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What Are Defensins and How Do They Help Reduce Signs of Age?

Thanks to scientific advances in our use of key ingredients in skincare creams and serums, there are topicals that really do help to erase and soften wrinkles, diminish lines, improve skin tone (including age spots) and more. Some of today’s skincare products even help tighten skin.

But you have to know what to look for and which ingredients have been shown in studies to help--not harm--skin.

Defensins is one of today’s hottest skin-rejuvenating ingredients. When combined in the right formulation, studies show that skincare products with defensins result in visible changes to aging skin.

The good news is defensins are the hero ingredient in topical skincare line DefenAge. So, to see the results, you don’t need surgery or a procedure (although those help, too). You simply need to apply these proven creams and serums to your skin.

Defensins occur naturally in the body

Defensins Defined

Scientifically defined, defensins are members of a large family of antimicrobial peptides that form part of the body’s immune system. Defensins are regenerative molecules, meaning they help to regenerate tissue, including the skin.

As we age, changes in the skin’s tissue include decreases in the composition of healthy skin’s building blocks--types of collagen and elastin. We see the changes as lines, wrinkles. The skin’s baby smoothness becomes rougher and duller.

Our bodies have natural skin aging defenses, including specific stem cell types called LGR6-positive (LGR6+) stem cells that cause skin turnover and regeneration. Specific types of defensins target and awaken LRG6+ stem cells. By targeting LRG6+ stem cells, defensins encourage the skin to make fresh skin stem cells, in a way more mimicking young skin’s behavior or turnover. [Defensins_ebook.pdf]

The challenge is these stem cells often remain dormant, or asleep, after birth, only to reactivate with skin injury and the need for healing.

So, while the key to rejuvenating aging skin lies in defensins and their ability to awaken LRG6+, the question became how does one harness defensins’ power without having to injure skin?

Discovering Defensins’ Power

Scientists at the skincare company DefenAge understood the challenge and solved it by finding a way to create identical copies of human defenses. They discovered how to formulate defensins in topical skin care products so that they could penetrate and rejuvenate aging skin. All this, while bypassing the need to injure the skin in order to activate these regenerating cells.

Harnessing the power of defensins specifically to address aging skin took years and started with studies in wound healing.

While researching cell therapies to help in wound care, scientists almost mistakenly discovered the skin rejuvenating potential of 2 specific defensins: alpha-defensin 5 communicates with skin master cells to unlock the skin’s age-corrective potential. Beta-defensin 3 significantly improves the skin’s barrier. Skin barrier is a buzz term today that is a true sign on skin health and skin resilience.

They found that these antimicrobial peptides that are produced by our immune cells--these alpha- and beta-defensins--awaken the normally sleepy LGR6+ stem cells. Applying defensins to the face or body increases cell turnover and promotes regeneration, or the skin’s natural rejuvenation process.

Benefits (again, scientifically proven) are increased skin thickness, decreased appearance of pores, reduced wrinkles, and reduced pigmentary changes.

Defensins are not stem cells, but they trigger activation of the natural stem cells in our bodies needed to rejuvenate skin.

Defensins’ Skin Rejuvenating Potential

The research points to this: Applying defensins to the skin can encourage the body to do what it needs to do to keep the skin looking and feeling good.

This isn’t a baseless marketing claim; it’s science.

This is one example of the many studies done on defensins used in the DefenAge skincare line: Dermatologist researchers studied DefenAge’s Clinical Power Trio, which includes the skincare line’s 2-Minute Reveal Masque, 24/7 Barrier Balance Cream, and 8-in-1 BioSerum.

Two-thirds of the study participants applied the three-step regimen for 12 weeks and one-third applied a placebo, or sham, skincare regimen.

Researchers found that compared to the sham group those who applied DefenAge to their skin daily had decreased visible fine and coarse wrinkles, decreased pore size and less visible pigmentation. DefenAge users also experienced improvement in skin oiliness, evenness, hydration and a number of other important skin qualities.

In other words, their skin looked and behaved like youthful skin.

If you’d like to read more about this study and its findings, the results of that study are published the prestigious Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. Multi-Center, Double-Blind, Vehicle-Controlled Clinical Trial of an Alpha and Beta Defensin-Containing Anti-Aging Skin Care Regimen With Clinical, Histopathologic, Immunohistochemical, Photographic, and Ultrasound Evaluation - PubMed (nih.gov)

Are Defensins Peptides?

