Though a scar cream may not sound as alluring and exotic as some of the other products we’re drawn to at Integrity Botanicals, the CELSUS Bio-Intelligence Scar Cream seriously excites me. What can I say? I’m a ingredient nerd at heart, and the CELSUS Bio-Intelligence Scar Cream is the perfect example of how effective a product can be when formulators don’t scrimp on high quality, active botanical ingredients and—just as importantly—they don’t lump a few nice ingredients in with a bunch of fillers that do nothing.
I wanted to learn more about the science behind scars and scar reduction, so I connected with Pieter Oosthuizen, who co-founded CELSUS Bio-Intelligence with Joshua Onysko after an inspirational 5,000 mile motorcycle ride across the Western United States.
Pieter has some fascinating things to share about scars, skin and botanical ingredients.
Susannah: Can you tell us about the science behind scar reduction? How do scars behave?
Pieter: Our skin responds to injury with something called the “inflammatory response”. This is a brilliantly sophisticated biological response that initially enhances blood flow to the wound in order to supply a variety of essential cells that remove bacteria and damaged cells, and initiate the healing process. This is followed by fibroblasts that lay down collagen fibers, followed by elastin, to repair the skin. These fibers are laid down in a loose and disorganized manner, and this is the beginning of scar formation. As healing progresses, the tissue continues to remodel to strengthen and improve the cellular organization. To help reduce scarring one has to modulate the inflammatory response to prevent an overproduction of collagen (keloid scarring), but more importantly, apply ingredients like the Peptide Palmitoyl Tripeptide 5, Gotu Kola, and Helichrysum that help stimulate the production of collagen in a healthy skin matrix. As the scar ages, these and other ingredients (including moisturizers) continue to help with the remodeling process to reduce the scar tissue and get back to healthy, normal skin.
Your formula contains 22 active ingredients to help reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes. How does this enhance the efficacy of your product, especially compared to other scar creams on the market?
The complexity of our formula is directly related to us addressing scarring at every step of the process, and making it genuinely effective for both new and old scars, as well as other forms of scarring such as stretch marks. Unfortunately this cannot be said for most of the other topical scar treatments today. In fact, a well-known clinical study has shown no noticeable difference between scars treated with the top selling US brand, versus scars treated with petroleum jelly. That brand has only two active ingredients, both botanical, with the rest filled with industrial carriers and preservatives.
In addition to the regenerative ingredients that actively help with the remodeling process in our cream, like the ones mentioned above, the formulation also contains anti-oxidants, moisturizers, and some key minerals that help with conditioning the skin to assist scar reduction. Because of the physiology of the skin, there is a relatively close relationship between scarring and aging, or wrinkles, with the result that our cream has very significant anti-aging properties as well. The peptides in particular, along with several other ingredients, provide the skin with the building blocks to naturally produce more collagen, thus countering wrinkles.
We also endeavor to reduce the non-active ingredients and eliminate fillers in our formulations. A good example of this is Aloe Vera doing double duty as a wonderful active, but also as a carrier for the rest of the ingredients. Another practice we believe sets us apart is utilizing actives at full strength, rather than insignificant ‘label claim’ quantities.
Why is helichrysum such an all star ingredient when it comes to healing scars?
Helichrysum is a wonderfully potent essential oil with remarkable scar treatment characteristics. The species we use, Helichrysum italicum, is a small shrubby herb with small, yellow, straw-like flowers that grows in sandy or rocky soils in the Mediterranean area. The oil is rich in certain rare regenerative diketones and its use since ancient times for scar treatment has been well documented. Now you might ask if Helichrysum is known to be so great for scars, why it isn’t used by almost any of the well-known scar treatment brands. The answer is: cost! Helichrysum essential oil is by far the most expensive ingredient in our formulation — but since we set out to create something that would really, actually work for scars, we just couldn’t leave it out.
What role do peptides play in scar treatment, especially in your formula?
As explained above, this particular peptide stimulates the production of something called Tissue Growth Factor Beta (TGF-B), which is a pre-cursor to the production of collagen. It thus helps to naturally stimulate the production of collagen, but in a healthy skin matrix as opposed to a more disorganized scar matrix.
Can you give us a few creative uses for the Celsus Bio-Intelligence Scar Cream that we might not be aware of?
Ha! Over the years people have contacted us raving about various interesting uses of the cream. One that comes to mind is a friend who does a lot of work in the garden in summer and who uses it for her cracked heels with apparently amazing results. Apart from scars from acne, injury, and surgery, the most common use is probably for anti-aging applications on the face. We know of many people who use it for the fine lines around the eyes, for example, and some use it as a facial cream. This makes sense as they are getting the same ingredients to be found in high-end anti-aging formulations for a much lower price. Another great use is for kids to soothe their frequent scratches and scrapes. In fact, whereas other kids might ask for a Band-Aid, our two kids immediately ask for Scar Cream when they get an owie.
There you have it—scars are forever demystified. Make sure you have the CELSUS Bio-Intelligence Scar Cream on hand for your healing needs. You’ll love it.