Welcome to C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 Testing (Round 2)

Hello testers!

Welcome to Round 2 of the C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 Development. Congratulations to all that were selected to proceed to Round 2. For those that weren’t selected, don’t worry we’ll have newer exciting R&D products to be sent out soon. Again thank you, everyone, for your feedback. Texture is a really complicated factor, as everyone has their own preference for creams. The only way we can calibrate is by sending it out to hundreds of people to see if there is a pattern that arises. So let’s get started.

 

How to:

Step 1: Perform the “Initial Sebutape and D-squame measurement” below. Record your results for the next survey. (This is the initial testing, we will compare this with the results you get after long-term testing). You'll have to wash your face for this. Duration 1 - 1.5 hours.

Step 2: Use APC2617C twice daily for two days and complete this survey: "Click here for the 2-day test APC2617C Survey". You will be entering your Sebutape and D-squame results here.

Step 3: Use MCC2419D twice daily for two days and complete the "Click here for the2-day test MCC2419D Survey". You will be asked for your preference between the two creams here.

Step 4: If you were selected to proceed to the next round, you will receive the Round 3 package and check back here for further announcements

 

Update Log

  • October 7: We started sending out the sample kits
  • November 14: Deadline for Round 1 feedback
  • November 22: Sent out Round 2 to chosen participants

 

Initial Sebutape and D-squame measurement

We want to find out if C.R.E.A.M. affects sebum excretion rate (the rate of your oil production) and desquamation (your normal exfoliation rate). In this step, you will measure your baseline values for sebum excretion rate through a Sebutape and asses your desquamation through a D-squame. You should have received two of each: one for testing yourself and one for a spare. You can also test someone else’s skin if you don’t need it.

D-Squame Interpretation

Sebutape Interpretation

Summary of Round 1 Results

We’re super thrilled with the results for Round 1. We haven’t focused yet on its soothing ability as the first two rounds focus on the texture, but we’ve seen many of you guys mentioning its soothing and cooling ability, so we are super excited about that. Let’s go through some highlights of Round 1 results:

  • In terms of version preference, they are almost equally split between JSC2414B and WMC2221A. 17.6% still preferred C.R.E.A.M. 1.0, and they mentioned that they preferred the waxiness of the 1.0 version.
  • In terms of changes, the majority mentioned not changing anything, and the rest are equally split between making it thinner and lighter.
  • Only 0.71% (3 out of 420) had negative reactions to the Round 1 versions. It is possible that they might have allergies to some ingredients in C.R.E.A.M. 2.0
  • Quite a few changed their results from the initial skin feel testing after testing it for 2 days so we removed the "initial skin feel" survey for Round 2 and incorporated the preference question in the 2-day survey.
  • The smell was a bit off-putting to some, but we found what was causing it.

 

Round 2 Changes

Made Petrolatum vanish

One of the most common comments is that the earlier versions are thin and not occlusive enough. This weirdly made us happy because the formulations have high amounts of Petrolatum and Ceramides, and through Justina’s magic, we made it feel like a normal cream. This makes us happy because we can afford to go even higher in barrier repair!
We made the C.R.E.A.M. creamier while changing the residual coating. In essence, it is a thicker cream upon application but less oily and more matte once it settles down. It is also interesting that occlusiveness doesn’t correlate with how we perceive creams on the skin.

Cooling sensation

Ha! We’re so glad you guys saw this. Soothing the skin is a complex process that involves more than just adding soothing ingredients. We had to consider all signs of inflammation and target each one carefully. One of the ways to target the sensation of heat and itching is by activating the cooling receptors in the skin. This sort of “distracts” the skin temporarily by sending an opposite signal to the brain. (At least in theory - Gated Pain Theory)

Residual coating

A few people noted that it was a little tacky but manageable. Honestly, without the silicones, this would be an unbearable cream to wear. High amounts of Glycerin, Petrolatum, Ceramides, and a heck ton of soothing agents make it extremely tacky and draggy. We’re not going to pull back on the tackiness, but we’re addressing it by changing other things.

We have two versions in this Round. The AP2617C is more matte and silky in comparison to MC2419D, which is optimized more for that “hydrated” look that people are looking for.

Scent

When people mentioned the scent, we were puzzled as the scent we notice is very faint. We thought that perhaps our noses were broken XD. Then some of you commented that the scent of C.R.E.A.M. 1.0 is more intense than in their bottles, and the Christmas-y/ medicinal scent comes out too much. That’s when we realized that the pouches intensify the scent of the creams. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time to change the pouches for Round 2.

