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The Pollution Solution

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: April 2, 2007, from the April 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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“While Exsy-Arl has been more specifically designed to be active against toxic aldehydes, heavy metals and other key compounds of pollution, Alistin is a more general active dipeptide that can detoxify not only pollution damage, but many other toxins—such as lipoperoxides and free radicals,” said Paillet. “In the particular case of pollution, both Alistin and Exsy-Arl are able to detoxify.”

The company’s first model studied the effects of cigarette smoke, an established environmental pollutant, among a culture of keratinocytes. After 10 minutes of contact in a closed volume, 50% of the cells died. When cultured in the presence of Exsy-Arl, 75% of the cells could survive the same measure of exposure. In another model, similar conditions were applied to a skin explant, and specific enzymatic activities were monitored. “In this experiment,” said Paillet, “cigarette smoke was replaced by a gaseous blend of toxic aldehydes (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acroleine—major constituents of polluted air). Here again, it was evident that the cutaneous enzymatic activity was drastically lowered, whereas 2% of Exsy-Arl applied on the skin explant could almost completely protect the proteic enzymes.”

Paillet noted, however, that while the chemical mechanism of action had not been investigated precisely, it did provide evidence that peptides show spectacular reducing effects, particularly on peroxides. “We can suggest that some oxido-reduction reactions may be involved in the antipollution mechanisms of our dipeptides,” said Paillet. “In addition, Exsy-Arl is able to specifically scavenge heavy metals, also present in pollution. Finally, a major interest of these dipeptides, according to our predictive investigations using software and other biochemical appliances, is their resistance to enzymatic deactivation. As opposed to most peptides, Alistin and Exsy-Arl are not only active in vitro, but their activity is maintained when they are applied on the skin.”

Paillet observed that one major damaging effect due to pollutants included the genotoxic effect, in relation to carcinogenesis, due to impairment of DNA and mutation.

“For the time being, a reliable estimation of the risk associated with pollution exposure remains difficult to achieve, as (little) available data comes from laboratory experiments,” said Paillet. “Chemoprevention, however, appears to be an important issue for cosmetics.”
According to Sylvia Deltort, marketing director, Greentech, the company’s TEALINE product contains a DNA protector agent obtained from red, white and green teas, and is suitable for use in antipollution formulas. The agents are said to offer protection at the cellular and molecular levels, as well as protection for the tissues. Green tea is composed of young leaves that are not fermented, characterized by high polyphenol content. White tea, also named Yinzhen tea, grows at high altitude, and is harvested when the antioxidant potential is at its highest. The drying process of white tea allows the preservation of the polyphenol content responsible for its properties. Red tea, or Rooibos, from South Africa is a natural antioxidant.