One of L’Oréal’s latest products, Age Perfect Pro-Calcium Day Cream for Very Mature Skin ($24.99, Walgreens.com) is targeted at the 60+ crowd. Fortified with Calcium Microspheres, Soy Proteins and Marine Collagen, L’Oréal advertisements say the product helps to restore skin density and deeply hydrates. According to L’Oréal, 100% of 42 women testing the product saw more supple skin and 93% saw smoother skin after use.
Are calcium, soy proteins, and marine collagen effective anti-aging ingredients?
According to Paula Begoun, the “Cosmetics Cop,” the form of calcium found in this product, calcium panthetheine sulfonate, has been found to have depigmenting effects in several studies by inhibiting tyrosinase, which is important in melanin production. As such, calcium panthetheine sulfonate may help to prevent the formation of age spots. Topical applications of calcium have additionally been found by Denda et. al to increase the rate of barrier recovery function in in the skin, thereby giving the skin a more supple appearance.
According to Begoun, the soy proteins present in the product are anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidants. Soy proteins are effective due to genistein, an isoflavone which stimulates the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in human fibroblasts cultured in vitro. This gives a two-fold benefit: increased collagen production should increase the firmness and elasticity of skin, whereas hyaluronic acid production should moisturize the skin, giving it a supple appearance. (It may be noted that these effects are the same as those from Matrixyl, an amino acid peptide). Although isoflavones have been shown to interact with many animal and human estrogen receptors, topical application of soy has not been associated with hormonal effects, and initial studies have found soy isoflavones safe for human use. Unfortunately, the concentration of soy in this product is relatively low (see ingredients, below).
Marine collagen may be the one anti-aging ingredient in this product that does not live up to the hype. Although collagen is a water-binding agent in skin care formulations, it does not fight signs of aging. According to Dr. Leslie Baumann in Cosmetic Dermatology, topically applied collagen is too large to fit through the stratum corneum [uppermost layer of the skin], as collagens have a molecular weight of 15000 to 50000 daltons, whereas only molecules of molecular weight 5000 or less can penetrate the skin. As such, although naturally synthesized collagens increase elasticity and firmness, topically applied collagens are a waste of money. Begoun confirms this: “Collagen in cosmetics, regardless of the source, has never been shown to have a direct effect on producing or building collagen in skin.”
What about the other ingredients?
The other ingredients in L’Oreal Age Perfect Pro-Calcium Day Cream for Very Mature Skin seem to be extremely rich and hydrating, such as squalane, glycerin, mineral oil, and petrolatum — four of the most highly concentrated ingredients in the product! Some women may find this product to be too rich for their skin.
The product also contains Wild Yam Extract as a second antioxidant source. While Wild Yam lacks the antioxidant potency of Coffee Berry or green tea, wild yam extract (and soy proteins) still help to fend off free radicals and prevent future signs of aging.
Overall — to buy or not to buy?
Overall, the product is extremely hydrating, which decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The product may also help to fend off age spots due to calcium pantheine sulfate, and the future collagen-building and hyaluronic acid-producing effects of hydrolyzed soy protein are definitely a bonus. However, the addition of collagen as an ingredient is futile, since it is not able to penetrate the skin. The product contains antioxidants to fend off future aging. The product does not contain alpha hydroxy acids or retinoids, which dramatically reverse signs of aging, most likely because the product is targeted at older women with more delicate skin. Overall, a quality product, although the addition of collagen is disappointing. 8/10.
Water – Aqua , Squalane , Cyclohexasiloxane , Glycerin , Mineral Oil – Paraffinum Liquidum , Petrolatum , Cetyl Alcohol , PEG – 40 Stearate , Glyceryl Stearate , Sorbitan Tristearate , Beeswax – Cera Alba , Hydroxyapatite , Octyldodecanol , Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolyme , Calcium Pantetheine Sulfonate , Soluble Collagen , Honey – Mel , Tocopheryl Acetate , Wild Yam Root Extract – Dioscorea Villosa , Hexyldecanol , Paraffin , Acrylates Copolymer , Oryzanol , Isohexadecane , Capryloyl Salicylic Acid , Stearyl Alcohol , Myristyl Alcohol , Polysorbate 80 , Disodiium EDTA , Sodium Hydroxide , Hydrolyzed Soy Protein , Imidazolidinyl Urea , Methylparaben , Chlorphenesin , Propylparaben , Potassium Sorbate , Fragrance – Parfum , Limonene , Linalool , Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone , Benzyl Benzoate , Geraniol , Citronellol , Coumarin , Citral