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- Skin exfoliation
- Types of exfoliation


- Bamboo in the nature
- Traditional use of Bamboo
- Bamboo in cosmetics





                              Exclusive NA Dist.
V 01-04/08
                              Centerchem, Inc      25050, 25060-1
                              Norwalk, CT 06850

EXFO-BAMBOO is a solidified silica-containing material from bamboo stems (Bambusa arundinacea),
milled to yield two cosmetic active compounds: one with particle size 200 µm and the other with particle
size 500 µm.

This plant product has been developed as a physical exfoliant agent to accelerate skin desquamation and
therefore improve skin appearance.


Skin exfoliation

The horny layer is the outermost layer of the skin; besides its biological
barrier function, it is also very important from an aesthetical point of view.
The properties of the horny layer influence the skin appearance because
they involve skin texture, light reflection and color.

The horny layer continually undergoes natural exfoliation, due to its cells
(corneocytes) renewal. This process maintains the uniformity of skin
properties. However, if the cell turnover is altered of slowed-down,
because of aging or environmental aggressions, skin texture is impaired
resulting in roughness and thickening of the horny layer.

Cosmetics solutions are available for this type of problems. Exfoliation
removes dead cells and impurities, regulating the thickness of the horny
layer and enhancing cell oxygenation. The outcome is smooth, polished,
impurities-free and radiant skin.

Types of exfoliation

Exfoliation may be chemical or physical depending on the exfoliant agent. Chemical exfoliation consists in
application of certain substances on the skin, which attack the cell junctions in the horny layer through
enzymatic mechanisms or acidic pH. Conversely, physical exfoliation is based on detachment of dead
cells through the mechanical action of exfoliant particles on the skin.

Exfoliation can also be classified as face exfoliation or body exfoliation depending on the area where it is

Face exfoliation is usually mild, for cleaning the skin from impurities and dead cells enhancing the face
appearance. Face exfoliants for men have additional properties such as improving men's skin tendency to
impurities because of larger pores and more abundant sweating, and facilitating shaving because the hair
follicles are more exposed.

Body exfoliation, usually harder, renews the epidermis, enhances its appearance and facilitates
penetration of other cosmetic products such as anti-cellulite and self-tanning products.

EXFO-BAMBOO is a natural plant exfoliant with superficial physical action on the skin, which can be
applied both on the face and the body.

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Bamboo in the nature

Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Willd = Bambusa
bambos (L.) Voss. Bamboo is a member of family
Poaceae (Gramineae), subfamily Bambusoideae. It
grows throughout the tropical and subtropical regions
of Asia, especially in humid regions under the
influence of Monsoon. These are the fastest growing
plants known (most of varieties grow about 10 cm per
day) and may reach 30 meters in height.

Bamboo is well known by its strong stems, 15-18 cm in
diameter, with nodes (figure 1) every 20-40 cm. The leaves are long, lanceolate and very flexible. Flowers
appear on inflorescences at the top of the plant.

The hardness and stiffness of bamboo stems is due to the presence of silica in the structure of their
fibers. Under certain circumstances, the nodes secrete a substance, which crystallizes at ambient
temperature in a hard yellowish-white material. This substance is known as tabasheer, tabashir, bamboo-
manna or bamboo silica (figure 2). The reasons underlying silica secretion in bamboo are still not known.
It seems that the plant needs less silica at certain periods so that it secretes the silica excess.

Tabasheer is mainly composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2), commonly called silica, and water; it also contains
small amounts of sodium silicate (Na2SiO3), potassium dioxide (K2O), calcium dioxide (CaO) and
magnesium dioxide (MgO). Silicon is a chemical element very near to the carbon and is the second
element, after the oxygen, more abundant in the Earth. It is present in small quantities in all the living
beings; in the animals the majority of silicon is in the connective tissue and bones as well as in the skin,
nails and hair. The tabasheer is considered to be the most important natural source of organic silica.

EXFO-BAMBOO is a plant silica coming from the natural secretion of bamboo.

 Figure 1: Node of the bamboo with secretion of   Figure 2: Tabasheer

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Traditional use of Bamboo

                                                          Bamboo is considered a part of life in Asia. It
                                                          plays a role in every aspect of life: art, medicine
                                                          and daily life, and it is used as a raw material for
                                                          building houses, tools, clothes, kitchenware and
                                                          musical instruments. It is also consumed as food
                                                          and it’s especially prized as a source of
                                                          tabasheer, a good dietary supplement, which
                                                          provides organic silica.

                                                          Tabasheer is one of the main bamboo-derived
                                                          substances used in Ayurveda and Tibetan
                                                          medicines. Its properties are: stimulant,
                                                          astringent, febrifuge, tonic, antispasmodic and

                                                           It is used to treat bronchitis, asthma and leprosy.
                                                           An Ayurveda preparation, called Sitopaladi
Churna, containing tabasheer, is traditionally used to treat tuberculosis and as a popular medicine for cold,
sore throat, sinusitis and cough. Formulas containing tabasheer are used in Tibet, to treat lung diseases.

Bamboo in cosmetics

The tabasheer of the bamboo, with its white color and with its medicinal action on the respiratory system
and on the infectious diseases, is perceived as a body oxygenant and purifying substance. Furthermore,
as EXFO-BAMBOO exfoliates the skin, it removes impurities and regulates the thickness, thus providing
better cellular oxygenation and a purified appearance. Skin irregularities are reduced and the skin
appears more radiant.

