Anti-Aging Innovation

NEARLY EVERYONE DREAMS OF ETERNAL YOUTH. As a result, many consumers refuse to accept the signs of aging, triggering a surge in anti-aging research and new products. One new weapon in the war against premature aging is Idebenone.

Related to the vital enzyme Co-Q10, Idebenone is a bioengineered, patented, multifunctional superceutical molecule that works over time to keep the cause and effect of skin aging in check. Prior to its introduction into the skincare market, Idebenone was successfully used to treat a variety of age-mitigated disorders, including Alzheimer's and heart disease, as well as cerebrovascular dementia. It enhances cellular energy, protects organs, and is an effective scavenger of free radicals. Recently, German scientists discovered it could significantly alter the way the skin ages.

The Aging Process

Aging is the result of two forces of nature—genetics and environmental stress. Genetics defines our general lifespan, but environmental exposure and other factors, including UV light, diet, disease, physical inactivity, cigarette smoke, stress, air pollution, and more, determine how gracefully we appear to age throughout our lifespan.

Scientists now know that all forms of environmental stress stem from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, the damage caused by reactive oxygen molecules, is the same natural process that causes metal to rust and apple slices to turn brown. Damage occurs both externally from exposure to a toxic environment and internally as a result of the natural process by which cells make energy.

Oxidative stress results in free radicals, which are unstable molecules that cause damage to everything from DNA to proteins to lipids via multiple degenerating pathways. Each day, free radicals account for millions of damaging "assaults" against the cells and structures in the body. If these assaults go unchecked and if the resulting damage goes unrepaired, they can disrupt a cell's ability to function properly and result in permanent damage, which accumulates and expresses itself as aging.

 Idebenone in Action
Idebenone in Action

Free radical oxidative stress damages cells via multiple pathways. For example, collagen and elastin decomposition and cross-linkage leads to loss of skin elasticity and firmness, a sallow complexion, and fine lines and wrinkles. Inflammation leads to redness, swelling, pigmentation, uneven skintone, brown spots, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation. Extra cellular matrix (ECM) degradation, a breakdown in the connective area between cells, leads to dehydration, poor wound healing, decreased epidermal turnover, and thinning of the skin. All of this combined leads to premature aging, and all are the result of oxidative stress. In essence, we're not aging, we're oxidizing—rusting in our suits of armor—so to speak.

Uncovering Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that block, prevent, or relieve oxidative stress and thus slow or retard damage accumulation in the cells. Antioxidants are necessary for survival. Cells manufacture some antioxidants, such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase, but other antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, must be gained from diet, hence the link between proper nutrition and vital cell antioxidant defenses.

While cosmetics are products that cover up, fill in, and hide, cosmeceuticals are products that penetrate the skin, imparting a visible, lasting difference that does not wash off at the end of the day. Superceuticals are then defined as multifunctional cosmeceuticals. Idebenone is such a compound, helping to block and correct multiple oxidative stress-damaging pathways. Idebenone is no ordinary antioxidant. In recent in-vivo and in-vitro cell studies, it was shown to be superior to many popular skincare antioxidants for its ability to protect cells against multiple pathways of oxidative stress. In these studies, Idebenone provided the highest level of oxidative stress protection or the highest level of Environmental Protection Factor (EPF), a measurement of antioxidant performance, featuring an EPF of 95. This is a higher EPF than provided by vitamins C and E, co-enzyme Q10, kinetin, and alpha lipoic acid. In addition, Idebenone was shown in clinical trials to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and photodamaged skin. Indeed, Idebenone takes the dream of eternal youth one step closer to reality.

Joseph A. Lewis II is president and CEO of Pharma Cosmetix Research, a Virginia-based contract laboratory for skincare product research and development. Former director of research and development for Allergan and executive vice president and co-CEO for Herald Pharmacal, Lewis was a pioneer in AHA technology research. He developed and launched a revolutionary glycolic acid (AHA) product in 1983 and has since developed and introduced hundreds of formulations containing AHAs into the marketplace, including products for MD Formulations, MD Forte, and Aqua Glycolic. He can be contacted at \\[email protected].