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It’s the Catch-22 of aging: If you are Type A (like yours truly!) and do everything you’re supposed to do — work, family, exercise, community obligations, you name it — chances are, you have high levels of chronic underlying inflammation. And it’s not only emotional stress — it’s also pollution, sleep deprivation, a lack of exercise, too much exercise, excessive antibiotic use, excessive heat and/or UV exposure, an unhealthy diet (i.e., rich in sugars, artificial sweeteners, casein, processed food, and the like) — the list goes on.
Now, there are four basic mechanisms of skin aging:
1.) genetic factors;
2.) telomere shortening and chromosomal alterations;
3.) free radical generation (in excess of free radicals necessary for normal metabolism);
4.) UV light-induced skin damage.
Skin care treatments tend to be aimed at either #3 or #4. For instance, antioxidants like green tea, vitamin C, and Coenzyme Q10 try to prevent or quench free radicals, or damage caused by free radical generation. On the other hand, agents like retinoids and vitamin C try to fight UV light-induced skin damage, whereas sunscreens prevent it to begin with.
Now, let’s return to inflammation. There are two major forms of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation, followed by resolution, are the responses to an immediate injury (like a cut or bruise to the face), and necessary for the survival of our species. Chronic low-grade inflammation of the skin results from low-grade daily insults, which may be environmental (like pollution) or physical (over-aggressive daily deep cleaning). Inflammation is a factor causing or contributing to #3, but could also be involved in #’s 1,2, and 4.
Very few skin care treatments try to prevent or treat skin damage by fighting chronic inflammation itself. There are numerous reasons for this — too many causes of inflammation to prevent it, too many pathways (or cascades) by which inflammation occurs in cells and tissues to treat them all — but SciaEssentials™ DELTA-5™ is designed to do just that.
The idea here is that the sciadonic acid (a fatty acid coined DELTA-5™) derived from specific conifer seeds has the ability to decrease chronic inflammation in the skin. It does this by working very early in the inflammation cascade. Specifically, it competes for incorporation of the typically pro-inflammatory fatty acid arachidonic acid into specific classes of phospholipids (membrane lipids that help in barrier function and also downstream inflammation). Arachidonic acid is a precursor to typically pro-inflammatory molecules known as eicosanoids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and others). So the overall effect of sciadonic acid is to decrease levels of these pro-inflammatory mediators in various cells including immune cells (Food and Chemical Toxicology) and also in invading pathogens (Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators). Although DELTA- 5™ is currently being developed as a cosmetic ingredient, initial results show accelerated healing of burns and abrasions, suggesting it may also benefit acute inflammation, and that DELTA-5™ should be developed as an OTC/Pharma ingredient in the future.
While I don’t suffer from red or puffy skin at all, I am a bit sleep-deprived and stressed, given that I have an 11-week-old newborn baby at home, and am juggling the baby, my marriage, and my career all at once now. And when I applied the SciaEssentials™ DELTA-5™ oil, I did note that my skin felt softer, smoother, and more plush and supple. It seemed like I did have some underlying inflammation, despite my commitment to high-quality skin care, exercise, and sleep whenever I can.
According to the company, the oil is good for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and also for reducing red inflamed skin, acne, sunburn, and dry skin. To quote the SciaEssentials™ website: “Basis the mechanism of action, based on the limited but exciting clinical results we have thus far, combined with about 40 in vitro/pre-clinical academic studies showing the mechanism of action and anti-inflammatory properties, we expect our oils to be valuable for the following situations/conditions:
- Anti-redness, anti-rosacea
- Anti-aging, skin calming, smoothness, improved tone, skin restoration,
- Anti-acne (soft claims for cosmetics; in combination with existing actives)
- Pre-airbrush and makeup: heal, no pain, less makeup needed (Aesthetician and Spa
markets via distributors; Direct Response advertising; co-sell with home airbrush
- After facials and clay masks (healing)
- After peels, dermabrasion/exfoliation: speed up recovery, get back to work or with
friends sooner post-treatment
- After cosmetic and scalp surgeries, healing of scars, reduced inflammation, accelerated
healing, possibly better graft acceptance
- Reduce discomfort after tattooing
- With skin brighteners, to reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Anti-pollution benefits”
Personally, I’ll be using this oil regularly. I like the idea that the SciaEssentials™ DELTA-5™ aids all four ways the skin ages and helps with the underlying inflammation culprit, as its main ingredient has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to be effective in fighting inflammation in skin cells. So while you can still use products and ingredients that target specific mechanisms of aging, this serum/oil should enhance the effects of all of them by taking down inflammation. I’m a big fan, especially for anyone who is concerned about aging or who suffers from acne, rosacea, or other inflammatory conditions.
SPECIAL OFFER: Receive a 10% discount on SciaEssentials™ DELTA-5™ by using the code “futurederm” at checkout. Offer valid until June 8, 2018.