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Five Best with Carnosine

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
May 5, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 13 Comments
Amongst amino acids, is one of my favorite ingredients, L-carnosine. Carnosine actually extends the Hayflick Limit. Skin cells can only reproduce themselves around 52 times and then that’s it, they’re a gonna. Carnosine extends their ability to reproduce to just over 60 times, making it a real anti-ager. What makes it stand apart from other antioxidants is its potential ability to fight against, not just oxidative damage done by free radicals, but also damage done by sugar-related glycation. Recent studies suggest carnosine acts as a natural anti-glycation molecule. Glycation has been long regarded as a major cause of aging and is believed to be the main culprit behind deep wrinkling, the thinning of skin and the mottled appearance of age spots.

So there plenty of good reasons to hunt down carnosine. Infomercial addicts might know that its in Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty, but we can do much better than that rather mediocre potion with our Five Best: CircadiaOsmotics Renovage eye cream ($78 in the TIA shop), KaplanMD’s Perfecting Serum, GloMinerals GloSuper Serum and for the more mainstream there’s Olay’s Professional Pro-X.

KaplanMD PerfectingSerum ($180). Although this is at the very upper end of what I will pay for a single product, it has become a go to serum that gently improves my complexion no end. Unlike many serums, KaplanMD’s is very hydrating due to a whopping 50% sodium hyaluronate with a helping hand from glycosaminoglycans. The ten actives include Dr Kaplan’s signature black cohosh, which along with grape and soy. As well as carnosine, there is Matrixyl 3000 and one of my favorite botanicals, milk thistle. It is worth noting that carnosine and silybum are marketed together as something called Amerliox. Anyhow, milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant, natural sunscreen and tests have shown it to help calm rosacea. As someone who is prone to rosacea, I am grateful that this serum has proved to be very kind to my skin as well as extremely conditioning.

Dr Pugliese’s Circadia Myo-Cyte Rx Serum. At $150 for half an ounce, it is expensive and, unless you’re flush, best saved for the really stubborn wrinkles.  This is a blessedly simple formulation of some excellent anti-agingingredients: hyaluronic acid, peptides, amino acids, vitamin C and a couple of botanicals. The three peptides: acetyl hexapeptide, palmitoyl pentapeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide. The first is the neuropeptide that relaxes the facial muscles and thereby reduces expression wrinkles. The second and third team up to form Matrixyl 3000, a potent booster of collagen production. As well as L-carnosine, there is threonine, which helps keep connective tissues and muscles throughout the body strong and elastic. Finally, there is L-glycine, an amino acid that helps the body produce proteins. The botanicals, passion flower and chamomile, both contain apigenin, a flavenoid that is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-irritant, lightening agent, anticarcinogenic, and antiseptic. Rosemary contains carnosol, an antioxidant. If only Dr P could find alternatives to parabens, propylene glycol and diazolidinyl urea, he’d have an absolute winner.

Osmotics Renovage Cellular Eye Repair Cream ($78). Renovage/teprenone is supposed to stabilize things called telomeres. It’s pretty complex and you can read more in my post on telomeres, but in a nutshell, they allow cells to distinguish chromosome ends from broken DNA. As we get older, they get shorter and teprenone prevents that happening. Maintaining telomere length extends, we are told, the Hayflick Limit (the number of times cells reproduce) by one third. So this is bringing a rear guard action of reinforcements to carnisine. This cream is good at smoothing out wrinkles and tightening the skin. I don’t really have dark under eye circles but about half way through my test I looked Panda-eyed for a couple of days and the Osmotics creamdidn’t seem to particularly help. It is, however, a good depuffer. A couple of the botanicals are worth a call out. Peumus boldus, is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant (although should be avoided by pregnant women). Resveratol has also been isolated from polygonum cuspidatum root extract, also known as Japanese knotweed.

GloMinerals GloSuper ($115). With a good dose of expression line inhibitor Argireline, this hits most of the antiaging bases. There is power peptide Matrixyl 3000, carnosine, and the potemt free radical scavengers spin trap and superoxide dismutase. If that wasn't enough, there is a growth factor, retinol and niacinamide and marine peptides.