In addition, we’ve added Oat Avenanthramide Extract (Avena Sativa (Oat) Extract) as an additional soothing ingredient and a way to cover the scent. This smells like unflavored oatmeal, which luckily tones down the medicinal scent of C.R.E.A.M. 2.0

C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 Ingredients

 

 

What prompted the update?

If you haven’t noticed already, we at Regimen Lab are always thinking about, researching, and testing how we can make better skincare. Whether it’s a completely new product or using the latest science and user feedback to improve our products, we are always looking to do better.

Texture

C.R.E.A.M. is a beloved product for so many of you, more so because it works than because you love the texture. Our goal with C.R.E.A.M. has always been to prioritize performance first, and optimize for texture second. With the first version, the main emollients used were Isostearyl Isostearate (ISIS) and Isopropyl Isostearate (IPIS), which are esters that promote the orthorhombic structure of barrier lipids in the skin. Ceramides, Cholesterol and some Fatty acids are incredible for barrier repair but in their raw form have really waxy textures and the drag is unbearable. To add to that, they are extremely hard to work with (the vast majority of formulations with these “break” - literally out of hundreds of variants, only a few emulsions remain intact). We knew going in that ISIS and IPIS are among the vilified fungal acne triggers in addition to their comedogenicity. Despite the low concentrations used and our testing phases finding no comedogenicity issues, people remain wary of these esters. We were trying to avoid Petrolatum and Silicones because Market research results suck XD. Anyway, we were happy with the barrier repair ability and the fact that the rate of acne and blackhead reaction is really low. Admittedly, the texture isn’t the greatest but it works really well, which was pretty much was our tagline before. LOL.

3:1:1:1

If you look into the study done by the group of Dr. Elias, the ratio that they tested were only varying combinations of Ceramides, Cholesterol, Fatty acids in 1:1:1:1, 2:1:1:1, 3:1:1:1, 4:1:1:1, and 5:1:1:1 combinations. However, what if there are other combinations that work better outside of these tested ratios? We formulated hundreds of these combinations: (3:2:1:1, 3:1:2:1, 2:3:1:2 etc.) and tested these out throughout these past two years, and we got really really interesting results.

EFA

The next thing we looked into was the effect of varying the Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) component in the ratio. In the study, the EFA used is Linoleic acid. However, we were curious if changing it would have an effect. We tested out different EFAs and other derivatives like ethyl linoleate, conjugated linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, gamma linoleic acid etc. The results are again super interesting and will be discussed in another lab note.

NEFA

The last one we looked into was the Non-Essential Fatty Acid (NEFA) composition. In the study, they used Palmitic acid, but we are curious whether changing this can have an effect. We tested a bunch of NEFA used in cosmetics and found new ones too. During this process, we came across fatty acids that also act as PPAR activators. In addition, we also tested long-chain and very long-chain fatty acids as well. Our results are surprising, and we are still analyzing our results as there is no correlation between chain length and barrier repair. We found out exactly what combination worked, but we don’t know yet why.

The concept

Texture

I knew I wanted to improve C.R.E.A.M. 1.0, but I knew it would take a long time to get it right. As soon as it launched, I was already in development mode to improve its texture. At first, I looked into the emollients that we could use, and there are a ton of emollients out there that feel nice, but they didn’t really do anything for skin hydration or barrier health. Basically, we tested a bunch of emollients in terms of their effect on the skin and honestly, it was disappointing as only Petrolatum showed clear benefits. Squalane didn’t do squat, which is a disappointment. So with these results, I started incorporating Petrolatum to replace the esters. The emulsion felt greasy and tacky, but the barrier repair is insane. We turned to silicone elastomers to improve the feel, and the difference is day and night.

The last one that we looked into was the emulsifier. We have our base formulation down, and we just need to test different emulsifiers to see which one can stay stable and carry a huge load of actives. Many of them broke, but two systems remained intact, which is a huge relief. Justina formulated tons of creams up to a point that her dreams involved creams too.  

Advanced Barrier Repair

After optimizing the ratio of Ceramides, Cholesterol and Fatty acids, we looked into optimizing the right combination of Petrolatum and Silicones to boost the barrier repair. Up to this point, we’re looking at 3rd Generation Barrier Repair, in which the actives directly participate in the repair of the barrier. However, there’s a newer concept of advanced barrier repair where actives encourage the skin to accelerate barrier repair on its own.

