I’m often skeptical whenever skin care creams claim to fix DNA damage. After all, DNA is housed deep within the nuclei of our cells, and a cream that is able to transverse the cellular and nuclear membranes seems unlikely. Furthermore, even if a cream is able to reach the DNA, how do we know the possible ramifications of such a process, for better and for worse?
So, for this review, I called in expert dermatologist Helen M. Torok, M.D. to set the record straight on DNA repair enzymes. Dr. Torok has been a board-certified dermatologist for the past twenty-five years (though she still looks like she’s in her thirties!), and is currently the Medical Director at Trillium Creek Dermatology in Medina, OH. Thank you for meeting with us, Dr. Torok!
FutureDerm: Is it actually possible that the liposomal agents are able to transverse cellular and nuclear membranes to impact the DNA? If yes, do you have conclusive evidence of changes in the DNA? What portions of the DNA are actually altered?
Dr. Torok: NEOVA® DNA Total Repair uses a proprietary liposome delivery system, specifically engineered to transfer DNA repair enzymes deep into the cellular level of the epidermis, the site of DNA damage. The DNA repair enzymes recognize DNA damage and excise the damage on each strand, speeding DNA recovery. DNA repair technology stimulates the body’s natural repair mechanisms to self-correct and reverse the visible signs of aging.
In studies, skin was exposed to UVB radiation. After exposure, topical application of photolyase-containing liposomes was applied to UVB-irradiated skin for 60 minutes. Subsequent re-exposure to light decreased the number of UVB radiation-induced dimers by 45% and increased UV protection by 300%.
Futurederm: Is it potentially harmful for the DNA within cells to be altered by skin care creams?
Dr. Torok: We cannot say with complete certainty but most likely not. The DNA repair enzymes detect DNA damage, remove the damage and then assist the body’s own natural repair mechanisms in restoring healthy DNA. The body can do this on its own, but repeated sun exposure – whether or not a sunburn forms – lessens the skin’s ability to repair itself. The DNA repair enzymes help to promote the recovery process.
FutureDerm: What types of enzymes are included in the marine plankton?
Dr. Torok: Photolysomes: The liposome-encapsulated DNA repair enzyme, photolyase, derived from plankton, is hyper-efficient in its ability to undo DNA damage in cells and prevent cell death caused by UV exposure.
Endosomes: A liposome-encapsulated extract from the marine microbe, Micrococcus lysate. Extremely UV-resistant, the extract intensifies the skin’s reparative properties to speed recovery reaction and reduce the appearance of post-sunburn peeling.
Both enzymes recognize UV-induced DNA damage and initiate its repair.
FutureDerm: What other products or ingredients do you recommend?
Dr. Torok: I recommend products with broadspectrum UVA/UVB protection and ones that are non-comedogenic with antioxidants. If you have questions about a product, or need a recommendation, you should go to your dermatologist. Your dermatologist will be able to give you the best recommendations based on your unique skin concerns.
FutureDerm: What in-house beauty treatments do you recommend?
Dr. Torok: Chemical peels are a beauty treatment that actually has many benefits for the skin. There are at-home peels that can stimulate collagen production, lighten pigmented lesions, heal acne and rosacea and overall give the skin a glow. Facials at home with a cucumber/egg mixture helps calm and soothe the skin, especially if inflamed.
I recommend a beauty regimen that should keep your mind, body and skin healthy and young: Eight hours of sleep are absolutely necessary to have any results. Daily exercise is mandatory to stay young. Avoid smoking, sun and stress and take antioxidants like Vitamins C and E topically and orally.
FutureDerm: Why did you decide to become a dermatologist?
I became a dermatologist by accident. I was determined to pursue OB/GYN, as they were so few in medicine in the 70s. But as fate would have it, I developed Tinea Versicolor in medical school, so I asked for help from Dr. Lowney, Chief of Dermatology at Ohio State.
He quickly made the diagnosis and directed me to consider Dermatology. I brazenly said that “I did not like the specialty, and it was not for me.” But he persisted and convinced me to take a month of Dermatology. It was the month that saved my life .
I am truly amazed at all the developments and miracles that have happened in our field in the last 30 years. And I look forward to many more in the next 30 years. So, you can see that I am not retiring. As Betty White at the age of 89 said, “and do what, sit around and do nothing?”
FutureDerm: What’s the best part of being a dermatologist?
Dr. Torok: The best part of dermatology is seeing patients being cured of their illnesses.
FutureDerm: Thank you for the interview, Dr. Torok!
Personal Use and Opinions
I personally was sent a sample of NEOVA® DNA Total Repair about three weeks ago. It is very hydrating (due to a high concentration of silicones, shea butter, and squalane) and soothing (due largely to yeast and oat extracts), but it did not seem to have the same lightening effect on sunspots as, say, hydroquinone or Lumixyl, at least in my opinion. However, due to the fact that the cream has been proven to reduce the number of UVB radiation-induced dimers upon reexposure to UVB light, I am keeping my bottle of NEOVA® DNA Total Repair in my skin care arsenal in case anyone in my family is headed to the beach, flying during the daytime hours, or (gasp!) gets a sunburn.
As far as the DNA damage repair question goes, the true test of its efficacy is likely to be found for each individual over the course of a number of years, as we do not really understand the link between DNA damage and skin appearance quite yet. For instance, at the end of DNA are structures known as telomeres. We know that telomere shortening is linked to aging, but at any given time, two people who are of completely different stages of aging can have telomeres that are of the same size. Similarly, we also know that we can infuse the skin with DNA repair enzymes, as in this product, but whether or not these synthetic enzymatic processes are superior to ingredients or procedures that boost our intrinsic enzymatic activity remains to be seen. So, in a nutshell, this is one very interesting product, and I’m sure I will have a lot more to say about it as research evolves in the DNA repair arena in the future!
Product Rating: 8/10 (High concentration of well-proven ingredients: 2/3. Unique formation or new technology: 3/3. Value for the money: 2/3. Sunscreen or sunscreen booster: 1/1).
Related Articles You May Enjoy
- Do Beauty Products Damage Your DNA? (June 2011)
- Can A Skin Care Cream Really Alter Your Skin’s DNA? (December 2009)
Ingredients in NEOVA DNA Repair
Water (Aqua), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Saccharide Isomerate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Squalane, Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract, Micrococcus Lysate, Plankton Extract, Arabidopsis Extract, Ergothioneine, Algae Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Pinus Pinaster, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Panthenol, Allantoin, Bisabolol, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Lecithin, Glycerin, Diglycerin, Polysorbate 60, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Camphor, Butylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.