Revitalize Aging Skin Using Advanced TherapeuticsAugust 2017
By Michael Downey
Back in the 1980s, a prescription cream used to treat acne was accidentally found to have age-reversal effects on the skin.
The brand name of this cream was Retin-A®. Its active ingredient (retinoic acid) was found to increase collagen production when applied topically.
Rather than depend on a prescription cream that carries warnings to avoid exposure to UV-light, researchers began experimenting with different potencies of a topical nutrient called retinyl palmitate.
They discovered that a 1.0% concentration of retinyl palmitate enables noticeable skin-cell renewal. Clinical studies validate reduced fine lines and wrinkles when this highly-concentrated retinyl palmitate is applied daily.1
Similar to prescription topical creams, retinyl palmitate (1.0%) converts to collagen-promoting retinoic acid, but without the exfoliating effects of Retin-A that force people to avoid sunlight.
A second complementary ingredient is a 0.5% concentration of oryza rice-bran ceramides.
When applied topically, this special ceramide creates a protective barrier that retains skin hydration to further reduce wrinkling.2
In human clinical trials, scientists confirm impressive skin rejuvenation benefits when these two ingredients are used at these potencies.
The measurable effects include reduced fine lines and wrinkles as well as restoration of moisture. These studies were performed on sun damaged, time ravaged, aging skin.
Since skin is a living organ, it needs continuous nourishment to function at youthful capacity. Armed with data from successful trials, researchers identified additional nutrients that can stave off skin aging factors.
They discovered nutrients that “feed” the skin and complement the potent activity of retinyl palmitate and oryza rice-bran ceramides.
The upshot is a new skin “cocktail” that provides a broad spectrum of science-based restorative agents not found in any other skin-care program.
The Evolution of Skin Science
Our faces often reveal our age and the state of our health. Many people who have not cared for their skin can look much older than they are.
Skin rejuvenation utilizing clinically tested ingredients is transforming into evidence-based reality.
One group of scientists wrote: “Active ingredients go well beyond simple moisturizers and exert a more complex activity in protecting skin…”3
Reporting on visible skin restoration results, scientists writing in a dermatological journal concluded that certain nutrients used in advanced skin care are “…closer to drugs in preventing and treating wrinkles.”3
Innovative bioactive compounds have been identified that reduce underlying causes of skin degeneration. These compounds complement other established ingredients to:
- Increase cell renewal
- Enhance hydration
- Decrease oxidation/inflammation
Triggering Skin-Cell Renewal
1.0% Retinyl Palmitate
Often prescribed by dermatologists to revitalize tired, aging skin, retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A derivative, binds with specific skin-cell receptors to trigger skin renewal.
The potency of 1.0% retinyl palmitate is almost impossible to find in commercial skin-care products, yet has been shown in human studies to visibly reduce the signs of skin aging.4
To test the age-reducing effects of topical application of 1.0% retinyl palmitate, scientists conducted a clinical study on 67 female volunteers with photodamaged skin. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a topical formula containing retinyl palmitate (with vitamin E and moisturizers) or no treatment. Every evening the treatment group applied the product to their faces, necks, décolletages, outer arms, and lower legs.4
After 12 weeks—compared to both the no-treatment group and to baseline—the face and neck areas of the treated women demonstrated significant improvements in fine lines, coarse wrinkles, mottled pigmentation, uneven skin tone, roughness, firmness, and clarity of the skin. The décolletage, arms, and lower-legs areas exhibited reduced levels of crepe-like skin texture, dryness, scaling, and roughness.4
These impressive results would probably not have been possible with a lesser dose of retinyl palmitate. The 1.0% amount is a recognized clinical dose.