Some actives in recent years have popped up where they are able to boost Ceramide levels in the skin. However, this isn’t really a great goal as there is more to barrier repair than just Ceramide levels. The process needs to be a synchronized process where the production of other barrier lipids needs to be increased, and their packaging into lamellar lipids is increased as well.  

Interestingly, not everything that can enhance Ceramide levels in the skin is great for barrier repair. It doesn’t automatically mean that your skin is healthier. It could mean that your skin sensed damage, and it is releasing Ceramides to repair itself. Did you know that UV exposure also increases Ceramide levels? This is because oxidative stress is a signal for the skin to start repairing itself. Diesel engine particulates, which cause pre-mature aging through MMP damage, also increase Ceramides in the skin. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you should apply a diesel mask to your face.  

There’s this one new concept that I want to introduce to you guys: Peroxisome Proliferator Activated-Receptor (PPAR). PPARs are nuclear receptors (like retinoid receptors) that regulate a lot of skin processes like Keratinocyte maturation, Barrier function, Anti-Inflammation and Wound-healing. Interestingly, Retinoids work by binding Retinoid receptors, which then translocate and heterodimerize with other nuclear receptors in the nucleus to exert biological effects. Guess which nuclear receptors they usually heterodimerize with? PPARs. For this reason (and for the anti-inflammatory, barrier boosting, and wound healing function), PPARs show potential in reducing the TEWL increase during retinoid usage. C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 is packed with different kinds of new PPAR-agonist, so it pairs really well with retinoid usage.

Extra Soothing

Soothing the skin is more than just applying a couple of ingredients and expecting it to reduce irritation. The first and most important thing to do in terms of soothing is to remove the culprit. The second thing is to ensure that everything you apply to the skin is non-irritating. For this new version of C.R.E.A.M., we assessed the possible sources of irritation and added new soothing ingredients by targeting specific signs of inflammation.  

Redness

Redness is the first visible sign of skin inflammation. It is a complicated process, but it begins when the skin senses any form of damage. The first level of inflammation begins when those damaged cells release their preformed inflammatory mediators or cytokines, specifically Interleukin 1 (Il-1) and Tumour Necrosis Factor-a (TNF-a), which jump-start the inflammatory cascade. The skin then detects these cytokines, and neighboring cells release Il-6 and Il-8. These two cytokines are responsible for further amplifying the inflammatory cascade and creating new blood vessels. The second level of inflammation happens when lipid mediators are released. This is when shit gets real, as this release results in clearly visible redness, warmth, and erythema from more new blood vessels.

For C.R.E.A.M. 2.0, we’re targeting the first level of inflammation by inhibiting redness where it begins: Interleukins. Alpha-Bisabolol is especially great for inhibiting Il-1 and TNF, so we halt the redness from the get-go. We use two types of Bisabolol: Natural (-)-α-Bisabolol and Synthetic (+/-)-α-Bisabolol, which is a racemic mixture. These two also inhibit Il-6 and Il-8 to prevent the amplification of the inflammatory cascade. The second level of inflammation is targeted by 6-paradol (Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone), one of ginger's natural soothing actives and Glycyrrhetinic acid, the potent anti-inflammatory active in licorice. 6-Paradol and other actives in the standardized Ginger extract inhibit the release of lipid mediators (COX-2 and PGE-2 inhibition) to stop the progression of redness.

Itching

Itching is a defense mechanism that evolved from the need to get rid of insects (or other foreign stuff) on our skin. It can be triggered by many substances released by cells in the skin (both Histaminergic and Non-Histaminergic). Alleviating itch has been studied for centuries, as non-stop itching can drive someone insane. One particularly effective solution that has been used for centuries is Oat. Oats have a lot of components like lipids, polysaccharides and polyphenols. One particularly interesting polyphenol is Avenanthramide (Aveeno, Avene get it?). This group of polyphenols is credited for the anti-itch properties of oat, and because they are polyphenols, they also have some antioxidant properties. The disadvantage is that they are a bit unstable. Luckily, a more stable version is available in the form of Avenanthramide D (Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic acid). This synthetic Avenanthramide can relieve itching through its action on NK-1 and NF-KB receptors. We thought of adding Oat oil and Colloidal Oatmeal to the formulation, but we are worried that the lipids in Oat might interfere with the ratio. Don’t worry. We’ve saved them up for another exciting formulation.

