This is the third product that I received for free from Swanicoco that I’m writing about. It’s an ampoule made of ginseng. Ginseng stem cells, if you prefer.
I am a huge fan of ginseng. I used to take ginseng powder orally and the effects on my body were very good. Ginseng makes my body stronger and less lazy and that’s the reason why I thought of adding ginseng to my skincare routine (apart from the many studies proving its effects on the skin). If the effects are good on my body, I would probably see some effects on my skin too.
My journey along ginseng begins. The first ginseng-based product I’ve tried was Sulwhasoo Ginseng Cream, which is an amazing cream. Not very good for oily/combination skin but good for normal to dry skin. It’s a well-formulated product but it’s expensive. I always wondered why that price tag. I know Sulwhasoo is a high-end brand, but still…
After researching about ginseng, I found out that it’s a very expensive ingredient. “It’s lucrative to spend a day in the woods and walk out with $500 of ginseng in a bag when you don’t have a job,” said Wisconsin conservation warden Ed McCann. “Every one of these plants is like looking at a $5 or $10 bill.” [Source] In 2013, the price of Wild Ginseng was $850-$1200 per pound. 2014 the price of Wild Ginseng was $700-$900 per pound. Ginseng is indeed a very expensive ingredient and that’s why you won’t find a good and cheap ginseng product. If you find a cheap ginseng product, check the ingredient list because it’s almost sure that the concentration is very low.
Let’s follow with the review. I’m gonna be explaining about the effects of ginseng in the ingredient analysis.
It is said that Cleopatra created face masks made of gold to keep her skin looking beautiful and radiant. For centuries queens from various countries also used gold to keep their complexion looking youthful. So it’s no secret that this earth’s precious metal contributes to an overall flawless complexion! Swanicoco’s Gold Plant Stem Pure Ampoule is created with luxurious gold flakes and rare wild ginseng stem cell extracts. Wild ginseng is rare to find and has higher medicinal properties for skin than regular ginseng, or red ginseng. All of the natural ingredients found in this ampoule moisturize, revitalize, and strengthen skin barriers as it soothes complexion. Swanicoco’s Gold Plant Stem Pure Ampoule avoids parabens, artificial fragrances, and phenoxyethanol, making this ampoule safe to use for all skin types!
- Contains Pure Gold and Ginseng Callus Culture Extract to vitalize and nourish skin;
- Formulated natural ingredients to soothe and calm sensitive skin;
- Blended with saponin to reinforce skin’s natural barrier;
- Colloidal Gold helps purify skin while improving skin texture;
- Visibly improves skin condition and enhances the vital functions of skin elasticity.
The ingredient list is very minimal. Only 9 ingredients.
Ginseng Callus Culture Extract, Saccharomyces/Gold Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Colloidal Gold, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Carbomer, Gold.
Analysis of the ingredients
Ginseng Callus Culture Extract (99%): Plant callus is a mass of undifferentiated plant cells. Callus can be produced from a single differentiated cell, and many callus cells are totipotent, being able to regenerate the whole plant body with the addition of suitable growth regulators (auxins, cytokinins, and gibberellins). In this aspect, the plant callus can be called as plant stem cell similar to human stem cell. After the groundbreaking discovery that callus can be generated artificially in vitro (Gautheret, 1939; Nobécourt, 1939; White, 1939) and that the balance between two plant hormones, auxin, and cytokinin, determines the state of differentiation and dedifferentiation (Skoog and Miller, 1957), callus has been widely used in both basic research and industrial applications (George and Sherrington, 1984; Bourgaud et al., 2001).
Biotechnology, people! What I am actually using here are the stem cells of Panax ginseng. This is my first time ever trying something like stem cells.
Ginseng root is used more often than other parts such as leaf stem although extracts from ginseng leaf-stem also contain similar active ingredients with pharmacological functions. The leaf-stems are more readily available at a lower cost than its root, and that’s an option to make a good product with a fair price. Ginseng leaf-stem extract contains numerous active ingredients, such as ginsenosides, polysaccharides, triterpenoids, flavonoids, volatile oils, polyacetylenic alcohols, peptides, amino acids and fatty acids. The extract contains larger amounts of the same active ingredients than the root. In terms of costs and source availability, ginseng leaf-stem has advantages over its root.
Ginseng effects on the skin
Panax ginseng has a broad range of beneficial effects including tonic, adaptogenic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-mutagenic, anti-cancer to mention but a few. The main actives responsible for the actions of its stem and leaves are the ginsenosides (a diverse group of steroidal saponins), which have various biological activities, including anti-inflammatory activity, antioxidant and anti-tumor effects. So far, over 100 different ginsenosides have been isolated and identified from ginseng.
