Life Extension Magazine®
Lipid Complex dripping that improves the face’s skin

Issue: Aug 2015

Lipid Complex Revitalizes Aging Facial Skin

Repeated exposure to UV light alters the structure of key molecules that keep skin firm, causing wrinkles, pigment irregularities, and sagging skin. A novel lipid formulation rich in essential fatty acids, palmitoyl oligopeptide, vitamin A, and marula oil restores skin moisture, leading to a more youthful appearance.

Scientifically reviewed by: Juanita Enogieru, MS, RD/N, on May 2020. Written By Robert Goldfaden and Gary Goldfaden, MD.

As you get older, you may notice that your smooth, luminous complexion is giving way to leathery, dry skin with wrinkles and age spots.

Even though these undesirable features seem to appear overnight, they are actually the cumulative effects of repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV),1 and to a lesser degree other environmental elements. The sun’s rays generate free radicals and oxidative stress that induce lipid peroxidation and alter the structure of key molecules responsible for keeping skin firm and supple.1-5

If you tend to avoid face oils due to common fears of clogged pores and breakouts, you’re missing out on a way to offset the negative effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure and combat premature skin aging.

A novel lipid complex—formulated with clinically proven ingredients including essential fatty acids, palmitoyl oligopeptide, vitamin A, and marula oil—deeply penetrates and nourishes the different layers of the skin to produce age-reversal effects without the potential downside.

In this article, you will learn how applying this oil to the vulnerable areas of the face improves the appearance of mature, sun-damaged, dry skin, while replenishing lost lipids to restore moisture for a smoother, more youthful complexion.

Essential Fatty Acids Relieve Dry And Scaly Skin

Essential Fatty Acids Relieve Dry And Scaly Skin  

The outermost layer of the epidermis (stratum corneum) consists of dead protein-rich cells that overlap one another to form a brick wall,6 with a lipid matrix of cholesterol, ceramides, and fatty acids acting as cement to hold it together.7,8 This “brick and mortar” structure provides a protective shield against environmental insults, while locking in key nutrients and moisture to keep skin soft and moist.9

Although the epidermis is highly active in lipid production, it cannot synthesize two polyunsaturated fatty acids: linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).10,11 Therefore, these essential fatty acids must be acquired from the diet or supplementation.

Most omega-6 fats are derived from vegetable oils like corn, soybean, and safflower,12 whereas omega-3s are found in flaxseed, walnuts, oily fish, and supplemental fish oil.13-15

Linoleic acid (LA) contributes to the formation of ceramides on the skin’s surface, maintaining epidermal barrier function and hydration to prevent age-related drying and flaking.16,17 When applied topically to linoleic acid-deficient humans, linoleic acid-rich oils completely reversed the clinical manifestations of skin dryness and scaliness associated with its deficiency.18,19 In addition, linoleic acid is a precursor for the synthesis of gamma-linolenic acid, which provides welcome relief from inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and acne.20-22 Lastly, linoleic acid can be converted to arachidonic acid, a main constituent of cell membranes, which acts to regulate inflammatory responses.23,24

Although omega-3s comprise only a small proportion of total fatty acids in the skin,25,26 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play an important role in skin health.

Omega-3s have been shown to reinforce the skin by protecting it from dryness and reducing skin sensitivity.27 Research shows that EPA competes with arachidonic acid for incorporation into cell membranes and for the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2),28-31 with increased EPA producing less inflammatory compounds in response to sun exposure.32 This explains the result of a human study in which topical application of omega-3 rich sardine oil extract decreased UVB-induced skin redness by 24.5%.33 Additional research shows that omega-3s modulate the immune response of the epidermis to sunlight, protecting against autoimmune skin disorders including psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and melanoma.34

As we age, essential fatty acids are depleted due to UV exposure,35 dry air, and harsh soaps,36,37 making their replenishment vital for preserving healthy, youthful skin.38

A drawback of essential fatty acids is their high susceptibility toward oxidation, which limits their stability in topical formulations and often causes an undesirable odor or skin discoloration.39-42 However, scientists have developed a unique topical blend of olus and Camelina sativa seed oils with natural tocopherols that increase its oxidative stability.40 This topical oil blend takes twice as long to oxidize when exposed to UV light compared to a control oil mixture with the same content of polyunsaturated fatty acids.40 The result is a safe and efficient delivery of an optimal ratio of essential fatty acids directly to the skin, replenishing lipid content to relieve scaliness and dryness for a more youthful facial appearance.

