Christopher’s quizzical about sirtuins: Avon is releasing a new product called Anew Ultimate with sirtuin technology. What are sirtuins and do they do anything special in a skin care product?
The Right Brain’s sirtuin story:
Chris, you may not know it, but you’re on the cutting edge of skin care technology. Sit back and we’ll tell you the whole sirtuin story:
What are Sirtuins?
It all started with a 2001 study that showed that a lower calorie diet can prolong your life span. One of the factors linked to this discovery is a family of proteins known as Sirtuins. This prompted a flurry of additional research, and today sirituins are heralded as the next breakthrough in antiaging.
What do Sirtuins do?
A review of the medical literature shows a plethora of research papers on sirtuins and their potential as agents in the fight against aging. That’s because they have been shown to reduce cell death by protecting cells against reactive oxygen species and DNA damage. This is the kind of breakthrough that could lead to the first truly effective antiaging drugs. (Here’s an example of one research paper that talks about stimulating sirtuin production to ward off a variety of aging and neurodegenerative diseases.)
Are Sirtuins good for skin?
Not surprisingly, the cosmetic industry is interested in sirtuins for skin care applications. Sirtuins for skin make a lot of sense since skin suffers from the same kind of oxidative damage described above. And the research to date looks promising – some researchers have established a link between sirtuin production and life cycle of skin cells. (Reference: “Sirtuins: A Breakthrough in Antiaging Research by Isabelle Imbert, et. al, in the January 2008 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.) According to the researchers, sirtuins have several specific benefits for skin cells.
Benefits of Sirtuins
Skin cells were treated in vitro with agents that increase the production of sirtuins and the following benefits where seen:
- Protection from stress
- Increased cell longevity
- Restoration of aged cells ability to adapt and thrive
- Preservation of skin structure and integrity
The researchers conclude that “interest in including Sirtuin Activating Compounds in different skin moisturizers or specific antiaging products, as well as cosmetics, is occurring with the knowledge that sirtuins play a key role in protecting skin from stress and photoaging.”
What does that mean exactly? Basically they’re saying that if some cosmetic company can figure out how to stimulate sirtuin production with a cream or lotion, it could be a real antiaging breakthrough. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t make reference to any such products existing today (as of January 2008).
Avon Anew Ultimate
So how does Avon figure into the sirtuin story? According to the company’s website, their line of Anew Ultimate skin care products are “powered by pro-sirtuin TX.” There’s no more explanation of what this technology is, but it certainly sounds like they’ve unlocked the secrets of making sirtuins work in skin. Why then don’t they come out and say that? Our guess is that they’re using some material that has been shown to some ability to promote sirtuins in lab testing, but not on actual skin. That would allow them to make claims related to “pro-sirituin technology” without them actually having made a significant, consumer perceptible breakthrough.
Of course, Avon may have patents pending, or some other technical publication, that proves this technology really does provide such a breakthrough but we were unable to locate it.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Avon may be selling a very well formulated line of products but without some kind of evidence of a technological breakthrough, we’re assuming that this is another skin care product capitalizing on the “ingredient of the month.”
If anyone from Avon reads this and can provide more details on your technology, we’ll gladly print your comments. Meanwhile, you can learn more about Anew Ultimate here.
When you see new sciencey ingredients do you believe it’s better for your skin or are you skeptical? Leave a comment and share your favorite high tech ingredients with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.