Dr. Mostafa Omar
Dr. Mostafa M. Omar is Professor of Pharmacognosy at the University of Rhode Island, School of Pharmacy and the founder of the PhytoCeuticals skincare line. He is internationally known for his cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical formulations primarily based on modern application of ancient herbal medicine. He has built a strong reputation as a leading specialist in medic natural product chemistry worldwide and is recognized as the authority on topical vitamin C. Dr. Omar’s unprecedented formulation capabilities have earned him the title of “Father of L-Ascorbic Acid” as he is the inventor of a stable Vitamin C formula to protect the skin from signs of premature aging caused by environmental damage, particularly sun exposure.
Why is L-ascorbic acid or Liquid Vitamin C such an important factor in regard to anti-aging of the skin?
The skin naturally uses antioxidants to protect itself from the damaging effects of sunlight. Virtually ALL plants and animals protect themselves from the sun using vitamin C. The benefits of Vitamin C were discovered back in ancient times. Research done over the years show that topical application of L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) provides excellent antioxidant protection against UV rays, thus minimizing the harmful effects of photo-aging and skin cancer. Topical vitamin C works by neutralizing reactive oxygen free radicals. These highly reactive free radicals are produced when UVA and UVB sunlight interact with cell membranes and other components of the skin tissue. Unlike sunscreen, vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) penetrates the skin and cannot be washed or rubbed off. L-ascorbic acid is the only form of vitamin C that can be utilized by the body. It has also been found that liquid vitamin C also stimulates the synthesis of collagens, enhancing skin tissue for firmer, fairer and brighter skin. Due to these traits, L-ascorbic acid became a critical component of cosmetic ingredients over the last 15 years.
How does your skincare line PhytoCeuticals differ from other vitamin C products on the market?
PhytoCeuticals, Inc. is the market leader of antioxidant L-ascorbic acid skin care products in the United States. Since 1995, we have been committed to developing the most advanced and effective skincare formulations of natural ingredients from natural products to improve skin health and appearance. PhytoCeuticals is the leader as it is difficult to stabilize L- ascorbic acid in the liquid form, which has prevented numerous companies from using it in their products. Many companies use derivatives such as Ascorbyl Palmitate or Magnesium Ascrobyl Phosphate in order to avoid issues of stability, yet all these derivatives CANNOT penetrate the skin.
In 1995, I developed a stabilized L- ascorbic acid in liquid form and a series of scientific studies had been conducted and granted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). These studies created a new era for stable topical liquid vitamin C and a new chapter of antioxidant use in the skincare industry.
Your new study shows that vitamin C and vitamin E used synergistically is the best defense against sun damage. Can you elaborate on this?
Skin predominantly uses L-ascorbic acid to protect the aqueous environment and tocopherol (vitamin E) to protect lipid structures including membranes. In many biologic systems, vitamins C and E work synergistically. When vitamin E becomes oxidized by free radicals, it is regenerated in the membrane by vitamin C. They have proved to be superior in protecting the skin against photo-damage and photo-aging in contrast to using vitamin C or vitamin E alone. Application during 4 days provided progressive protection that yielded an antioxidant protection factor of 4-fold.
A recent clinical study conducted by me and my colleagues concluded that products containing vitamins C and E can provide useful supplementation to sunscreen protection and may protect against skin cancer. Appreciable photo-protection may also be obtained from topical use of these vitamins.
The PhytoCeuticals line contains many innovative products. Can you name your star products and tell us why they are so unique?
Pro-Heal Serum and Velvet Gel are the line’s “stand-out” products. Pro-Heal Serum (Formulation of Vitamin C, E, A and Olive Leaf Extract) is suitable for all skin types and provides extraordinary antioxidant protection against UV damage by increasing the overall cellular integrity. It facilitates collagen production while diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. Pro-Heal Serum promotes skin elasticity, lightens and brightens skin while decreasing pigmentation. It also helps to prevent and control acne and heal rosacea.
Velvet Gel (with Vitamin B3, B5, B12 and Pentapeptide) is applied AFTER Pro-Heal Serum. Velvet Gel is suitable for all skin types and works to improve the combination of rebounding cells and collagens and provides extraordinary nutrition for skin cell repair. It increases blood circulation, regulates skin separation, nourishes, hydrates and softens skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, Velvet Gel contains hyaluronic acid, which in combination with L-ascorbic acid activates enzymes that stabilize and maintain collagen structure. L-ascorbic acid is the only antioxidant that has been proven to increase collagen production, which improves tissue strength and the skin’s appearance.
We see that you have patented a form of the olive leaf extract. How is this new ingredient beneficial to the skin?
Stabilized Olive Leaf Extract from olive leaves is known to contain high levels of secoiridoid glucosides such as oleuropein, the “bitter principle,” which was determined to be the most powerful natural antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory extract. Oleuropein and its metabolite hydroxyl tyrosol have powerful antioxidant activity in vivo and in vitro. Research has shown that a liquid extract made directly from fresh olive leaves contains the antioxidant capacity almost 400 times higher than vitamin C2, which has gained international attention. In addition, studies show that Olive Leaf Extract in combination with topical vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E provides extraordinary photo-protective and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.
What do you foresee for the future of skincare and the PhytoCeuticals line?
PhytoCeuticals has just introduced Phtyo-C Rx, a medical prescription line to treat common dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, dry skin, vitiligo and fungal infections with all natural ingredients. In the near future, PhytoCeuticals will be launching an entire line of products containing the precious Olive Leaf Extract with powerful healing benefits. The newest line introduces Olive Gel, Olive Mask, Olive Cream and Olive Tablets.