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Harnessing Nature's Sunscreen: How New Zealand Botanicals Combat Photoaging

Harnessing Nature's Sunscreen: How New Zealand Botanicals Combat Photoaging

Wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation are inevitable skin woes that often appear as we age. While we like to place blame on getting another year older, the main culprit is photoaging — damage to the skin caused by exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light. 

Responsible for 80 percent of visible changes to the skin, photoaging is a direct result of cumulative sun damage you’ve been exposed to throughout your life. The sun causes proteins in our skin to deteriorate, leading to the loss of our youthful appearance over time.

There is a small country at the bottom of the world that has plants that withstand some of the highest UV exposure in the world. Over time, this ancient forest has evolved to protect itself by producing some of the highest levels of antioxidants in the world.

“There’s really no reason for photoaging. We can keep skin looking good for decades if we just take care of it.” 

- Katey Mandy, RAAIE Founder and CEO

RAAIE utilises the power of New Zealand botanicals which have had to survive under some of the harshest UV radiation in the world (because of the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica) to delay and correct the ageing process. 

New Zealand is a unique case study into the effects of having a seasonal hole in the ozone layer. The ozone acts as a natural filter in atmosphere, which protects plants and animals from the increased UV radiation from sunlight. Annually, scientists from around the world come to examine the impact of high UVB sunlight due to the natural hole in the ozone layer.

Recent studies by Dermatologist Dr Greg Goodman show that wrinkles and sagging can appear 20 years earlier in women in the Southern hemisphere, compared to our Northern hemisphere sisters. This sun damage accelerates signs of ageing like wrinkles, rough, dull skin, brown spots, red veins and sagging.

By utilising the plants that have learnt to survive in these extreme conditions, we can harness the plant antioxidants benefit for our skin in the same way they benefit the plants; protecting against future damage and repairing damaged skin cells to promote healthy, clear, luminous skin. 

“Growing up in New Zealand we always had to be super vigilant about protecting ourselves from the sun with sunblock and wide brimmed hats, and it turns out New Zealand’s botanicals have developed their own defensive mechanisms to survive and thrive in the harsh New Zealand environment. It’s like they have created their own “plant sunscreens” – Katey Mandy, Founder. 

RAAIE has designed skin care formulas to reverse sun damage and protect against future damage. Leading with New Zealand botanicals, and backed with the latest developments in science efficacy for a symbiotic union between nature and science in the fight against visible signs of ageing. 

Our skincare philosophy is to protect the skin during the day and repair it from any damage in the evening. We favour a simplified regime compromised of potent, active ingredients.


SHOP:  Morning Dew Vitamin C Serum

The healing alchemy of New Zealand botanicals are combined with Vitamin C and E to protect the skin from photodamage, lighten dark spots and give skin a dewy glow. 

SHOP: Yellow Moonbeam Retinal Elixir

Powerful New Zealand plant antioxidants are combined with an anti-ageing hero; retinaldehyde, to boost cell turnover to create a healthy and youthful appearance. This punchy little gang of high strength ingredients work together to repair damaged skin cells, boost collagen, reduce wrinkles, and promote firmer, rejuvenated skin while you sleep.

SHOP: Cocoon Ceramide Cream

The finest mānuka honey MGO850+, wild-harvested alpine rosehip, avocado oil and Antarctic marine algae are combined with ceramides, plant-transforming growth factors, fermented minerals and chebula for plumper, softer skin.


Why is New Zealand's UV Level So High?

Ultraviolet levels in the New Zealand summer are about 40% higher than similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. The earth orbits the sun in an ellipse, not a circle. The closest point of approach of the sun to the earth occurs in December/January, which is the southern hemisphere summer. The furthest away is in June/July, which is the northern hemisphere summer.
  2. During the summer months, there is less ozone in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere.
  3. New Zealand has very clean air.

For more information, see:

  • Dr Richard McKenzie, Senior Research Scientist at NIWA

1., Photoaging: What You Need to Know About the Other Kind of Aging. 2019

2.  Ganceviciene et al. Skin anti-aging strategies, Dermato Endocrinol, 2012 Jul 1; 4(3): 308–319.

3.  McKenzie, UV radiation in the melanoma capital of the world: What makes New Zealand so different?

4.  Gould, et al. Antioxidant activities of extracts from traditional Maori food plants. March 2006, New Zealand Journal of Botany 44(1):1-4

5.  NZTE, New Zealand Consider the Source, 2017

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