Increase Skin Collagen
As we age, the skin’s protein content decreases. Topical retinyl palmitate was shown in animal studies to reverse this trend. Scientists documented a 32% increase in skin protein content and an impressive 128% increase in collagen—the skin’s main structural protein. Another result was a beneficial thickening of the protective epidermis.5
Unlike many other skin-care ingredients, retinyl palmitate easily penetrates the skin’s epidermis, where it also boosts vitamin A content.6,7 The skin needs vitamin A for renewal and achieving a healthy and firm skin matrix. Generating increased vitamin A levels in the skin help it maintain youthful regeneration.8
To verify that retinyl palmitate increases vitamin A levels in the skin, researchers conducted a mouse study and found that a topically applied, 1.0% concentration of retinyl palmitate increased the skin’s content of vitamin A by more than four-fold.9
As a word of caution, be aware that many cosmetics use a similar ingredient called retinol, which can cause irritation and redness to the skin. However, retinyl palmitate is extremely well tolerated. For maximum effectiveness, it is best to use the clinically validated dosage of 1.0% retinyl palmitate.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel verified that a 1.0% concentration of retinyl palmitate is a safe cosmetic agent.10
For restorative skin care, 1.0% retinyl palmitate does the important work of generating skin renewal. When combined with 0.5% oryza rice-bran ceramides, the skin is protected and freshened with vital moisture.
0.5% Oryza Rice-Bran Ceramides
As skin ages, it becomes depleted of protective, waxy lipid molecules known as ceramides. The result is a decrease in skin hydration and protective-barrier function.11 Wrinkles are more apparent when skin is dehydrated. Optimal hydration is a sign of youthful, vibrant skin.
In order to replace vital ceramides to the skin’s surface, scientists have discovered a way to extract ceramides from oryza rice bran, making it ideal for improving skin health when applied topically.12
Rice-bran ceramides prevent water loss and contribute to the skin’s protection against microbes and its protective barrier function.2
The effectiveness of oryza rice-bran ceramides was made clear in a three-week human study that applied either a rice-derived ceramide preparation or placebo to the skin of volunteers.
What the scientists found was important improvement to the moisture content of the skin. Those patients who applied the oryza rice-bran ceramide cream had better hydrated skin. In the study, those using the oryza rice-bran ceramides showed that water content in the outermost skin layer was boosted by 141% compared to 111% in placebo recipients. The water-loss rate was reduced to just 23% of baseline among treated volunteers, compared to a loss rate of 39% of baseline among placebo subjects.13
Another study looked at ceramides topically applied to the skin of children with atopic dermatitis. This is a condition in which skin dryness and inflammation mimic some elements of skin aging. The ceramides improved clinical symptoms by improving skin barrier function and ameliorating abnormalities.14
These topical rice-bran ceramides compliment the internal moisturizing effects of oral wheat-derived ceramides.
A Rejuvenating Peptide
Peptides are compounds that consist of two or more amino acids. The role of specialized peptides in reversing systemic aging processes is being rigorously investigated.
A 2015 published study identified a bioactive peptide called hexapeptide-11 as having profound anti-aging properties when applied topically.15
Hexapeptide-11 was shown to delay markers of aging and enhance elasticity to yield younger looking skin.15
Applying a serum providing a 2.8% concentration of hexapeptide-11 under day or night creams provides a nourishing foundation for dermal renewal.
Complementary Ingredients for Healthy Skin
As researchers dug deeper into the treatment of skin aging, they found additional ingredients that complemented the work of both retinyl palmitate 1.0% and 0.5% oryza rice-bran ceramides. By targeting different areas and mechanisms of skin aging, these researchers developed one of the most complete treatment programs against the numerous factors of skin aging. Following are the additional ingredients that they investigated and incorporated into the treatment program.
Transdermal water loss increases with aging as skin becomes thinner.16-18 This moisture loss is accelerated by decreased levels of hyaluronic acid, which plays a role in the skin’s supple and elastic properties.19
Our skin’s natural content of hyaluronic acid is destroyed by enzymes such as hyaluronidase and matrix metalloproteinases (such as MMP-1). This loss of moisture contributes to biological skin aging.16,20,21
Hyaluronic acid binds water molecules and provides a gelatinous matrix in which collagen fibers are embedded. This provides youthful skin suppleness.19,22 Production of collagen and elastin—proteins that provide skin elasticity—are also dependent on hyaluronic acid.23
To fully document the impact of hyaluronic acid on skin moisture and flexibility, researchers enlisted 76 women, aged 30 to 60, to apply a 0.1% hyaluronic-acid cream twice daily around one eye and a placebo cream around the other eye. After 60 days, the hyaluronic cream visibly demonstrated improvements in hydration and elasticity, with remarkable reductions in wrinkle depth and maximum roughness.24
Topically applied beta-glucans have been shown to help speed the healing of burn-induced tissue damage, in part by restoring depleted levels of oxidant-reducing compounds.25
And, in clinical research, the use of beta-glucans has been shown to protect and even reverse skin wrinkling due to environmental exposure.26
When applied topically, beta-glucans, derived from natural sources, also lock in valuable skin moisture. Beta-glucans are thought to penetrate deeper layers and circulate in the spaces between live skin cells (keratinocytes) and connective tissue cells (fibroblasts).
