I recently came across a skincare line called DNA EGF Renewal that claims to pack its anti-aging punches with an epidermal growth factor (EGF) and a repairer of DNA. Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon, Dr Roland L Moy, is behind DNA EGF Renewal and I have to admit that I suspected it of bandwagoning. After all, plant-derived EGFs – stem cells are all the rage. Apple stem cells are what you might expect to see, but the ones here turned out to be a bit different.

The EGF in DNA EGF Renewal comes from Icelandic barley and sounds intriguing (although there isn’t much information about it anywhere) and, unfortunately as far as I can tell, it isn’t in the DNA Intensive Renewal ($125) that I have just started to try out.

Much depends, therefore, on micrococcus lysate, which is potentially behind this serum’s claims to repair DNA. It is one of those ingredients that is frustratingly hard to pin down.  It is generally accepted to be an enzyme, but I’ve it seen it described as derived from algae, milk flora, or bacteria. I am going with bacteria: micrococcus luteus. Although it can tolerate harshly hot or dry environments that barely sustain life and is supposedly UV resistant, it is much more mundanely found on the human body and one of its party tricks is to make sweat smell, well, sweaty.  To make matters worse micrococcus luteus isolated from human skin secretes an alkaline protease that degrades elastin (source).

On this basis, I was wondering what micrococcus lysate was doing here. And so was relieved to discover that the enzyme seems to be well established as a repairer of DNA and micrococcus luteus extract has been studied in after sun creams where it can reverse UV damage.

Also supposed to contain an enzyme that repairs DNA is arabidopsis thaliana, a tiny flowering plant with a very short lifespan. It has the smallest plant genome, which made it the perfect candidate for the first plant to be sequenced. It is also in ReLuma’s eye cream and the Kardashian sisters’ PerfectSkin line.

A more unusual botanical is salicornia herbacae grown in Korean salt marshes.. It looks fairly impressive as its antioxidant activity has been found to be similar to quercetin and rutin

Peptide-files will be interested to see nonapeptide-1 (Melanostatin-5), a relatively new skin lightening peptide that blocks the hormone which signals the production of melanin, thus preventing and lightening pigmentation.

The ingredient that I’m not so convinced by is musk okra (hibiscus abelmoschus). It is useful for snake bites and the seeds have a strong musk smell, which accounts for ambrette (as it is more widely known) being used by the perfume industry. I wondered if it was doing more than pong here, but this seems unlikely as the oil is mostly crude fiber (source) and in a study that compared the antioxidant activities of different plants, musk okra did not prove itself worthy of a shout out. (For future reference, the frontrunners were oak, maritime pine and cinnamon).

There is definitely enough in DNA Intensive Renewal to ignite my interest and am looking forward to seeing how the trial works out – even though there are a few things that I’d prefer to do without, such as the irritants sodium hydroxide, tetrasodium EDTA and phenoxyethanol.


Water, Glycerin, Trimethylolpropane Tricaprylate/Tricaprate, Isododecane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Micrococcus Lysate, Hibiscus Abelmoschus Seed Extract, Nonapeptide-1, Hexyldecanol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Batyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Salicornia Herbacae Extract, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, Sodium Palmitoyl Proline, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Tetrasodium EDTA, Allantoin, Lecithin, Sodium Hydroxide, Soybean Lecithin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol