Health & Beauty

It’s All in the Fern

May 14, 2018

Chances are you’ve strolled past a fern recently. The feather-like foliage grows thick in our Canadian forests and beautifies our home gardens. What you may not know, though, is the magical impact this common plant has on our skin! Intrigued? Read on for insights (including the most powerful ingredient, beyond his products, for skin health) from our recent chat with Dr. Timm Golueke, German dermatologist and founder of Royal Fern Skincare, available at Holt Renfrew. —Rachel Johnston

royal fern

How did you discover the benefits of the fern plant?

Being a dermatologist, I’m always looking to find skin-care solutions. A lot of my patients see me because they are lost with all the beauty products and don’t know which one is appropriate for them. So that’s why I started thinking about creating my own line and was looking for an ingredient that I believed in. I started talking to a German biochemist because having an idea and creating a product are two different things—I know about ingredients but don’t know how to create a skin-care line. I read a study from Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Hospital in New York and they provide fern as a supplement to melanoma patients because it protects the cell DNA from UV rays. Once we started investigating further, we realized that cultures all over the world have been using the fern for centuries. To heal eczema, inflammation, skin disease, etc. For example, I have a lot of clients from Russia and, for them, using the fern is nothing new. They use fern leaves to treat open wounds. In Latin America it’s used for inflammation and, in Korea, the monks drink a tea made of fern for its strong antioxidant qualities. We are the only skin-care line using the fern so it’s very unique.

royal fern

What other ingredients make up the compound used in the products?

It depends on the product but the main components are fern extract (consisting of leaves and roots); Voacanga seed oil (an African tree); wild rose oil for the high percentage of vitamin C; sea buckthorn because of its moisture-keeping properties; and, very important, mineral oxide to reflect sunlight, therefore protecting the skin from UV rays. Those five ingredients form the Royal Fern Complex of which I hold the patent. They are found in every product. But there are also additional ingredients in each product depending on what it’s used for. For example, the lighter version of the cream contains the complex of course, plus hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and retinol from peach extract. Our eye cream, in addition to the complex, contains chamomile for puffiness and a high percentage of vitamin C to treat dark circles. We also have a regular cream which is heavier for night, a cleansing balm, serum and mask. There are also a few new products. One of them is the Phytoactive Illuminating Ampoules to enlighten your skin and reduce and prevent pigmentation. They contain chlorophyll, niacinamide, vitamin C, and Asian lizard tail—a Korean ingredient used to brighten your skin. We also have a hair-stimulating solution which contains caffeine to activate the microcirculation of the scalp, gingko, hyaluronic acid, cinnamon (which is antibacterial) and an African plant called Kigelia.

At what age do you recommend we start using anti-aging skincare?

You shouldn’t wait too long. The average starting age is around 25 and I would suggest starting with an eye cream because it’s the most delicate area of the face. This is where the first lines appear. The second product to consider is a cleanser because of pollution. Make sure to clean your skin every night. Also, a little tip: look at your mother to see where your problem areas might be and then you know what to target!

royal fern

Are there lifestyle habits you recommend for skin health?

Sunblock is, of course, very important, especially if you’re an outdoorsy person. Even if it’s cloudy, and ideally an SPF 50. Choose good-quality pharmacy products like La Roche-Posay because they contain UVA and UVB. Make sure to get enough sleep—it’s the most important thing. And of course—try and be happy! You can use luxurious skin care and dress in expensive clothes all you want but you just don’t look as good when you’re not happy.

What are your thoughts on cosmetic procedures like Botox?

Skin care can never replace esthetic procedures just like esthetic procedures can never replace skin care. You can get Botox and fillers if you choose but that doesn’t take the place of good skin care. You have to invest in what works best for you. I’m a dermatologist so, of course, 50 per cent of what I do at my clinic is esthetic. I think on the whole, esthetics, medicine and dermatology have changed so much in the last few years. Everything is much more natural now, thank goodness. Now when people do things you don’t necessarily see exactly what it is but it makes an overall positive difference.

royal fern

Are your products suitable for problematic or acnegenic skin?

Yes, we found this out later! A lot of people have rosacea and acne and Royal Fern helps with that because of how it tackles inflammation. Of course, you should see your dermatologist to find out why you have the issues in the first place but our products would be perfect for these conditions.

What else makes your product special?

I’m a dermatologist so it’s not created by a big company or investor. It’s an honest, true, skin-care line, hand-filled in Germany and all the ingredients are very high quality. They are also paraben-free and were not tested on animals.


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