One of the big breakthroughs in the science of aging was the recent Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the role of telomeres. So far few cosmetic ingredients have been associated with this mechanism and so I was super excited to come across a new one. With the unlikely name of prawn sage, it is the signature ingredient of Bottega Organica and is featured in their wonderful Multi-active Face Serum with Grape, Apricot & Wheat Germ ($88).
Bottega Organica is a new brand discovery and it speaks directly to me with an integrated blend of science and all-natural ingredients — the tag line is “designed by science, made from nature.” The company was founded by a geneticist, Dr. Andrea Alimonti, who screened thousands of plant extracts to test their impact on human cells. The winners became the basis of this new skincare line with prawn sage as the botanical anti-aging hero.
Prawn sage (salvia haenkei) is part of the sage family and has flame-colored flowers. Supposedly, it can slow down cellular aging due to its ability to lengthen telomeres. Telomeres allow cells to distinguish chromosome ends from broken DNA. If DNA is broken there are two options after the cell cycle is stopped: repair or death. Telomeres shorten every time a cell divides. When they become very short, they trigger cell crisis and cell death. There are a couple of actives, such as Renovage, that are supposed to stabilize the telomeres, but this is the first time that I have come across something that actually claims to lengthen them. It should be noted that I have not found independent research to corroborate these claims for prawn sage.
I can, though, vouch for Multi-active Face Serum with Grape, Apricot & Wheat Germ. This is a lovely plant-based serum that leaves my skin feeling healthily nourished and soft all day long. I have also noticed a subtle firming and an improvement in lines. I do not need to layer a moisturizer over it, but then my skin is a little oily. The instructions say to use it at night and so this has become my nighttime treatment. Although I must admit that I so enjoy the refreshed look it gives my skin that I have been sneaking it on some mornings as well.
Most of the plants in this potion are grown on Bottega Organica’s own farms in New York and Italy. They represent the antioxidants that came up, alongside prawn sage, as effective antiagers in Dr Alimonti’s research: wheat germ, grape and apricot. These all have good research pedigrees, as does French lilac, an antioxidant associated with increasing superoxide dismutase (source). Best of all, there are no nasties. Not one.