This Plant from the Ice Age Has the Ability to Tighten Skin

Image of ice age

An Australian skincare company has discovered the restorative abilities of the Saponaria Pumila plant, which survived the ice age.

It sounds pretty crazy. How can any plant life survive a total ice age? Any plant that survives the entire world freezing over has to have some sort of magical properties and this is something Yong-Li has honed in on.

The Saponaria pumila is a perennial plant of the alpine mountains and the genus name Saponaria is derived from the Latin word sapo meaning soap.

This indestructible plant has survived through the extreme weathers of the last ice age by moving to rare ice-free peaks called nunataks. By shifting to less icy peaks, this plant has managed to surpass contextual barriers.

Exposure to extreme cold temperatures and high amounts of UV radiation, the Saponaria pumila has adapted to these challenging environments by developing protective and repair mechanisms.

You would think such a plant would have a rough exterior and would never bloom. But in actual fact, the plant is a beautiful deep rose pink flower with small fleshy leaves.

We chat with Enbacci Founder Yong-Li Zou about her body firming lotion which uses this magical Saponaria Pumila plant ingredient that survived the ice age, to help restore skin’s natural elasticity and youthful glow.

How did you start Enbacci?

“We’ve been around since 2013. I was in my first year of uni doing a degree I didn’t feel like I was going to do in the future. I was working in my family’s company which is actually a packaging business. 

My mum was also suffering from sensitive skin so she would end up with big welts, rashes and open wounds if she didn’t use something that was suitable to her skin type. Given that we were in this family packaging business working with pharmaceutical companies, we had all the resources to create something that was our own. 

That’s basically how we started after more than a year’s worth of product testing and development. 

How are the ingredients chosen for the body firming lotion?

You’ll see the Saponaria pumila stem cell which is a flower stem cell that survived the first ice age. Our main focus is to include these stem cells because they are really high in antioxidants. They have great results and we traditionally see them only reserved and used for face rather than body products because of their high price point. 

So I thought why shouldn’t we be including a stem cell in our body products? The skin is an organ and in order to have functioning organs we need to keep them healthy – it’s a no-brainer to start incorporating these products into our body care. That was the main reason behind that. Specifically, the reason we chose the Saponaria pumila stem cell because it has this really great firming ability and has shown to increase skin elasticity and density. 

You can see the research that’s done over a 14 day period where it’s included vs not included. It’s the smallest amount – I think the testing was done at 0.01% of the stem cell included in a control cream and the results are quite amazing.

As for the other ingredients, we have used a lot of natural oils such as sunflower seed oil and macadamia oil, these are all really nourishing ingredients for the skin. It’s only natural to want to put those in. They give a great feel to the skin. We are very conscious of creating a product that isn’t greasy, which can quite often happen when you’re creating products like body lotions. 

We looked at a lot of different ingredients and included those great at nourishing the skin that didn’t leave the skin feeling tacky and oily, but with great absorbability.

How did you come across the ice-age ingredient?

We’ve been working with fruit and plant stem cells for a while, and we have our main supplier of these ingredients from Switzerland. That’s where we source our best ingredients from, we basically work with them and explain what we’re trying to achieve and see what ingredients they have.

Was your main target market new mums trying to tighten up?

We as a brand like to create products for everyone but with this particular product, for me especially during my pregnancy, I reached for it all the time. When mums are looking for products, there is a lot of fear that companies put into them about what they should and shouldn’t use on their body. I guess there is often a fear of using actives on the skins. I wanted to highlight that this is perfectly safe for pregnancy.

It’s not so much about firming up. I make a clear distinction between skin firming and toning vs muscular toning and firming. I think those two get quite mixed and conflated when you see ads out there advertising products that will tone up your body when that’s not how it works. 

We’re trying to nourish the cells of your skin so they’re juicy and plump – so that they retain moisture and you have healthy skin function.

Is there a market for younger women?

Yes definitely. A big focus for us is educating. We’ve always wanted to educate young people about healthy skincare. I talk a lot about preventative ageing rather than anti-ageing because in reality there is no anti-ageing unless you’re getting a full face lift, neck lift, hand lift etc. 

So I welcome the fact that there is this younger target group that is openly accepting and wanting to purchase our products. It means there is this shift and growth in knowledge that good skin is in starting young.

Do you have any other interesting or crazy products in the works

One of the things we find a lot is that our clients do like to go for treatments, whether that be a relaxing spa treatment or things that use technology and tools. But sometimes these can leave your skin more sensitive. 

Some of our clients suffer from things like rosacea, hyper-pigmentation or redness in general. We’re currently working and trying to create a cream or serum to assist with those.

Tips for using the firming cream?

My top tip for this product is also a general rule for body lotions. Try putting it on directly after a shower, pat dry your skin but leave some water still on there and then apply your lotion. This helps your body absorb more of those essential oils. 

It’s to do with osmosis – the transfer of water between membranes. The water helps carry those molecules across. This can be applied to any face and body creams.

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Claudia Remedios

If Claudia isn't working one of her three jobs, you can find her lifting weights, practicing yoga, or getting experimental in the kitchen. With an interest in media and film and all things foreign, Claudia hopes to find herself in a production role overseas in the not too distant future - New York, London, Los Angeles...who knows.

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