In terms of growing up, I think 1997-1998 were big years for me. There were the Backstreet Boys, N*SYNC, and Britney Spears. UConn and Kentucky were the teams in the NCAA tournament. (And two of my faves). And I was in love with Neutrogena skin care at the time that featured copper peptides, which has since been discontinued.
In some ways, it’s been like 1997 all over again: Backstreet Boys are on tour, UConn owned that tournament earlier this year, and NEOVA is re-introducing the copper peptide. (Hallelujah!) For more on why I love this so much, read on.
According to James J. Leyden, a professor of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of the School’s Skin Study Center who conducted a study on copper peptides for Johnson and Johnson, “[Copper peptides incorporated into skin care and cosmetic products is useful for improving the appearance of aging skin…Products containing GHK-Cu result in rapid improvement in skin condition, including reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, roughness, sallowness (a sickly yellowish skin color), laxity and hyperpigmentation (brown spots).”
Copper peptides first came on the scene in 1988. Since that time, some studies have found that copper peptide complexes stimulate even greater procollagen synthesis than potent anti-agers like Retin-A (tretinoin) or ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Copper peptides specifically affect the synthesis of collagen 3, also called “fetal collagen,” the second most prevalent collagen type in the dermis. Comprising 15% of the dermis (collagen type I comprises 80%), collagen type III gives the skin compliance, and its levels decrease naturally with age.
Although the exact mechanism of action is not known at this time, it is known that copper is involved in the formation of the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which serves as a potent antioxidant in the skin. Copper is also essential for the enzyme lysyl oxidase, which is involved in the cross-linking of elastin and collagen, so it is possible that these are at least partially responsible for the increase in collagen synthesis.
The only issue with copper peptides occurs if you have broken skin. A 1999 study in Nature found that copper peptides activate matrix metalloproteinase-2 — enzymes that degrade collagen — only in instances of wound healing. As the study suggests, in these instances of healing, it is possible that partially breaking down tissues in order to rebuild them via matrix metalloproteinase-2 activation is actually useful. Further, it is unknown how much copper would need to be used, or for how often, for matrix metalloproteinase-2 to be activated. I personally am in favor of collagen peptides, and support their use in this product on non-injured skin.
Still Love the DNA Repair Enzymes
One of the reasons I love NEOVA Progressive Nourishing Lotion as a late-summer-to-fall product is its ability to repair UV damage, at least according to data released from company-related trials. Photolyase has been shown in company-related trials to reduce UVB radiation-induced dimers by 45% and to increase UV protection by 300% (NEOVA). Photolyase is derived from plankton, and can be identified on skin care products as plankton extract from Anacystis nidulans. Its job is to undo DNA damage in cells and prevent cell death caused by UV exposure.
According to Dr. Daniel Yarosh, author of The New Science of Perfect Skin, liposome-encapsulated photolyase is delivered to the skin within an hour of application. It requires light for its activation, though any mild indoor light that passes through sunscreen should be enough for it to work properly.
On the other hand, endosomes are liposome-encapsulated and derived from the marine microbe, Micrococcus lysate. Extremely UV-resistant, endosomes intensify the skin’s reparative properties to speed recovery reaction and reduce the appearance of post-sunburn peeling.
Collagen and Amino Acids: Just OK
Of course, this wouldn’t be a true FutureDerm review if I didn’t talk about all of my thoughts on the product, good, bad, and ugly.
Collagen included in skin care products are one of my pet peeves when people don’t understand what the ingredient does. There is a size rule in skin care: ingredients larger than 500 Daltons cannot penetrate the skin. There is controversy here — some ingredients, like very large peptides, still have been shown in peer-reviewed studies to have downright amazing effects on the skin, indicating that they must be signaling to molecules within the skin from the outside. But in the case of collagen, it is just big and large and sits outside the skin, providing hydration, just like glycerin or another humectant. It’s not going to cause your skin to produce more collagen.
Same thing goes with amino acids: this product contains eight of the amino acids (Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid), but these have not been shown to do anything convincingly in the skin except hydrate.
One thing I do love about NEOVA is they are honest here. They don’t claim the collagen or amino acids are going to be magically incorporated into your skin even though they are too large to penetrate it. They’re just simply listed in the ingredients, and they just simply hydrate.
Green Tea: Fantastic
Green tea contains the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to have remarkable preventive effects against UV light-caused mutations and skin damage in mouse models. While EGCG comprises only 50% of “green tea extract” found in skin care and cosmeceuticals (Mukhtar), there is still enough EGCG to demonstrate anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties in most skin care and cosmeceuticals.
There is some relevant data in which green tea is applied topically to human skin as well. In a 2001 study in the journal Carcinogenesis, topical application of EGCG to human skin resulted in decreased oxidative stress and an increase in antioxidant enzymes after UV irradiation. Specifically, catalase and glutathione activity were increased due to the application of EGCG. A further 2003 study in Molecular Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention found that the polyphenols in green tea prevent UVB-induced oxidation of lipids and proteins and prevents against the depletion in antioxidant enzymes experienced after UVB exposure in mouse skin.
Overall Use and Opinions
I’m a big fan of NEOVA products, because they contain a DNA repair enzyme technology that is patent-pending and therefore I can’t get my hands on it or redesign it in a lab (boo, I say, boo). That said, I was pretty excited when they came out with their new NEOVA Progressive Nourishing Lotion ($95.00, FutureDerm.com/Shop), which contains both DNA repair enzymes and copper peptide. So long as we are all under the mutual understanding the collagen and amino acids only hydrate (and the company isn’t claiming anything else), I am downright cool with this product all-around.
Product Rating: 9/10 (High concentration of proven ingredients: 3/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value: 3/3. Sunscreen: 0/1).
Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Petrolatum, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Alanine/Histidine/Lysine Polypeptide Copper HCL, Lecithin, Plankton Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Soluble Collagen, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Allantoin, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Cetyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Acrylate/ Sodium Acryloyldimethyl TaurateCopolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Polysilicone-11, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum), Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool.
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