Afterplay Intimate Skincare Recovery Serum
This is what we reach for in an ouch situation. It's for use on anogenital tissues, regardless of the origin of the problem. We may have very irritated and inflamed skin membranes due to yeast, or to another imbalance of the vaginal biome. We may struggle with a chronic health condition that leaves us painfully dry and abraded, or we may need assistance with a condition that causes scaling and micro-tears. Or perhaps we suffer from hemorrhoids, which are varicose veins that can be mightily painful. We may need skincare to assist in recovery of healthy tissues following a surgical repair/episiotomy, after the wound has closed. Or, maybe we played too hard.
Afterplay is formulated with plant oils and extracts that work in varied ways to address the immediate need for comfort, support for tissue recovery and relief from chronic conditions. The formula is specifically designed for anogenital tissues and issues.
Many women experience post-sexual activity pain, either due to irritation or to minor abrasion and mucosal membrane trauma. This may result from intercourse, oral sex or playtime with toys. Additionally, the taboo against anal sex has largely diminished, presenting another collection of troublesome situations. Since we are not anatomically designed for anal sex, the activity often results in minor trauma and injury that requires attention.
As with all Curious Intimate Skincare, Afterplay Recovery Serum is formulated to support a healthy vaginal pH, cellular health and a balanced intimate microbiome.
All ingredients are GMO free; and free of irradiation, ethoxylation, sulphonation, and chemical extraction. We use certified organic ingredients when they exist; when not, we use certified therapeutic grade materials. Vegan. Gluten-free. Not tested on animals. 100 percent plant sourced. All ingredients are natural and naturally processed.
Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) seed oil
Black cumin seed oil has long standing use in herbal medicine for its reliability and efficacy in wound care. A contemporary body of research now serves to substantiate the historical use of black cumin seed oil. One study shows that 6 weeks of topical use significantly reduced skin irritation and influenced the improvement of skin hydration and epidermal barrier function.
A review of research into the medicinal use of Nigella sativa reports that considerable data has “demonstrated that the oil, extracts, and their active ingredients, in particular, thymoquinone, possess antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects, supporting the common folk perception of N. Sativa as a potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. “
Further study indicates that thymoquinone, a known chemotherapeutic agent and the major constituent of black cumin seed oil, induces apoptosis and prohibits proliferation in cancer cells, with the mechanism of action being another, previously undiscovered, anti-inflammatory effect on the cells. And, another study reports the “capability of Nigella sativa to augment the cytotoxic activity of natural killer (NK) cells against cancer cells.”
Avocado (Persea americana) seed oil
Native to Central America, the fruit is a beloved, rich source of nutrients and phytochemicals. Valuable as a food, it also has traditional use in wound care, as a source of skin-repairing waxes, proteins, minerals, and Vitamins A, D and E , and b-sitosterol, B-carotene and lecithin.
As a topical wound care agent, it has been shown to promote collagen synthesis and reduce numbers of inflammatory cells; further, a “significant increase was observed in the percentage of wound contraction and re-epithelialization” of cutaneous wounds to which avocado was applied compared to controls.
Dahurian Angelica (Angelica dahurica) extract
This striking, 6-foot-tall purple stalk, dressed with aromatic foliage and topped with dozens of white umbels, grows widely in the high grasslands and streamsides of China, where it is called Bai Zhi. The root contains the pain-relieving coumarin, scopoletin. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it’s used topically for itching, and is a most noteworthy treatment for leucorrhea (excessive white vaginal discharge.)
In TCM, it is used to resolve carbuncles, furuncles, folliculitis, pustules and anogenital lesions. All of these conditions include inflammation and infection, and usually pus. Both carbuncles and folliculitis usually develop from Staphylococcus aureus; Bai Zhi inhibits MRSA, and is used topically for other resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) extract
Calendula is chiefly used as a topical remedy, with widespread use in traditional plant medicine. It is considered a fine, gentle yet potent vulnerary, effective in the treatment of irritation, dryness, inflammation, eczema and scaling conditions.
A simple maceration of the sticky, resinous flowers is traditionally regarded a most useful remedy for sprains and wounds. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has “approved its lipophilic and aqueous alcoholic extracts as traditional medicinal products for the treatment of minor inflammation of the skin and as an aid in the healing of minor wounds,” due to its established effect on granulation of wounded tissue, as a result of an enhancement of “the amount of collagen in the supernatant of human dermal fibroblasts.”
This plant is rich in active compounds including terpenoids, carotenoids, flavonoids, and volatile oils, and its use in topical application enhances skin hydration necessary for both healing of injured tissue and for optimal function.
And, another recent study revealed that Calendula offers anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity, along with the collagen-building properties that promote the healing of wounded tissues. These acknowledged actions support the many studies of calendula’s use in healing ulcerated tissue and lesions.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) seed oil
Pomegranate oil contains 70 percent punicic acid, a valuable Omega 5 fatty acid that reduces inflammation and aids in cellular repair. Pomegranate seed oil is the only natural source of this highly beneficial fatty acid.
