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I love Yves St. Laurent. The fashion, the shoes, the glamour- ooh la la!
When it comes to skin aging, there are numerous types of cells, tissues, proteins, and nutrients that play a role. Many R&D departments at skin care companies have a knack for discovering an enticing finding or developing a unique treatment for just one of these. For better or worse, the development of treatments for just one facet of skin aging can last for years at a time.
When it comes to Yves St. Laurent, the important thing to remember is that it has more than an exotic French name in common with Lancôme: the same parent company, L’Oréal.
About five or six years ago, L’Oréal started to introduce treatments to produce more glycoaminoglycans (GAGs) within the skin. They first did this with a product you may remember called Absolue Precious Cells, featuring a GAG growth-stimulating complex called Pro-XylaneTM derived from the sugar xylose. Now they present Yves St. Laurent Forever Youth Liberator ($193.50, Amazon.com) with a GAG growth-stimulating complex called GlycanactifTM, a blend of three glycans.
Their angle is simple: GAGs are naturally-occuring, water-binding compounds called polysaccharides. They are found primarily in the dermis (deepest layer) of the skin. Companies love GAGs because they bind up to 1000 times their weight in water. Essentially, the more GAGs you have, the more youthful and plump your skin will look with each moisturizer or serum application. A true GAG growth stimulator is a dream for cosmetics companies: the more you apply, the more GAGs you have; the more GAGs you have, the more moisture your skin can hold; the more moisture your skin can hold, the more luminous your skin looks; the more luminous your skin looks, the more moisturizer you buy!
Whether or not GAGs decrease naturally with age remains up for debate in the dermatological community. Most dermatologists, who see aging patients up-close and first-hand, firmly believe that GAG production decreases with age. GAGs could, after all, partly explain why the skin becomes looser, limp, and less luminous with age. Unfortunately, some studies, such as that by Pearce et. al, have found no change in the amount of GAGs with increasing age. These researchers instead believe skin becomes loose, limp, and dull due to decreasing collagen and elastin production with age. Elastin also becomes more irregular when we age, growing in a tangled web pattern rather than an organized matrix. This too makes skin look older before its time.
To increase GAGs, or not to increase GAGs? That is the Question
There is no harm done to your skin if you increase its the number of GAGs with Yves St. Laurent Forever Youth Liberator. Your skin will simply bind more water, both from the environment and topical applications of skin care products.
However, if you stop using the serum, it is unlikely that you will continue to produce an elevated level of GAGs.
On the other hand, if you use the serum for a long period of time, your skin will likely max out its production of GAGs at some point. How long this takes is impossible to know for certain without conducting a study, and almost certainly varies by individuals based upon age, the condition of your skin, and your skin type. Those with dry skin are more likely to benefit from increased GAGs than those with oily skin.
Personal Use and Opinions
I actually didn’t find Yves St. Laurent Forever Youth Liberator from a PR agency. I was in my local Nordstrom, browsing the beauty products, when an enthusiastic, helpful sales associate named Michael introduced me to the product. I informed him I was a blogger, and he presented me with information and samples galore. (P.S. – I’m not personal friends with Michael, but he was such an outstanding sales associate, I thought I’d give him public props!)
Anyway, getting back to the review 🙂 : Yves St. Laurent Forever Youth Liberator is an incredibly clever formulation. Although it takes seven days to produce new skin cells, and hence have more GAGs within your skin, the serum makes your skin feel as though it’s already producing more GAGs after one application. The formulation makes skin feel more moisturized, luminous and radiant after one application. The secrets to this are three-fold:
- Sodium hyaluronate, which holds 10000 times its weight in water, just like GAGs;
- A fast-absorbing formulation (due to denatured alcohol and butylene glycol);
- A relatively thin consistency (due to silicones).
I would recommend Yves St. Laurent Forever Youth Liberator to anyone with dry and/or thin, papery skin. The quickly-absorbing sodium hyaluronate formula makes skin feel instantly hydrated, while the GAG stimulators will help skin do this naturally (at least after a solid week or two of twice-daily application).
Because Yves St. Laurent Forever Youth Liberator does not contain any wrinkle-erasing ingredients, I would still use it in conjunction with a retinoid or AHA and peptides at night, and potent antioxidant treatments (and perhaps also peptides) during the day.
P.S. – If anyone from L’Oréal or Yves St. Laurent Beauty is listening, please add peptides into the Yves St. Laurent Forever Youth Liberator line! Peptides have been proven to increase collagen production, and together with GAGs, this could be one truly outstanding product – a go-to for anyone with thin or sagging skin!
Product Rating: 8/10 (High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients: 3/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value for the money: 2/3. Sunscreen: 0/1).
Let me know your thoughts – and ideas for future reviews – in Comments!