With so many skincare ingredients available, it can be difficult to keep them straight. From peptides to stem cells and growth factors, many products with these ingredients claim to be the fountain of youth, which is why we turned to DefenAge clinical researcher Dr. Amy Forman Taub, Medical Director of Advanced Dermatology and Skinfo Specialty Skincare Boutique www.skinfo.com, to explain these pieces of the skincare puzzle - and the benefits they have for restoring the skin to a more youthful state.
I’ve seen countless skincare innovations over the course of my more than 30-year career, and thanks to modern science and copious amounts of research we have access to more skin-rejuvenating options than ever. But with that said, skincare skin rejuvenation is still a science, and much of what researchers and scientists know can be difficult to translate to consumers. As with just about anything else, knowledge is power, and understanding your anti-aging skincare choices is key to getting the optimal improvement for your unique skin concerns and needs.
By definition, peptides are long chains of amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. When it comes to skincare, peptides perform a variety of functions ranging from sending messages between cells (prompting the production of proteins such as collagen) to transporting molecules within the cell and inhibiting nerve signals (such as the ones responsible for wrinkle-causing muscle contractions).
Growth factors are a type of peptide; however, their main job is to promote communication within the skin, essentially sending instructions that tell the cells to replicate, repair and rejuvenate themselves. However, growth factors can be likened to an army drill sergeant, and any cell that “hears” them - “good” (such as collagen-producing cells) or “bad” (i.e. cancer cells) - will follow their instructions.
Stem cells are a bit trickier to understand since there are a variety of types. Those found in embryos, placental tissue and umbilical cords are extremely controversial, as they come along with ethical, regulatory and infection-related concerns.
The stem cells found in skincare are usually plant-derived or adult stem cells. Although there is little scientific evidence that stem cells from fruit or other botanicals have an anti-aging effect on the skin, adult skin cells are a different story (and they are not associated with controversy, risks or unwanted side effects).
Adult stem cells are naturally abundant in the human body, and they are responsible for replacing dying and damaged cells in all tissues and organs, as well as repairing trauma. For example, basal stem cells produce new skin cells. Similarly, hair follicle stem cells prompt hair growth, however researchers have identified more than 10 types of hair follicle stem cells that have been found to be capable of doing a lot more, including maintaining and repairing other components of the skin.
LGR6+ stem cells are perhaps the most interesting type of hair-follicle stem cell because they have been found to act as “master stem cells” within the skin. These unique stem cells are capable of generating new hair follicles, oil glands, basal stem cells and promote wound healing. But LGR6+ stem cells are generally dormant, and they need to be “activated” in order to repair and regenerate the skin. That’s where defensins come in…
Defensins are “target-specific” molecules, which means they are only effective for stimulating certain types of cells - in this case, LGR6+ stem cells. Simply put, defensins “wake up” LRG6+ stem cells, prompting them to make fresh basal stem cells, which are ultimately responsible for creating new skin.
But if the basal stem cells found naturally in the skin are already creating new cells, why do we need defensins? Think of cell multiplication like photocopying… A fresh, new print-out (like the basal stem cells produced by defensins) is going to yield a high-quality copy. On the flip side, basal stem cells are constantly multiplying, and they become damaged over time. Without defensins, they create copies with the same damage every time they reproduce.
DefenAge is the only professional-grade skincare range that harnesses the power of Age-Repair Defensins to help promote visibly newer, fresher and actual younger skin.
Several double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies have shown that DefenAge and its Age-Repair Defensins provide significant improvement in visible skin discoloration, pore appearance, fine lines, wrinkles, hydration levels, excess oil and the look of elasticity. DefenAge’s effects are akin to literally turning back the clock, and the results speak for themselves.