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I am just going to cut straight to the car chase. Medik8 Firewall ($145 in the shop) works. It really works. It really, really works.
OK. I suppose you'd like a little more detail so we'll flashback a month. I must admit I approached Medik8 Firewall with some trepidation. The name is silly, there is a gimmicky 'dual chamber' system and, by the company's own admission half the ingredients are there as a smoke screen to deter competitors from hacking their secret, patent-pending sauce. What with all of that and the fact they jumped on the publicity bandwagon of Boot's and its scientist-endorsed Protect & Perfect, it all seemed, if you had asked me, to be too gimmicky to be true. A month on and I've (mostly) changed my tune.
Daily application on the right side of my face for the past 36 days has produced appreciably noticeable results. The biggest change is that my skin is much, much firmer. In a side-by-side pinch test, it puts the left side of my face to flabby shame. The beginnings of a nasolabiol groove are diminished. Crow's feet are smoothed out. Overall skin tone isn't bad, but I'd have to say that this isn't this potion's forte. At least for me, Firewall is a little drying and I've found that I need to follow with a moisturizer.
The dual chamber thingy has turned out to be less fiddly than I had feared. The premise is that the ingredients are most active when they first encounter one another, so they are kept in separate chambers until used. The idea is to pump a drop from each cylinder onto the back of the hand, mix together then apply.
So what are the actives that pack Firewall's punch? There are several forms of copper in Firewall. Copper is the key mineral in lysyl oxidase, an enzyme which weaves together collagen and elastin, and there is a mountain of research on how topical applications of copper heal wounds. However, I am a little skeptical about colloidal copper, which seems to have snake oil abilities to cure everything from arthritis to graying hair.
An especially interesting ingredient is N-acetyl cysteine. This is produced in the human body and plays a role in the sulfation cycle, acting as a sulfur donor in phase II detoxification. Cysteine also helps synthesize glutathione, one of the body’s most important natural antioxidants and detoxifiers. Also on the of-high-interest list is Liprochroman-6, listed here as dimethylmethoxy chromanol. I wager that this is going to be an antioxidant to watch and that it will start showing up more and more in high-end, anti-aging potions. Lipochroman-6 is an able scavenger of two free radicals: RNS and ROS. According to Lipotec, who makes lipochronan-6, it does a significantly better job of fending off oxidative stress than resveratrol, the antioxidant component of grapes.
Although I love the visible effects of Medik8 Firewall, I am less enamored of the ones that might be going on that I can't see. Silicones are toxic and there are fair few of them here. I don't like the preservative sodium benzoate, which in a British study on yeast cells appeared to attack cells’ mitochondria, damaging their ability to prevent oxygen leaks that create free radicals. Methylisothiazolinone is another controversial preservative that is a skin irritant, as ismethylchloroisothiazoline.
So Mr (or Mrs) Medik8, if you were to toss the silicones and revise your preservative strategy you'd have one very loyal fan.