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I recently came across Radical Skincare, which is sold in high end department stores such as Barney’s. Radical’s approach (which is supposedly the result of years of research) is to create a potent blend of antioxidants and an efficient delivery system. Although not especially radical, it is worthy. But when I looked more closely at Radical’s Youth Infusion Age Defying Serum ($110 for 30ml), I found it rather tame.
The problem for me is that Youth Infusion goes for quick fixes and risks overwhelming the actives that are likely to bring long term benefits. For example, Radical makes much of it’s use of pullulan.
Pullulan is used to make breath strips. Combined with an alga it is used by the cosmetics industry to create something called Pepha Tight. This adheres to the skin and creates an instant tightening sensation. There are no actual benefits other than this superficial effect. The manufacturer of Pepha Tight explains in the product description that it fulfills a market demand for people who “don’t have the patience” to wait for an antiaging cream to do its thing.
Radical Skincare seems to regard its customers in the same way and its Youth Infusion also contains a quick hit hydrator. Xylitylglucoside anhydroxylitol xylitol is a sugar found in wheat and wood cellulose. It is thought to help the skin retain its natural moisture and boost levels of hyaluronic acid, a natural lubricant that assists in collagen production. There is no research that I can find to back this up and xylitol’s appeal isn’t enhanced by knowing that it is a common flavoring for toothpaste and gum.
There are also light deflecting minerals, such as mica and malakite that may reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but certainly not the wrinkles themselves.
A more radical approach and one that would get me to hand over my credit card for this serum would be to focus on optimizing the formula with its only really interesting ingredient: Adenosine triphosphate (or ATP) is the main energy source for the majority of cellular – and muscular – functions. This includes the synthesis of DNA. Living things use ATP like a battery – storing and using energy when needed. Topical use of adenosine for wound healing deficiencies and diabetes mellitus has produced promising results and in 2009 researchers found that direct intracellular delivery of ATP can accelerate the healing process of skin wounds at an “extremely fast” speed “never seen or reported in the past”. Ongoing research into topical ATP use hopes it will prove to be effective enough to reduce the need for skin grafts.
One of my favorite products (and one of the few that I know of) with ATP is Skin Nutrition's Cell CPR