How have soybeans evolved as a main component in personal care products? Soybeans have long been known for food benefits, but they have evolved over the years into other products.
History of the soybean can be traced to China, where it was considered a sacred grain. Current times find the soybean a staple of the American agricultural system, but not just as a food. Soy has become a vital element to a healthy lifestyle with an array of medical and cosmetic benefits.
How does such a small bean do amazing things? It all comes from nature, pure and simple. Soy proteins and oils used in lotions and cleansers have helped consumers turn back the hands of time on skin aging because of their natural antioxidant and moisturizing abilities.
Soybeans are highly abundant in the antioxidant isoflavone, also a key ingredient found in green tea. Soy isoflavones work by neutralizing free radicals that cause skin damage. Isoflavone also stimulates the production of collagen, the protein that provides strength, flexibility and resilience to the skin. Starting in our twenties, collagen production starts declining. Our skin slowly loses its smooth and wrinkle free properties. Although skin aging is a natural and inevitable process, research has shown that soy can help the skin look and feel younger.
Tocopherol (vitamin E) is another antioxidant found in soybeans. We all know how beneficial vitamin E is to healthy skin. Vitamin E acts as a barrier and protects the skin from environmental elements. Tocopherol also promotes anti aging properties by reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps skin retain its moisture and oil balance.
There are skin care products out there that tout vitamin E as a main ingredient but read your label carefully. Their vitamin E may be in an acetate form, which is less efficient for skin surface penetration. Topically applied Vitamin E is only beneficial when it can be absorbed into the skin.
The saponins and lecithin in soy make a great one-two punch in cleansing and moisturizing the skin. Saponins draw out harmful skin substances that cause blemishes and other impurities. Lecithin breaks down oils in the skin while acting as a firming agent. Think “facelift” without the surgery.
There are several products that now feature soy as a main component, but consumers beware when choosing a brand. Manufacturing methods and chemical refinement removes or destroys soy’s natural antioxidants. It’s important to carefully read the ingredient list on the product label. Manufacturers are supposed to list the ingredients from highest content to lowest content. Look to see where soybean oil or other soy extracts are listed. What other ingredients are listed? Can you even pronounce those names? Do some Internet research on ingredients for some of the most popular brand name “natural” products and you’ll be surprised to find they were developed in a laboratory somewhere using other substances.