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Chemical Reaction: Age, Rage and Wrinkles

By: Steve Herman
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the September 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Limiting sugar intake is one approach to younger-looking skin. Therefore, the use of sugar-based cosmetic ingredients should also be avoided. Actives such as sunflower seed extract or grape seed extract, rich in polyphenols, provide a possible cosmeceutical treatment and alternative. Another currently used active is carnosine, a dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. It is claimed that carnosine helps prevent cross-linking of collagen and other proteins in skin.

The frontier of glycation end product treatment is probably ALT-711 (phenyl-4,5-dimethylthazolium chloride or alagebrium chloride). It is a proprietary compound in a novel class of agents—AGE cross-link breakers created by Alteon (www.alteon.com), a pharmaceutical company developing drugs for diabetics. The efficacy of these products in skin care, it should be noted, is not the primary motivation of Alteon’s efforts. Antiaging cosmetics have three aims: prevention, maintenance and reversal. Prevention includes avoiding sun, not smoking and proper diet. Sunscreens and antioxidants are two tools that can be used at that level.

Maintenance includes moisturizers, exfollients and biological actives, with specific compounds such as polyphenols providing the muscle.

Reversal, if possible, relies on a more advanced technical approach such as Alteon offers.

Does all this work? Well, the boomers are hitting 60. Look around in 20 years for the answer. The likelihood is that all the emphasis on health and youthful appearance will have a positive cumulative effect. It will make a lot of happy old folks and equally pleased cosmetic companies.