Life Extension Magazine®

Business woman using botanical serum to tighten skin on face

Face-Lifting and Firming Complex

Researchers have developed a multi-ingredient botanical serum that lifts, tightens, and firms the face and neck area.

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

You may feel young on the inside, but your face and neck can tell a different story to the world if you have loose and sagging skin.

Firming and tightening aging skin has remained elusive for most of us, with medical interventions fraught with substantial side effects and non-surgical options largely ineffective.

A new formula has been designed to lift, tighten, and firm skin on the face and neck area.

This effect is accompanied by compounds that improve skin health over the longer term.

Collagen-Building and Muscle-Relaxing Peptides

Collagen-Building and Muscle-Relaxing Peptides  

Chronic exposure to sunlight and environmental pollutants creates a sea of free radicals and oxidative stress that triggers collagen destruction.1,2 The loss of collagen as we age compromises the strength, texture, and resilience of our facial skin—leading to sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl tripeptide-1 are two peptides that stimulate new collagen synthesis in specialized skin cells known as fibroblasts. These peptides also attenuate the inflammatory response to UV radiation in the skin to prevent the breakdown of existing collagen.3

This dual action makes both peptides wrinkle fighters. In one study, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 along with another oligopeptide reduced the depth and volume of wrinkles by 15% and 18%, respectively, as well as improved skin roughness and tone after two months of daily application.4

In a separate four-week study, palmitoyl tripeptide-1 was found to decrease wrinkle length and wrinkle depth by 39% and 23%, respectively.5

Excessive muscle contractions from everyday facial expressions like squinting, frowning, and laughing are also an underlying cause of wrinkles. Researchers have developed several peptides—including acetyl-hexapeptide-8, acetyl octapeptide-3, and pentapeptide-18—that interfere with several steps of neurotransmitter release to relax muscle contractions and attenuate wrinkle formation.5-7

In a clinical trial lasting 14 weeks, a serum containing acetyl-hexapeptide-8 and acetyl octapeptide-3 significantly improved facial lines, facial wrinkles, eye lines, and eye wrinkles compared to baseline in participants with mild to moderate photodamaged facial skin.8

When researchers topically applied a cream containing pentapeptide-18 twice a day to the aging facial skin of human volunteers between the ages of 39 and 64, they observed an 11.6% reduction in wrinkle depth.7

What You Need to Know
Skin-Lifting and Firming Effects

Skin-Lifting and Firming Effects

  • Bioactive compounds have now been combined into one groundbreaking topical formula that lifts and tightens skin on the face and neck area, which restores a more youthful appearance.
  • Cumulative sun damage, along with excessive repetitive facial movements, are the main culprits behind loose and sagging skin.
  • Researchers have identified compounds that work together to address these underlying factors by rebuilding and protecting the skin’s scaffolding, as well as altering facial-muscle contractions.
  • Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl tripeptide-1 significantly boost collagen synthesis, while acetyl-hexapeptide-8, acetyl octapeptide-3, and pentapeptide-18 modulate muscle contractions to attenuate wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Plant stem-cell extracts and their secondary metabolites block the damaging effects of UV radiation on collagen, as well as boost energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for skin rejuvenation.
  • Snail mucin and hyaluronic acid enhance skin smoothness and hydration.

Plant Stem-Cell Extracts Block Damaging UV Radiation

Plants synthesize secondary metabolites in order to adapt and resist harmful environmental influences such as high temperatures and intense UV radiation.9

Three plant stem-cell extracts and their specific secondary metabolites—Açaí palm (ferulic acid), Quercus alba (tannic acid), and Perilla frutescens (rosmarinic acid)—stand out for their substantial anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activity.10-12

In-vitro studies reveal that these plant stem-cell extracts and their secondary metabolites minimize the damaging effects of sun exposure on collagen in human skin by reducing the generation of UV-induced inflammatory cytokines and free radicals, while also raising energy stores in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to boost cellular metabolism and increase collagen synthesis.10-12

Human studies show that all three plant stem-cell extracts increase the ability of aging skin to retain water, with this dynamic moisturizing effect observed just 24 hours after application.10-12

Skin Reparative Properties of Snail Mucin

For years, snail breeders have noticed that the skin on their hands stayed moist and healed quickly from scrapes and cuts. This observation sparked researchers’ investigation into snail secretion, also known as snail mucin. They soon discovered that it possesses remarkable anti-aging and skin regenerative properties. For example, snail mucin has been shown to:13

  • Contain superoxide dismutase (SOD), the skin’s primary antioxidant defense.
  • Increase skin matrix remodeling and assembly.
  • Inhibit the expression of several matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that break down elastin and collagen.
  • Promote dermal fibroblast survival and proliferation.

These multiple mechanisms have translated into impressive skin benefits in humans. Twice daily application of snail mucin for three months in patients with aging facial skin reduced deep and fine wrinkles, and improved skin smoothness, roughness, and hydration.14 Additional research found a significant improvement in fine lines after eight weeks of use.15

Hydrate with Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that adds volume and fullness to skin owing to its superb moisture-binding properties.16,17 When you throw in the fact that it also plays a significant role in tissue repair, blood vessel formation, and fibroblast proliferation and migration,18 it becomes abundantly clear that replenishing lost stores of hyaluronic acid as we age is a key factor in retaining youthful skin.

Natural Skin-Tightening Agents

As your facial skin loses its elasticity due to aging and harmful ultraviolet rays, it begins to sag and loosen. Research shows that a naturally occurring mineral derived from purified clay (magnesium aluminum silicate) works to retract and stretch the skin to leave it visibly tighter and firmer.19,20 The combination of this natural tightening agent with a biopolymer operates through a similar mechanism to produce a powerful lifting and tightening effect that occurs within minutes after application.

In dermatologist test cases, over 90% of patients using this combination noticed the onset of tightening and firming of loose sagging skin within three to five minutes after application. In comparison to placebo, less than 5% noticed any tightening effect.21


Firming and tightening loose and saggy skin  

Firming and tightening loose and saggy skin has been a challenge as most current options are expensive and laden with unwanted side effects.

To solve this problem, researchers have developed a multi-ingredient serum that lifts and tightens skin on the face and neck area. The result is visibly firmer, more defined, younger-looking skin.

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 Life Extension®’s Medical Advisory Board. All Cosmesis products are available online.

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


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  15. Fabi SG, Cohen JL, Peterson JD, et al. The effects of filtrate of the secretion of the Cryptomphalus aspersa on photoaged skin. J Drugs Dermatol. 2013;12(4):453-7.
  16. Kawada C, Yoshida T, Yoshida H, et al. Ingested hyaluronan moisturizes dry skin. Nutr J. 2014;13:70.
  17. Brown TJ, Alcorn D, Fraser JR. Absorption of hyaluronan applied to the surface of intact skin. J Invest Dermatol. 1999;113(5):740-6.
  18. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-8.
  19. Elmore AR., Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. Final report on the safety assessment of aluminum silicate, calcium silicate, magnesium aluminum silicate, magnesium silicate, magnesium trisilicate, sodium magnesium silicate, zirconium silicate, attapulgite, bentonite, Fuller’s earth, hectorite, kaolin, lithium magnesium silicate, lithium magnesium sodium silicate, montmorillonite, pyrophyllite, and zeolite. Int J Toxicol. 2003;22 Suppl 1:37-102.
  20. Available at: Accessed July 28, 2017.
  21. Clinical case histories provided by Gary Goldfaden, MD. July 28, 2017.