Kiehls Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream

Today, nearly 1-in-4 women say it’s important that their skin products are   natural1. This sentiment is even more pronounced amongst female millennials, 63% of which cite the importance of natural skincare products in their regimen[1]. While interest in natural products has increased steadily, consumers still feel they are compromising efficacy when using natural skincare  creams, until now.  Kiehl’s chemists proudly introduce Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream, a 99.6% naturally-derived formula that is the first of its kind to leverage the combined efficacy of two world-renowned wellness
ingredients – New Zealand Manuka Honey and Korean Red Ginseng Root. While cocooning the skin in a comforting and nourishing texture, this breakthrough moisturizer helps skin resist hydration loss
while also aiding in recovery from existing skin damage. In a clinical test, skin’s radiance and glow improved by 41.8% while skin’s texture and smoothness improved by 39.7%.

With the goal of helping skin behave optimally--like healthier skin, Kiehl’s chemists focused on ingredients that had a known ability to increase skin’s resistance and recovery from damage. This led them to source two of the world’s most powerful traditional medicine ingredients directly from nature – New Zealand Manuka Honey and Korean Red Ginseng Root.

“These are true powerhouse ingredients with strong scientific profiles”, adds Dr. Genesky. “New Zealand Manuka Honey is no ordinary honey. For over 30 years it has been known for its strong efficacy, and physicians today still value it as a potent skin treatment. Korean Red Ginseng Root has been used for 1000’s of years in traditional Asian medicine, and has been demonstrated to be the most powerful ginseng in the world in terms of biological actives.”


Healthy skin is more resistant to damage and environmental factors because its barrier and defense systems are strong. As skin ages, its natural immunity is reduced, so it is less able to recognize irritants and neutralize them[8]. The skin barrier can become weakened, more permeable, and its sensitivity to irritants is increased.

Manuka Honey is a dark, creamy mono-floral honey is valued in medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and ability to treat skin wounds, even post surgery[9]. Compared to any other form of honey, it has the highest polyphenol level and anti-oxidant activity[10], which help to protect the skin from oxidative damage such as pollution and UV. It is also known to stimulate collagen producing fibroblasts and keratinocytes, helping repair damage and maintain skin barrier hydration due to its high sugar content and 4x more minerals than any other honey[11].

Prior to formulation, Kiehl’s chemists tested the ingredient in a neutral base to evaluate its capacity to accelerate skin barrier recovery by reducing TEWL[12] vs. control site. After 2 hours TEWL decreased by 70.07% on the treated site vs 57.08% untreated[13] demonstrating the superior ability of this ingredient to maintain skin barrier.


Healthy skin responds to damage quickly due to its cellular turnover rate (> every 28 days). Epidermal turnover rate in less healthy skin is slower, resulting in rougher skin texture. Scientific research suggests that these changes are associated with a reduction in skin’s energy pathways[14].
Korean Red Ginseng Root has been linked to stimulation and protection of the cellular energy pathways that begin to malfunction or slow down over time. This highly potent form of ginseng protects the cell’s mitochondria from oxidative stress and increases the production of energy-related molecules and pathways[15]. Studies on Korean Red Ginseng have demonstrated[16]:
o    a significant improvement of aged, dull skin to recover its youthful radiance
o    an increase in skin hydration, barrier function and collagen production
o    a decrease in extracellular matrix degradation, and
o    an ability to prevent UV-induced roughness.

To measure Korean Red Ginseng Root’s ability to support skin cell renewal, Kiehl’s chemists conducted a Dansyl Chloride test of the ingredient in a netural base[17]. This test demonstrated that after application of Korean Red Ginseng Root, cell turnover rate increased by nearly 10% vs. untreated control.


“Ingredients from nature have always inspired our formulation process, as the earth is such an amazing
resource,” shared Roberta Weiss, Kiehl’s Head of Product Innovation. “Formulating with natural ingreidents can be challenging, though. For this very reason--our skincare innovation, which is 99.6% naturally derived and has clinically demonstrated efficacy, is a true industry achievement.”

Some formulation challenges include:

·         By removing synthetic ingredients, Kiehl’s Chemists had a smaller ‘palette’ of active ingredients to choose from.
·         The efficacy of natural ingredients can be more challenging to validate due to the multitude of active components contained within, whereas synthetic ingredients typically contain only one active component.
·         Without the use of synthetic ingredients,  the aesthetics of a formula may often be compromised.

“To build a cream structure, we typically formulate with emulsifiers, thickeners, emollients and powders,” explains Dr. Genesky “For Pure Vitality, we made the decision to use only natural, plant-derived versions of these ingredients. After 68 trials—the most in Kiehl’s history—we achieved the perfect balance of each ingredient in a formula that is also aesthecitally appealing, indulgent and elegant.”

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