Life Extension Magazine®

Older man touching skin after supporting youthful skin structure

Delay Skin Aging with Cutting-Edge Topical DNA Technology

A sequence of your DNA called the telomere determines how long your skin cells live and when they die. Supporting their function lies at the forefront of skin rejuvenation research. Dermatologists have recently identified a key topical nutrient that may turn back the clock on skin aging.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Gary Goldfaden, MD, and Robert Goldfaden.

Book Excerpt: Your Bones

There’s an on/off switch located within the nuclear DNA of every cell in your body—including your skin cells. It controls how long they live and when they die.

Most dermatologists have never heard of it.

Known as the telomere, its role as a master regulator of cellular aging now lies at the forefront of skin rejuvenation research.1,2

In this article, the importance of the telomere’s activity in skin aging and appearance is discussed. You will learn of a key nutrient that may favorably modulate this cellular mechanism to slow and even reverse skin aging. You will also find supportive data on its ability to preserve youthful appearance by extending the life span of skin cells.3

In a clinical study involving a group of mature women suffering from age-related cosmetic problems, this novel DNA technology induced a 35% increase in skin firmness, 45% improvement in skin tone, with restoration of natural skin moisture observed in all study participants.3

Genetically Programmed Skin Degradation

Skin cells are among the fastest-dividing cells in the human body. They have to be in order to offset the wear-and-tear of constant environmental insults.

The problem is that, as with all cells, the rate at which skin cells divide and replenish is predetermined.1,2 After age 30, programmed declines of up to 50%4 in the rate of skin cell division are triggered automatically.

As you age, these older, non-dividing skin cells begin to outnumber their robust, rapidly dividing counterparts, setting a host of unsightly age-related changes in motion. With the incremental loss of youthfully dividing cells, your skin becomes thinner and tears more easily. The underlying layer of supportive fat, once plentiful in youth, slowly thins out. Less collagen and elastin are produced, reducing your skin’s elasticity and causing it to sag.

Because it is more difficult under these conditions for your skin to produce and retain moisture, dryness sets in and fine lines and wrinkles appear.5

For most of its history, dermatology’s approach to reversing the unsightly effects of this inevitable process—sunspots, blemishes, flaking—have understandably focused on the skin’s surface. And there is no question that a number of topical interventions are needed to combat skin aging.

Thanks to cutting-edge cellular aging research, we can now surmise that the visible hallmarks of skin aging are largely the result of a change in nuclear DNA: the shortening of the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes, the underlying nuclear mechanism that accelerates the aging of skin cells. (See below.)

A Novel Intervention to Repair DNA

Genetically Programmed Skin Degradation

Years of scientific research have culminated in a cutting-edge approach that can change the way skin cells age. A combination of two key ingredients, teprenone and caprylic acid, has been clinically demonstrated to extend skin cell life span and maintain moisture to promote youthful looking skin.3,6

These ingredients help support more youthful skin cell telomeres and skin cell DNA repair mechanisms while retaining precious moisture in the skin.3,6 The combination can lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reduce age spots and large pores. Along with preventing signs of aging, this formula improves skin health by increasing natural moisture content, restoring its texture and strengthening the skin’s barrier function. In response to these agents, skin displays enhanced firmness, tone, and elasticity. It’s not only protected from age-related damage, but also regains much of its youthful function and appearance.

At the molecular level, teprenone (geranylgeranylacetone) closely resembles vitamin K2.7 It is responsible for supporting cell survival and improving skin tone and appearance. Topical use of teprenone acts to prevent and/or limit the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), the peroxidation of cutaneous lipids (a component of youthful, healthy skin), and the oxidation of support proteins in the skin cells.3

Teprenone favorably modulates biological stress markers in skin cells. It also actively inhibits or limits the programmed cellular senescence (aging) and apoptosis (programmed death) of skin cells following replication.8,9

Telomeres: Timekeepers of Cell Death

Your genetic code is composed of a set of long strands of DNA called chromosomes. Each chromosome is sealed at the ends with a special molecular sequence, called a telomere, that acts like the plastic cap at the tips of your shoelaces, preventing them from unraveling.

Each telomere is made of linked pairs of four different chemical tags called bases. Telomeres provide stability for chromosomes and are composed of a string of about 10,000 base pairs.30,31

Although 10,000 base pairs sounds enormous, biologically speaking it’s quite small. By comparison, a single chromosome can measure up to 80 million base pairs long—and most human cells have 46 chromosomes, organized as 23 pairs of different DNA strands.32,33

Telomeres play a vital role in cell life and aging. Telomeres keep each chromosome distinct, preventing any one strand from fusing into a ring or binding with other DNA. Telomeres help govern the life-sustaining process of cell division and the process that limits the number of cell divisions.34

Throughout life, all of your body’s trillions of cells are constantly dividing and creating duplicates of themselves. This ongoing process not only enables growth—it’s the way that wounds heal and cells with a limited life span (such as skin cells) can be replaced.

