What are parabens and preservatives?

In recent years, consumers have become more aware of what products or ingredients they place on their skin regardless of marketing claims. Therefore, it is very important for brands to educate their consumers on what ingredients they put into their products before gaining trust from the consumers. Studies have shown that there has been a trend to reduce the use of parabens and preservatives in many cosmetic formulations for a variety of reasons including the safety of the ingredients themselves. Microbial contamination in cosmetic or food products may actually cause a major risk for the health of the consumer, regardless of topical or consumed products.

Preservatives are added to products to inhibit the development of microorganisms to increase the shelf-life of the products so that they can remain on the shelves for a longer time. They also have other functions such as to preserve the appearance of the food or cosmetic product, and also saving the products from spoilage from microbes. Parabens are considered chemical preservative ingredients used in cosmetic products, food products and also pharmaceuticals. They are able to prevent the growth of fungi, bacteria and yeast effectively and therefore are powerful preservatives for products which need to be shipped over long distances for longer periods of time. Parabens have been used more often because they have good antimicrobial activity, water and oil solubility, good stability over a wide pH range and also they are sold at very low prices.

Fact or Fiction?

Studies have found that parabens are actually able to penetrate the skin and even enter the bloodstream to reach parts of the body. In 2004, a group of scientists were able to find trace residues of “intact” parabens in human breast cancer tissues and suggested that these traces could have come from topical application of cosmetic products with parabens as the ingredient. Parabens are safe to use at concentrations of up to 0.4% (single paraben) or 0.8% (mixture), but when used consistently, they may accumulate and become a safety issue. Preservatives are also biologically active, and so, they may be toxic, and cause skin sensitisation.

Does The Lightening Serum contain preservatives and parabens?

No, na-dah, nyet, nein. The Lightening Serum by 28cubed does not contain preservatives as we do not want our consumers to experience skin sensitization and other health-related issues and several of our ingredients naturally have their own antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, such as maltol. With the presence of these ingredients and our packaging design, we are good to go without the need for preservatives. The cartridges are sealed once they are manufactured and filled and once open, they are directed to be used in a week. Within this time, there is minimal microbial contamination and the self-preserving properties of the ingredients are definitely sufficient to protect the serum for a good amount of time.
By delivering our product to consumers as hygienically as possible and doing our best to avoid contamination and bacterial growth within the product, you can be assured that our product is safe to use on your skin, with no unnatural side effects.

Find out more about The Lightening Serum and its 3 unique food based actives responsible for a revolutionary solution to excess pigmentation.

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The Science Behind Sunscreen

Sunscreen or sunblock is used to protect the skin from excess UV exposure, which can cause various types of skin cancer. There are two main types of UV radiation that affects the skin: UVA and UVB radiation. The former has the longest wavelength and penetrates deeper into the epidermis of the skin and is able to reach the dermis where the living skin cells are present.

UV Damage on the Skin

UVA radiation may result in skin conditions such as loose skin, sun spots and can also affect the DNA which increases the risk of cancer. It causes oxidative stress by activating the endogenous photosensitizers which may indirectly lead to DNA damage and long-term photoaging.

UVB radiation, on the other hand, reaches the superficial layers of the skin and mainly causes redness, sun burn and also skin cancer. UVB rays can directly damage DNA and proteins in the skin cells of the epidermis and is linked to erythema or sunburn. Both UVA and UVB radiation suppresses the immune system, which is associated with the development of skin cancers and may contribute to the development of melanoma.

Also, UV radiation signal the skin cells to produce more melanin to try to protect the skin from burning or damaging the skin. This overproduction of melanin results in pigmentation problems at different areas of the skin which is in contact with the sun, resulting in uneven skin tone. Sunscreens are therefore used as a form of protection to reduce or prevent such skin issues.

Sunscreen Ingredients & How they protect the skin?

Up to date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 17 active ingredients for use in sunscreens. Chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients may be used to help protect the skin from UV damage. Physical sunscreen products make use of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as a physical barrier to reflect and scatter the UV rays from the skin surface. They typically appear white and opaque and is unfavourable by many consumers.

Chemical sunscreen ingredients, on the other hand, are able to absorb the UV radiation and dissipate the energy into another form. Examples are oxybenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate, avobenzene and many more. Sunscreens with these chemical actives are usually colourless or translucent to give a more favourable appearance and consumer experience.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) primarily measures the ability to block the skin’s response to UVB radiation. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) came up with an analogy to make SPF easier to understand to a consumer: “When using a SPF of 15, a fair-skinned person who normally sunburns in 20 minutes of midday sun exposure may tolerate 15 times 20 minutes (300 minutes) without burning”. To quantify SPF values, SPF of 15 blocks out 94% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks out 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks out 98% of UVB rays.