Wound healing: Morisaki et al. (1995) found that the ginsenoside Rb-2 stimulated wound healing with enhanced angiogenesis in vivo. Moreover, in an in vivo animal model, the local administration of ginsenoside Rb-2 markedly improved wound healing (Kanzaki et al., 1998).
Skin whitening: Ginsenoside Rb-1 inhibited melanogenesis through the inhibition of tyrosinase activity in α-MSH-stimulated B16 cells in a dose-dependent manner. A cream containing 0.1% ginsenoside F-1 (a metabolite of ginsenoside Rg-1) showed a significant whitening effect on an artificially tanned human skin.
- Effect of ginseng and ginsenosides on melanogenesis and their mechanism of action;
- The role of epidermal γδ T-cell-derived interleukin 13 in the skin-whitening effect of Ginsenoside F-1.;
- The melanogenesis-inhibitory effect and the percutaneous formulation of ginsenoside Rb-1.
Anti-aging: It was found that the topical application of very low doses of ginsenoside Rb-1 inhibited the increases in skin thickness, epidermis, and wrinkle formation induced by chronic UVB irradiation. It significantly inhibited the reduction in skin elasticity by UVB irradiation and also enhances burn wound healing. Ginsenoside Rg-3 was also found to exhibit a skin anti-photoaging activity.
- Effects of ginsenoside Rb-1 on skin changes;
- Effects of ginseng saponins isolated from red ginseng on ultraviolet B-induced skin aging in hairless mice;
- Stereoselective skin anti-photoaging properties of ginsenoside Rg-3 in UV-B-irradiated keratinocytes.
Antiallergic and anti-inflammatory: The in vitro anti-inflammatory activity of ginsenoside Rh-1 was investigated in mice. It potently inhibited histamine release. The inhibitory activity of Rh-1 was found to be more potent than that of disodium cromoglycate (87% and 31% respectively). It was also found that Rh-1 inhibited cyclooxygenase-2 protein expression.
Synthesis of hyaluronic acid: 20-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol, the primary bioactive metabolite of ginsenoside Rb-1 induces an increase in hyaluronic acid production by elevating hyaluronan synthase 2 expression in human keratinocytes.
Synthesis of collagen: Ginsenoside Rb-1 was shown to induce type I collagen expression in human dermal fibroblasts.
These were only a few studies that I mentioned and they were mostly about ginsenosides. There are a lot of studies about ginseng that you can find online. These studies that I just showed were made in-vitro. There’s still more to be done. In-vivo studies about ginsenosides are lacking and that’s what we need to prove all of these effects in human. I’m very optimistic about these finds and I hope soon enough we’ll all understand more about ginseng and its compounds.
If you ask me which ginsenoside I found the most interesting, I would probably answer Rb-1. It seems to have a wider array of effects such as anti-aging, collagen and hyaluronic acid production, inhibition of melanogenesis… but using a product with ginseng (either it’s stem cells/root/leaf extract) will provide you not only Rb-1 but others because ginseng is rich in ginsenosides.
Let’s go back to the ingredients analysis. For your information, all the compounds below are altogether 1% of the formula.
Saccharomyces/Gold Ferment Lysate Filtrate: This is an ingredient composed of fermented gold. What? Yes, you read it right. Fermented gold. I didn’t know that metals could be fermented. Well, the truth is, my knowledge about the fermentation process was zero. Anyway, it’s said that the fermentation process decrease the size of the particles and this could be a good thing to do since gold isn’t soluble. But let’s be serious here, I don’t think that this ingredient actually can do anything. According to Dr. Tabasum Mir, gold can calm acne inflammation, reduce redness, and protect against free radicals. I couldn’t find anything proving its efficacy when applied on the skin and I am very skeptical about it;
Colloidal Gold: A suspension of gold particles in a liquid. Same thing here, people say it functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory but I couldn’t find any study proving it;
Butylene Glycol: Skin conditioning agent;
1,2-Hexanediol: A highly effective and mild coupling agent and humectant. It contains many chemicals in its composition, including Alpha-Lipoic acids, an antioxidant; Chrysin, an anti-inflammatory bioflavonoid; Diosgenin, a maintainer of healthy blood cholesterol levels; Glucosamine Hydrochloride, which slows joint degeneration; and Indole-3-Carbinol, a nutrient that may prevent cancer (Source);
Tocopheryl Acetate: A compound that consists of acetic acid and tocopherol (Vit E). Works as antioxidant, skin-conditioning, preservative…;
Allantoin: It has skin soothing, healing and keratolytic (ability to remove excess of skin) properties. It enables the skin to absorb more moisture;
Carbomer: Thickening agent;
Gold: Plain gold.
Acne triggers according to CosDNA
Butylene Glycol is the only one. It strikes 1 out of 5.
Irritants according to CosDNA
Carbomer is the only one. It strikes 1 out of 5.
