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The Science Behind Today’s Anti-aging Ingredients

By: Ivana Veljkovic
Posted: December 30, 2011, from the January 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Another category stimulating curiosity and enthusiasm in the skin care industry is DNA repair and protection. As clients age, their DNA strands naturally shorten. Sirtuins regulate cell activity, and ingredients that can stimulate them are being investigated, but clear scientific results are not yet available.

Also intriguing is the use of topical telomerase. The tail of each DNA strand, where the damage and shortening takes place, is capped and protected by a telomere. Telomerase is the enzyme that stabilizes these telomeres and mobilizes epidermal stem cells. Before any safe distribution and truthful claims, copious scientific study of the topical use of telomerase is necessary and prudent.

Patience is a virtue

Although it is tempting to try every new miracle product to hit the market, waiting for the science is critical to long-term skin health. There have been ingredients that launched to great fanfare for their ability to create an instant face lift effect, which, after scientific study, were found to kill the very fibroblasts that create collagen. There can be promising ingredients that science will prove to be safe and effective, but waiting for the studies is critical.

Due to the curiosity and diligence inherent in the study of skin health, a myriad of new ingredients will continue to flood the market. When assessing the validity of a product’s claims, and whether it is a safe and efficacious addition to your facility’s menu, rely on science—not marketing—to make informed decisions.

Ivana Veljkovic, PhD, manages product development, regulatory and clinical trials for PCA Skin. She received her doctorate in organic chemistry from Freie Universität Berlin in Berlin, Germany, and her master’s of science degree in chemistry from the University of Belgrade in Yugoslavia. Veljkovic has previously worked as a research scientist specializing in the synthesis and purification of organic compounds before joining a health care company in Canada that represented PCA Skin. In her role, she worked directly with physicians, nurses and estheticians, educating them about skin physiology, ingredients and proper treatments for specific skin conditions. She can be contacted via e-mail at