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Creating Indigo: Research and Development

Creating Indigo: Research and Development

After learning about the historic and healing properties of Japanese Indigo, also known as Indigo Naturalis, I was more intrigued than ever to find it and experience its effects on the skin myself. Through much research, I found out about a small family farm in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan that still grew and harvested natural indigo fields.

Before long, I was meeting with the grower himself, who shared even more fascinating details about this ancient and powerful botanical.

The grower, Bando-san, told me Indigo is notoriously difficult to grow because it absorbs the nutrients from the soil around it. His farm, however, is flooded by riverbanks annually, replenishing the needed nutrients. He also shared with me the reason he was so passionate about natural Indigo: he had long suffered with serious skin issues that left him scarred and swollen. His wife spent tireless hours experimenting with indigo, steaming and cooking it every way she could think of to maximize the potency of the extract. The soap she created restored his skin’s natural healthy glow.

He agreed to provide the indigo for our formulations, and we brought the precious botanical to our expert team in Tokyo. Our chemists created a precision milling process that would create an efficacious and luxurious emulsion, which they suspended in our signature liquid Silk moisturizer. When I tried the first lab sample a few weeks later, I was astounded by the results I saw on my own steroid-resistant eczema in just one application.

But there was one concern: the high percentage of active Indigo in the cream left the skin tinged blue. The color rinsed away easily and didn’t stain, but was still startling to see; I wasn’t sure how such a shockingly colored formula would be received.

My concerns dissipated as I received more and more requests for lab samples of the treatment balm – friends, editors, even the woman at the gym across the street from our headquarters.

When we commissioned tests on the collection, participants with eczema suffering from cracked, irritated skin lesions showed up to 67% improvement in symptoms including redness, inflammation and cracking within two weeks. We weren’t the only ones finding these results; the Journal of the American Medical Association published research from other scientists whose studies found up to 81% improvement in severe dermatitis when treated with natural indigo.

These results excited me so much, I was convinced TATCHA needed to share this cream with everyone who needed its help. Work on the Indigo Collection began in earnest, and we learned much more about this incredible botanical along the way.

Click here to explore our Indigo Collection.

Victoria Signature

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

Published January 13, 2014
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