Day four of using Drunk Elephant I am coming to terms of letting go of all my other products. There are staples for me that I have been using that I led myself to believe that I can’t live without because of my main concerns with my skin. I am slowly starting to relax back into the trusted arms of Drunk Elephant, as it has been revealing to me over the last four days that I don’t need to use products that have ingredients that aren’t good for me to achieve my skin goals.
Todays review is the C-Firma Day Serum by Drunk Elephant, one of the ranges flagship products that address the signs of ageing, specifically photo damage. Whilst reviewing this product online, particularly on YouTube I came across some bloggers that suggested that C-Firma Day Serum was a supportive product of your SPF sunscreen.
A few YouTube bloggers went as far as suggesting that C-Firma Day Serum increased the strength of sunscreens and their ability to protect the skin while exposed to the sun. One blogger, (sketchy on the details himself) would lead us to believe that C-Firma Day Serum actually worked like a sunscreen!
Whilst I don’t want to be the kill-joy to dispel the claim’s, lets be rational and look at some science backed facts.
How does Vitamin C work in the skin?
Vitamin C can be found naturally occurring in the dermis and the epidermis of the skin, decreasing as we age. Vitamin C found in the skin is usually transported from the blood stream, however when an optimum level of vitamin C is received orally there is a saturation point where vitamin C can no longer be increased in the skin through the bloodstream (Linus Pauling Institute, 2017). Vitamin C can be boosted through topical applications, especially after removal of the stratum corneum (top crusty dead skin layer) through manual or chemical exfoliation.
According to Paula’s Choice Research Team (2017) vitamin C helps signs of uneven skin tone and spots seem to disappear. Topical vitamin c has a mild skin lightening effect caused by a stunting of the melanin production through the melanocytes in our skin (Linus Pauling Institute, 2017). Melanocytes provide melanin which is a pigment in the skin that absorbs UV rays during sun exposure (Study.com, 2017). Vitamin C reduces the melanocytes ability to produce melanin in the skin (lightening the skin) also reducing our natural protection against harmful UV rays. It is highly recommended during application of vitamin C to wear multiple layers of sun protection to compensate for the loss of melanin production in the skin.
What other products are included in the C-Firma Day Serum and do they work as an SPF?
Other ingredients listed in the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum that do act to protect the skin against the suns rays are Chondrus Crispus Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract and Tocopherol as outlined in my Nerd Ingredient list below. Australia has one of the strictest SPF labeling systems in the world, unlike other countries not labelling anything higher than an SPF 50.
Unfortunately, these individual ingredients in the C-Firma Day Serum do not meet our Australian standards for sun protection as the product has not attracted an SPF rating here. So regardless of some YouTube Bloggers claims this product cannot be classed as a sunscreen.
So if it isn’t used as a sunscreen how might C-Firma Day Serum support our usual SPF Sun protection products?
C-Firma Day Serum is packed with antioxidants that fight against free radicals. Recent studies conducted in California USA have shown that high levels of ingredients in sun protection are not only recognised as free radical agents but they are highly absorbable into the skin (Fernandes, 2008).
C-Firma Day Serum can act as an antioxidant protection barrier in the skin to counteract the damaging affects of the ingredients of sun protection products, especially found in chemical sunscreens. By placing the C-Firma Day Serum on your skin prior to application of an SPF it acts as an anti-oxidant barrier, lessening the free radical effect of sunscreens.
So in conclusion, the moral of the story is don’t believe everything you hear from a YouTube blogger. Drunk Elephants C-Firma Serum is a highly potent product packed with antioxidants that works wonders in reducing signs of photo ageing and fighting free radicals. Just remember to protect yourself from the sun when using it however, due to its suppression of the melanocytes ability to produce melanin in the skin, the skins natural sun protectant.
Nerd Ingredients List
Water/Aqua/Eau = A liquid substance that is able to dissolve other ingredients.