It’s high in antioxidants--- higher than red wine, and similar to that of green tea---and notably promotes collagen and elastin production. Pomegranate oil is quite remarkable in that it is a potent keratinocyte proliferation stimulator specific to the epidermis. This means that pomegranate oil meaningfully improves elasticity and increases cellular turnover. So, old skin sloughs off more quickly, increasing tissue integrity and providing a growth medium for the all-important friendly bacteria.
The fact that pomegranate oil assists the body in maintaining pH integrity is a very important feature of our formula, in that vaginal pH is the result of a diverse and balanced ecosystem in the vaginal vault. It’s a complex and elegant system, involving crucial cellular turnover that is supported with pomegranate oil, which leads to a desirable lactobacilli population, and lactic acid production as a metabolic by-product. The lactobacilli and the lactic acid it produces are the foundation of a healthy vagina.
St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) extract
Externally, St. John's Wort is highly-regarded by herbalists as a traditional plant medicine that is among the most usefully applied to any variety of burn, to inflamed tissue, sores, lesions, ulcerations, rashes, eczema, scaling skin, wounds and stretched skin at risk of scarring. It offers soothing relief, quickly.
Here, a study establishes mechanisms by which these remarkable attributes are achieved, showing that St. Johnswort has the ability to “improve tissue regeneration by enhancing fibroblast proliferation, collagen bundle synthesis, and revascularization.”
It’s a stunning macerated extract. Ours is appropriately made with fresh flowering tops that we gather here in the wildflowered edges of the woods along Lake Michigan. The macerated flowers are set under the sunshine and the extract is a potent and gorgeous blood-red.
Moringa (Moringa oleifera) seed oil
Called “Ben Oil”, the seed oil is high in plant sterols, specifically b-sitosterol, a phytocompound valued for its ability to reduce inflammation and pain in topical applications.
There are a number of conditions affecting the vulva that cause pain. Most are neuropathic, inflammatory and/or dermatological, and all of these causal factors are shown to respond to concentrated moringa seed oil. A recent study showed that a topical cream made with moringa relieved neuropathic pain and neuro-inflammation, and “was able to counteract the inflammatory cascade by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines,” and “in parallel by increasing the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines.”
A review of phyto-extracts with potential for use in promoting skin cell longevity evaluated Moringa oleifera, finding that it contains carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin A, carotenoids, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, gallic acid, syringic acid, and rutin and determined that, “all parts of this plant, from root to leaves, possess various medicinal activities such as antibacterial, anticancer, and antioxidant properties.”
One study found moringa extract cream was effective against skin wrinkles, roughness, and scaliness, and increased skin volume, leading to a skin revitalization effect, and another exposed the mechanism by which this occurs: moringa increases the division of fibroblasts and metabolism, resulting in improved structure and density of both collagen and elastin- the hallmarks of healthy and youthful skin.
Our Shiitake and Chamomile extracts are carried in non-nano, certified organic phospholipids.
The intrinsic nature of the phospholipid themselves is also highly functional in this formula. Phospholipids form the membrane that compose the outer layer of all cells in the human body.
Phospholipids have a hydrophobic and hydrophilic end, and the hydrophilic portions of the phospholipids naturally migrate to hydrophilic environments where they assemble into a multivesicular system. The moisture in our skin causes these vesicles to swell, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and resulting in visible plumping of the underlying tissue. Because the vesicles bind with the moisture present, they inhibit trans-epidermal water loss, thereby increasing moisturization. The phospholipid liposomes also significantly increase the delivery of the active extracts through the mucous membranes.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extract phospholipids
Densely concentrated with assorted oil-soluble vitamins and minerals, shiitake mushroom extract is an excellent source of nutrition to the skin. The zinc alone helps bolster our immune system. Additionally, research and traditional use both identify it as a potent immunomodulator with value against lesions and tumors.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) extract phospholipids
The German E Commission monographs approve the topical use of chamomile in the treatment of anogenital irritation, specifically hemorrhoids, vaginal membranes, and episiotomy (the surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth). It is among the most respected botanicals used for dermal irritation, abrasions and wound repair.
Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) extract
In support of a balanced ecosystem, elderberry extract is specific solution against overabundant yeast (Candida albicans), and E. coli, which are potentially pathogenic bacteria that live in the colon, responsible for the vast majority of urinary tract infections. We don't use a broad-spectrum antimicrobial - an abominably bad idea!- but offer an assist to the vaginal microbiome balancing process by addressing the common issue of excesses of these two problem-causing microbes.