Yes, defensins are a type of peptide. But they are not the same peptides marketed in many of today’s skincare products.

In fact, DefenAge is the only line of skincare products to contain its patent-pending non-prescription skincare technology with its proprietary blend including “Age-Repair Defensins.”

Do Peptide Skincare Products Contain Defensins?

Peptides are a tricky ingredient to include in skincare creams, lotions and serums. Why? Because most peptides are too large to effectively penetrate the skin, when means they just sit on the skin doing nothing.

Peptides also are difficult to stabilize, so the peptides touted on the label might not be inactive in a topical formulation. And they interact with other molecules. So, scientists have to figure out which ingredients work with peptides and which don’t.

The bottom line is that simply putting peptides in a topical skincare product does not translate into a product having any positive effect on the skin but can have a big impact on one’s wallet.

Defensins used in DefenAge products are small enough to enter the skin’s hair follicles and penetrate the skin’s surface. That’s where they do their work to stimulate or awaken LGR6+ stem cells to rejuvenate the skin’s outer layer. [source: How Do Defensins Work as Anti-Aging Ingredients? – Dr. Leslie Baumann (lesliebaumannmd.com)]

DefenAge is currently patenting the use of defensins for anti-aging purposes. Its products are scientifically formulated to ensure defensin peptides are stable and work harmoniously with the other ingredients in each product to improve skin health and appearance.

Defensins, however, are not the only ingredients scientifically proven to improve parameters of skin aging.

Retinol is a popular skin rejuvenating ingredient in many of today’s over-the-counter skincare products. Derived from vitamin A, retinol is commonly used to treat skin aging and acne. Retinoids are the stronger version of retinol, available by prescription only.

The challenge with using retinol and retinoid-containing skin topicals is that many people have to stop using these products because of skin irritation and sun sensitivity. The side effects are such a big problem that there was a huge need for an alternative, and that’s where defensins came in.

The defensins in DefenAge worked equally well in studies as retinol and retinoid cream, but without the side effects of skin inflammation, irritation and sun sensitivity.

Defensin-containing DefenAge products also are comparable to the skincare scientific results from companies that have studied growth-factor containing skincare products, but, again, without the associated side effects.

Defensins in Skincare Products

How Do I Use Defensins?

Now that you understand the power and potential of defensins, how do you use this ingredient to your skin’s advantage?

It’s as easy as applying creams, lotions, and serums to your face and body. But, as you’ve discovered, it has to be defensins that are small enough to penetrate the skin, are stable and don’t interact with other ingredients that might be in a skincare product.

Types of Defensin-based Products

Skincare products with defensins come in different forms, including a traditional facial skincare cream (24/7 Barrier Balance Anti-Aging Cream | Fragrance Free | DefenAge®) and a more defensins-potent serum (Best Anti-Aging Serum | 8-IN-1 BioSerum | DefenAge® Skincare), eye cream (3D Eye Radiance Cream | Lifts & Firms Eye Area | DefenAge Beauty Brand), neck tightening cream (6-Week Neck Tightening Cream | Neck Firming Cream |DefenAge), and a hand and body lotion (Luxe Hand & Body Cream).

Each is formulated to address the specific skincare needs of different face and body parts, while harnessing the power of defensins and other scientifically proven skin rejuvenating ingredients, such as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Having different products to deliver defensins to stem cell targets beneath the skin’s top layer is important. Think about it. The skin under the eyes, for example, is much thinner than skin elsewhere on the face or body, so the product applied should be a different formulation designed to address under-eye skin.

Defensins Treat These Skin Concerns

The company that makes defensins skincare, DefenAge, has conducted 19 scientific studies to reveal just how these topicals improve skin. Many other researchers have done studies on defensins in the wound healing and other areas.

We’ve talked about how defensins rejuvenate skin by activating LGR6+ stem cells. But what does this mean to the someone looking into the mirror?

Studies show, defensin containing skincare improves:

  • Pore size
  • Wrinkles, including superficial and even deep wrinkles
  • Oiliness
  • Evenness
  • Pigmentation (sun and age spots)
  • Elasticity (or skin resilience)
  • Turgor (you know, the skin pinch test where younger skin responds better)
  • Hydration
  • Skin thickness
  • Tighter and firmer skin on the neck (the neck cream, specifically)
  • Crow’s feet around the eyes (the eye cream)

Defensins in the DefenAge hand and body cream addressed specific skin concerns on the body, improving not only the concerns above but also:

  • The appearance of crepey skin.
  • Surface skin texture.
  • Dryness and resulting itching.
  • And the especially tough to treat areas of elbows and knees.