Consumers also do not use the appropriate amount of sunscreen per area to achieve the specific SPF value as claimed on the products. The internationally agreed application amount is 2 mg/cm2, but consumers only apply between 0.5 and 1.5 mg/cm2. Therefore, they do not get the full protection as expected and still may experience sunburn or other types of skin cancers.

How The Lightening Serum reverses the sun’s damage on the skin?

The Lightening Serum by 28cubed acts on the “excited” skin cells which are activated by UV radiation and calms it down by signalling the cells to produce less of this excess melanin, with the combination of Po3™. Once the dermis layer produces melanocytes with less melanin, the new cells are revealed on the top-most layer of the skin once the dead skin cells are shed. This way, The Lightening Serum keeps the skin cells from being agitated from any UV radiation.

Find out more about how The Lightening Serum uses food science technology to help you achieve brighter, more even and younger looking skin here.

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The secret behind achieving a brighter, whiter skin tone

Clear, radiant skin has always been a topic of conversation for most women and even men in Asia. With that, there is no surprise that dark skin or pigmented skin has been a topic of controversy in Asia and fairness is always promoted as a ‘plus point’ for women. Additionally, in a study done by Chanel on forty Chinese women in 2014, it showed that the fairness and “purity of the complexion” had a significant influence on the assumed age of a person1. Therefore, anti-pigmentation or whitening products became more popularly viewed as anti-ageing products as well.

How brightening and whitening products work

Most whitening products work by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme, which plays a major role in melanin synthesis in the skin. Brightening, on the other hand, is achieved by exfoliation or removal of dead skin cells, which makes the skin look more radiant and glowing. The skin undergoes constant renewal, and every 28 days (could be longer for older adults), dead cells on the top most layer of the skin is replaced by newer cells. When these dead cells are shed, a brighter, fresher-looking layer of skin is revealed.

Common whitening/ brightening ingredients

Whitening ingredients commonly used for decades in the cosmetic industry are kojic acid, niacinamide, hydroquinone, vitamin C, arbutin, and retinol. For brightening, these include ingredients such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, and also vitamin C. These ingredients, if not used at high dosages, do not give high efficacy. However, there are specific restrictions for each of these ingredients and for a good efficacy, they have to be used at a dosage that is much greater than the specified limit. This could then result in undesirable effects on the skin or uneven skin tone.

How Po3™ promotes brightening

The three actives that make up Po3™ (Sodium Saccharin, Ginseng Root Extract, and Cocoa Seed Extract) have different metabolic and signalling pathways which target different enzymes and proteins in the melanogenesis process. In several market whitening/brightening products, the actives used frequently act on one pathway and sometimes this may not be effective for all skin type, ethnicity, etc. By targeting different pathways in the skin melanogenesis cycle, it allows most people to effectively experience skin lightening/ brightening without that disappointment once again.

The Lightening Serum by 28cubed works with the skin’s 28-day rejuvenation cycle to reveal a brighter, younger looking skin by targeting different sections of the cycle which causes skin pigmentation and darkening. By working from the inside out, The Lightening Serum is effective in targeting excess pigmentation in the long run, giving you brighter, more even and younger looking skin.

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Understanding Hyperpigmentation with 28Cubed

What is pigmentation?

Pigmentation is what gives your skin its colour and is caused by the presence of melanin. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the colour of our skin, hair, and eyes in all humans and animals- thus, darker skinned individuals have more melanin in their skin as compared to lighter skinned individuals.

Your skins’ pigmentation levels may be affected by a variety of different factors – genetics, your exposure to the sun, hormones, or even inflammation. When this occurs, your skin may become darker, referred to as hyperpigmentation, or lighter, hypopigmentation.

Understanding hyperpigmentation

An example of hyperpigmentation (cr: medicalnewstoday)

Hyperpigmentation occurs when your skin starts to produce an excess of melanin, resulting in a darker skin tone, or patches of unevenly darkened patches of skin around your face or your body. Melanin is a brown pigment, produced by melanocytes which are found in the bottom layer of the epidermis and give us the colour of our skin.
Listed below are the most common forms of hyperpigmentation:

Pigment spots/ age spots/ liver spots

Age spots are often described as flat spots on the skin which are darker in colour – usually dark brown, gray, or black. They develop on areas of your body or face which are more exposed to the sun. It is also believed that skin aging and high levels of exposure to the sun and UV rays are likely causes of age spots.

