The value and perceived opulence of silk have persisted to the modern day thanks to its remarkable qualities. If you remember, way back, when we introduced The Beddha fashion line, we talked about the natural fibre and we also briefly mentioned about Sericin.
We think it’s time to spend some time describing its properties and varied uses.
Sericin is a macromolecular protein that is the sticky substance produced by the Bombyx mori (silkworm) that holds the strands of silk together. It constitutes 25-30% of silk protein.
It envelops the fibroin fibres with successive sticky layers that help in the formation of cocoon. Most of the Sericin is removed during raw silk production, that is called the ‘degumming’ process.
Legend has that in Japan, during this process, older workers, despite keeping their hands in water for long hours, had the softest hands-skin. This was and is the outcome of the sticky protein.
The degumming process can cause water pollution, however, Sericin is a biomolecule of great value as it has antibacterial, UV resistant, oxidative resistant and moisturising properties.
Sericin is composed of 18 different amino acids, of which 32% is serine. It’s the serine hydrogen bonds that give its glue-like quality.
The recovery of silk Sericin from degumming waste cocoons reduces the environmental pollution, finds applications in creams and shampoos as a moisturising agent and is used as an important biomaterial agent for several applications (including textiles).
Due to its elasticity and tensile strength, along with a natural affinity for keratin, Sericin is used in medicine for wound suturing. It is used as a wound coagulant as well, being a natural infection resistance.
But not only in medicine. The silk extracts are highly favoured in the beauty industry as well because of the remarkable qualities of Sericin (along with fibroin).
When used in skincare, Sericin has been found to improve skin elasticity and other anti-aging factors, including anti-wrinkle property. It promotes cell repair and cell regeneration. It reduces transdermal water loss and hence helps to maintain the skin’s hydration levels. It may also boost collagene levels, which leads to firmer skin.
In hair products, the silk protein helps to reduce hair damage caused by colour or bleach treatments and helps to prevent breakage as well.
Sleep masks are the traditional ways silk is used to deliver moisture and active compounds to the skin. In addition, innovative silk based spa-focused facial masks are an increasingly popular new way to obtain these benefits swiftly.
Japanese legend or not, it’s a fact that Sericin is really known for its amazing qualities, that’s why we thought to use the gelatinous natural bioactive extract in cosmetics, creating a new addition to our beauty care, available on our shelves and during BTC Frida Beauty Ritual: a compressed silk mask for DIY rituals. Join us and try it.
✒ BY MARGHERITA ANTINORI