Stinging/Burning

Stinging and Burning are mediated by Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels. These receptors can sense heat, acid, inflammatory cytokines and other substances to relay a signal that the brain interprets as stinging. One of the most common TRPs is TRPV1 which is also activated by Capsaicin in hot peppers. In the new C.R.E.A.M. 2.0, we used 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, a synthetic compound designed to regulate TRPV1 resulting in a decreased sensation of stinging. 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol was shown to be superior to Licochalcone A and acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester in reducing stinging and burning in-vivo.

Update Log

  • October 7: We started sending out the sample kits

 

Pre-survey Insights

Here are some interesting insights from the pre-survey:

Some results are actually quite surprising. In the texture preference, the majority preferred something in between rich and light (45.1%), followed by a preference for a rich, substantive cream (31.4%). Honestly, we’re really happy to see this as it matches with our thinking that a barrier cream should be a bit on the thicker side.

The second surprising thing was the ranking of importance in a barrier cream. In first place, you ranked “ingredients” in first place, with “barrier repair” only second. I’m a bit sad that barrier repair only came second :( but I guess it is not standard practice yet for skincare products to be tested for their barrier repair ability.

Last insight is on ingredients you guys avoid. Of couse, fragrance and essential oils are in top place. We’re a bit surprised that roughly 15% avoid petrolatum and silicones. Unfortunately, this C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 would have both. We've tried some Petrolatum substitues but it remains unbeatable in terms of TEWL resuction. We’ll have it tested for comedogenicity to ease your worries.

Round 1: JSC2414B vs WMC2221A

In this round, we have two formulations that performed superbly in terms of barrier repair. They have the same INCI but not exactly the same formulation. You’ll see that they are a bit different in terms of the texture too.
Our goal here is to figure out the texture that we’re going with. This is our version of “rich but not too thick” cream. We want to know if we are on the right track for the thickness and emolliency.
 
INCI:
Aqua, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Decyl Glucoside, Polysilicone-11, Isosorbide Dicaprylate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Ceramide EOP, Ceramide NP, Bisabolol, Allantoin, Panthenol, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Palmitoylethanolamide, Cholesterol, Myristic Acid, Hydroxystearic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic acid, 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Tocopherol, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Laureth-7

C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 Ingredients

 

 

What prompted the update?

If you haven’t noticed already, we at Regimen Lab are always thinking about, researching, and testing how we can make better skincare. Whether it’s a completely new product or using the latest science and user feedback to improve our products, we are always looking to do better.

Texture

C.R.E.A.M. is a beloved product for so many of you, more so because it works than because you love the texture. Our goal with C.R.E.A.M. has always been to prioritize performance first, and optimize for texture second. With the first version, the main emollients used were Isostearyl Isostearate (ISIS) and Isopropyl Isostearate (IPIS), which are esters that promote the orthorhombic structure of barrier lipids in the skin. Ceramides, Cholesterol and some Fatty acids are incredible for barrier repair but in their raw form have really waxy textures and the drag is unbearable. To add to that, they are extremely hard to work with (the vast majority of formulations with these “break” - literally out of hundreds of variants, only a few emulsions remain intact). We knew going in that ISIS and IPIS are among the vilified fungal acne triggers in addition to their comedogenicity. Despite the low concentrations used and our testing phases finding no comedogenicity issues, people remain wary of these esters. We were trying to avoid Petrolatum and Silicones because Market research results suck XD. Anyway, we were happy with the barrier repair ability and the fact that the rate of acne and blackhead reaction is really low. Admittedly, the texture isn’t the greatest but it works really well, which was pretty much was our tagline before. LOL.

3:1:1:1

If you look into the study done by the group of Dr. Elias, the ratio that they tested were only varying combinations of Ceramides, Cholesterol, Fatty acids in 1:1:1:1, 2:1:1:1, 3:1:1:1, 4:1:1:1, and 5:1:1:1 combinations. However, what if there are other combinations that work better outside of these tested ratios? We formulated hundreds of these combinations: (3:2:1:1, 3:1:2:1, 2:3:1:2 etc.) and tested these out throughout these past two years, and we got really really interesting results.

EFA

The next thing we looked into was the effect of varying the Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) component in the ratio. In the study, the EFA used is Linoleic acid. However, we were curious if changing it would have an effect. We tested out different EFAs and other derivatives like ethyl linoleate, conjugated linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, gamma linoleic acid etc. The results are again super interesting and will be discussed in another lab note.