We present two bamboo cosmetic actives designed for different exfoliation needs:

    •   EXFO-BAMBOO FACE: granulometry 200 µm, designed for mild face exfoliation

    •   EXFO-BAMBOO BODY: granulometry 500 µm, designed for moderate body exfoliation

The white color of both actives makes them suitable for incorporation to any cosmetic formulation; they
remain solid and their color doesn’t change. Table 1 shows their physicochemical characteristics.

                                             EXFO-BAMBOO FACE                 EXFO-BAMBOO BODY
   Density                                 400-600 g/L                     400-600 g/L
   Melting point                           > 130 ºC                        > 130 ºC
                                           ≤ 200 µm: ≥ 90%                 ≤ 500 µm: ≥ 90%
                                           > 200 µm: ≤ 10%                 > 500 µm: ≤ 10%
   Particle morphology                     Geometric irregular aspect      Geometric irregular aspect
   Solubility                              Insoluble in water              Insoluble in water
Table 1. Physicochemical characteristics of EXFO-BAMBOO FACE and EXFO-BAMBOO BODY

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The figure 3 shows the aspect of the particles of EXFO-BAMBOO.

Figure 3-Left: Macroscopic aspect of EXFO-BAMBOO BODY; Right: Appearance of EXFO-BAMBOO BODY (X 10)
observed through an optical microscope (Unilux-12, Kyowa)

The above explained EXFO-BAMBOO characteristics make this product suitable for safe and effective
skin exfoliation.


EXFO-BAMBOO is a novel plant cosmetic ingredient for skin physical exfoliation. The characteristics of
its particles make this product suitable for different face and body care formulations.

EXFO- BAMBOO FACE meets consumers’ different cosmetic needs on the basis of the following
cosmetic properties:

    •   Young skin (< 20 years old). Major characteristics of this type of skin are: abundant sebum
        secretion and desquamation problems, which result in a tendency to acne. EXFO-BAMBOO
        FACE helps restoring normal desquamation and removes fatty impurities accumulated on the
        skin. Because of their silica content, the white EXFO-BAMBOO particles have purifying effects
        and remove rests of epidermal fatty material.
    •   Adult skin (20-40 years old). Due to daily life activities, the skin is subjected to different
        environmental challenges such as urban pollution, closed environments or smoke, which produce
        accumulation of impurities on the skin. Additionally, adult skin starts to show some irregularities
        due to accumulation of dead cells. EXFO-BAMBOO FACE cleans the face skin leaving it better
        oxygenated and purified. Bamboo particles perform a mildly peeling of the epidermis, removing
        dead cells accumulations and smoothing the face skin.
    •   Mature skin (> 40 years old). Epidermal aging brings about slowdown of the desquamation
        process, which results in skin thickening and roughness. Silicon dioxide and other mineral salts in
        bamboo provide constituent components for the skin cells to recover normal functionality. EXFO-
        BMABOO FACE helps restoring the normal physiological rate of dead cells elimination and
        polishes the skin relief, leaving the skin smoother and radiant.

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Typical facial care formulations are hygiene products, such as gels or creams, and peeling products, such
as face masks.

EXFO-BAMBOO BODY is a physical exfoliant, which adapts to the different needs of the skin and can be
used for the following applications:

    •   Young skin (< 20 years old). Physical activity and sports increase body sweating and produce an
        augment of skin impurities. EXFO-BAMBOO BODY removes accumulated residues and leaves
        the skin clean, radiant and oxygenated. Bamboo particles have skin cleansing and regenerative
        effects after intense physical activity.
    •   Adult skin (20-40 years old). This type of skin needs specific cosmetic treatments; the use of
        moisturizing and anti-cellulite products is rather frequent. By other hand, social aspects and
        present-day trends bring about the use of other selective products, such as self-tanning products.
        EXFO-BAMBOO BODY removes skin irregularities and prepares the skin, so that subsequent
        cosmetic treatments can act more efficiently. Skin exposition to bamboo mineral salts is beneficial
        for complementary cosmetic treatments, like Spa treatments.
    •   Mature skin (> 40 years old). Much like the face epidermis, body epidermis shows reduced cell
        turnover rate, which produces roughness in certain areas such as the elbows, knees and feet.
        EXFO-BAMBOO BODY reduces the thickening of the horny layer, leaving the skin even and
        smooth. Bamboo – a component of the ancient Ayurveda medicine because of its stimulatory
        tonifying properties – helps epidermal metabolism, thus restoring normal cell renewal.

Typical body care formulations are hygiene products, such as gels or creams, and peeling products, such
as body milk.


    •   EXFO-BAMBOO FACE: the recommended dose is between 5.0 and 10.0 %.
    •   EXFO-BAMBOO BODY: the recommended dose is between 5.0 and 10.0 %.


EXFO-BAMBOO has been evaluated according to available toxicological information, based on safety
assays and bibliographical data. These data support the conclusion that the use of EXFO-BAMBOO
under normal cosmetic use conditions and at the recommended concentrations is risk-free for consumers.


Dransfield, S. & Widjaja, E.A. (Editors), 1995. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.7.
Bamboos.Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.
Gupta, A.K., Sharma, M. & Tandon, N. (Editors), 2004. Reviews on Indian Medicinal Plants, Volume 4
(Ba-By). Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi.
Klinowski, J., Cheng C-F., Sanz J., Rojo J.M., Mackay A. Structural studies of tabasheer, an opal of plant
origin. Phil. Mag.A, 1998, Vol. 77, No. 1, 201- 216.

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/bamboo.htm [accessed December 2007]

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