Kyoto Shimbun 2013.4.16 News

Super-Hot Habanero for Calefacient Cosmetic Ingredient
Sanshokaken Researching in Kyoto

A cosmetics maker with a Kyoto City-based research center is trying to utilize super-hot spice habanero as a cosmetic ingredient. They expect that application of habanero extract to the skin will have a calefacient effect. Aiming to launch a lotion containing the extract within this year, they are examining the optimal blend ratio.

The research is being conducted by Sanshokaken K.K. in Ikeda City, Osaka Prefecture, which has a research center in "Creation Core Kyoto Mikuruma," an institution for fostering entrepreneurs in Kamigyo Ward. The research project has received a subsidy from Kyoto Prefecture, which promotes joint projects between wellness industry for health and beauty, and manufacturing.

Habaneros are supplied by Shino Farm, a producer and seller of vegetables in Kameoka City. The extraction procedure was determined on the basis of the analysis by Professor Harukazu Fukami in the Faculty of Bio-environmental Science at Kyoto Gakuen University. Grind one part frozen habaneros with four parts ethanol with a blender and filter it, and then an orange-colored extract can be obtained.

Eight researchers in Sanshokaken ascertained the effect of its skin application, and found out that it started producing a calefacient effect 20 minutes after the application, and lasted 15 minutes to two hours, with differences between individuals. Some felt warmth again when they took a bath 12 hours after the application. Although it is unclear whether the temperature of the applied area actually rises or not, it is more likely that the extract affects nerves and causes a sense of warmth.

Extract of red pepper has been used in hair tonics, lotions and others, as a cosmetic ingredient with calefacient effect, but it is often used in combination with chemicals, since, while it works in seconds, its effect does not last long. Some want to avoid use of chemicals. Sanshokaken K.K. is aiming to substitute the natural ingredient habanero; as the company's director said, "We must develop originality to differentiate us from other companies."

To utilize habanero as a cosmetic ingredient, it is necessary to register the material name and the production method. The registration application was filed last December with the Personal Care Products Council, a U.S. based association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry, as "habanero fruit extract," and will be approved in June, if all goes smoothly. Then it will also be filed with the Japan Cosmetic Industry Association.

Considering a lotion to relieve swelling and cooling of the feet as its first product, Sanshokaken K.K. is examining the percentage of the habanero extract in the product. They are planning to sell it at the "antenna" shop in the head office by the end of this year. Depending on consumer response, they will start promoting it to cosmetic businesses.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Orange-colored habanero extract (Creation Core Kyoto Mikuruma, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto)