The coffee berry craze continued...
But are these and other antioxidant advances enough to guarantee anti-aging results?
Not all experts agree. According to Beer, “The degree to which any product works depends partly on the ability of the ingredient to get to the right place, which means it has to penetrate into the skin.” He believes that level of penetration is possible with the right combination of ingredients. And so, he says, some anti-aging effects are possible.
Narins, however, points out that without published clinical trials, it is impossible to know for certain. “With no FDA approval of these [ingredients], and no agency overseeing the claims, it's impossible to know if a product does what it says it does,” she says. “And my guess is that most don't.”
The tripeptide trifecta
Bearing a slightly more scientific pedigree are ingredients known as “peptides.” The frenzy actually began several years ago when the National Institutes of Health funded studies on wound healing. These studies showed that a chain of five peptides could instruct the body to ratchet up collagen production in response to wounding. More recently, smaller studies found that when applied topically, this same peptide chain seemed to respond to aging, collagen-deficient skin as if it were wounded and so encouraged collagen production.
While the level of activity is still under debate, the next generation of this technology ― known as tripeptides ― is already here.
“These are designer peptides,” says Beer, who describes them as “groups of amino acids” that inhibit some of the natural enzymatic ― and yes, aging ― processes that break down and destroy critical components of youthful skin, including collagen. “By providing stability for these and other critical components,” Beer says, “[tripeptides] tip the scales in favor of remaining more youthful and less damaged.”
Lumene, a Scandinavian company exporting moderately priced skin care to the U.S., is counting on that. They combine tripeptides with the antioxidant properties of sea buckthorn oil, for their new Premium Beauty line ― with research they claim proves it works.
The much more costly Osmotics Anti-Radical Age Defense Line offers a tripeptide formula that not only has antioxidant properties, but also claims to stimulate collagen production.