Anti-Aging Breakthroughs

The science behind anti-aging treatments -- from creams to the doctor's office.

ByABC News
April 30, 2008, 2:08 PM

May 1, 2008 — -- This is a good time to have some wrinkles on your face. No, really. In the past few years there have been groundbreaking advances in plastic surgery, dermatology and the ever-expanding anti-aging cosmetic industry.

Back in the day, your mom probably used a wrinkle cream on her face that promised to "hydrate" her skin and reduce fine lines. These days the buzzwords are anti-oxidants, enzymes, gene therapy and nano molecules.

If you have some fine lines, a few wrinkles but you're not yet ready for the "f" word (facelift), an anti-aging cream might be right for you. But before settling on a product, you'd do well to brush up on your first-year chemistry.

"We are using nano liposome technology with a capsule so small that is gets absorbed through the hair follicles and releases the active ingredient into your skin," said John Kressaty, head chemist at 3Lab, Inc.

"Nano liposome is a very small particle that is able to pass through the skin to deliver vital nutrients. Five years ago, technology was limited where the products only stayed on the surface of the skin and now, with new technology, the molecules are easily absorbed topically," adds Stephanie Scott, public relations director for 3LAB, Inc.

Kressaty was describing the technology behind a recently released 3Lab product called "h" serum, a "bio engineered growth hormone anti-aging serum" that retails for $200. The product is based on a "replica of human growth hormone" and the company says clinical studies show a 50 percent reduction in the "depth of wrinkles after four weeks of use."

"HGH is a hot news topic and our "h" Serum is totally efficacious. It is not dangerous like injectible HGH; we're not using actual human growth hormone rather a synthetic, bio-engineered topical HGH that comes from plants. So, it's safe to use," states Stephanie Scott, public relations directorfor 3LAB, Inc.

The new cosmetic product is so popular that it sold out at London's upscale department store Selfridge's, and there's now a waiting list.

Brand-name companies employ teams of chemists to scour medical research for breakthroughs that can be adapted to the cosmetics industry. The companies then conduct research and clinical studies.

Take Estee Lauder. The cosmetics giant is betting big on a new product called Re-Nutriv Ultimate Youth Crème ($250). According to Dr. Daniel Maes, senior vice president of research and development for Estee Lauder, Re-Nutriv is based on genetic research involving the longevity gene SIRT-1.

It turns out that a compound called resveratrol might in high doses activate the SIRT-1 gene to extend the life of skin cells. But resveratrol is notoriously unstable as a molecule, so Estee Lauder came up with a way to create a cosmetic-friendly compound dubbed "resveratrate." Recently, resveratrol has been reported as a compound often found in red wine that contributes to slowing down the aging process.