Scientists believe that beta-glucans stimulate fibroblasts to produce procollagen and collagen by stimulating the release of certain growth factors.27 This action reverses some of the undesirable changes in skin associated with aging and cumulative sun damage—changes that are directly related to loss of collagen and procollagen.28
Importance of Reducing Oxidation/Inflammation
The skin’s ability to reduce harmful oxidation fades with age, causing accumulation of damaged cells that cannot be repaired and make skin appear tired and lifeless.
As the body’s natural protection against oxidation diminishes, continuous contact with air, chemical, and radiation stresses result in a telltale photoaged appearance.29-31
A string of scientific studies has identified nutrients that target the skin’s reduced ability to fight off oxidation, which includes topical vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea extract.
Vitamin C Targets UV Damage
Vitamin C is a well-recognized oxidation-decreasing nutrient. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated its capacity to target both clinical and subjective signs of UV-damage to facial skin when applied topically.32-36
Vitamin E Inhibits Skin Damage
Vitamin E has a strong track record of inhibiting skin damage, including photoaging.37
Despite its vital skin functions, vitamin E is found in decreased amounts in aging skin.38
Topical vitamin E helps prevent photoaging, reduces inflammation-triggering fat oxidation, and mitigates the cancer-inducing impact of UV radiation.37
Green Tea Reduces Age Acceleration
Polyphenol-rich green tea leaves naturally protect against UV radiation, as well as oxidative and other chemical stresses.
Cultured human skin cells treated with the predominant green tea polyphenol (EGCG) produced substantially less of a “matrix-destroying” enzyme called MMP-1.
This demonstrated green tea’s potential to prevent collagen degradation, which is a hallmark of premature skin aging.39
In human volunteers, topical green tea protected skin from the damage and the impaired immune function that normally results from UV radiation—independently of any sunscreen-like effects.40
Shea Butter for Essential Moisture
Shea butter is a vitamin E-rich fat extract of an African plant. It is a potent moisturizing agent.41,42 Research indicates that Shea butter ingredients provide significant UV protection.43
Sunflower Seed Oil Enhances Hydration
Sunflower seed oil supports the integrity of the skin’s stratum corneum—the outermost layer of the epidermis—and enhances hydration, as demonstrated in randomized clinical research.44
Raspberry Extract Stimulates Ceramide Production
Raspberry plant extracts are rich in phenolic and oil-soluble compounds. These oil-soluble compounds are also critical components of the skin barrier. When tested on skin cells, raspberry extract induced genes responsible for skin hydration and production of hyaluronic acid, while stimulating expression of ceramide production.45
In their search for an effective, science-based topical application to reduce skin aging, scientists identified both 1.0% retinyl palmitate and 0.5% oryza rice-bran ceramides as a powerful approach to skin rejuvenation. Clinical studies verified the impact of these two ingredients on restoring aging skin.
In an effort to create the most complete skin-care product, researchers investigated and included a long list of complementary ingredients ranging from beta-glucans and hyaluronic acid to green tea, vitamin C, and raspberry extract.
The result is a major advance that works through multiple channels to preserve and restore the vitality of youthful skin.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
- Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, et al. Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):327-48.
- Coderch L, Lopez O, de la Maza A, et al. Ceramides and skin function. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(2):107-29.
- Rona C, Vailati F, Berardesca E. The cosmetic treatment of wrinkles. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004;3(1):26-34.
- Rawlings AV, Stephens TJ, Herndon JH, et al. The effect of a vitamin A palmitate and antioxidant-containing oil-based moisturizer on photodamaged skin of several body sites. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2013;12(1):25-35.
- Counts DF, Skreko F, McBEE J. The effect of retinyl palmitate on skin composition and rnorphornetry. J. Soc. Cosmet. Chem. 1988;39:235-40.
