Meet Acaderma, The Line That Marries Skincare & Science

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Four small white bottles by Acaderma next to a vase with pale pink flowers and a light blue empty va...

When Dr. Shuting Hu, Ph.D., launched her Acaderma Skincare line in 2018, she was curious about the potential of botanicals. This led to a worldwide search for novel and natural substitutes to toxic ingredients — one of the core missions of the brand. “We have personally done the research to validate the integrity of our ingredients and formulations to deliver products that are safe, sustainable, non-toxic, and effective,” Dr. Hu notes. “The research is what creates integrity.”

That transparency is what separates Acaderma from other brands on the market, especially as there are no hidden ingredients added to the products or confusing ones on the ingredient lists. “We keep our operations in-house to directly control how our five exclusive ingredients are sourced, processed, and tested, from plant to bottle,” Dr. Hu confirms. And with full control over the brand and ingredients, Dr. Hu says she can perform a four-step platform that “discerns one active ingredient from more than 100 others while maintaining a green and effective approach to our formulation.”

The four-step platform starts with extraction and identification. This step focuses on identifying the working components inside the plant extract. It’s followed by large-scale screening to test the plant extracts and get feedback for improvements. The third step is to conduct the cellular action mechanism study, where each extraction is studied to see how the active ingredients perform. Last is efficacy and safety validation. In this final step, Dr. Hu uses an artificial skin model in place of animal testing. This tests the validity and safety of each product before it’s offered for retail.

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Now, let’s get back to the ingredients. To help implement most of Acaderma’s plant sourcing processes, Dr. Hu joined James Simon, a plant biology professor at Rutgers University, who helps in the meticulous study of Acaderma’s key components. Together, they work with non-governmental organizations in Africa to source some of the leading cutting-edge ingredients. The main offering is an ingredient known as Seh-Haw EX. Dr. Hu notes that this plant extract is purified from Kinkeliba, a plant that grows in the sub-Saharan region of West Africa and can survive in the harsh, arid climate of the desert. “We wanted to make these powerful, natural ingredients accessible and bring them to the forefront of skincare,” she says.

The reason for the Kinkeliba plant? Dr. Hu explains that the anti-inflammation potential of Kinkeliba extract provides higher antioxidant levels than normal green tea extract and is much more effective than resveratrol, the common ingredient in both. It’s similar in formula to aloe vera, which reduces skin irritation.

You’ll also find mulberry root extract in some of the products which, as Dr. Hu explains, “acts as a natural alternative to hydroquinone or arbutin for a safe way to achieve depigmentation.” Sesame extract is used to replace vitamins C and E for antioxidants. As for a replacement for hyaluronic acid, Dr. Hu says that there is no product in her line yet, but it's one that she and the team are consistently working on — so stay tuned.

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