Note: Researchers studying this line of defensin skincare saw these changes with their eyes, as well as documented proof of many of the changes under the microscope.

Potential Side Effects, Interactions

While skincare regimens containing retinol or growth factors can cause skin inflammation, irritation (redness), peeling and sun sensitivity, studies on defensins skincare, by DefenAge, have had little to no indication of irritation, dryness, inflammation, or sun-sensitivity.

So, the side effects common with retinoids, for example, do not appear to happen with the defensins in DefenAge skincare.

And these defensins-containing products have passed testing on humans in clinical studies, looking for signs of irritation and allergy. This includes application around the eyes.

There are so many ingredients nowadays, it’s important to know not only about the safety of defensins but also ingredients that go along with the defensins to create skincare products. The DefenAge line of defensins-powered skincare also does not use animal- or human-derived growth factors, cells, stem cells, or tissues, which eliminate infection or disease transfer risk. There are no parabens, fragrances, phthalates, formaldehydes, hydroquinone, mineral oil, or gluten in DefenAge’s skincare products.

Defensins As Part of Your Skincare Routine

Consistency leads to the best results when it comes to defensins. Defensins skincare products should be a part of your daily routine. Simply apply the barrier cream followed by the serum on the face and use products for specific body areas in the morning and at night.

Defensin molecules begin their work in the days and weeks ahead, with many people seeing results in as little as a week and the full range of results in 6 weeks, according to studies.

Defensin skincare does not take the place of sunscreen, which should be applied to further protect against skin aging and skin cancer.

Commonly Asked Questions

Consistency leads to the best results when it comes to defensins. Defensins skincare products should be a part of your daily routine. Simply apply the barrier cream followed by the serum on the face and use products for specific body areas in the morning and at night.

Do I Need a Prescription?

No. You do not need a prescription to purchase and use DefenAge’s defensin-containing skincare products. These are available at defenage.com or DefenAge-authorized aesthetic practices and their websites. DefenAge is not available in drugstores.

Can You Use With Moisturizer?

Defensins have an entirely different mechanism of action compared to other types of skincare products and DefenAge products can be combined with almost any other skincare products, including moisturizers, as well as products or prescriptions with Retin-A and retinols, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and growth factors.

Simply layer all other products in your skincare routine before layering DefenAge's barrier cream and BioSerum.

How Often Should You Use Defensins Skincare?

Daily. In most cases, apply in the morning and at night. The studies on defensins used in skincare used the twice-daily approach and achieved great results.

Is There a Limit to Defensin-Based Products?

More is not necessarily better when using defensins in skincare. DefenAge recommends using the exact quantity of the defensin products as recommended, which is one pump per area (they call it the “one pump rule”).

These defensin skincare formulas use carefully balanced and refined concentrations of defensins and other ingredients to deliver results at the dosages studied.

What Happens When I Discontinue Use?

Defensins do their work on the skin’s rejuvenating stem cells over time. One needs to use the topicals regularly to see results.

Choosing a Defensin-Based Product

Who Should Try Defensins?

Defensins in the DefenAge skincare line have been shown to be safe for adults with skin aging concerns. Basically, anyone can use the products and reap the benefits.

Scientists have not done studies specifically on pregnancy or lactating women to determine if using defensins skincare is safe. The company recommends women talk with their obstetricians about the specific ingredients in the products before using them during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Many dermatologists recommend defensins to patients who have had side effects from retinol-containing skincare and other skincare products with active ingredients, because defensins can offer the same great results without skin irritation, inflammation or sun-sensitivity.

Defensins skincare also works well with other skincare regimens. Using defensins does not make existing skin conditions, like acne, worse, according to research

What Are My Other Options?

The most studied skincare option is retinoids, in prescription form, or retinol, in over-the-counter products. These products can be used with or without defensins skincare.

Other options that are trending in skincare include products with growth factors.

Always look for the science behind the active ingredients in your skincare, as well as how the products you plan to use are formulate for stability and effectiveness.

Try DefenAge!

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