Ethoxydiglycol = Ethoxydiglycol is a clear, practically colorless, liquids used in cosmetics and personal care products. It is a solvent used to thin out products and decrease viscosity.
Ascorbic Acid = ascorbic acid helps create younger-looking, firmer-feeling skin while signs of uneven skin tone and spots seem to disappear. Ascorbic acid also helps skin’s surface defend itself from external stressors, lessening the effects of exposure to the elements.
Glycerin = Glycerin is a humectant that can be naturally derived from plant oils, or it can also be synthetically produced. As a humectant, glycerin works to moisturize the skin by drawing water from the air into the skin’s outer layer. It also forms a protective layer that helps prevent moisture loss.
Laureth-23 = Derived from lauryl alcohol and used either as a cleansing agent or texture enhancer
Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract = gentle enzyme “peel”. Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) proteases hydrolyze the proteins, exfoliating dead skin cells and impurities while delivering vitamins and nutrients to the skin.
Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil = Known a Marula Oil, or the fruit of which the Elephants are said to graze on after fermented on the ground to become ‘drunk’. This is an organic, cold pressed, light textured oil that is highly nutritious to the skin. Successfully used on all skin types including sensitive skin.
Ferulic Acid = Ferulic acid is found in the cell walls of plants such as wheat, rice, peanuts, oranges and apples. It seems to be particularly abundant in coffee and amaranth (the name comes from the Greek for “the one that does not wither,” presumably as a result of all the ferulic acid). It is an antioxidant that can seek and destroy several different types of free radical – ‘superoxide’, ‘hydroxyl radical’, and ‘nitric oxide’
Sodium Hyaluronate = has a smaller molecular size as Hyaluronic Acid (making it especially penetrative), and is able to hold more water than any other natural substance—up to 1,000 times its weight in water!
Chondrus Crispus Extract = Chondrus Crispus is a skin conditioning agent and is useful in the control of viscosity in an overall product. Due to it being a seaweed extract it is packed full of vitamins and minerals which are vital to the maintenance of healthy skin. Perhaps the most interesting property of Chondrus Crispus is its ability to protect against UV rays. Making it especially useful in the development of sun screen.
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract = Commonly referred to as green tea extract. It has been known for sometime (with a body of literature to back it up) that green tea can protect the skin from UV rays. This is because it contains catechins. These are signaling molecules that belong to the flavenoid family. About 25% of the weight of a tea leaf is accounted for by catechins. The most abundant type of catechin in green tea is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and this is the one that provides sun protection.
Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract = Modified Pomegranate Enzyme PF provides exfoliation, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and provides a great alternative to alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA’s)
Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract = Used as a whitener, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and moisturizer. An anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, primarily because of licochalcone, a molecule contained in licorice root extract which helps control oil production, and helps calm and soothe acne-prone skin.
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract = Vitis Vinifera is the technical name for grape seed extract. Used as a wound healer and anti-inflammatory, anti-dandruff, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antioxidant, and UV absorber ingredient.
Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract = Traditionally, this ingredient was thought to have cooling, astringent and drying properties. Having antiviral and antimicrobial properties, containing very high amounts of Vitamin C, or Ascorbic Acid, a powerful antioxidant known to reduce wrinkles, suppress pigmentation, and help skin retain its natural moisture.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein = (No palm oil) naturally derived offering a combination of moisture-balancing and film-forming properties that make the skin moisturized, nourished and feel softer.
Tocopherol = a form of vitamin E, a natural skin-conditioning agent and antioxidant. Enhancing the efficacy of active sunscreen ingredients, reducing the formation of free radicals from exposure to UV rays, promoting the healing process, strengthening the skin’s barrier function, protecting the skin barrier’s lipid balance, and reducing transepidermal water loss.
