your berries,’” says del Rosario. “The star in the Superberry cocktail is the maqui fruit. Maqui fruit is a small berry, grown naturally in South America, known to be the most antioxidant-dense fruit in the world. In fact, it is said to be 40x more antioxidant-rich than a blueberry.” Also in the proprietary blend are goji berries and açaí, which are super popular superfoods in their own right and are rich in omega fatty acids that also help in strengthening your skin's moisture barrier

Scientifically, berries are known for their anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the potential for heart disease, boost immunity, and aid in any digestive disorders. They’re often used in tandem with traditional medicine to pack the one-two punch your body deserves.

“From the greens and berries we use, to adaptogenic mushrooms, herbs, kombucha, then further on to tea leaves of guayusa and yerba maté, each starts with a very intentional purpose,” says del Rosario of the Youth To The People ethos. “Our products are powered by the pro-grade vegan innovation passed down to our founders Joe Cloyes and Greg Gonzalez as the third generation of family skincare formulators. Every product is not only powered by superfoods, but formulated with results in mind. Because of this, I’m super confident that any individual, from beginner to expert, can find products within the YTTP range that would fit right into their existing routine.”

And let’s remember the power of mushrooms. Edible mushrooms (not all are) are brimming with fiber, vitamin A, antioxidants, and potassium and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Mushrooms are also key for sustainability, as cultivating them can help with the composting of agricultural waste. This is one reason why you see reishi mushrooms dominating in the beauty space, as well as in fashion which uses mushroom fibers in accessories and clothing.


Synthetics:

Let’s start with hyaluronic acid. “Cosmetic science has allowed for the development of different molecular structures of hyaluronic acid that can each penetrate to the skin at different levels and also hold different amounts of water,” says Cline. “The crosslinked hyaluronic acid we use in many formulations at Youth To The People can hold up to 5000x the original form of hyaluronic acid, which can hold 1000 times its weight in water. This allows for it to be a really powerful humectant that gives immediate plumpness and long lasting hydration to the skin.” Both kale, spinach, and green tea play alongside lab-synthesized ingredients like hyaluronic acid in the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream

“Hyaluronic acid was traditionally derived from rooster beak,” says del Rosario. “And now you can find it derived from shellfish, as they have biological structures that contain hyaluronic acid, similar to our human bodies. But the benefit to synthesizing hyaluronic acid in a lab is you can source it from sustainable, vegan sources and create it in varied molecule sizes, which can allow the lab-synthesized hyaluronic acid to retain larger quantities of water, and in a lot of cases penetrate the skin deeper and more effectively.”

The aforementioned guayusa and yerba maté find a powerful companion in ethyl ascorbic acid, one of the stars in the 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum. “Ethyl ascorbic acid is a hybrid of both water- and oil-soluble, and it’s the most recent, innovative, lab-synthesized vitamin C on the market for its stability and potency,” says del Rosario.

Peptides are another popular synthetic in the beauty lexicon right now, though you probably remember learning about them in one of your high school science classes. “I like to think of peptides as a little cheer team encouraging your skin to do what you want it to,” says Cline. “A peptide that is likely ‘cheering on’ your collagen and elastin to keep synthesizing for firmer-looking skin. Peptides send signals to where they are designed for optimal skin health and performance. They all have different jobs.” Youth To The People features a pentapeptide in the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream and the Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist and a firming peptide in the Superfood Eye Cream.

And last but certainly never least is THD ascorbate which is “a lab-created form of vitamin C that is ultra stable and oil soluble,” according to Cline. This specific type of vitamin C is gentle on the skin and super effective because it has a molecular structure that allows for deeper skin penetration. This synthetic gets the job done in the Superberry Dream Eye Cream, 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum, and the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask.

If you are just diving in and are looking for some superfood + science skincare...

Del Rosario strongly recommends the Superfood Cleanser in your skincare starter pack. Next, you have to try the 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum and one of two moisturizers: Superfood Moisture Cream or Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream. How to choose? Click here.

Written by Faith Cummings for Youth To The People