NEFA

The last one we looked into was the Non-Essential Fatty Acid (NEFA) composition. In the study, they used Palmitic acid, but we are curious whether changing this can have an effect. We tested a bunch of NEFA used in cosmetics and found new ones too. During this process, we came across fatty acids that also act as PPAR activators. In addition, we also tested long-chain and very long-chain fatty acids as well. Our results are surprising, and we are still analyzing our results as there is no correlation between chain length and barrier repair. We found out exactly what combination worked, but we don’t know yet why.

The concept

Texture

I knew I wanted to improve C.R.E.A.M. 1.0, but I knew it would take a long time to get it right. As soon as it launched, I was already in development mode to improve its texture. At first, I looked into the emollients that we could use, and there are a ton of emollients out there that feel nice, but they didn’t really do anything for skin hydration or barrier health. Basically, we tested a bunch of emollients in terms of their effect on the skin and honestly, it was disappointing as only Petrolatum showed clear benefits. Squalane didn’t do squat, which is a disappointment. So with these results, I started incorporating Petrolatum to replace the esters. The emulsion felt greasy and tacky, but the barrier repair is insane. We turned to silicone elastomers to improve the feel, and the difference is day and night.

The last one that we looked into was the emulsifier. We have our base formulation down, and we just need to test different emulsifiers to see which one can stay stable and carry a huge load of actives. Many of them broke, but two systems remained intact, which is a huge relief. Justina formulated tons of creams up to a point that her dreams involved creams too.  

Advanced Barrier Repair

After optimizing the ratio of Ceramides, Cholesterol and Fatty acids, we looked into optimizing the right combination of Petrolatum and Silicones to boost the barrier repair. Up to this point, we’re looking at 3rd Generation Barrier Repair, in which the actives directly participate in the repair of the barrier. However, there’s a newer concept of advanced barrier repair where actives encourage the skin to accelerate barrier repair on its own.

Some actives in recent years have popped up where they are able to boost Ceramide levels in the skin. However, this isn’t really a great goal as there is more to barrier repair than just Ceramide levels. The process needs to be a synchronized process where the production of other barrier lipids needs to be increased, and their packaging into lamellar lipids is increased as well.  

Interestingly, not everything that can enhance Ceramide levels in the skin is great for barrier repair. It doesn’t automatically mean that your skin is healthier. It could mean that your skin sensed damage, and it is releasing Ceramides to repair itself. Did you know that UV exposure also increases Ceramide levels? This is because oxidative stress is a signal for the skin to start repairing itself. Diesel engine particulates, which cause pre-mature aging through MMP damage, also increase Ceramides in the skin. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you should apply a diesel mask to your face.  

There’s this one new concept that I want to introduce to you guys: Peroxisome Proliferator Activated-Receptor (PPAR). PPARs are nuclear receptors (like retinoid receptors) that regulate a lot of skin processes like Keratinocyte maturation, Barrier function, Anti-Inflammation and Wound-healing. Interestingly, Retinoids work by binding Retinoid receptors, which then translocate and heterodimerize with other nuclear receptors in the nucleus to exert biological effects. Guess which nuclear receptors they usually heterodimerize with? PPARs. For this reason (and for the anti-inflammatory, barrier boosting, and wound healing function), PPARs show potential in reducing the TEWL increase during retinoid usage. C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 is packed with different kinds of new PPAR-agonist, so it pairs really well with retinoid usage.

Extra Soothing

Soothing the skin is more than just applying a couple of ingredients and expecting it to reduce irritation. The first and most important thing to do in terms of soothing is to remove the culprit. The second thing is to ensure that everything you apply to the skin is non-irritating. For this new version of C.R.E.A.M., we assessed the possible sources of irritation and added new soothing ingredients by targeting specific signs of inflammation.  

Redness

Redness is the first visible sign of skin inflammation. It is a complicated process, but it begins when the skin senses any form of damage. The first level of inflammation begins when those damaged cells release their preformed inflammatory mediators or cytokines, specifically Interleukin 1 (Il-1) and Tumour Necrosis Factor-a (TNF-a), which jump-start the inflammatory cascade. The skin then detects these cytokines, and neighboring cells release Il-6 and Il-8. These two cytokines are responsible for further amplifying the inflammatory cascade and creating new blood vessels. The second level of inflammation happens when lipid mediators are released. This is when shit gets real, as this release results in clearly visible redness, warmth, and erythema from more new blood vessels.

