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Posts Tagged ‘Anti Aging’

Syn- ake wrinkle reducing anti aging ingredient

May 4th, 2009
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Anti-aging creams with synthetic snake venom

Skin-care companies such as Sonya Dakar, Syence, Borba and Planet Skincare are making lotions that contain a synthetic venom called Syn-ake. They say the products smooth wrinkles by relaxing facial muscles.

Maybe we can blame snakes for our wrinkles. After all, as the story goes, it was a snake that tempted Eve, getting her expelled from Eden and doomed to a mortal life filled with fine lines and wrinkles. So isn’t it about time that the slithering serpent made amends? More than a half-dozen skin-care companies think so, incorporating a synthetic venom into their formulations to help diminish signs of aging.

The products sprang from an “aha!” connection: When poisonous snakes strike, they paralyze their prey by injecting them with a toxin through hollow fangs. And if snake venom can paralyze muscles, couldn’t a targeted version work like a topical Botox?

Enter SYN®-AKE Active Pure Peptide, a compound developed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Pentapharm, to mimic a protein found in the venom of the temple viper.

“I wanted to develop a Botox alternative for my clients who complained of side effects or wanted to avoid the injections all together,” says Sonya Dakar, co-founder of Sonya Dakar Skincare, who incorporated Syn-ake into her UltraLuxe-9 cream. According to Phentapharm, the ingredient works as a neuromuscular block, preventing sodium ion uptake in the muscle and keeping it in a relaxed state. Relaxing the facial muscles can help prevent deeper expression lines, while smoothing skin in the process, says Sean Campbell, director of Syence Skin Care, which produces Syence Servital Active Anti-Aging Tissue Defense.

Pentapharm measured the smoothing effect of a Syn-ake-infused cream compared with a placebo in a 28-day trial. According to the company, 67% of the participants using the cream reported a decrease in muscle contraction, and wrinkle size was reduced by 52%. Borba, which incorporates Syn-ake into its Advanced Aging Reverse & Tone Serum, did its own blind consumer testing study. “Seventy-nine percent of women reported they could feel the product working, tightening and firming the skin,” says the company’s founder, Scott-Vincent Borba.

But experts wonder whether the topical formulations penetrate deeply enough to effectively inhibit muscle contraction. After all, Botox is injected for a reason — to deliver the compound directly into muscle tissue.

“Is the active ingredient really absorbed into the skin like Botox?” asks dermatologist Dr. Vermén Verallo-Rowell. “The action may just be as a good moisturizer, which does soften wrinkles.”

“Skin is programmed to keep proteins out,” adds Dr. Leslie Baumann, author of “The Skin Type Solution.” And the chemical must travel through several layers of skin and subcutaneous fat to reach and penetrate the muscle.

“The smaller the molecule and the more fat-soluble, the deeper that chemical can get into the skin,” says Dr. Corey Maas, fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. After evaluating Syn-ake, Maas says the molecule appears to be small enough theoretically to penetrate; however, without more studies, he says, it’s difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of the ingredient.

He also points out another dilemma for skin-care companies incorporating the synthetic venom formulation. Once a compound “goes through the skin and becomes pharmacologically active working as a drug to relax muscle, it could in theory be absorbed through the body and affect other” areas, Maas says. “It’s a Catch-22. It goes from the cosmaceutical-you-don’t-need-FDA-approval range to a range where it needs to be studied for its safety and its efficacy.”

Skin Venom’s Campbell, for his part, compares Syn-ake to retinol, the less active version of Retin-A found in many beauty products, and not regulated by the FDA.

With so many skin-care companies using Syn-ake, what sets one cream apart from another? “You can make two cakes and have the same ingredients, but it’s the way in which these ingredients are put together that makes the difference,” says Caroline Clapperton, founder of Planet Skincare. Planet Skincare’s daily moisturizer incorporates argireline and GABA to help relax muscles, antioxidants such as vitamin A and C, and retinoic acid, which speeds up cell renewal. The creamy formulation spreads easily, comes packaged with a plastic scoop and smells like roses.

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Anti Aging Master Gene Discovered

March 25th, 2009
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Researchers at Oregon State University have found one gene in the human body that appears to be a master regulator for skin development, in research that could help address everything from skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis to the wrinkling of skin as people age.

Inadequate or loss of expression of this gene, called CTIP2, may play a role in some skin disorders, scientists believe, and understanding the mechanisms of gene action could provide a solution to them.

“We found that CTIP2 is a transcriptional factor that helps control different levels of skin development, including the final phase of a protective barrier formation,” said Arup Indra, an OSU assistant professor of pharmacy. “It also seems particularly important in lipid biosynthesis, which is relevant not only to certain skin diseases but also wrinkling and premature skin aging.”

The findings of this research, done in collaboration with Mark Leid, OSU professor of pharmacy, were recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. This work is supported by the National Institutes of Health, which has provided $1.5 million for its continuation.

Skin is actually the largest organ in the human body, and has important functions in protecting people from infection, toxins, microbes and solar radiation. But it’s not static – skin cells are constantly dying and being replaced by new cells, to the extent that human skin actually renews its surface layers every three to four weeks. Wrinkles, in fact, are a reflection of slower skin regeneration that occurs naturally with aging.

Major advances have been made in recent years in understanding how skin develops in space and time, and in recent breakthroughs scientists learned how to re-program adult skin cells into embryonic stem cells.

“When you think about therapies for skin disease or to address the effects of skin aging, basically you’re trying to find ways to modulate the genetic network within cells and make sure they are doing their job,” Indra said. “We now believe that CTIP2 might be the regulator that can do that. The next step will be to find ways to affect its expression.”

One of the ways that some ancient botanical extracts or other compounds may accomplish their job in helping to rejuvenate skin, Indra said, is by stimulating gene expression. A more complete understanding of skin genetics might allow that process to be done more scientifically, effectively and permanently.

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