Founder's Formula CALM uses Tasmanian Mountain Pepper Berry (Tasmannia lanceolata) to instantly reduce the experience of skin irritability and reduce the potential for the appearance of skin redness and micro-inflammation.
The Tasmanian pepper tree is a tall evergreen shrub of 1 to 3 meters high and belongs to the Winteraceae tree family. Native to the mountainous southeastern parts of Australia: Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales as far as the Hastings River, it is found from sea level to alpine regions over an altitude range of 300‐1400 meters. Hence, its other common name: mountain pepper or alpine pepper. It is a hardy species, tolerating the cold winter temperatures (down to ‐15o C) and surviving on rocky and exposed windy sites. It produces beautiful bell‐shaped flowers in spring.
The berries have been used traditionally to manage irritated skin for thousands of years, and the clinical studies now support the wisdom of this.
Tasmanian Pepper Berry contains a powerful active ingredient called polygodial, an anti‐inflammatory agent effective in reducing vasodilatation and oedema. Studies have demonstrated that polygodial reduces skin discomfort. Furthermore, it has an anti‐allergic activity and broad antimicrobial activities. Tasmanian Pepper Berry also contains anthocyanins like cyanidin 3‐rutinoside, cyanidin 3‐glucoside and rutin which are powerful antioxidants and free radical scavengers that protect cells from oxidative damages. The fruit extract has been shown to have a good antioxidant power, three times greater than blueberries. Moreover, rutin is known to strengthen capillaries, which helps to reduce dark circles. Rutin also has an anti‐inflammatory activity. Its efficacy has been demonstrated in reducing allergic skin conditions like atopic dermatitis. The Tasmanian Pepper Berry is also rich in various essential minerals, mainly magnesium and zinc. Magnesium is known to stimulate cell regeneration, increase energy production and acts as an anti‐stress agent. Zinc helps to repair cell damages, decrease rash and alleviate inflammation associated with acne.
In one clinical trial, Tasmanian Pepper Berry was shown to reduce and alleviate the signs of inflammation in chemically challenged skin.
Twenty (20) healthy male volunteers, older than 18 years with sensitive/reactive skin were enrolled. The test was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) and its subsequent revisions by a dermatologist. Induction of stinging reaction The stinging reaction was induced in the skin on nasogenian groove in order to select a panel of subjects having sensitive skin. This application area is a site rich in nervous fibers that determine the hypersensitivity problem. The reaction was induced by the experimenter using a cotton ball soaked with a hydro alcoholic solution of capsaicin (3.16 x 10‐3 %).
Volunteers were then asked to describe the stinging sensation using a 4‐points clinical scale. Volunteers who did not notice any stinging reactions after 2 minutes of capsaicin application were excluded from the study. Tasmanian Pepper Berry produced immediate itching reduction in male volunteers with reactive and sensitive skin problems. The itching sensations were significantly reduced by 79% after only 5 minutes.
In another trial, the anti‐inflammatory efficacy is compared to the standard and well‐known drug, dexamethasone (DMS). A strong increase in IL‐8 synthesis was observed in the presence of IL‐1 attesting an induction of inflammation. In IL‐1 treated fibroblasts, Tasmanian Pepper Berry inhibits IL‐8 production in a dose dependent manner. At 0.4%, it has a higher activity compared to DMS, a well‐known anti‐inflammatory drug. Therefore, this result highlights the capacity of Tasmanian Pepper Berry to inhibit the early steps of the inflammatory cascade in the skin.
The mechanism of action relates to Tasmanian Pepper Berry's interaction with the TRPV1 channel. Those with sensitive skin are believed to experience overactivity of the TRPV1 channel. This overactivity is linked to the presence of chronic inflammation that decrease the tolerance threshold of the channel. Consequently, it produces an exaggeration in the perception of unpleasant sensations to environmental aggressors such as dry wind, warm climate, sun, pollution, shave and some cosmetic products. Lifestyle factors including stress, fatigue, alcohol, emotions and tobacco also contribute to enhance the exaggeration response of TRPV1 channel in sensitive skin.
Tasmanian Pepper Berry interferes with the TRPV1 Channel, so reducing micro-inflammation caused by an overactive TRPV1 Channel. By inhibiting TRPV1 channel activity and by reducing inflammation, Tasmanian Pepper Berry soothes sensitive skin and reduces the appearance of skin redness. After only one application, it clinically relieves itching and burning sensations of sensitive and reactive skin. It also reduces skin erythema induced by UV.
CALM is not a product for every body, but for those of us with sensitive skin or whose skin becomes scratchy when in extended periods of air conditioning, it's a great support for calm, clear, hydrated skin.
Author note: Dr Annie Holden is an anthropologist and the founder of Founder's Formula. Annie lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.