Of crucial function in this formula, the concentrated undecylenic acid in our extract helps to reduce the fungal and bacterial organisms that are problematic for women in terms of both general vaginal health and sexual health. Elderberry also helps against biofilms associated with Candida albicans (yeast) and biofilms associated with Bacterial Vaginosis. Additional research also indicates its protective action against Herpes Simplex Virus.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) sterols
This ingredient contributes additional sterols to those already present in the pomegranate oil, to optimize the barrier and hydration effect. It is deeply moisturizing. According to the British Pharmacopoeia, pomegranate sterol has a remarkable hydration potential, far exceeding other known sterols, and actually increasing collagen production when applied topically.
β-sitosterol is a phytosterol known to be involved in the stabilization of cell membranes. It is a natural micronutrient in found in plants and has documented anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory actions, and is useful in the topical treatment of skin lesions.
Plants containing high amounts of β-sitosterol are known to be used as traditional remedies in the treatment of wounds and burns of the skin. This can be explained by the re-epithelialization process observed with the application of β-sitosterol. Research shows it to be highly effective in down-regulating the measurable features of atopic dermatitis, offering substantial reduction of histamine levels, inflammation and relief from itching. The combined actions of this phytocompound for tissue regeneration, along with its demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory effects, indicate its use in a wide range of chronic conditions and in the repair of injured tissue.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) EO
Milfoil, Old Man's Pepper, Soldier's Woundwort, Knight's Milfoil, Nosebleed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed... Bad Man's Plaything. The many folknames for this plant tell of its richly storied history as an esteemed wound healer. Native to Europe, Asia and the Americas, and naturalized to Africa and Australia, yarrow grows everywhere. It grows in grass, in meadows, pastures, and by the roadside. It’s a willing medicine, making itself ever-available to staunch a bleed, and then keep infection at bay as it closes a wound swiftly and cleanly, reducing scar formation. The botanical latin is a testament to its ancient renown, named for the Greek warrior Achilles.
A phytochemical analysis of yarrow essential oil finds sabinene, beta-pinene, 1,8-cineole, artemisia ketone, linalool, alpha-thujone, beta-thujone, camphor, borneol, fenchyl acetate, bornyl acetate, (E)-beta-caryophyllene, germacrene D, caryophyllene oxide, beta-bisabolol, delta-cadinol, and chamazulene. Investigation into these compounds individually, and embodied in the composition of the volatile oil itself, reveal high levels of bio-activity. Each of these compounds contribute to its worthiness; yet, pharmacological actions of the essential oil of Achillea have been strongly attributed to the presence of azulenogenous sesquiterpene lactones, which are credited with pronounced anti-inflammatory properties and give our potent strain of Blue Yarrow its deep color and heady, herbaceous aromatic note. Research evidences Achillea essential oil to be antimicrobial, antiviral, antiherpetic, and specific against E. coli and MRSA.
Blue Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) EO
Widespread throughout Europe and Asia, and colonized into the Americas and Australia, the intoxicating aroma is of floral apple. References to the medicinal use of chamomile extend to ancient times, in Egyptian and Greek records.
Externally, chamomile is highly recommended for use in skin care products, to spur wound healing, deter inflammation and soothe generally irritated conditions. A 2013 study of the use of German Chamomile essential oil as an anti-herpetic found that, “Pretreatment of the virus with the oil showed a relatively strong effect compared to acyclovir.” Traditional use credits the essential oil with usefulness in topical treatment of anogenital wound care, including hemorrhoids, birthing tears, irritation, burning and inflammation.
The principal components of the EO extracted from chamomile flowers are the terpenoid α-bisabolol and its oxides and azulenes, including chamazulene. According to the Handbook of Herbs and Spices, the a-bisabolol content promotes granulation and tissue regeneration, and provides the majority of antibacterial, antifungal, antiulcer and anti-lesion activity. And then there are the azulenes- named for the exquisite blue they bring to the essential oil- which are credited with the anti-inflammatory effects that may be the most enunciated feature of this plant medicine.
Bulgarian Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) EO
Exceptionally aromatic and the most beloved of all nervine essential oils, it is widely considered a fine topical treatment for relief of neuralgia, sores, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, ulcers, minor infections, burns and scalds.
A particularly exciting study examined the molecular mechanism of the wound-healing properties of lavender essential oil. The study demonstrated that lavender acts by promoting collagen synthesis and differentiation of fibroblasts, accelerating formation of granulation tissue, and remodeling tissue by replacing collagen and contracting the wound. One study specifically explored wound-healing of female genitals and perineum following episiotomy, and found, “lavender-thymol was highly effective, suitable and safe for episiotomy wound care with little or no expected side effects compared with that using placebo.” Another study explored in pain relief in female genitals and perineum following episiotomy, and found that the “use of Lavender oil essence can be effective in reducing perineal discomfort following episiotomy.” It further recommended that lavender essential oil “may be preferable to the use of Betadine for episiotomy wound care.”
Other research confirms the reputation of lavender as an antiseptic in wound care, demonstrating that lavender essential oil “inhibited growth of both MSSA and MRSA by direct contact.”
Pump into palm of hand and apply with fingertips, as needed. One or two pumps is just right for intimate recovery.