Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, President, CEO, and Chief Scientific Officer of Episciences, Inc., the company behind Epionce skin care line thinks so. And that's the line that I'll be trying out over the next two weeks. From now until then, I'll be using their Gentle Foaming Cleanser, Purifying Lytic Toner, Lite Lytic Lotion, and Renewal Facial Lotion to determine if he really has a point.

I must say, there's a lot of research behind this theory. Most recently, the Doctor published an article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology entitled, "Chronic Inflammation is the Etiology of Extrinsic Aging." (Thornfeldt, CR. Chronic Inflammation is the Etiology of Extrinsic Aging. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2008; 7: 78-82.)

There, he establishes that...

"The linking of chronic inflammation to multiple cutaneous and systemic diseases, including malignancies and skin aging, was first suggested over a century ago. The cellular and molecular mechanisms of destructive chronic inflammation have now been established. Chronic inflammation as the final common denominator for a variety of diseases and conditions provides the reason why anti-inflammatory medications are effective treatments for seemingly diverse skin diseases, cancer, and extrinsic aging. Recent publications suggest destructive chronic inflammation can be reversed and/or prevented by food, oral supplements, and topical skin care regimens consisting of anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidant ingredients."

It follows that "preventing and reversing chronic inflammation should be a primary strategy of physicians who treat and prevent mucocutaneous diseases, aging, and cancer," he says. Sounds alright to me. After all, chronic inflammation has been linked to a wide range of diseases including heart disease, amongst others.

In his opinion, the ideal skin care regimen would consist of skin care products with anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidant effects applied topically, coupled with products that optimize the stratum corneum (outer most layer of the skin) permeability barrier. For him, this regimen could be supplemented by the use of exfoliating procedures, such as AHAs and retinoids, as long as these treatments are coupled with products using formulas with anti-inflammatory/barrier optimizing properties.

And that's what his line claims to do.

I used the entire line for the first time last night and this morning, and I must say... I did notice a rather glowing effect in the mirror both times. One thing that I found peculiar, and which I think might not be to everybody's taste, is the inclusion of menthol in the toner. While it's kind of refreshing (good for waking you up in the morning), it has a really strong mentholated effect that can be a bit overpowering.

I was also turned off by the super-artificial minty color--it just looked so fake. We have dyes Blue #1 and Yellow #5 to thank for that. And I really wish they would reformulate this toner without them.

Yellow #5, or tartrazine, is banned in Norway and was banned in Austria and Germany, before European Parliament and Council Directive 94/36/EC lifted the ban. Still, studies have shown that synthetic colors such as this come from coal tar that deposits toxins onto the skin, causing skin irritation.

Don't get me started on Blue #1. Research indicates some serious concerns, including: cancer links in workers and users, suspected mutagen, allergic reactions, skin penetration capabilities, and increased skin irritation.

Well, that's a little discouraging... More posts to come as I try it out over the coming weeks.