Having one of the most impressive resumes in the green beauty industry, #KingOfSkin botanist, cosmetologist, pharmacist and doctor in natural formulation technologies Dr. Pedro Catalá from Spanish brand Twelve Beauty talks to Ambrosia about green beauty, how to keep the skin healthy, and where to visit in Madrid.
Ambrosia: You have one of the most impressive resumes in the green beauty industry, and we know that you started formulating products to help your patients suffering from skin sensitivities after radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Tell us more about this passion of yours.
Dr. Pedro Catalá: Thank you. During my second year of Pharmacy at the University of Valencia (Spain) I fell in love with botany. I realised then, the potential of nature, so I joined a small team of young researchers. It was such an eye-opening experience. After completing my Pharmacy degree, I then took a 4-year postgraduate course in Botany, and subsequently moved to Siena, Italy, so that I can apply all my knowledge of botany to the art of skincare at the most renowned skincare science school in Europe. I was eager to learn more after the 2 years of Master’s degree, this is why I decided to study a PhD in Natural Formulation. It was the perfect way to combine my two big passions, skincare and botany. To fund my studies, I worked as a pharmacist at a prestigious clinic in Central London where I came in contact with many types of patients, mainly oncology. Their skin was reactive and very dry, so I created a body balm for them. The patients loved it so much that they suggested the name, Rewarding Body Balm, as it was a natural way to reward their stressed skin. They were the ones who encouraged me to continue my research and expand the range, so during the 5 years of research, I identified 12 natural ingredients (hence the brand name Twelve Beauty) that I believe are essential to keep the skin healthier for longer.
Ambrosia: Skin sensitivity, rosacea, eczema and various other forms of dermatitis are on the rise, even for babies. What do you think contribute to that, and what should people do to reduce chance of skin sensitivities, skin care and lifestyle wise?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: I think the two main factors are pollution and stress. Also, making the right skincare choices is key and to treat the skin as a barrier are both very important. All these conditions have been linked to low deposits of filaggrin, which is a protein living in our dead cells (corneocytes) that is essential to keep the skin/barrier healthy and to provide key elements to our Natural Moisturising Factor.
Ambrosia: Many people these days are concerned about preservatives in products, but many of them are based on misconceptions. Preservatives are, in fact, vital in non-anhydrous products to keep microbes, bacteria and fungus away. Are those preservations used in green beauty products truly safe?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: Preservatives are used to reduce the growth of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Over the last decade, the industry has focused on studying how to replace traditional preservatives with more natural choices. We can now claim that natural preservatives are very effective as long as we work in very aseptic conditions and at a low pH (around 5), which is an add-on benefit to the skin as it is the most pH beneficial value. Would they irritate skin with long-term use? We all are individuals so the truth is, we can all react to different ingredients.
Ambrosia: You feature 12 natural star ingredients in your line, hence the name Twelve Beauty. What’s so special about them?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: The Twelve ingredients are the result of my life-long search to find the very best botanicals in the world! Proven to transform even the most sensitive skin.
Ambrosia: We fell in love with The London Mask the first time we used it - skin is so balanced, soothed and soft after every application. What sets it apart from other masks on the market?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: I am a big fan of clays but I am also aware that they can leave a dry and tight sensation on the skin so for this reason I tried to overcome this issue by rescuing an old apothecary method which involves blending by hand. Creating an emulsion in this way, it allows me to deposit the “good” ingredients on the surface so they are more in touch with the skin. With this method your skin gets all the benefits of the clay without the unpleasant “side effects".
Ambrosia: Many people think cosmeceutical-grade products are more effective than green beauty products. For instance, when people think of brightening, they think of Ascorbic Acid (which we know can possibly irritate the skin), but your Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum does not contain any of that. Is it as effective at brightening and reducing dark spots?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: Yes! Clinical studies have shown that after 6 weeks of using Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum, there were 28.6% reduction in dark spot intensity and a 24% lightening effect after 12 weeks with no irritation observed.
Ambrosia: What is a realistic timeframe to address different skin concerns?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: Once you find the right product that suits your skin, it is important to keep using it daily as per instructions but bear in mind that ideally you need to wait at least 28 days (for younger skin) which is the normal life cycle, and longer when you get older.
Ambrosia: In your professional opinion, what’s the best way to achieve the healthiest, most radiant skin?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: Keeping the skin elastic, moisturised and with the right pH value (just below 5) are the three parameters you need to pay attention and also as important try to stay calm. Stress plays havoc on the skin.
Ambrosia: Lastly. You are now mostly based in Madrid. Where would you recommend us visiting?
Dr. Pedro Catalá: My favourite area in Madrid is Justicia, you are right in the heart of the capital with everything you need at your doorstep, even for the most discerning visitors they can find fine dining and high end fashion.
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