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Shiseido Benefiance, wrinkle enzymes and the search for the Holy Grail

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
March 11, 2011 Reviewed by Marta 3 Comments
Shiseido has a new line called Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24 and it says that “the entire line contains a revolutionary breakthrough ingredient, Mukurossi Extract, which directly inhibits the activity of a wrinkle-triggering enzyme.”

Now this is the kind of sentence that I just want to pick apart. Leaving aside the vaguely tautological “revolutionary breakthrough”, I was very curious about the idea of a “wrinkle triggering enzyme”. And what is mukurossi extract?

Actually, there is an enzyme that might just qualify as wrinkle triggering. It is called heparanase and has the charming occupation of being mostly involved in the spread of cancer cells. A recent Japanese study found that heparanase activation induced wrinkles.

So, will mukurossi extract inhibit heparanase? As far as I can see, only according to patents held by Shiseido.

A search on mukurossi throws up sapindus mukurossi (also spelled mukorossi).  This plant is also called the soap nut tree and it is a rich source of saponins. Used for centuries to make a natural soap, saponins are found in many land and marine plants.

Sapindus mukurossi seems to be especially soapy and there is plenty of research into the performance of its saponins in things like dishwash detergent. Apparently, if you were to get hold of some soap nuts (not especially easy as this tree is indigenous to the Himalayas) you can throw a few directly into your washing machine. This sounded like a nice green kind of approach to laundry until I discovered that most saponins are easily dissolved in water and poisonous to fish (I even learned two new words: piscicide and moluscicidal).

However, saponins are being increasingly researched to see whether there is any basis for their historical use as a bit of a cure all - soap nuts have been used as an expectorant, emetic, contraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, psoriasis, head lice and migraines. OK, but what about wrinkles?

I already knew that there is a saponin called escin that comes up fairly frequently in beauty products. It is supposed to strengthen veins and capillaries by blocking an enzyme called hyaluronidase. But I could find nothing else. Even a 2007 book called Cosmetology, which lists all manner of ingredients and their roles, only refers to sapindus mukurossi in the context of its soapy saponins. Eventually, I turned up a Taiwanese study that it has anti-tyrosinase (a cause of hyperpigmentation), antioxidant, antimicroorganism and anticancer proliferation properties.

Mukurossi does seem to be a potent antimicrobial, according to research. So at least Shiseido could consider it as an alternative to some of those harsher chemical preservatives.

The most frustrating thing about my research into Shiseido’s wrinkle enzyme, is that the Japanese study on heparanase found that use of a synthetic inhibitor “significantly suppressed wrinkle formation”. This is it, the Holy Grail, I thought! What was this inhibitor? Synthetic or otherwise, I want some!

Well, it is 1-[4-(1H-benzoimidazol-2-yl)phenyl]-3-[4-(1H-benzoimidazol-2-yl)phenyl]urea. And I have absolutely no idea what that is.
  • June 25, 2017

    by Kirirall

    I have to ask if you have actually ever tried their products. I have used for ten years now after years of awful skin breakouts dermatologist prescribed rxs that caused worse facial irritation and old proactive that actually caused a huge pussy cyst on my jawline. I use the Pyrenees's line. Have for ten years. My skin was bad when I started using this. A late 50-yr old coworker whom had glowing clear skin told me and swore by it. She didn't look over 40. Since I have had two MEN (ex husband and boyfriend) sneak my facial products only to ask what the heck it was because it really worked for them and now they use all the time. I noticed huge changes for the better without even needing to use daily to keep lasting effects. I only use three of the Pyrenees's line products and only one daily. Their mattifying moisturizer. It's my hidden gem and the only product to give me my first ever perfect porcelains complexion. As well as I've friends I recommended this to with severe adult acne that it cleared up greatly before I moved. I have tried several other samples from them, some I love more than others. Their eye cream works. When I use I can actually leave the house barefaced without feeling like I have dark bags...I just look awake and clean. And their ultimune line is great. It reduced dark spots I noticed and evens the skin tone significantly. It's my boyfriends favorite. He had a lot of redness and now has excellent skin complexion. However it's a bit expensive it goes a long way so it lasts. I recently tried rodan fields hydration serum because a friend tagged me for a free sample giveaway I didn't want. I tried it and hated it.left me very very sticky, gave my cheeks a redness and itchy reaction. Had to wash fingers after application something shiseido NEVER does. And my current lotion actually gives my face the hydrated feeling along with the silkiest soft natural want to touch my face texture that r&d failed to. While their ingredients may remain a mystery to your research, it doesn't mean it's a bad product or unworthy of trying. I think trying it would tell you a lot as well. See for yourself. It only took me three days to be a shiseido customer for life. It was that amazing. As my friends also found out too!

  • May 3, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Danabritton, no I didn't try it. Before I buy something, I research the ingredients as best I can. As this post indicates, I wasn't convinced enough by the key active or the rest of the formula.

  • May 3, 2014

    by Danabritton

    Did you actually try the product on your skin?

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