Scientists at Purdue University have discovered an internal source for aging skin - that is to say, something within us, rather than environmental factors such as sun damage. The culprit is an enzyme that the research team decided to call ArNOX. The enzyme lives on the surface of our cells and works tirelessly to generate skin damaging free radicals.
ArNOX is mostly inactive in our youth, becomes more active as we age and varies by individual (which is one some people can smoke and lie around in the sun and still look as fresh as daisies).
Working with Stanford University, the Purdue team took close-up images of 25 women and assessed the key indicators of aging (wrinkles, age-spots and so on). A panel was then asked to look at the pictures and guess the age of each participant. Blood test were taken to determine the level of ArNOX. Those with the highest levels of ArNox activity were estimated by the panel to be an average of seven years older than those with lower levels.
The conclusion of all of this is that if we can bring down our ArNOX levels, we will look younger. Enter Nu Skin Research & Development, a cosmetic company that was also involved in the Purdue research. Nu Skin has come up with a "proprietary new ingredient blend" that is called ageLOC and it is promised that it helps "slow down the signs of aging at their source".
Nu Face has reformulated one of its products, Galvanic Spa Facial Treatment Gel to include ageLOC. Looking at the ingredients for the treatment gel, I found that many of them could be found in any old potion. However, there are a couple of real interest. Schizandra chinensis fruit is native to China and Japan and has long been used as a tonic for skin disorders. Recent studies have shown it to have antioxidant properties. It has also been found to have phytoestrogens and there are conflicting studies as to whether these cause or prevent cancer.
According to a patent filing for an invention that will stop ArNOX in its tracks, the real heavy gun is narcissus tazetta "in combination with other inhibition agents, including ubiquinones like coenzyme Q". Oddly, there aren't any ubiquinones in the Galvanic gel.
But what of narcissus tazetta, which is basically daffodil bulb extract. I'm hard pushed to see why its the secret sauce here. There's almost no literature on the medicinal properties of narcissus (in fact, it is poisonous) and there are couple of animal studies that concluded that it was fairly useless in fighting cancer. On the other hand, there is a study on mice that concluded that narcissus tazetta induces cytokines (signaling proteins that help against cancer), but the researchers didn't know why. Furthermore, it is far from unique: you'll find narcissus tazetta in a bunch of anti-aging creams and in some products that remove unwanted hair.
Ingredients Galvanic Spa Facial Treatment
Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, isoceteth-20, schizandra chinensis fruit extract, narcissus tazetta bulb extract, tocopheryl nicotinate, arginine, magnesium aspartate, salicin, jasmine extract, rosa damascena flower oil, sandalwood oil, TEA-cocoyl glutamate, polysorbate 20, oleth-10, hydroxypropyl methycellulose, xanthan gum, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, propylene glycol, disodium EDTA, citric acid, chlorphenesin, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol.