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New Thinking About Tired Skin

February 21, 2017 Reviewed by Marta 0 Comments

Do you sometimes catch a glimpse of your reflection and are struck by how tired you look. Well, the concept of tired skin, or skin exhaustion is gaining credence and its causes and ways to solve it are not what you might think. Read on and get a bit of a wake up call.

“Why do I look so tired?" This is the number one question asked by patients of New York dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross. And being Dr. Gross, he started to think about it and do his research. As he puts it, skin has a battery and it runs down.

This battery is, in fact, mitochondria. “The powerhouse of the cell” has become the focus of a new frontier in the science of aging. As we get older, the mitochondria in our cells develop genetic mutations that cause them to either degenerate or kick the bucket. With our diminished ability to fix these mutations, the mitochondria die and thus our cells die.

 The main energy source in cells is synthesized in the mitochondria. It is called Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is where the battery analogy comes in. . Living things use ATP like a battery – storing and using energy when needed and, it seems, in complex ways (a sprinter will use ATP very differently from a marathon runner).

 When your skin looks tired, everything looks worse," explains Dr. Dennis Gross.  Challenged to find a solution to this global skin phenomenon, Dr. Gross formulated the C+Collagen technology to reawaken skin.  "Vitamin C, in its brilliance, produces more collagen giving skin radiance and vitality. When coupled with my energy complex, which charges the battery, the cell's response to Vitamin C is even greater and anti-aging results are amplified. Skin is recharged and revitalized," says Dr. Dennis Gross.

 Back to Dr. Gross and tired skin. As he puts it mitochondria power everything from collagen production to fighting off dullness-causing free radicals. Transcending age, gender and skin type, “tired is a universal appearance of the skin. It's a look of dullness, sallowness, a loss of radiance, looking older than you did the previous day.”

 Knowing all this, you’ll start to think differently about how to refresh your skin. Your average beauty article will recommend scrubs and rich moisturizers and, even more asinine, to get a good night’s sleep. These won’t really make a difference, other than a superficial one. What we really need to do is re-energize those batteries.

There are ingredients that target the energy centers in our cells. Dr. Gross has come up with a cocktail of that includes niacinamide, coq10, superoxide dismutase and carnitine. He adds to this “energy complex”, collagen boosting vitamin C and has a new line called C + Collagen that we’ll be reviewing in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here are a few things that can re-energize ATP and mitochondria and where you can find them to give your tired skin a wake up call.


LED light can have significant side benefits for ATP synthesis that includes increases in collagen (more than 12% in 30 days) elastin (more than 40% in 30 days) and blood circulation (more than 30% in 30 days) (source). For more information see the Truth Vitality Lux Renew ($279 in the shop)


Ubiquinone, the active antioxidant in Coenzyme Q10. It is accumulated selectively and extensively by mitochondria, in contrast to other antioxidants, which distribute evenly throughout the cell. So look out for ubiquinone in skincare. I am particularly impressed with mitoquinone mesylate, a highly targeted version of this antioxidant. For more information see MitoQ Serum and Supplements. CoQ10 can be found in Sciote Peptide+Defense Firming Youth Crème ($95 in the shop) and I Pekar Eye Cream ($68 in the shop)


By speeding the delivery of fatty acids into mitochondria, ergothioneine ramps up ATP production, making the fuel molecule more available to all parts of the cell. Find it in Medik8 Firewall ($145 in the shop)


By increasing capacity for oxygen uptake, we can create a perfect environment for ATP synthesis. Perfluorodecalin is a perfluorocarbon that mimics the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to the skin cells. It is used in wound healing therapies and for treating acne. For more information see Truth Vitality Treatment Gel

 Superoxide Dismutase

Superoxide Dismutase overpowers the damaging reactions of superoxide, and protect the cell from superoxide (the most common free radical in the body) toxicity; it has the fastest turnover number of any known enzyme. Find it in Deciem NIOD Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate ($68 in the shop)

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