- Yan J, Wamer WG, Howard PC, et al. Levels of retinyl palmitate and retinol in the stratum corneum, epidermis, and dermis of female SKH-1 mice topically treated with retinyl palmitate. Toxicol Ind Health. 2006;22(4):181-91.
- Antille C, Tran C, Sorg O, et al. Penetration and metabolism of topical retinoids in ex vivo organ-cultured full-thickness human skin explants. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2004;17(3):124-8.
- Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-A. Accessed May 31, 2017.
- Yan J, Xia Q, Wamer WG, et al. Levels of retinyl palmitate and retinol in the skin of SKH-1 mice topically treated with retinyl palmitate and concomitant exposure to simulated solar light for thirteen weeks. Toxicol Ind Health. 2007;23(10):581-9.
- CIR Expert Panel. Safety Assessment of Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate as Used in Cosmetics. Paper presented at: Cosmetic Ingredient Review.2012.
- Imokawa G, Abe A, Jin K, et al. Decreased level of ceramides in stratum corneum of atopic dermatitis: an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin? J Invest Dermatol. 1991;96(4):523-6.
- Oryza Oil & Fat Chemical Co L. Oryza Ceramide. 2007.
- Asai S, Miyachi H. Evaluation of skin-moisturizing effects of oral or percutaneous use of plant ceramides. Rinsho Byori. 2007;55(3): 209-15.
- Chamlin SL, Frieden IJ, Fowler A, et al. Ceramide-dominant, barrier-repair lipids improve childhood atopic dermatitis. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(8):1110-2.
- Sklirou AD, Ralli M, Dominguez M, et al. Hexapeptide-11 is a novel modulator of the proteostasis network in human diploid fibroblasts. Redox Biol. 2015;5:205-15.
- Narurkar VA, Fabi SG, Bucay VW, et al. Rejuvenating Hydrator: Restoring Epidermal Hyaluronic Acid Homeostasis With Instant Benefits. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(1 Suppl 2):s24-37.
- Wilhelm KP, Cua AB, Maibach HI. Skin aging. Effect on transepidermal water loss, stratum corneum hydration, skin surface pH, and casual sebum content. Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(12):1806-9.
- Luebberding S, Krueger N, Kerscher M. Age-related changes in skin barrier function - quantitative evaluation of 150 female subjects. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013;35(2):183-90.
- Sudha PN, Rose MH. Beneficial effects of hyaluronic acid. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2014;72:137-76.
- Widgerow AD, Grekin SK. Effecting skin renewal: a multifaceted approach. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2011;10(2):126-30.
- Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-8.
- Lee DH, Oh JH, Chung JH. Glycosaminoglycan and proteoglycan in skin aging. J Dermatol Sci. 2016;83(3):174-81.
- Landau M, Fagien S. Science of Hyaluronic Acid Beyond Filling: Fibroblasts and Their Response to the Extracellular Matrix. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015;136(5 Suppl):188s-95s.
- Pavicic T, Gauglitz GG, Lersch P, et al. Efficacy of cream-based novel formulations of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights in anti-wrinkle treatment. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(9):990-1000.
- Toklu HZ, Sener G, Jahovic N, et al. beta-glucan protects against burn-induced oxidative organ damage in rats. Int Immunopharmacol. 2006;6(2):156-69.
- Du B, Bian Z, Xu B. Skin health promotion effects of natural beta-glucan derived from cereals and microorganisms: a review. Phytother Res. 2014;28(2):159-66.
- Wei D, Zhang L, Williams DL, et al. Glucan stimulates human dermal fibroblast collagen biosynthesis through a nuclear factor-1 dependent mechanism. Wound Repair Regen. 2002;10(3):161-8.
- Quan T, He T, Kang S, et al. Solar ultraviolet irradiation reduces collagen in photoaged human skin by blocking transforming growth factor-beta type II receptor/Smad signaling. Am J Pathol. 2004;165(3):741-51.
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- Aghaei S, Nilforoushzadeh MA, Aghaei M. The role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-coactivator-1 gene in skin aging. J Res Med Sci. 2016;21:36.
- Dreher F, Gabard B, Schwindt DA, et al. Topical melatonin in combination with vitamins E and C protects skin from ultraviolet-induced erythema: a human study in vivo. Br J Dermatol. 1998;139(2):332-9.
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