Beta-thujaplicin is an organic compound found in the oil of the Pacific red cedar tree that has been shown to have natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties.
This ingredient has been intensely studied for decades. More than 120 peer-reviewed scientific articles exist on the biological effects of thujaplicin and numerous properties of benefit for its use in cosmetics and personal care products including:
- Potent antioxidant
- Anti-pigmentation and anti-melanogenic effects (inhibition of tyrosinase activity)
- Natural antibiotic
These properties confer multiple advantages for the use of Beta-Thujaplicin in anti-aging skin care. First and foremost, thujaplicin has been found to be a potent antioxidant, quenching free radicals from environmental and inflammatory processes and limiting the skin damage that they can cause. Thujaplicin also appears to provide natural prevention and repair of pigment defects—one of the chief age-related complaints.
Beta-Thujaplicin inhibits the formation of pigment through the blockage of the enzyme tyrosinase, thus acting as a biological lightening agent for dark spots and age spots. This is the same mechanism of action used by the most common chemical lightening agent, hydroquinone, The chief difference between the two is that, naturally occuring thujaplicin achieves its results without do this without the documented side-effects which accompany hydroquinone. What's more, as hydroquinone is derived from a phenol compound, there is a concern for potential carcinogenic effects along with the paradoxical effect of skin darkening when this product is used at high concentrations. For these reasons, hydroquinone has been banned for use as a lightening agent in several countries around the world.
Beta-Thujaplicin and Riversol
Through his clinical practice and research, Dr. Rivers met countless individuals with sun damage and hyperpigmentation. While there were some options on the market available to help, they weren't without complications as described above. In his practice, many patients would have an underlying skin sensitivity such as intolerance to other products, rosacea, eczema, etc. For these patients, hydroquinone and similar treatments were not an option.
Dr. Rivers encountered Beta Thujaplicin through his work at the University of British Columbia. At the time, the body of research around this molecule had already been well established. In an interview, Dr. Rivers later reported:
"I've spent many years as a dermatologist working with patients that have severe sun damage and skin cancer. The more research I did, the more impressed I was with this unique ingredient and its ability to reduce the look of sun spots and improve skin clarity and texture."
The downside of Beta Thujaplicin in a topical preparation is that it doesn't stabilize easily. It took years of formulation chemistry to ensure that this ingredient remained stable in Riversol formulations. For this reason, at the time of writing, no other cosmetic preparations have been formulated with Beta Thujaplicin.
For more information, find Dr. Rivers catalogue here
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- Cho YM, Hasumura M, Takami S, Imai T, Hirose M, Ogawa K, Nishikawa A.A (2011)13-week subchronic toxicity study of hinokitiol administered in the diet to F344 rats. Food Chem Toxicol. Aug;49(8):1782-6. View Abstract
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