For C.R.E.A.M. 2.0, we’re targeting the first level of inflammation by inhibiting redness where it begins: Interleukins. Alpha-Bisabolol is especially great for inhibiting Il-1 and TNF, so we halt the redness from the get-go. We use two types of Bisabolol: Natural (-)-α-Bisabolol and Synthetic (+/-)-α-Bisabolol, which is a racemic mixture. These two also inhibit Il-6 and Il-8 to prevent the amplification of the inflammatory cascade. The second level of inflammation is targeted by 6-paradol (Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone), one of ginger's natural soothing actives and Glycyrrhetinic acid, the potent anti-inflammatory active in licorice. 6-Paradol and other actives in the standardized Ginger extract inhibit the release of lipid mediators (COX-2 and PGE-2 inhibition) to stop the progression of redness.

Itching

Itching is a defense mechanism that evolved from the need to get rid of insects (or other foreign stuff) on our skin. It can be triggered by many substances released by cells in the skin (both Histaminergic and Non-Histaminergic). Alleviating itch has been studied for centuries, as non-stop itching can drive someone insane. One particularly effective solution that has been used for centuries is Oat. Oats have a lot of components like lipids, polysaccharides and polyphenols. One particularly interesting polyphenol is Avenanthramide (Aveeno, Avene get it?). This group of polyphenols is credited for the anti-itch properties of oat, and because they are polyphenols, they also have some antioxidant properties. The disadvantage is that they are a bit unstable. Luckily, a more stable version is available in the form of Avenanthramide D (Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic acid). This synthetic Avenanthramide can relieve itching through its action on NK-1 and NF-KB receptors. We thought of adding Oat oil and Colloidal Oatmeal to the formulation, but we are worried that the lipids in Oat might interfere with the ratio. Don’t worry. We’ve saved them up for another exciting formulation.

Stinging/Burning

Stinging and Burning are mediated by Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels. These receptors can sense heat, acid, inflammatory cytokines and other substances to relay a signal that the brain interprets as stinging. One of the most common TRPs is TRPV1 which is also activated by Capsaicin in hot peppers. In the new C.R.E.A.M. 2.0, we used 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, a synthetic compound designed to regulate TRPV1 resulting in a decreased sensation of stinging. 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol was shown to be superior to Licochalcone A and acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester in reducing stinging and burning in-vivo.

Update Log

  • October 7: We started sending out the sample kits

 

Pre-survey Insights

Here are some interesting insights from the pre-survey:

Some results are actually quite surprising. In the texture preference, the majority preferred something in between rich and light (45.1%), followed by a preference for a rich, substantive cream (31.4%). Honestly, we’re really happy to see this as it matches with our thinking that a barrier cream should be a bit on the thicker side.

The second surprising thing was the ranking of importance in a barrier cream. In first place, you ranked “ingredients” in first place, with “barrier repair” only second. I’m a bit sad that barrier repair only came second :( but I guess it is not standard practice yet for skincare products to be tested for their barrier repair ability.

Last insight is on ingredients you guys avoid. Of couse, fragrance and essential oils are in top place. We’re a bit surprised that roughly 15% avoid petrolatum and silicones. Unfortunately, this C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 would have both. We've tried some Petrolatum substitues but it remains unbeatable in terms of TEWL resuction. We’ll have it tested for comedogenicity to ease your worries.

Round 1: JSC2414B vs WMC2221A

In this round, we have two formulations that performed superbly in terms of barrier repair. They have the same INCI but not exactly the same formulation. You’ll see that they are a bit different in terms of the texture too.
Our goal here is to figure out the texture that we’re going with. This is our version of “rich but not too thick” cream. We want to know if we are on the right track for the thickness and emolliency.
 
INCI:
Aqua, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Decyl Glucoside, Polysilicone-11, Isosorbide Dicaprylate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Ceramide EOP, Ceramide NP, Bisabolol, Allantoin, Panthenol, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Palmitoylethanolamide, Cholesterol, Myristic Acid, Hydroxystearic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic acid, 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Tocopherol, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Laureth-7

C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 Ingredients

 

 

What prompted the update?

If you haven’t noticed already, we at Regimen Lab are always thinking about, researching, and testing how we can make better skincare. Whether it’s a completely new product or using the latest science and user feedback to improve our products, we are always looking to do better.