Before this happens, however, each cell must first make an exact duplicate of its genetic code. This information is stored in the nucleus of every cell by 23 pairs of chromosomes. Together these represent a total of approximately three billion nucleotides.35

All of this information must be faithfully recreated. Incredibly, the error ratio of reproducing this massive amount of data is typically less than one in a billion—a feat roughly equivalent to copying a 1,000 page dictionary 100 times, word for word, comma for comma, with just a single mistake.35

Because of the way replication occurs, it’s impossible to copy both strands of parental DNA right down to the end. In order to reconnect after each division, each strand must sacrifice a tiny bit of non-functional DNA at its telomere ends.1 This loss of telomere length (about 50-100 base pairs per division)36 helps to keep the cell’s vital genetic code intact. After about 30-50 divisions, however, the cell reaches a “critical length” and is no longer able to replicate.36 At this point (called the Hayflick limit after the scientist who discovered it) the cell enters a senescent state.37 Its metabolism begins to slow down. Pre-programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, begins. And the visible effects of aging start to appear.

Teprenone may stabilize telomeres by activating genes involved in their regulation and elongation.10 By protecting your DNA from free radical stress, teprenone also helps maintain healthy skin cell division. In addition, rebalancing cell functions also helps improve cellular metabolism. In vivo studies show it can prevent the loss of cell function by as much as 60%.3

Caprylic acid is a fatty acid naturally found in palm and coconut oils, as well as the milk of humans, cows, and goats.11 It is a well-known skin-conditioning agent that is absorbed through your skin 100 times faster than compounds with similar effects, such as oleic acid from olive oil.12 It makes an excellent emollient and barrier agent that helps bind water in the skin.6 But perhaps most importantly, caprylic acid also creates a lower pH that helps reduce surface tension and allows the skin to absorb nutrients more efficiently.13

A Novel Intervention to Repair DNA

In a clinical study of older women, the natural agents teprenone and caprylic acid produced visible improvement in both functional and structural signs of aging. Skin firmness increased by 35% in just one month.3 Skin tone improved by 45% in the same amount of time.3 Pigmented spots were reduced by 56% after six months.3

Sun spots and skin moisture improved in 100% of the women tested; 90% of the participants showed reduced pore size; and 75% exhibited improved skin roughness, fine lines, and barrier function.3 Greater skin firmness, tone, and elasticity were also observed in the majority—a full 75% of the study volunteers.3

The combination of teprenone with caprylic acid provides advanced DNA and telomere support technology, along with soothing moisture and protective barrier function that can help maintain a more youthful skin appearance.14

Other Natural Ingredients for Youthful Skin

Another important nutrient for younger-looking skin is hyaluronic acid. Found in virtually every tissue of your body, it is a key component of connective and epithelial tissue. Its ability to attract 1,000 times its own weight in water is unmatched by any other substance in nature. This makes it crucial for maintaining the skin’s barrier function as well as its moisture and softness. Hyaluronic acid has a volumizing or “plumping” effect on the skin’s extracellular matrix, which adds fullness and minimizes the appearance of facial wrinkles.15,16

Although hyaluronic acid is abundant in younger skin, the damage caused by free radicals over time drastically depletes the skin’s reserves. Hyaluronic acid increases cell renewal and helps restore healthy texture, color, and moisture to aging skin.17-20

What You Need to Know: Topical Skin Cell DNA Repair
  • The unsightly effects of skin aging result not only from environmental insults, but also from genetically programmed, age-related declines in youthful skin cell reproduction.
  • Two key ingredients, teprenone and caprylic acid, have been demonstrated to extend skin cell life span and support a more youthful skin appearance.
  • These two topical ingredients correct the visible signs of aging by promoting the skin’s natural protection and repair factors at the cellular level.
  • Teprenone helps maintain optimal telomere length to slow or even reverse signs of aging, while caprylic acid helps maintain the skin’s youthful moisture and barrier function.
  • In combination with moisturizing and rejuvenating agents like hyaluronic acid and squalane, and potent antioxidants from tea extracts, these ingredients lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reduce age spots, large pores, and skin redness.

Squalane is another vital nutrient for skin health. This natural hydrocarbon accounts for approximately 12% of the total fat content of the skin’s sebum.21 The best squalane for dermatological use is obtained from natural olive oil and resembles vitamin A in its chemical structure.

A natural emollient, squalane is quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving it soft and supple with no greasy or oily residue. This unsaturated hydrocarbon penetrates deeply, stimulating the skin’s natural ability to regenerate, nourish, and hydrate tissue.22 It also discourages the growth of harmful microorganisms by forming a protective antibacterial coating on your skin.23

Other Natural Ingredients for Youthful Skin

Red tea extract further boosts the skin’s ability to ward off and reverse skin aging.24-28 Red tea extract is particularly effective at quenching age-causing free radicals due to its powerful antioxidant activity.29 Antioxidant-rich tea extracts reduce the appearance of skin imperfections, including fine lines and wrinkles, to reveal fresher, healthier, younger-looking skin.

Combining teprenone and caprylic acid with other natural, clinically proven anti-aging compounds produces a formula that can help enhance cell function, improve skin tissue quality, and extend the youthful life span of your skin.


Scientists have discovered that a more youthful appearance of aging skin can be achieved through novel technologies focused upon skin cell DNA repair. By supporting more youthful structure and function, skin cells can live longer, resulting in healthier, younger-looking skin. A combination of two key ingredients, teprenone and caprylic acid, has been demonstrated to extend skin cells’ youthful life span and appearance.3,6 A synergistic combination of these and other skin-soothing ingredients may visibly improve the health and appearance of your skin.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at


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