Reading between the lines: high tech skincare can be holistic


If you love your skincare, the chances are that you have found yourself in a state of confusion more than once when browsing the beauty aisle. Because as exciting as new developments in the world of skincare are, if you want to understand what to use and when, you’ll probably need a Phd in science.

From biomolecular breakthroughs to advances in ingredient delivery, just as the science used to develop new drugs or technology is under constant change and update, so too is the technology behind our skincare.

And this is no more evident than in the study of the human genome. The modulation of gene expression as a new skin anti-aging strategy has been looked at for several years however it wasn’t until I spent time with the geneticists at Imperial College that I fully understood that we can actually change the way our genes express ageing through nutrition, stress reduction, less toxicity and the use of powerful topical actives.

Recent advances in the mapping of the human genome have given us the opportunity to explore how we age and the role of gene expression in ageing and how supplementation and nutrients interact with gene expression.

If we look at ageing as long term damage to cells and tissue at a molecular level, the rate of ageing depends on internal and external factors that influence the balance between repair of damage and tissue longevity. It is now accepted that lifestyle factors can accelerate or decelerate this ageing process:


By understanding genetic markers and the environment that accelerates ageing, my aim was to formulate a super serum that addressed both genetic and environmental ageing triggers. Small but mighty, this serum provides the ‘caffeine hit’ to your beauty routine, waking up the skin to leave it looking revived and refreshed. More potent than a cream yet super lightweight, it contains a higher concentration of ingredients that can sink into the skin deeper.

Gene Expression Lifting Serum is the result of combining the optimal actives (ten actives in total) to work in synergy to address all skin ageing issues, including skin texture, uneven skin tone, surface dullness, the appearance of enlarged pores, loss of elasticity, dehydration/dryness, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin and premature ageing.

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A combination of plant based bio technological extracts, antioxidants, vitamins, stem cells, growth factors, lifting herbs and three different sized hyaluronic acid molecules – low, medium and high molecular weight – to hydrate and plump the skin are combined to deliver seven benefits to change the way our genes express ageing and restore our skin to its youthful state.

But how can these ingredients change the way our genes express ageing? Here I want to highlight the role of stem cells. All multi-organisms such as plants, fruits, animals and humans have stem cells. They are found throughout our bodies, where they can play an essential role in tissue renewal. Stem cells just below the surface of the skin can help with restorative functions, such as cellular regeneration, and may ultimately enhance the capacity to repair ageing skin. The real beauty of stem cells, however, is that they have the amazing ability to develop into many different types of cells. By applying a skincare product that contains stem cell extracts derived from plants or fruits, you may encourage the growth of your skin’s own stem cells and possibly trigger their anti-aging effects.

The stem cells in Gene Expression Lifting Serum are obtained from a grape extract and it’s these extracts, not the live cells themselves that are added to the serum. They act to protect against UV-induced ageing and were shown to:

  • help the skin stem cells to maintain their stem cell characteristics
  • protect these precious cells against UV-induced stress.
  • Increases the skin’s UV tolerance
  • Fights photo-ageing
  • For a vital and healthy-looking skin

Also key to the formula is Hibiscus Abelmoschus seed extract, an amino rich extract which shows protective action towards Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 (FGF-2), essential to protecting and promoting the synthesis of collagen, which provides the framework for improved skin texture, elasticity and thickness. By preventing the natural degradation of FGF-2, Hibiscus Abelmoschus seed extract maintains the bioavailability of this growth factor for its target cells, i.e. skin fibroblasts. A study showed that the protected FGF-2 could stimulate the synthesis of sulphated GAGs, the natural protective molecules for FGF-2, and collagen synthesis thus providing a double protection. The result rejuvenated skin texture and density, improving the appearance of aging skin to resemble much younger skin in a matter of weeks.

Retinol is the current buzzword in all things anti-ageing. This wonder ingredient helps to smooth the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin texture, reduce pores and even out skin tone, reducing signs of pigmentation. All retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, one of the body’s key nutrients. The problem for many years is to make it stable as it was prone to degeneration. Scientists then developed retinoic acid which later became Retin A which was FDA-approved in 1971 as a prescription-strength treatment for acne, but dermatologists noticed almost immediately that a patients began reporting a reduction in fine lines and hyperpigmentation. The issue however was the irritation, redness and dryness. It was also sensitive to light, which meant it could only be used at night and it made the skin very sensitive. Retinol however is milder than retinoic acid and after decades of research it is now stable and able to remain in skin care without breaking down. When applied to the skin it is not active. It becomes active when it reaches the cells and is converted to retinoic acid by the cells. That means no irritation, no redness, no sun sensitivity or peeling but all the benefits: visibly smoothed out wrinkles, no breakouts, improved skin texture and tightened of pores. We use an encapsulated and stabilised nature identical retinol in the formula.

The loss of elasticity and skin sagging is one of the biggest ageing concerns. To address this issue we use a vegetable derived peptide Trifluo tripeptide-2. This high tech biomimetic peptide helps to remodel and lift sagging skin by modulating the protein progerin, responsible for ageing.

In a genetic disorder called Hutchinson Gilford Progeria syndrome where the organs age at a vastly accelerated speed, the expression and accumulation of progerin was caused by a mutation in the Lamin A gene. A study carried out by the University of Boston demonstrated that exposure to UVA and UVB rays resulted in the release of oxygen species (free radicals) that caused alternative splicing of the LaminA gene pre-mRNA, which causes the release of progerin. This brings us a little closer to understanding the mechanisms of photoageing.

This peptide acts by controlling the release of Progerin resulting in a complete remodelling effect and a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.

To enhance these effects, I have chosen flax seed and birch extract, which work in synergy to increase GAG synthesis, protect collagen from degradation and plump the skin through their high capacity to absorb water. The result is a remodelling action along the jaw line, increased skin hydration and lifting and remodelling of the contours of the face. A study with 24 volunteers aged 45-61 showed after 42 days – 75% had firmer skin, 92% visibly reduced lines, 67% plumper skin.

Finally, Sodium Hyaluronate and Sea Algae extract help with hydration, plumping, elasticity and wrinkle reduction. The polysaccharide biopolymers from specially selected Chondrus crispus rich in hyaluronic acid create bundles that deliver bolus and adsorbed water for immediate and sustained hydration.

Also rich in Gluconolactone an important molecule found in the bodies of many mammals. Topically, its molecules are naturally attracted to water. When the ingredient is applied to the skin, these “water hungry” molecules pull moisture out of the air and allow it to be absorbed by the skin. By drawing water droplets from the air in this way, gluconolactone helps to soften and soothe dry skin and replenish lost moisture. In addition, gluconolactone forms a barrier on the skin, preventing moisture already present in the tissue from evaporating.

By combining the very best in skincare science with nature’s precious ingredients its possible for beauty to be both high tech and holistic.

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