Texture

C.R.E.A.M. is a beloved product for so many of you, more so because it works than because you love the texture. Our goal with C.R.E.A.M. has always been to prioritize performance first, and optimize for texture second. With the first version, the main emollients used were Isostearyl Isostearate (ISIS) and Isopropyl Isostearate (IPIS), which are esters that promote the orthorhombic structure of barrier lipids in the skin. Ceramides, Cholesterol and some Fatty acids are incredible for barrier repair but in their raw form have really waxy textures and the drag is unbearable. To add to that, they are extremely hard to work with (the vast majority of formulations with these “break” - literally out of hundreds of variants, only a few emulsions remain intact). We knew going in that ISIS and IPIS are among the vilified fungal acne triggers in addition to their comedogenicity. Despite the low concentrations used and our testing phases finding no comedogenicity issues, people remain wary of these esters. We were trying to avoid Petrolatum and Silicones because Market research results suck XD. Anyway, we were happy with the barrier repair ability and the fact that the rate of acne and blackhead reaction is really low. Admittedly, the texture isn’t the greatest but it works really well, which was pretty much was our tagline before. LOL.

3:1:1:1

If you look into the study done by the group of Dr. Elias, the ratio that they tested were only varying combinations of Ceramides, Cholesterol, Fatty acids in 1:1:1:1, 2:1:1:1, 3:1:1:1, 4:1:1:1, and 5:1:1:1 combinations. However, what if there are other combinations that work better outside of these tested ratios? We formulated hundreds of these combinations: (3:2:1:1, 3:1:2:1, 2:3:1:2 etc.) and tested these out throughout these past two years, and we got really really interesting results.

EFA

The next thing we looked into was the effect of varying the Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) component in the ratio. In the study, the EFA used is Linoleic acid. However, we were curious if changing it would have an effect. We tested out different EFAs and other derivatives like ethyl linoleate, conjugated linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, gamma linoleic acid etc. The results are again super interesting and will be discussed in another lab note.

NEFA

The last one we looked into was the Non-Essential Fatty Acid (NEFA) composition. In the study, they used Palmitic acid, but we are curious whether changing this can have an effect. We tested a bunch of NEFA used in cosmetics and found new ones too. During this process, we came across fatty acids that also act as PPAR activators. In addition, we also tested long-chain and very long-chain fatty acids as well. Our results are surprising, and we are still analyzing our results as there is no correlation between chain length and barrier repair. We found out exactly what combination worked, but we don’t know yet why.

The concept

Texture

I knew I wanted to improve C.R.E.A.M. 1.0, but I knew it would take a long time to get it right. As soon as it launched, I was already in development mode to improve its texture. At first, I looked into the emollients that we could use, and there are a ton of emollients out there that feel nice, but they didn’t really do anything for skin hydration or barrier health. Basically, we tested a bunch of emollients in terms of their effect on the skin and honestly, it was disappointing as only Petrolatum showed clear benefits. Squalane didn’t do squat, which is a disappointment. So with these results, I started incorporating Petrolatum to replace the esters. The emulsion felt greasy and tacky, but the barrier repair is insane. We turned to silicone elastomers to improve the feel, and the difference is day and night.

The last one that we looked into was the emulsifier. We have our base formulation down, and we just need to test different emulsifiers to see which one can stay stable and carry a huge load of actives. Many of them broke, but two systems remained intact, which is a huge relief. Justina formulated tons of creams up to a point that her dreams involved creams too.  

Advanced Barrier Repair

After optimizing the ratio of Ceramides, Cholesterol and Fatty acids, we looked into optimizing the right combination of Petrolatum and Silicones to boost the barrier repair. Up to this point, we’re looking at 3rd Generation Barrier Repair, in which the actives directly participate in the repair of the barrier. However, there’s a newer concept of advanced barrier repair where actives encourage the skin to accelerate barrier repair on its own.

Some actives in recent years have popped up where they are able to boost Ceramide levels in the skin. However, this isn’t really a great goal as there is more to barrier repair than just Ceramide levels. The process needs to be a synchronized process where the production of other barrier lipids needs to be increased, and their packaging into lamellar lipids is increased as well.  