People most likely to develop such spots are those:

  • Older than 40
  • Those with fairer skin
  • People who spend extended periods of time in the sun
  • Frequent sun bed users

You may keep in mind that these darker spots are not dangerous and do not cause any health issues – however, if you believe that a particular dark spot may be an indication of something more severe, do visit a medical professional.

Melasma/ Cholasma

Also known as ‘the mask of pregnancy’, melasma usually occurs on the forehead, cheeks, and around the mouth area. These dark patches often appear on both sides of the face in a similar pattern. It is associated with hormonal changes and typically lasts until the end of the pregnancy. Women who consume birth control pills may also experience these dark spots from the changes in hormone levels. The chances of you developing melasma may be elevated if you spend extended periods of time in the sun. This is because ultimately melasma are darkened spots of pigmentated which is produced when melanin producing cells are triggered by sunlight or UV rays

People prone to melasma are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who consume birth control pills or any other forms of medication that might interfere with hormone levels  

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

A temporary form of pigmentation normally occurs when a skin injury heals, or when the skin is triggered by an inflammatory disorder ( e.g. dermatitis, or infections). When this happens, this inflammation and damage to the epidermis or dermis trigger melanocytes to produce excess melanin, forming dark pigmented spots that remain on your skin long after the wound has recovered. This is also known as scarring. It is recommended to apply sunscreen to the affected area to minimise darkening within the pigmented spot.

How does The Lightening Serum help you target hyperpigmentation?

The Lightening Serum by 28Cubed helps you achieve a brighter, more even skin tone by targeting the process of excess melanin production within your skin. This way, your darker spots are corrected from within, using our unique, patented blend of active ingredients – Po3™.

Po3™ works from the inside out, based on the skin’s 28 day rejuvenation cycle, instead of bleaching the skin using acids or peels. This ensures that the surface of your skin remains undamaged and healthy.

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Understanding acne

We all have that one insecurity we can never seem to get rid of and if that insecurity happens to be your skin, fret not because you are not alone.

In fact, 1 to 9 billion people suffer from skin problems worldwide– acne being one of the most common skin disorders treated by doctors and dermatologists, with 90% of the world’s population having been affected by it at any one point of their lives. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not limited to teenagers, but could be a standing skin issue faced by men and women of all ages. Often, improper treatment of acne could result in severe scarring or recurring lesions. Read on for more information on acne, it’s symtoms, and how to treat it.


Acne is a recurring inflammatory skin condition caused by hormonal changes during puberty, which could be then further aggravated by other genetic, environmental, or physical factors. There are 3 main forms of acne: mild acne in the form of a few occasional pimples, moderate acne that results in inflamed, swollen papules, or severe acne where individuals suffere from stubborn, inflamed breakouts, nodules, and cysts.

Although acne is primarily a usual physiologic occurrence, certain factors may exacerbate the condition. Examples of such factors are:

  • Fluctuating hormonal levels during the time of menstruation
  • Excessively picking at or prodding acne lesions
  • Unclean environments
  • Unclean head/face gear

Acne may be treated in several different ways, from the use of special facewashes or topical lotions, to the use of specific lasers or pulse-light therapies.

The three most popular treatments for acne are:

Benzoyl peroxide

Recommended for mild acne, benzoyl peroxide is believed to destroy bacteria associated with acne. Like many   over-the-counter and prescription products, it does not affect sebum production or the skin cycle, and when you stop application, the acne comes back. It is available in many forms, such as creams, lotions, and gels. Benzoyl peroxide may cause dry skin, so consult a professional before application.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid helps unclog pores to resolve and prevent acne lesions. For maximum effect on acne, it must be used continuously, because when you stop application, pores clog up again and the acne returns. Salicylic acid is available in many acne products, including lotions, creams, and pads.

Topical retinol gel

 Retinol works to keep pimples from forming by affecting the growth of cells, causing increased cell turnover to unblock pores. In some individuals, their acne may appear to get worse before it gets better because it will work on the pimples that have already started forming beneath your skin. It must be applied continuously and may take 8-12 weeks for visible results.

Acne scarring

In some individuals, severe acne may lead to acne scarring. There are mainly 5 types of acne scarring.

These are wide, U-shaped scars that have sharp edges. They can be shallow or deep. The shallower they are, the better they respond to skin resurfacing treatments.

Ice pick
Ice pick scars are narrow, V-shaped scars that can go deep into the skin. They can look like small round or oval holes, like a chickenpox scar. These are the most difficult scars to treat because they can extend far under the surface of the skin.

These are wide depressions that normally have rounded edges and an irregular appearance.

Hypertrophic or raised scars
Hypertrophic scars are most common with chest and back acne. They stand above the surface of the surrounding skin and are caused by too much collagen when healing.