Olay Professional Pro-X Wrinkle Smoothing Cream ($40). Of all the mass-market drug store brands, Olay takes its anti-aging ingredients seriously. Its signature ingredient is carnosine, used in the Regenerist range and now in the new and (relatively) pricey Professional Pro-X products.In addition to carnosine, there is niacinamide, which is another Olay regular (you’ll find it, for example in Olay Total Effects Eye Treatment). Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and a precurser of the co-enzymes NADH and NADPH. These enzymes are essential for cell energy production and lipid synthesis. Unfortunately, levels decline with age. Fortunately, niancinamide is proven to reverse that decline. Niacinamide is also very helpful for moisture retention. And, according a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, it “significantly decreased hyperpigmentation and increased skin lightness” after four weeks of use. My guess is that the Olay Pro-X range justifies its prices (Olay is usually under $20) with the addition of peptides, specifically palmitoyl dipeptide-7 and palmitoyl pentapeptide-4. And with good reason. Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 is Matrixyl, a peptide that does have some data behind it to suggest that it gets results.
  • March 31, 2013

    by Lee-Anna Quinn

    I just bought the skin physics photon led photo rejuvenation system.
    I was just wondering what your sentiments were in this particular system and if it works or if I can potentially damage my skin ?
    Could you please respond to me via email ?

  • March 31, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Daniel, here is a link to the research: and there is more on carnosine here:

  • March 31, 2013

    by Daniel

    Hi, in your article, you said that carnosine increases the hayflick limit. Do you have references for that?
    Based on my research, I have not seen any papers that back that claim.
    Rejuvenation yes, but increasing the hayflick limit, I haven't seen. Please provide your information, thank you

    On a similar note, I've recently added 3 supplements into my daily regimen..
    I added PQQ, beta alanine, and carnosine
    into my list of ginkgo, acetyl carnitine, fish oil, narginen, chorella, and lipoic acid.

    results: my wrinkles have been reduced by 60% over the past one month based on the recent 3 additions

  • July 1, 2012

    by rama

    Please try RegenaCell. I dont work for them but I bought one cream from energy nutrition as I was having few of their supplements. Martha you must try this. I thought I will contribute something nice to all the lovely ladies who have selflessly shared their secrets. It costs only $40 and works wonders. Did not break me out, I have a very sensitive skin.It is called RegenaCell Natural Daily antiaging skin creM

  • October 17, 2011

    by Marta

    The Hayflick Limit theory is not that there "is a limit to the amount of cells our skin produces", but that there is a limit to the amount of time individual cells can reproduce. It is an accredited biological theory and most recently has been linked to the length of telomeres. There is a helpful basic explanation on Wikipedia

  • October 17, 2011

    by Marta

    The Hayflick Limit theory is not that there "is a limit to the amount of cells our skin produces", but that there is a limit to the amount of time individual cells can reproduce. It is an accredited biological theory and most recently has been linked to the length of telomeres. There is a helpful basic explanation on Wikipedia

  • October 17, 2011

    by Product Addict

    I noticed the "Hafuflick Lmiti" is mentioned in many reviews here. If one truly believes in such a thing then that is badicallybsaying that there is a limit to the amount of cells our skin can produce, eventually stopping completely, e.g. If one were to get a cut on their arm it won't heal. If you believe in the Hayflick Limit, you MUST realize the aforementioned analogy is entirely appropriate.

  • December 26, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Dennis, happy holidays to you too. My first thought about supplements is that they are mostly a waste of money as they are not always well absorbed by the body. However, from what I have seen of research on carnosine, it does seem to have good bioavailability (less than 5% expelled through urine according to one <a href="" rel="nofollow">test</a>). Having said that the body contains a group of enzymes, carnosinases, specifically designed to break down carnosine. Most of the research is on supplements and muscles, not on the skin. It is also worth noting that you can get carnosine from food if you eat enough protein-rich ones.

  • December 25, 2010

    by Dennis

    Hi Marta, what do you think of carnosine supplements vs using it in a cream?

    Happy Holidays!

  • June 26, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Susan, I think the apple stem cells are probably a good ingredient. I was just amused by the marketing of this so-called rare Swiss tree. I wouldn't be surprised if it really came from a humble granny smith.And I will definitely look into the Boske and get back to you.

  • June 26, 2010

    by Susan Dent

    um, I just saw that apple stem cells are in your Dept of Daft, so nevermind...

  • June 26, 2010

    by Susan Dent

    Have you ever tried Boske Dermaceuticals Molecular Repair? It's got carnosine and Renovage, plus kinetin, apple stem cell culture, and the ultrasomes/phytosomes/roxisomes that Remergent used.

    I'm very much considering buying it but am interested in hearing if anyone on a beauty blog has used it first.

  • May 9, 2010

    by marta

    I was recently asked about the difference between carnosine and carnitine. Carnitine is primarily a nutrient that helps turn body fat into engergy. For this reason it is often taken as supplement by body builders. There isn't much research on its role in skincare. <a href="" rel="nofollow">More on carnitine here</a>.

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