African Botanics Nutritive Molecule Serum is described as “an extremely rejuvenating serum that incorporates a superior complex of antioxidants and advanced biotechnology to supplement and protect skin against the main types of free radicals: oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen while improving skin’s texture, brightening, and providing a strong protective barrier against pollution and cellular damage” (africanbotanics.com). Read on to see if its ingredients can back up its claims.
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a form of vitamin C that is oil-soluble. What makes THD ascorbate special is that it has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to penetrate both the epidermis (the uppermost layer of skin) and dermis (the deepest layer of skin) (Clinics in Dermatology, 2008). It is also more stable than L-ascorbic acid.
The only problem I have with THD ascorbate is that it is a vitamin C derivative (meaning any form of vitamin C other than L-ascorbic acid). This presents two issues. For one, companies who create products with vitamin C alternatives tend not to disclose the percentage of vitamin C derivative included. Secondly, vitamin C derivatives typically need to be converted to vitamin C within the skin, whereas L-ascorbic acid on its own has been shown to be effective, without needing to have any sort of breakdown or “activation” within the skin.African Botanics Nutritive Molecule Serum also contains vitamin C as sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which, like THD ascorbate, is more stable than L-ascorbic acid. It is water-soluble, and, being that it is a vitamin C derivative, it presents the same issues explained above.
Vitamin E is amongst the most popular antioxidants featured in skin care formulations, and for good reason: it is not only a highly effective antioxidant, but also serves as a hydrating agent. According to the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, vitamin E is one of the naturally produced antioxidant substances that protects against skin’s exposure to UV and environmental exposures to ozone. Vitamin E has an environmental protection factor (EPF) of 80, which is relatively high compared to other commonly used antioxidants in skin care formulations.
Niacinamide is a water-soluble component of the vitamin B complex group. It reduces fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and increases elasticity. Niacinamide may also help alleviate some of the symptoms of rosacea by increasing hydration and barrier function of the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of the skin), and may have some anti-tumor characteristics as well (source).
In a 2008 study published in Photochemistry and Photobiology, human skin cells treated with resveratrol prevented UVB-induced damage. The mechanism? Resveratrol inhibited the inflammatory NFkB pathway and decreased the skin cells’ production of hydrogen peroxide. With reduced levels of inflammation, less damage accrued in the cells.
Resveratrol has been found to specifically affect the NFkB pathway by inhibition of the MAPK pathway and targets in the regulatory protein cki-cyclin-cdk network (Cell and Molecular Biology review, 2008). Therefore applying a cream containing resveratrol under a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen appears to be a great extra means of protection at this time.
As for whether or not resveratrol keeps your skin cells from working too hard, well, that remains to be seen. Numerous studies suggest resveratrol does not influence sirtuin production, including a 2005 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a 2009 study in Chemical Biology and Drug Design, and a 2010 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. If resveratrol does not influence sirtuins or prevent tumor formation, then none of its other proven properties substantiate the claim resveratrol extends cell life. Research thus far suggests resveratrol may protect against UVB-induced inflammation and damage, but that is all.
Ingredients in African Botanics Nutritive Molecule Serum: Aqua (Deionized Water), Hamamelis Virginia (Witch Hazel) Extract, Glycine Soja Protein (Soy Peptides), Superoxide Dismutase, Oxido Reductases, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Yeast Beta-Glucan, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein (Di- and tripeptides), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Bulbine Frutescens, Myrothamus Flabellifolius (Resurrection) Plant, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, D-alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Glycerin, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Tannic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Potassium Sorbate, Honeybush Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Citrillus Lanatus (Kalahari Melon) Seed Oil, Rosa-Senensis (Hibiscus) Extract, Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Azelaic Acid, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Aspalathus Linearis (Green Rooibos) Tea Extract, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture (Swiss Apple), Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Acetamide MEA, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hyaluronic Acid, Phytic Acid, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Linoleic Acid, Sommondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol (Sugarcane derived), Sorbitol, Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate (Vitamin C), Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Hydrocotyl (Centella Asiatica Extract, Chamomile Martricaria Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris (Green Algae) Extract, Hydrolyzed Algin, Sea Kelp, Aminomethyl Propanol, Arnica Cordifolia (Arnica) Extract, Moringa Oleifera (Moringa) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ethyl Ferulate (Ferulic Acid), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Resveratrol, Disodium Uridine Phosphate, Green Coffee Bean Extract, Helichrysum Angustifolium (Everlasting/Immortelle) Flower Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.