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Life Extension Magazine November 2010
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Novel Compounds from the Sea Promote Younger-Looking Skin

By Gary GolDfaden, MD and Robert Goldfaden
Novel Compounds from the Sea Promote Younger-Looking Skin

When you hear the words “water retention,” you probably think of feeling bloated and fat. But did you know that water retention at the cellular level is the ­key to younger-looking skin?

Scientists have long sought new ways to increase your skin’s ability to hold water in order to combat the inevitable drying, flaking, and wrinkling that comes with age. In a remarkable development, they have recently identified a novel link between the way marine organisms and skin cells retain water in order to stay properly hydrated.

The result is a spray-on moisturizing agent that combines homarine, a compound used by certain mollusks (shellfish) that protects skin cells’ from electrochemical imbalance, and erythritol, a nutrient that improves skin cells ability to hold water.

Its power to restore moisture to aging skin has proven compelling in clinical trials. Among a group of women between the ages of 27 and 63, this novel moisturizer boosted water levels in surface skin cells by as much as 30%!1

The difference in physical appearance between the skin of a grape and that of a raisin is due to moisture content. This simple fact holds true for human skin as well. Keeping your skin well moisturized is a key factor in maintaining youthful appearance, softness, and flexibility.2,3 Proper hydration helps increase water content and permeability,2-10 thus leaving skin smooth and supple.2,3,11-14 Lack of adequate hydration negatively affects your skin’s natural barrier function,15 causing the premature development of fine lines and dry, sagging skin. For the majority of people, the greatest enemies of skin moisture are normal aging and cumulative sun exposure, although many other factors such as smoking, the use of alkaline cleansers, mental stress, and low environmental humidity can also play a part. Drinking plenty of water is naturally essential to maintaining proper fluid balance, but the vital importance of using a topical spray to regularly hydrate your skin cannot be stressed enough.

Wetlands: A New Model for Skin Hydration

It may surprise you to learn that the flow of water in and out of estuaries (wetlands) has led to a novel strategy for keep aging skin hydrated, soft, and young-looking.

Wetlands: A New Model for Skin Hydration

Estuaries are situated where rivers flow into the sea. They form a unique transitional zone between fresh water and saltwater marine environments. The inflow of both saltwater and freshwater provides high levels of nutrients, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world.

The wide variety of fauna and flora that exist in estuary systems are well-equipped with protective strategies to ensure their survival against major variations in heat, dryness, and salinity (salt content). For instance, every 6 hours along with the tides, wetland-dwelling organisms must adjust their metabolism to the changing salt content in the water: 3.5% in sea water compared to 0.16% in freshwater. One organism in particular, a microalgae called Platymonas subcordiformis, responds to these fluctuations in salinity by altering its cell volume (water potential) and by controlling the number of elemental chemicals that actively affect water balance, including potassium, calcium, and sodium ions.

The survival strategy of this single-celled alga ultimately led to a compelling model for ensuring optimal water balance in your skin. It also led to an ingredient isolated by a team of dermatologists that harnesses its power to stay optimally hydrated.

A Spray-on Moisturizer from the Sea

A Spray-on Moisturizer from the Sea

The outer layer of your skin suffers shocks in response to heat, cold, wind, detergents, and UV radiation that dry out your skin. Like the microalgae in the wetlands we talked about earlier, your stratum corneum (outermost skin layer) must also achieve proper water balance in order to maintain normal cell functionality.

A new hydrating ingredient called Aqualance™ contains a specific molecular compound made up of homarine and erythritol.

  • Homarine, (N-methylpicolinic acid) is a metabolite found in certain marine mollusks. It is what scientists call a cyclic zwitterion—a chemical compound that has a total net charge of 0 and is thus electrically neutral. It is this unique molecular structure of homarine that counteracts the ion dis-equilibrium within a cell.
  • Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol that exhibits outstanding permeation properties and improves the water holding capacity of a cell.

The combination of these two substances helps ensure proper water balance in cells and progressively rehydrates the different layers of aging skin.

Promoting Younger-Looking Skin

A recent clinical study performed on twenty women aged 23-67 years old illustrates the effectiveness of this hydrating compound (Aqualance™). Participants applied a topical solution of its two ingredients (homarine and erythritol) twice-daily to one leg and compared it against a placebo on the other leg. Three different measurements of skin moisture were conducted after 1 and 8 days.

The results of all these evaluations showed that Aqualance™ (homarine and erythritol) provided a dynamic moisturizing effect which complemented the skin’s natural moisture gradient. Water levels in the upper layers of the skin were rapidly increased by as much as 30%, while moisture in the deeper layers of the dermis (which naturally contains more water) increased by up to 13%. In addition, water levels naturally stabilized in the stratum corneum in just 1 hour, in the epidermis after 2 hours, and in the deeper skin after 24 hours.1

This new skin moisturizing agent effectively counterbalances the drying effect of transepidermal water loss and helps maintain optimal water content in the cell, leaving skin visibly softer and smoother.

Hydrating Power with Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (or hyaluronan) is a carbohydrate polymer that is one of the major components of the skin’s extracellular matrix. With its ability to attract and retain water, hyaluronic acid adds volume to the gel-like matrix surrounding the network of collagen fibers that support the skin. This function adds vital moisture and structural integrity to the dermis. In addition, new studies have shown that hyaluronic acid’s capacity to bind to a cell-surface receptor called CD44 allows it to play a vital role in stratum corneum barrier function and hydration through its ability to aid in keratinocyte differentiation and extracellular lipid formation.16-18

What You Need to Know: Promoting Younger-Looking Skin
  • Your skin cells’ ability to retain water is one of the keys to combating age-related drying, flaking, and wrinkles.
  • Scientists have long sought new ways to increase water retention in aging skin.
  • A novel link between the natural hydration-balancing mechanisms of marine organisms and skin cells has led to a breakthrough molecular moisturizer.
  • It combines homarine, a compound used by certain mollusks (shellfish) that protects skin cells from electrochemical imbalance, and erythritol, a nutrient that improves skin cells’ ability to hold water.
  • In a clinical trial involving women between the ages of 27 and 63, this novel moisturizer boosted water levels in surface skin cells by as much as 30%.

Roughly one-third of the hyaluronic acid in your body is turned over daily through a continual process of breakdown and synthesis.19 Although hyaluronic acid is plentiful in young skin, by the time you reach 50 years of age, nearly half your skin’s reserves will be destroyed by free radical production. Hyaluronic acid’s proven ability20-26 to increase cell renewal and help restore healthy texture, color, and moisture to aging skin makes it a particularly important ingredient in any topical formula dedicated to skin care and hydration.

Roughly one-third of the hyaluronic acid in your body is turned over daily through a continual process of breakdown and synthesis.

Summary

Hyaluronic acid

Scientists have long sought new ways to increase the ability of aging skin to retain water in order to combat the inevitable drying, flaking, and wrinkling that comes with age. They have recently identified a novel link between the way marine organisms and skin cells retain water in order to stay properly hydrated. The result is a revolutionary moisturizing agent that combines homarine, a compound used by certain mollusks (shellfish) that protects skin cells from electrochemical imbalance, and erythritol, a nutrient that improves the skin cells’ ability to hold water. Its power to restore moisture to aging skin has proven compelling in clinical trials. Among a group of women between the ages of 27 and 63, this novel moisturizer boosted water levels in surface skin cells by as much as 30%.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at
1-866-864-3027.

References

1. Sederma, Inc. In-house study.

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