With the New Year comes the rush of resolutions to improve our wellbeing: eat more vegetables, go to the gym, drink more water etc. etc. But after the indulgence of Christmas and NYE (and maybe a couple of false starts at a ‘new you’!), our skin is in extra-special need of a pick-me-up! Ginvera Green Tea Marvel Gel claims to ‘banish the most stubborn whiteheads, blackheads and blemishes’ while gently exfoliating, minimising pores and having a brightening effect. Negative reviews are hard to find, so let’s look into the ingredients behind the new fave in cult beauty!

As the product’s name suggests, one of the main compounds comes from green tea: Camellia Sinensis leaf extract. You may already know about green tea’s antioxidant properties from friends who drink the stuff, but the extract used in skin care is also packed with anti-oxidants, capable of reducing the formation and effects of damaging molecules called free radicals. These troublesome radicals can damage both DNA and proteins – the building blocks of our bodies (including our beautiful skin!). Accumulation of this damage induced by these radicals is thought to lead to wrinkles, so anything that opposes them is good by us! In fact, the use of topical antioxidants have been proven to reduce premature skin ageing induced by sunlight (photoageing), and have even been shown to reverse this process!

Research papers have also shown that the topical application of green tea extracts can help with moisture retention – essential at this time of year, when we’re being battered by icy winds and our skin is drying out. All we need now after a month of festive makeup application is something to unclog our pores, ridding us of pesky blackheads and spots. Well green tea has got you covered on that front as well! Camellia Sinensis extract has been shown to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne, which may well be due to its proven antibacterial properties. The reviews from Bonn Beauty and LDN Diaries vouch for the company’s claims, saying that the product does offer a noticeable improvement in the appearance of pores and blemishes – sounds good so far!

Panax ginseng root extract is another natural ingredient packed into this product. It has been used in Chinese medicine for over two thousand years for its calming nature, but its effect on the skin has been the subject of recent research. The extract contains ginsenosides, which reduce redness by targeting cell-signalling pathways that lead to the dilation of blood vessels. The compounds are also thought to block enzymes that lead to melanin production. Melanin is the pigment in the skin, and abnormal production can lead to patchiness and uneven skin tone. Ginsenosides even this out to give a smoother appearance. Another ingredient, Ampelopsis Japonica Root Extract, works to achieve the same result through similar mechanisms.

‘Detox’ becomes somewhat of a buzzword in January and goji berries are one of the go-to superfoods, helping people along the health-kick way. Lysium Barbarum extract from the berry is included in this gel and is high in retinol (also known as vitamin A). Retinol is key in cell-communication and increases the metabolism (chemical processes) of keratinocytes in the skin’s epithelial layer. These cells control the opening of pores and by upping their function, pores can be visibly reduced in size. With smaller pores, there is less chance of nasty dirt and bacteria being trapped inside and this should prevent spots. In prescription-level doses, retinol is used to treat acne, and that makes us hopeful about its spot-fighting skills in this product. As an added bonus, retinoids like retinol are also thought to be able to treat aged skin!

Tightening pores is a good step, but to really get that youthful, springy-skin look, we need that good old protein: collagen. The Royal Jelly in this gel, produced by bees, contains a plethora of vitamins and amino acids that have antibacterial activity and also the capacity to speed up collagen production, helping maintain our skin’s normal healthy structure! Decreased collagen production has been linked to aged skin, and so stimulating collagen production may well keep us looking younger for longer! It’s also thought that this enhanced collagen production may protect us against the UVB rays in sunlight that causes premature ageing (photoageing). But until there’s conclusive proof for this we’ll keep slapping on the SPF!

Of course, no wonder-product can be without aloe vera (that’s why you’ll find it in so many of our DIYs!). The soothing nature of this extract has been shown to accelerate wound healing in models and is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. There’s nothing worse in the beauty world than waiting for a spot to finally disappear, and together the anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of aloe vera should help speed this up!

With its purifying nature without the horrible gritty texture of a some of the “bulldozer” exfoliators, this product has been a complete hit in Asia where it was developed. Now it’s making its way over to our shores for £22 a bottle. While it’s not the most expensive product we’ve featured, it’s also not the cheapest. Looking at the savvy science behind its natural ingredients and the five-star reviews though, it’s going to be hard to let this product pass by untried!

To get hold of yours, click HERE!

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Natural phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors from the leaf skin of Aloe barbadensis Miller.
“Retinoic acid receptor expression in human skin keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts in vitro.”
Polyphenolic content, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Lycium barbarum L. and Lycium chinense Mill. leaves.
Effect of ginseng and ginsenosides on melanogenesis and their mechanism of action.
Evaluation of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities of less polar ginsenosides produced from polar ginsenosides by heat-transformation.
Antimicrobial properties of tea (Camellia sinensis L.).
The use of green tea extract in cosmetic formulations: not only an antioxidant active ingredient.
Royal jelly protects against ultraviolet B-induced photoaging in human skin fibroblasts via enhancing collagen production.
Skin anti-aging strategies
Photodamage of the skin: protection and reversal with topical antioxidants.
The efficacy of topical 2% green tea lotion in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris.
Natural and Synthetic Tyrosinase Inhibitors as Antibrowning Agents: An Update
Cosmeceuticals: the evidence behind the retinoids.
Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin
Investigation of the anti-inflammatory potential of Aloe vera gel (97.5%) in the ultraviolet erythema test.

Image reference: http://intl.rakuten-static.com/i/94d48ab0-327f-11e4-83f9-005056b7218e/20140921/ee5a9d5f-6417-4b84-bc42-e514a958e76c.jpgGlabridin- http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Glabridin.svg