Interestingly, not everything that can enhance Ceramide levels in the skin is great for barrier repair. It doesn’t automatically mean that your skin is healthier. It could mean that your skin sensed damage, and it is releasing Ceramides to repair itself. Did you know that UV exposure also increases Ceramide levels? This is because oxidative stress is a signal for the skin to start repairing itself. Diesel engine particulates, which cause pre-mature aging through MMP damage, also increase Ceramides in the skin. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you should apply a diesel mask to your face.  

There’s this one new concept that I want to introduce to you guys: Peroxisome Proliferator Activated-Receptor (PPAR). PPARs are nuclear receptors (like retinoid receptors) that regulate a lot of skin processes like Keratinocyte maturation, Barrier function, Anti-Inflammation and Wound-healing. Interestingly, Retinoids work by binding Retinoid receptors, which then translocate and heterodimerize with other nuclear receptors in the nucleus to exert biological effects. Guess which nuclear receptors they usually heterodimerize with? PPARs. For this reason (and for the anti-inflammatory, barrier boosting, and wound healing function), PPARs show potential in reducing the TEWL increase during retinoid usage. C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 is packed with different kinds of new PPAR-agonist, so it pairs really well with retinoid usage.

Extra Soothing

Soothing the skin is more than just applying a couple of ingredients and expecting it to reduce irritation. The first and most important thing to do in terms of soothing is to remove the culprit. The second thing is to ensure that everything you apply to the skin is non-irritating. For this new version of C.R.E.A.M., we assessed the possible sources of irritation and added new soothing ingredients by targeting specific signs of inflammation.  

Redness

Redness is the first visible sign of skin inflammation. It is a complicated process, but it begins when the skin senses any form of damage. The first level of inflammation begins when those damaged cells release their preformed inflammatory mediators or cytokines, specifically Interleukin 1 (Il-1) and Tumour Necrosis Factor-a (TNF-a), which jump-start the inflammatory cascade. The skin then detects these cytokines, and neighboring cells release Il-6 and Il-8. These two cytokines are responsible for further amplifying the inflammatory cascade and creating new blood vessels. The second level of inflammation happens when lipid mediators are released. This is when shit gets real, as this release results in clearly visible redness, warmth, and erythema from more new blood vessels.

For C.R.E.A.M. 2.0, we’re targeting the first level of inflammation by inhibiting redness where it begins: Interleukins. Alpha-Bisabolol is especially great for inhibiting Il-1 and TNF, so we halt the redness from the get-go. We use two types of Bisabolol: Natural (-)-α-Bisabolol and Synthetic (+/-)-α-Bisabolol, which is a racemic mixture. These two also inhibit Il-6 and Il-8 to prevent the amplification of the inflammatory cascade. The second level of inflammation is targeted by 6-paradol (Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone), one of ginger's natural soothing actives and Glycyrrhetinic acid, the potent anti-inflammatory active in licorice. 6-Paradol and other actives in the standardized Ginger extract inhibit the release of lipid mediators (COX-2 and PGE-2 inhibition) to stop the progression of redness.

Itching

Itching is a defense mechanism that evolved from the need to get rid of insects (or other foreign stuff) on our skin. It can be triggered by many substances released by cells in the skin (both Histaminergic and Non-Histaminergic). Alleviating itch has been studied for centuries, as non-stop itching can drive someone insane. One particularly effective solution that has been used for centuries is Oat. Oats have a lot of components like lipids, polysaccharides and polyphenols. One particularly interesting polyphenol is Avenanthramide (Aveeno, Avene get it?). This group of polyphenols is credited for the anti-itch properties of oat, and because they are polyphenols, they also have some antioxidant properties. The disadvantage is that they are a bit unstable. Luckily, a more stable version is available in the form of Avenanthramide D (Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic acid). This synthetic Avenanthramide can relieve itching through its action on NK-1 and NF-KB receptors. We thought of adding Oat oil and Colloidal Oatmeal to the formulation, but we are worried that the lipids in Oat might interfere with the ratio. Don’t worry. We’ve saved them up for another exciting formulation.

Stinging/Burning

Stinging and Burning are mediated by Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels. These receptors can sense heat, acid, inflammatory cytokines and other substances to relay a signal that the brain interprets as stinging. One of the most common TRPs is TRPV1 which is also activated by Capsaicin in hot peppers. In the new C.R.E.A.M. 2.0, we used 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, a synthetic compound designed to regulate TRPV1 resulting in a decreased sensation of stinging. 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol was shown to be superior to Licochalcone A and acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester in reducing stinging and burning in-vivo.