What You Need To Know
Restore A Youthful Complexion

Restore A Youthful Complexion

  • Long-term exposure to sunlight degrades essential lipids and alters the structure of key molecules that keeps skin firm and supple, resulting in the telltale signs of photoaging such as wrinkles, irregular pigmentation, and loss of elasticity.
  • A novel lipid complex has been formulated with clinically proven ingredients that, when applied to the face, improves the appearance of mature, dry, sun-damaged skin, restoring moisture for a smoother, more youthful complexion.
  • Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) support the skin’s barrier function and improve hydration to relieve dry and scaly skin.
  • Palmitoyl oligopeptide reverses skin wrinkling in humans, with one study showing a mean reduction of nearly 20% in wrinkle depth, while the mean volume of a primary wrinkle and the surface area occupied by wrinkles over 200 microns diminished by 23% and 39%, respectively.
  • Marula oil has outstanding soothing and hydrating properties, as well as powerful free radical-fighting phytonutrients that protect the skin against free radicals and oxidative stress.
  • Vitamin A enhances the skin’s capacity to renew itself, in turn reducing the visible signs of aging.

Palmitoyl Oligopeptide Reverses Wrinkling In Humans

Many of the skin changes associated with premature aging of the face stem from repeated sun exposure. The sun’s rays generate reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress that eventually overwhelm the natural defense mechanisms in the skin, leading to wrinkles, loss of elasticity, dry texture, and irregular pigmentation that characterize photoaging.2,3,43,44

While essential fatty acids provide substantial photoprotection, an oil-soluble peptide called palmitoyl oligopeptide has been shown to kick start the repair process of sun-damaged skin by triggering new production of key molecules such as collagen and hyaluronic acid.45,46 In an interesting ex vivo study, meaning research performed on living tissues outside the body, scientists found that human skin biopsies irradiated with UVA light showed a significant degradation of collagen. But after being treated with palmitoyl oligopeptide, these skin samples exhibited increased collagen density compared to a control. Remarkably, this skin regeneration was observed in just one week!47

When topically tested on humans in randomized clinical trials, palmitoyl oligopeptide shows a tremendous ability to rejuvenate photoaged facial skin.45,46,48,49 The visible improvements were especially noteworthy in one study involving 24 participants aged 34-79 with crow’s feet. Compared to a placebo, researchers observed that a cream containing palmitoyl oligopeptide applied twice daily to the targeted area for two months reduced mean wrinkle depth by nearly 20%, while the mean volume of a primary wrinkle was diminished by 23%, and the surface area occupied by wrinkles over 200 microns decreased by 39%. There was also a beneficial effect on skin roughness, with an average decrease of 16%.45,46

Naturally Soothe And Hydrate With Marula Oil

For centuries, oil extracted from the fruit of the marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) has been prized among South African women for its outstanding soothing and hydrating properties that result from its high content of fatty acids, especially oleic acid.50 With powerful nutrients such as flavonoids, vitamin C, and catechins, marula oil neutralizes free radicals that wreak havoc on the skin’s underlying architecture.51 Furthermore, its wealth of vitamin C suggests that marula oil boosts collagen production to revitalize aging skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.50-53 As a rich source of phytonutrients that fight free radicals, marula oil strongly resists oxidation and, therefore, is highly stable in topical preparations.50

Vitamin A Enhances Skin Renewal

Retinol, a form of vitamin A, increases keratinocyte proliferation and epidermal thickness to combat wrinkles and fine lines, as well as improve evenness of skin tone.54 In the deeper layer of the skin known as the dermis, retinol halts the breakdown of collagen and stimulates its synthesis in both naturally aged and photoaged skin.55 These beneficial effects are related to the conversion of retinol to retinoic acid inside cells, where it facilitates cell-signaling to enhance the skin’s capacity to renew itself.56


The sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays generate free radicals and oxidative stress that induce lipid peroxidation and alter the structure of key molecules responsible for keeping the skin firm and supple. The result is the telltale signs of photoaging—wrinkles, mottled pigmentation, and loss of elasticity. Fortunately, a novel lipid complex has been formulated with clinically proven ingredients, including essential fatty acids, palmitoyl oligopeptide, vitamin A, and marula oil. This facial oil visibly improves the appearance of sun-damaged, mature, dry skin, while replenishing lipids to restore moisture for a smoother, more youthful complexion.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

Gary Goldfaden, MD, is a clinical dermatologist and lifetime member of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is the founder of Academy Dermatology in Hollywood, FL, and Cosmesis Skin Care. Dr. Goldfaden is a member of the Life Extension® Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board. All Cosmesis products are available online.

Editor's Note

Science continues to evolve, and new research is published daily. As such, we have a more recent article on this topic: Topical Peptides Rebuild Youthful Skin


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