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I believe that it was a product by Osmotics called Anti-Radical Age Defense that got me thinking that there might be something to this anti-aging cosmetic stuff. At first I was skeptical, here was a face cream that didn't just contain an antioxidant, it claimed to attack free radicals in three different ways. Then I read up on the ingredients, which included such things as carnosine, and started to be won over by the research behind them.
Imagine how crushed I was when, after a few weeks of trying it out, I developed an allergic reaction. A friend, who was a self-professed disbeliever in any kind of anti-aging potion, cautiously took the pot I could no longer touch and became a convert. "It's wonderful", she said, using an adjective that she normally reserves for opera.
I have been dying to reacquaint myself with Osmotics ever since and, at last, we recently became reunited over a tube of body cream, Age Defense Barrier Repair Body Silk. This body lotion also has the ingredient called carnosine that had so intrigued me when I first encountered Osmotics; a couple of weeks ago we singled out carnosine as one of our Five Best picks for anti-aging ingredients. It is a natural amino-acid that is a potent anti-oxidant, helps to chelate ionic metals (flush toxins from the body) and has immune boosting properties.
The thing that I find really exciting is that Australian researchers claim that carnosine can extend the HayFlick Limit. The Hayflick Limit is the name given to the sad fact that our cells will only divide and reproduce 52 times before dying altogether (so treatments such as heavy peels that force cell turnover may have the adverse effect of reaching the limit faster). Carnosine, on the other hand, may extend the limit by as much as ten.
There is a good handful of other heavy duty ingredients in Osmotics body lotion. Of as much note as carnosine (it may even be more potent in the antioxidant dept), is aldenine. Aldenine is a radical scavenger and it specifically goes after the reactive carbonyl species (the other day I posted on the different free radicals and how different scavengers are required to hunt them down). It acts, therefore, as a cellular detoxifier, boosts collagen III production, and is supposed to protect cells from sunlight.
Also worth a call-out is thermus thermophilus ferment. I haven't quite got my head around this one, but here goes. This is a marine microbacteria that is activated when the waters it resides in reach a certain temperature. The theory is that, being heat activated (eg when the skin is exposed to the warmth of the sun, it will activate the body's natural antioxidant enzymes. This does sound a mite far-fetched to me, but it does seem that thermophilus emzymes are very interesting to scientists and that they have a "fundamental role in DNA replication and repair" (source).
Products with tetrahydrocurcumin also get my vote. This is derived from the Indian spice turmeric. Its cosmetic purposes run the gamut from lightening skin to removing superfluous hair to curing eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Many (animal) studies show it to be an effective antioxidant.
At last, a body cream that takes its anti-aging job seriously.
Barrier Repair Body Silk lives up to its name in more ways than one. It really did give my skin a nice, silky feel - but with no tackiness or sense that it wasn't being absorbed (an issue, I find frequently with 'richer' body lotions). It is on the expensive side at $85, but it really does go a long way (I was greatly surprised to find that the dispenser eked out a Scrooge-sized dollop and then discovered that a couple of pumps or so is all that is needed).
In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that there are a couple of ingredients I could do without. Bismuth oxychloride is used to bulk up products and can be irritating in larger doses. In general, though it is best avoided by senstitive types and rosacea sufferers (I have had no adverse effects so far). Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that can produce skin irritation and other side effects. Disodium EDTA is considered to be a weak mutagenic, but in doses much larger than typically found in cosmetics. Lanolin can also be an irritant.
Purified water, squalane, glycerin, emulsifying wax NF, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20, dimethicone, thermus thermophilus ferment, sodium hyaluronate, bismuth oxychloride, mica, silica, lanolin, phenoxyethanol, capryl glycol, ethylhexylglycerine, hexylene glycol, soybean sterol, carnosine, tetrahydrocurcumin, ceramide, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), linoleic acid, allantoin, stearic acid, lavender oil, carbomer, disodium EDTA, tromethamine.