Caprylhydroxamic Acid (CHA) = is a preservative and broad spectrum anti-fungal agent. CHA, unlike many other more common preservatives, is very effective at neutral pH levels. It is also a chelating agent of iron ions; low iron environments show lower levels of mold growth. CHA is thought to be a replacement to parabens, which are a widely used preservative but have numerous health and safety concerns associated with them.
Acetyl Glucosamine = Amino acid sugar and primary constituent of mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid. Acetyl glucosamine is a skin-replenishing ingredient that can have considerable value in cosmetic products aimed at diminishing signs of aging.
Hydrolyzed Quinoa = Hydrolyzed quinoa is an extract of quinoa, a plant related to beets, chard, and spinach. The term “hydrolyze” simply means that the quinoa is broken down with water. The high levels of magnesium promote skin elasticity and regenerate skin cells, while vitamin B2 (riboflavin) builds up connective tissues and is integral to cell reparation.
Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole = An amino acid with hair and skin conditioning properties. Has an ability to optimize skin cell regeneration and cellular defense as well as improved vitamin D capacity.
Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate = A Botanical Ingredient. A salt derived from the licorice plant. Also known as licorice root extract. Works as a skin conditioning agent works to improve the appearance of dry/damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness, and also functions as an anti-irritant with anti-inflammatory and skin soothing capabilities.
Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane = is a derivative of turmeric used as a skin-whitening ingredient, and sometimes seen as an antioxidant, in cosmetics and personal care products, especially in anti-aging formulas
Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane = A synthetic antioxidant that provides the beneficial effects of the antioxidant curcumin but without the deep yellow coloration this plant imparts, which would be cosmetically unacceptable. Known collectively as curcuminoids, these compounds exert an skin-soothing benefit.
Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane = A synthetic antioxidant derived from curcumin.
Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer = A modified form of skin-replenishing hyaluronic acid attached to a polymer structure that keeps it within skin’s uppermost layers longer, allowing for enhanced hydration. Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer is not animal-derived.
Glycine = As an amino acid, glycine is necessary for the development of protein within the skin and other tissues of the body. Though it has been suggested that glycine only hydrates the skin, it does far more. When used within a skin care product or other topical treatment, glycine may help to repair damaged tissue and to promote healing.
Sucrose = Monosaccharide that has hydrating properties for skin.
Maltodextrin = is a polysaccharide and carbohydrate derived from rice, corn, or potato starch. A binding agent which May increase anti-aging properties of other ingredients when used in combination with them.
Propanediol = Propylene glycol is a useful little molecule and has found applications as a skin conditioning agent, humectant (moisturizer), fragrance ingredient, solvent and is used to reduce the viscosity of a formulation.
Caprylyl Glycol = A humectant and skin conditioning agent that lends moisturisation, emollience and wetting properties to many cosmetic solutions. It also function as a stabilizer and has been shown to increase the antimicrobial activity of other preservatives. Can be plant derived or chemically synthesized.
Sodium Hydroxide = Sodium Hydroxide is an inorganic compound used to control the pH levels or serve as a buffering agent in cosmetics and personal care products.
Xanthan gum = is used as a binder, emulsion stabilizer, emulsifying surfactant, as well as an aqueous viscosity increasing agent in cosmetics and personal care products because of its capability to hold water, enhance freeze-thaw stability, and improve shelf life and help with the stabilization of a product
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer = a gelling agent that thickens, emulsifies, and stabilizes products and solutions. It is very easy to use in liquid form and provides a sensation of freshness followed by a melting effect on contact with the skin. It leaves a feeling of velvety softness
Isohexadecane = is a high purity, iso-paraffin emollient and solvent used in cosmetics and beauty products. Although it is colorless and odorless, it creates a very creamy, thick formula. However, for all of its rich texture, Isohexadecane leaves a non-greasy, light and silky feeling on the skin.
Polysorbate 60 = Polysorbate 60 is a surfactant created by reacting sorbitol with ethylene oxide and fatty acids obtained from vegetable fats and oils. It is used to disperse oil in water in formulas.