Safety according to CosDNA
Most are green flagged except Tocopheryl Acetate (strikes 3 out of 9) and Gold (strikes 4 out of 9) which are yellow flagged.
CosDNA analysis: Swanicoco Gold Plant Stem Pure Ampoule.
It’s a drop counter bottle. The dropper is different from what I am used to. This one has something like a button that you have to press to release the liquid and press again to suck it up. It reminds me of a pipette. The bottle itself is made of plastic.
Since this fancy drop counter was new to me, I had some issues when I first started using it. Why? If you press it hard, it’ll release all the liquid in the tube. So, if I want to dispense the liquid on my finger and later apply it to my face, it will be ok. But that’s not what I want. I always release part of the liquid directly on my face (without touching the dropper to my face, of course) and I don’t like to dispense all the liquid at the same spot. I like to dispense it on my forehead, and on both cheeks, and then spread it all over my face. To do that, I need to be careful with the strength I put while pressing the dropper. It’s not something hard, you know? But the “button” is a bit sensible and whenever I press it too hard, all the liquid will go down in the same area. The dropper doesn’t get full, ok? Below, there’s a picture of the amount of liquid the dropper can store.
I usually use twice this amount. I like layering this ampoule. I don’t worry when the whole liquid drops on the same spot because as I said, the dropper doesn’t get full and I usually use two “full” droppers. When I say full I mean the quantity that I showed above.
Texture and scent
The texture is very light. I call it a super watery gel because that’s what it resembles. The texture is very pleasant, easily absorbed, transparent, and you can see the gold flakes in it. The texture is very different from all the ampoules that I’ve tried, which are way thicker.
The scent is made in heaven. It’s so delicious! It’s like sweet ginseng. When I opened the box, I could smell it even inside the paper box. It’s not overwhelming and disappears when it’s absorbed. I can tell it’s my favorite scent so far! I’m sorry Timetreasure line but you lost your place.
How to use
After use Skintoner, apply softly enough amount on the skin as massage.
As you can see, it’s suggested that you apply this ampoule right after the toner because it’s so light. Usually, companies suggest you use ampoules after essence/serum because most of the time they are a bit heavier than a serum. But not this one.
Whenever I apply this product on my face I feel like it improves the blood flow. My face gets a bit “blushy” and I suspect that this is one of this product’s effects. Ginseng is known to improve blood flow. I’ve seen some studies about the oral ingestion of ginseng and its effects on blood vessels but nothing about the topical application on the face.
I am a non-smoker and as you might know, nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. It makes arteries all over the body smaller and that’s what causes that look of “I am a walking dead” kind of. The blood flow on my face is perfectly fine, but somehow It seems like this product improves it and I don’t think it’s irritation due to the three kinds of gold (gold can be irritating depending on its size).
There has been a study evaluating the irritation potential of this product and it’s been shown that it belongs to the non-irritative group.
I believe it’s really an increase in blood flow due to ginseng’s compounds and not an irritation. It doesn’t look nor feel like irritation.
Apart from this blood flow improvement on my face, I feel like this product is very hydrating. I wasn’t excepting it to be that much. I don’t spot glycerin, hyaluronic acid or whatever hydrating ingredient that could be. It might be the solvent used in the callus extract. Or maybe it’s the synthesis of hyaluronic acid that ginsenoside Rb-1 exercises on human keratinocytes? I don’t know. Maybe both. Anyway, I like how hydrating it is and I can say it surpassed my expectations in this matter.
Hydration test using Susee Nano Spray Machine
Let’s check before and after using this product. I use Susee Machine to check the levels of both water and oil.
- Before applying the product: 50.9% of water and 16.0% of oil
- After applying the product: 65.4% of water and 20.5% of oil
I’m very happy with this product. It’s very light, but yet it manages to hydrate my skin well, it can easily be layered on the skin for additional moisture, it strengthens my skin, and it’s a very good antioxidant. It combines the effects of ginseng and the affordable price of stem cells. This product retails at USD53 and I think it’s fair for a ginseng product. This is a limited edition. The regular edition is gold-free (lol).
The only thing I don’t like about it is the gold bullshit. Unless there’s a study proving its effect(s) I don’t give a damn about it. I don’t care if Cleopatra used to use it (or whoever it is that now has become an image to try to justify some nonsense stuff). The aim of gold, in my opinion, is to raise the price of a product. Fortunately, both edition cost the same. I’d like to thank Swanicoco for not raising the price of this product just because gold has been added. Thank you for being fair.
Without further ado, I can say that I’m in love with this product and I will possibly purchase it (or very likely the regular version). It’s lasting very well so I don’t know when I’ll run out of it.
This product was sent by Swanicoco for review purposes. All the opinions and research are done by myself without any kind of influence by the brand. This review is 100% honest, like all others that I’ve written here and on Instagram.