I was chosen as one of ten reviewers for the Dare To Try It and one of five that received the serum and cream for Sustainable Youth’s all-natural and brand new line (the other half received the cream and supplements). Let me start by saying that I am 42 years old and fair skinned. I stopped my normal routine of glycolic acids, vitamin C, Retin-A and copper peptides to give this new product a whirl. The serum was nice, the cream…nice. By the end of two weeks I came home from a girl’s night out and almost dropped my toothbrush when I took a look in the mirror. All my motion wrinkles (crows feet and forehead) were so deep I looked at least 10 years older (to be fair this product claims to help with elasticity). I immediately added back in my old routine while continuing the Sustainable Youth trial.
At this point I decided to do some online research on the claims that the product makes. First, the clinical trial for topical application was performed with 30 people. They used the pinch test method, which I believe is similar to measuring body fat with calipers. They concluded that after 8 weeks of use 100% of the participants demonstrated skin improvement of up to 72%. Sorry, but figures like that really bug me. It is like going to a sale where everything is up to 75% off only to find the majority of markdowns are 10% off. So the results of this clinical trial do not give me the warm and fuzzies.
The company states on its scientific studies page that it’s proprietary complex Alasta (made from the aloe vera plant rind) activates NF-Kappa B, which they say stimulates the immune system on a cellular level. I was a biology major four score and many years ago, so if the idea of wading through research papers bores you, please skip this next part.
NF-Kappa B, also known as NF-KB is a protein complex found in almost all animal cells and it plays a key role in regulating our immune response to infection. Sounds good so far, right? You can think of NF-Kb as a first responder to any harmful cell stimuli. Encouraging this immune response seems to make sense, but…
NF-Kb can get out of hand. Many kinds of tumors and different inflammatory diseases are caused by overactive NF-Kb (source). In fact, most research being conducted presently is looking at blocking NF-Kb for anti-cancer therapy. There is a large lawsuit going on right now over rights for a patent that can block NF-Kb for therapeutic purposes. Naturally, most antioxidants block NF-Kb.
When I googled NF-Kb and skincare I found an article by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press discussing how NF-Kb increases as we age. In preliminary trials specifically inhibiting NF-Kb in the basal layer of a mouse epidermis, there was a striking outcome of the tissue characteristics of the aged skin reverting back to that of a young animal. Now I am completely confused as to why Sustainable Youth is promoting a product that seems to be the antithesis to all of the research going on in laboratories around the world. If anyone has any insight on this topic, please post a message.
At this point in time, I would be interested to hear from Sustainable Youth and the reasoning behind activating NF-Kb. Until, then I will be putting this product at the back of my skin care shelf.
Marta adds: I put Nancy's concerns to Sustainable Youth. They came back with information on NF-Kb provided by Dr David Pasco, Assistant Director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, who is one of the scientists responsible for the discovery of the active ingredient:
"The activation of NF-kapp B in macrophages does not necessarily result in the promotion of inflammation and free radicals. Macrophages can be polarized into two main types, termed M1 and M2. M1 macrophages when activated, secrete pro-inflammtory cytokines and free radicals, a behavior reflective of the type of environment seen during the initial stages of tissue injury or infection. However, later in wound healing, macrophages exhibit M2 behavior and will secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines and these types of macrophages promote tissue remodeling and repair. The clinical data and case studies performed to date suggest that the active agents in Alasta promote an M2 macrophage polarization. Although the mechanisms of how this takes place are not known, the enhancement of skin elasticity and tone and repair of damaged skin (wrinkle reduction) are consistent with this type of M2 macrophage function."
Background and all the ingredients in Sustainable Youth's serum and cream
Marta's review of the Sustainable Youth products