Friday, February 19, 2010

Magic Ingredients For Younger Looking Skin

Açai Berry
You know about anti-oxidants, right? You should—they fight the skin damage cause by sun, pollution, and other environmental factors. And the extract of this berry contains one with serious potential.

One study found that its antioxidant ability was "by far the highest of any fruit or vegetable to date," when ingested orally. In terms of its potency in a cream, dermatologists are hopeful, but say more study is needed.

The stuff people pop for jet lag could have benefits when slathered on the skin. Melatonin is another antioxidant and possible way to boost collagen. And it's a team player: many studies show that when used with other antioxidants, it helps them penetrate the skin better. So far, it doesn't seem to make you drowsy, but it can irritate dry or sensitive skin.

Skin doctors are excited about this, a protein that kicks off collagen production to heal wounds. They're thinking that because aging skin is damaged skin, activin might also reduce wrinkles. Avon, the only company using the ingredient now, checked out hundreds of ways to create Activin and discovered a combination of Asian plants they named activinol. According to the company's studies, the plant compound delivered up to a 25 percent improvement in fine wrinkles.

Serpin B3 Inhibitor
Need another reason to stay out of the sun? UV exposure can produce a protein in skin cells called serpin B3, which causes dryness and roughness. But Shiseido has patented a synthetic amino acid, Skingenecell 1P that suppresses it, which makes skin softer. Dermatologists are excited about the ingredient, and have found that products containing it are much more effective than traditional moisturizers.

This jazzily named ingredient is like a milder version of Botox, but in a cream, according to the people who make it. Here's how they put it together: Botox interrupts the release of a neurochemical that makes muscles contract (and wrinkles form). Argireline, the active ingredient in many skin creams that claim to work like Botox, does something similar. Snap-8 is chemically like argireline but about 30 percent more effective, according to the makers. Doctors say While Snap-8 creams won't give you all the benefits of Botox, but still give it the thumbs up: products containing the ingredient do seem to have a gradual relaxing effect.

This protein in skin helps connect and anchor cells, but its production drops as the years go by. The logic: if a product can restore the body's tensin, skin will look firmer and younger. Chanel worked with scientists from Harvard to identify a plant compound that they say stimulates our stores of tensin. Outside dermatologists say more study is needed to see whether the compound will have the same effect on skin that it does on cells in a lab.

Genomic Technology
This one isn't an ingredient, it's a whole strategy. Young skin contains proteins (including activin, serpin B3, and tensin) that decrease over time. By identifying the genes responsible for creating these proteins, scientists can formulate ingredients to keep the good stuff flowing. We're still in the beginning stages of utilizing genomic technology, but dermatologists agree: It is the future of skin care.

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