Dark Spots
Discoloration left behind after a pimple has cleared is not considered a scar. These purple, red, or brown marks will fade over a few months on their own.


Acne scars are often treated with acids (Alpha hydroxy, salicylic, or lactic), retinoids, or chemical peels.
Each treatment targets a different form of scarring. However, they can be harsh on sensitive skin and could possibly cause photosensitivity. Therefore, it is always important to consult a medical professional before applying or ingesting any form of medication.

To understand more about your skin and keep up to date with 28Cubed, visit the rest of our skin magazine and sign up for our newsletter!


The Lightening Serum dispenser – innovative, novel, convenient

We challenged our product performance designers to find a solution that would suit the modern lifestyle, be intuitive to use and simplify our customers lives.

The device dispenses an exact dose and completes within 3 steps – tilt and lift, push to dispense and put back down on the base.

One of our customers commented that after 4 days, they didn’t even think about it when picking up the dispenser and dispensing.

Each cartridge contains 14 doses. It will last for 7 days as we recommend twice daily applications on your face, neck and hands.

When we first met the final device, it became clear we found the winner. No fumbling with droppers or making a mess, or even wondering whether you have too much or too little applied.

Perfect for the modern lifestyle…

We were inspired by….

The fountain pen, the device is refillable, streamlined and aspirational.

Precise dosage creams used in the medical field, the device gives the exact dose required.

Ergonomic design, the device is used with one hand, hygienic and travel-friendly – plus it saves space and looks good!

Did you hear?

There is a trend where people are adding a few drops of serum into their other skincare products. We do not recommend mixing The Lightening Serum with other products because the dosage of active ingredients have been carefully formulated.

The Lightening Serum contains 3 food-based molecules that when combined, form Po3™ , a potent, novel combination of active ingredients that target the production of excess pigmentation at the root level.

Join 283 on a new, innovative skincare journey to brighter, more even and younger looking skin with The Lightening Serum!

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Understanding the 28 day skin cycle

As many of us know, our skin is the body’s largest organ and the first barrier of defence against external germs, infections, and UV radiation. Additionally, our skin also helps us express ourselves – be it the pallor of fear or the flush of anger. 

That being said, let’s explore beneath of surface of one of our body’s most complex and vital organs.

Skin’s 3 layers

The skin consists of three distinct layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous layer. The outer layer of the skin, and also the thinnest layer, is the epidermis, which provides a waterproof barrier and creates one’s skin tones. It is also this layer of the skin which is mainly made up of dead skin cells that are consistently washing off and flaking. These old skin cells are replaced by new skin cells that have been produced within the lower layers of the epidermis, which have been moved upwards towards the surface of the skin. This entire rejuvenation process occurs within every 28 days for the average middle-aged adult. 

The average time taken for a full skin cycle increases with each progressive stage of our life, with teenagers experiencing it every 10 – 21 days, while people in their 40’s and 50’s experiencing it every 45 – 60 days.

Effects of Po3™ on excess pigment production within our skin


The epidermis also houses unique cells called melanocytes. These cells are responsible for the production of the pigment melanin, which are then moved up towards the top layer of the epidermis, resulting in the pigment visible on your skin – be it your natural skin tone or specific pigment spots like acne scarring, age spots, and freckles.

However, these forms of excess pigmentation can be addressed with The Lightening Serum, which promotes brighter, even and younger looking skin with the use of potent food-derived actives. These actives target the production of pigmentation at root, thus effectively reducing visible pigmentation on the surface of your skin.

In addition to reducing pigmentation, it is also important to lather on the sunscreen and ensure that your skin is protected from excessive UV radiation, which may cause premature ageing, and in serious cases, skin cancer. Remember to be kind to your skin and it will be kind to you!

5 interesting skin facts

Five interesting facts about our skin

There’s no doubt that our skin is one of the most important parts of our body. From regulating our temperature by controlling the transfer of heat out of the body, to existing as the body’s first external barrier against bacteria, dirt, and UV radiation, our skin is one of the most complex and important organs in our body. Here are 5 more interesting facts about the largest organ in your body.

Our skin in numbers

  • The average adult has approximately 21 square feet of skin, which weighs 9 lbs – that’s the weight of one juicy watermelon
  • More than 1,000 species of bacteria live on your skin
  • The thickest part of the skin can be found on your feet (1,4mm) and the thinnest on your eyelids (0,2mm – the thickness of two pieces of paper) 
  • Your skin is made up of about 300 million skin cells and every minute 30,000 dead cells are shed by the skin
  • Dead skin comprises about a billion tons of dust in the earth’s atmosphere

Not only is your skin one of the most interesting and complex organs in our body, it is essential in keeping us healthy by producing melanin which absorbs harmful UV radiation, diverting it away from healthy cells. However, an increase in melanin means more pigmentation within your skin, resulting in a darker skin tone, and more obvious pigmentation spots.

We know, we spent four years understanding, testing and learning about every aspect of skin.Through trying to understand how skin works, we came up with The Lightening Serum that works naturally with your skin and gives you the Po3™ power you need to solve pigmentation!

The Lightening Serum reverses the UV radiation damage done on your skin throughout your lifetime by targeting pigmentation at the root cause within your skin. Regardless of whether you have pigmentation issues, take good care of your skin and it will treat you well. We suggest you see a dermatologist at least once a year to keep your largest organ in tip-top condition!

Shop The Lightening Serum here.


Identifying and understanding your skin type

It isn’t a secret that the key to good skin is to first identify your skin type. In fact, according to dermatologists, your skin care routine should be specifically tailored to your skin type.

Then there comes the issue of uncovering which category your skin falls into. Normal, dry, oily, sensitive, or a combination of several – it isn’t easy to solve this mystery on your own, so here’s where we come in!


Normal skin is generally not defined as oily or dry, but rather exists in a balance between the two. Normal skin rarely faces excess shine or flaking and cracking, with few lines, wrinkles, and blemishes. Although well balanced, normal skin is not perfect and may have the occasional breakout, or may face other skin issues.

People with normal skin should use products that dry out their skin or that cause excess oil production. Stick to a regular skin care routine to ensure consistency. 


Dry skin is often due to a lack of moisture and may be characterised by a dry and flaky texture, and a tight sensation all over your face. Contrary to popular belief, dry skin is sometimes caused by a lack of natural moisturising factors, which help to bind in water, and epidermal lipids, such as fatty acids, which are essential in nurturing a healthy skin barrier. 

Combat dryness with a hydrating moisturiser, serums, or facial oils. The more oils found in hydrating products, the better it will be absorbed into the epidermis to hydrate your skin.


Oily skin is often due to a shift in hormone levels in individuals, or to genetic factors. The oil glands in oily skin produce excess amounts of oil and sebum, which then flows to the surface of the skin, clogging pores and resulting in breakouts and the presence comedones.

People with oily skin should not use products that cause excessive drying as this could result in the skin identifying this and producing even more oil to counteract to the lack of moisture. Instead, gently exfoliate to remove the build-up of oil, dead skin, and dirt, and remember to moisturise with products that are lightweight and oil-free.


Combination skin often features more than one skin type on different parts of your face. Typically with your t-zone (your forehead, nose, chin) being shiny and oily, and your cheeks either being dry and flaky or normal.

Treating two or more skin types at the same time requires a consistent skin care routine that does not contain harsh chemicals that could cause inflammation and skin irritation.

The Lightening Serum has been tested to be suitable for all skin types. Additionally, we have conducted safety tests on The Lightening Serum and it has shown to be safe for prolonged, repeated use and does not cause irritancy around the sensitive eye contour area. Learn more about our safety testing here.

Use after cleansing and toning, and before moisturising, sunscreen, and makeup.

Shop The Lightening Serum here.


3 Interesting Facts about Feeding Skin with Food

With an increasing demand for natural, clean products from consumers, food-based skincare has grown into a lifestyle fueled by efficacy, transparency, and sustainability.

Here are 3 interesting facts about food science within the beauty industry that we found this week:

Waste-free beauty

From manufacturing to packaging, brands have come full circle and are looking to achieve a new level of sustainability. This desire has introduced the concept of developing skincare from food waste.

Exfoliants made from seeds and packaging made from recycled paper are just two innovative ways that brands have started to embrace waste-free beauty, fueling both independent initiatives as well as eco-movements all around the world.

Fancy Fermentation

Everyone knows about the advantages of probiotics on your gut health. Recent studies have found that consuming probiotics further helps skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

New York Dermatology Group Founder, Dr David Colbet believes that probiotics consumed intersect with the natural biome of the skin, nurturing the good microorganisms sitting atop our skin, thus boosting skin health and promoting a radiant glow.

Integrative Dermatology

A relatively new term coined to describe a form of dermatology that combined forms of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) with dermatology to treat dermatological conditions. Integrative Dermatology treats the body as a whole using food such as herbal ingredients and “detox” diets, as well as nutritional supplementation.

Here at 283, our food science background inspired the inside out approach for skin care. We started at the root cause of pigmentation and treat it using food based, food-derived molecules – an innovative solution to an age-old problem.

Target pigmentation with The Lightening Serum, infused with Po3™ – The Nutritional Power for Your skin, start your journey today!