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Natto to the Rescue

September 29, 2008

UMO�s Gel Masks harness the hydrating power of natural Natto derivative, Gamma PGA.

Natto to the Rescue

UMO’s Gel Masks harness the hydrating power of natural Natto derivative, Gamma PGA.

By Joanna Cosgrove
Online Editor

The fermented soybean-based health food known simply as natto has been a Japanese meal staple. In addition to being a good source of ingestible protein, natto also contains Gamma Poly Glutamic Acid (PGA), which, when applied topically, is a remarkably potent hydrating compound that is said to be ten times more hydrating than hyaluronic acid and far more elastic than collagen. It is 100% natural, biodegradable, non-toxic, and in fact, it’s even edible. Japan-based UMO Inc., the creator of the original 24 Karat Gold Facial, has introduced a trio of Gel Masks for the face, eyes and lips that combine the hydrating power of Gamma PGA and an innovative continuous release delivery system for immediate hydration and optimum results.

“Originally discovered in marine jellyfish, natto, a Japanese soy-bean-based health food item dates back more than 1000 years,” explained Grant Kidani, director of the Americas for UMO. “The Gamma PGA helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  It enhances the skin’s natural moisturizing capabilities and carries moisture and nutrients into the skin’s deepest layers. It is 100% natural and safe for all skin types.”

UMO’s masks are designed to target specific areas or as a complete combination treatment. They are billed to be “rejuvenating and refreshing, and ideal for traveling as they quickly restore the skin’s moisture level with no mess or fuss.”

Each of the three masks are in the form of gel sheets. They are applied directly to clean, dry skin in one piece. “They should be left on for 30 to 40 minutes and then removed,” advised Mr. Kidani. “They should be used about three times a week or anytime your skin feels dry and dehydrated. They are great to use after flying.”

The Gamma PGA Facial Mask firms, brightens and hydrates the skin. According to the company, after one use, “the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are greatly diminished.” With continued application, the face becomes “plumper, firmer and brighter.” Ordinarily a treatment lasts 30-40 minutes, after which the mask is removed; however this particular mask can also be left on for overnight infusion.  

The Gamma PGA Eye Mask is designed to firm, brighten and hydrate the delicate skin surrounding the eye. This mask “delivers moisture and locks in hydration improving elasticity while brightening the delicate skin around the eye.” After one use, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are “greatly diminished.” With continued application, the eye area “becomes plumper, firmer and brighter.” The Eye Mask is typically applied directly around the eye area and left there for overnight treatment infusions. It can also be applied anytime to relieve stress and “help prevent the formation of fine wrinkles.”  

The Gamma PGA Lip Mask is said to deliverer moisture then lock in hydration so that the lips stay soft, smooth and plump. This mask contains phytoestrogens to “stimulate the growth of collagen and elastin to help maintain a plump, youthful pout.”  The lip mask is fitted closely to clean dry lips with the fingertips, then removed after ten minutes. With continued applications, the lips “become plumper and softer.”

One thing is for certain, UMO has a penchant for seeking out unusual but ultimately beneficial ingredients to bolster its beauty applications. “UMO recognized that Gamma PGA (Polyglutamic Acid), or natto gum, is ten times more hydrating than hyaluronic acid and far more elastic than collagen,” said Mr. Kidani.

Among Gamma PGA’s many features and benefits, according to the company, is its ability to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; promote the clearance of “stagnant melanin” to brighten skin; enhance the skin’s natural moisturizing capabilities; penetrate to the skin’s deepest layers and carry moisture and nutrients; form a thin, smooth and moisturizing film on the skin; increases production of the skin’s “Natural Moisturizing Factor;” and lock in moisture to give softer, more supple skin. It is also 100% natural, preservative and additive free, as well as hypoallergenic, animal free, cruelty free.

In addition to Gamma PGA, UMO’s Gel Masks also contain Glycyrrhiza Glavra (Licorice) extract, used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, anti-microbial, antioxidant and its sebum regulation activity; and Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) extract, an annual herb also known as German Chamomile or Wild Chamomile that’s found throughout Europe and throughout northern Asia, whose flowers possess gentle, healing and anti-inflammatory properties.

All of the masks are non-comedogenic, organic and bio-degradable, fragrance free and contain no alcohol, artificial coloring, lanolin or mineral oil.

UMO’s Gel Masks are available at fine spas around the world. The Lip Mask (seven applications per box) retails for $81.00, the Eye Mask (six applications for each eye per box) retails for $45.00, and the Face Mask (three applications per box) retails for $28.00.

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