To start out, can you just tell me a little bit about your ingredient?
Liki Von Oppen-Bezalel: Our ingredient is called B’utyQuin and this is the full spectrum cold press nigella sativa seed oil, or it's also called black cumin seed oil. What we do is standardize this basically full-spectrum oil to the active ingredient that is in the oil, it's called thymoquinone, to 3%, and we also make sure to keep the free fatty acid level in the oil very low to make it more stable, less sensitive to oxidation.
We came about making it a cosmetic ingredient because of discoveries that we had in the nutritional space. It's an ingredient that is, in a way, very ancient. It's dated back to the Egyptian times, and it's known that the queens of Egypt and the kings of Egypt used to use it, the queens as a beauty ingredient, the kings kept the seeds for their health. It’s mentioned in the Bible, it’s mentioned in the Quran, it has a very long tradition.
A lot of the research that we did in TriNutra was on the nutritional aspects of it. Then we proved again that it's really a very potent antioxidant, which is always good for protection. It also has very potent anti-inflammatory benefits, and inflammation is always a result of oxidative stress and stress in general.
We found out that it has special benefits that are related to mitochondrial functions, and mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. That's where energy is being produced, this is where respiration, metabolism, a lot of functions are being done in the mitochondria, and it's very important to preserve it and to preserve its functions which are kind of getting slower with age.
Improving mitochondrial functions has the benefit of being basically an anti-aging ingredient. It preserves the youth of the cells. The ingredient itself is really multifunctional. It also has antimicrobial benefits. We recently patented antifungal benefits of B’utyQuin, which are related to skin seborrhea and dandruff, so protection against infections in a way. It works on candida albicans, that's also a fungus that causes infections in the skin and the body.
We positioned this ingredient as a natural ingredient that helps protect and boost the resilience of the skin against basically any damage that is usually caused by stress, oxidation and the sun.
Can you tell me a little bit more about this ingredient’s impact on UVA and UVB protection?
Von Oppen-Bezalel: UVA and UVB generate oxidative stress on the skin and lead to inflammation as well as pigmentation and the sequence of events that cause skin aging, making the skin wrinkled. It also can cause, of course, cancer, that's in extreme cases. Being an antioxidant that is so potent as B’utyQuin is, and anti-inflammatory, it basically helps to prevent the damage that UVA and UVB cause to the skin.
What kind of data do you have to back up the performance of this ingredient?
Von Oppen-Bezalel: We have a lot of science that is behind the ingredient, a lot of in vitro studies to prove the mechanism of action. We also have clinical studies that were done on humans, on skin. The studies to prove the mechanism of action include the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions and anti-inflammatory cytokines that are being expressed as a result of using the active itself.
We have studies on metabolism, on ATP production, on the functions of the mitochondria that are being boosted thanks to the use of B’utyQuin in cells. Then in clinical studies on humans, we have tested for the anti-aging benefits and saw that there are both improvements of the texture of the skin, the skin is brighter, the skin is smoother and more hydrated which adds to the benefits of how it affects the way we look.
We also have studies on the scalp, thanks to the antifungal benefits of the active, where we saw an improvement of seborrhea and dandruff, basically reduction in seborrhea and roughness in the scalp after a very short period of time of use.
How formulator-friendly is this ingredient?
Von Oppen-Bezalel: The ingredient is an oil.
On the other hand, I have to say that, because of the fact that it's a very potent antioxidant, is also sensitive to oxidation. It’s easy to use in the oil phase of any formulation. You need to not use it in very high temperatures and you need to not expose it for a very long time to air. Other than that, it’s very simple to use.
What else do professionals in the industry need to know about this ingredient?
Von Oppen-Bezalel: I think they just need to try it. It has multiple benefits, it has a very broad spectrum of activities. It can be used in any kind of formula: for hair, for skin, for body, for face.
Karsten Kutterer: If I may just go back to something Dr. Liki said at the beginning of the conversation, bringing the attention back to the fact that it's standardized. The 3% thymoquinone and very low free fatty acid content, those two things, help the B’utyQuin to really stand out and makes it as potent as it is.