high-tech skin care

Big beauty brands are adept at touting their latest anti-aging “technology.” Sadly, it is all too often no more than marketing babble. Witness Estée Lauder’s Intuigen Technology, which can somehow “recognize your skin’s personal needs.” Frustrated by this nonsense when writing my Undercover At The Department Store article, I started thinking about some of the real technology breakthroughs in anti-aging beauty that are making 2014 a good year to be growing older in.

Targeting mitochondria

Scientists made the news at the end of 2013 with a discovery that they could turn the clock back for mice. They did this by getting cellular DNA and mitochondria to communicate properly. Mitochondria are responsible for providing the necessary energy for cell activity. Without mitochondria, most cells couldn’t function; and if cells couldn’t function, we wouldn’t exist.

In my predictions for 2014, I wagered that mitochondria targeting actives would be the next big thing for anti-aging. At that time, I didn’t have any specific products on my radar, but as luck would have it, I was soon introduced to MitoQ Moisturizing Anti-Aging Serum ($119 in the shop), a New Zealand anti-aging serum and oral supplement with just one active ingredient and a claim of being 1,000 times more powerful than any other antioxidant. The active component of MitoQ, mitoquinone mesylate, is in fact ubiquinone, the active antioxidant in coenzyme Q10.  But unlike other antioxidants, MitoQ was developed to specifically target mitochondria. Furthermore, this breakthrough serum gives great results. Read the full review.

A new peptide for sagging

Trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2 is a newish peptide known as TT2. This peptide can reduce “sagging and slacking” as well as improve firmness and elasticity, according to a study conducted for Lucas Meyer Cosmetics. Apparently, it not only fights the effects of aging, but actually “regulates the biological mechanisms involved in the aging process.” TT2 works by inhibiting elastase (an enzyme that attacks structural proteins) and reducing progerin (a protein responsible for cell death) production.

TT2 is in E’shee Alpha Omega Gene Therapy Eye Cream ($284 in the shop), a fabulous eye cream with the added bonus of impacting lip lines. In my experience, it delivers on its promise of “stronger dermal structures in about 28 days”. Read the full review.

Far out

Still rare in beauty products is Far Infrared Ceramic Powder, a ceramic powder that emits Far infra-red wavelengths. Sound far-fetched? Well, it seems that even you and I emit infra-red wavelengths. Apparently, our bodies radiate far infrared (FIR) energy through the skin at around 9.4 microns. Our palms emit slightly more, between 8 and 14 microns. In Asia, some believe that “palm” or Reiki healing is due to this infra-red energy. Far infrared waves are the longest rays in the light spectrum and easily absorbed by the body to a depth of up to 3 inches. There they can do useful things. Wound healing being one of them. A Japanese study found that wound healing “was significantly more rapid with than without FIR.” Findings also revealed “greater collagen regeneration and infiltration of fibroblasts.

E’shee has made FAR Ceramic Powder a feature of its most recent addition, the above mentioned Alpha Omega and E’shee KI Therapy Serum - Elixir of Life ($189 in the shop), a really excellent serum (I am on my fourth bottle). Read the full review

Rutin for broken veins

There may be a less drastic treatment than laser on the horizon for spider veins, broken veins and broken capillaries (face and body).  Rutin is a flavonoid that is found in some fruits and vegetables and, in particular, the rind of citrus fruit. How rutin works on blood vessels is complex. According to a Polish scientist, there are three main mechanisms: protection of the blood vessel, prevention of platelets from aggregating and decrease in capillary permeability. There’s another mechanism that I find pretty cool: rutin has the capacity to regenerate vitamin C after it neutralizes a free radical, thus helping to restore its antioxidant potential.

I came across rutin when I saw it in Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Age Repair Body Lift ($95) and wondered what it was. This body cream is good for stretch marks and cellulite as well.  Rutin also crops up in Arcona Overnight Cellular Repair Complex ($58).

Chill out

A marine oligosaccharide is responsible for the new, cool me. Marine oligosaccharides come from shellfish or algae, and studies have demonstrated they are good free radical scavengers. They also have a miraculous cooling effect on the skin — refreshing and rejuvenating for anyone having an inconvenient hot flash. The miracle worker is enteromorpha compressa, which comes from green algae and has specifically been called out as a “potent antioxidant” by researchers.

I first came across this in the recently launched spritzer, Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Cooling Moisture Mist ($35). This instant cooler has the antioxidant copper, pansy and an invigorating whiff of lavender. Read the full review

Smart packaging

Packaging is the bane of any beauty brand. Often more expensive than the stuff that goes inside it, pots, bottles, tubes and jars can also be shoddily made. One of the few advances has been the airless pump and many of us know how problematic those can be in practice. Some recent initiatives are smart and, hopefully, herald more breakthroughs to come.

I particularly like the Miron glass used in the BRAD Biophotonic Sublime Youth Creator Radiance Concentrate ($125 in the shop) and La Vie Celeste’s Eclairage ($98.50 in the shop). Miron glass blocks the complete spectrum of visible light with the exception of the violet part. This is supposed to lengthen the life and increase the potency of whatever is stored with in.  

Another clever packaging idea can be found with the Medik8 Firewall ($145 in the shop), which utilizes a dual chamber that keeps actives separate. The premise is that the ingredients are most active when they first encounter one another, so they are kept in separate chambers until dispensed.