Believe us, these are not the words that are most often uttered by plastic surgeons and dermatologists when they are asked to review a new skincare line. Reserved, careful, and cautious would best describe this crew when a new technology or treatment comes along. Therefore, when we started to hear these words associated with a new brand of skincare – at not one, but several gatherings of aesthetic physicians – we knew something was up.
We have tested this product for the last six weeks and we have to say this – this line meets the two-part-best-way to gauge the effectiveness of a skincare product:
- While using the testing the product, you will start to get stingy with the application because the product is so effective, running out is to be delayed for as long as possible.
- After a free trial, you quickly take out your credit card and opt for more.
Most of the buzz around DefenAge concerns this statement from their website:
“A six-week clinical study of participants ages 48 to 68 using this regimen: 2-Minute Reveal Masque one-to-two times a week plus 24/7 Barrier Repair Cream and 8-in-1 BioSerum twice daily. Participants realized an overall improvement in skin evenness (a global measurement of the skin surface roughness including pore and wrinkle size and the even or coarse texture of the skin) as measured using QuantifiCare™ Clinical Imaging System as compared to QuantifiCare’s Reference Population Database of normal aging skin for that age group. DefenAge “youthened” skin appearance up to 18 years (+ or – 4, average per group).”
Yes, that is what they say. Youthened skin by 18 YEARS.
We wanted to know everything there was to know about this skincare line and the technology behind it, and were privileged to land interviews with these top doctors:
Dr. Michael H. Gold is board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon. He is the founder of Gold Skin Care Center, Advanced Aesthetics Medical Spa, The Laser & Rejuvenation Center, and Tennessee Clinical Research Center located in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Gold is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for DefenAge.
Dr. Gregory Keller is a nationally known facial plastic surgeon, a clinical professor at UCLA and Chairman of the Board for DefenAge.
Dr. Amy Taub is a board-certified dermatologist, founder of Skinfo.com, (a professional skin care website) and an Assistant Clinical Professor at Northwestern University Medical School. She is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for DefenAge.
LVBX: Please describe the “aha” moment when the active ingredient in Age-Repair Defensins was discovered.
KELLER: While researching stem cell therapies for wound healing and Type I Diabetes, our scientists discovered the age-correcting ability of Alpha-Defensin 5 in cosmeceutical skincare – without affecting other stem cell types or triggering cancer.
LVBX: Stem cells in skin care have been under recent FDA scrutiny, can you tell us how DefenAge is different than what has come before? Are there any actual stem cells in the product?
KELLER: There is no stem cells or their parts in the product. Even more, there is not any human or animal derived ingredients in the product. When we say our products are ‘Free from animal – and human-derived ingredients’, we mean none of the ingredients in DefenAge Cosmeceuticals are sourced from vertebrate animals, including humans. This is important because certain types of disease and infections can be transferred from animals to humans and from humans to humans. Our refusal to use such sources eliminates these risks. Instead, we use the same alternative biosources used in the manufacture of drugs. We do use one ingredient derived from an invertebrate. Sea whip is a Caribbean coral believed to be the strongest anti-inflammatory to come from the sea. Only the ‘skeletal’ portion of the sea whip is collected by harvesters, who leave the live animal unharmed and available to multiply. No known disease or infection source is transferrable from the coral to humans. The other stem cell skin care products do contain growth factors produced by stem cells or parts of stem cells.
LVBX: How was the three-step process decided upon? What role does each play in the regimen?
TAUB: Although I was not involved in the creation of the products, together they form a complete anti-aging complex, although it does not include sunscreen. The main product, the serum, (8-in-1 BioSerum) has a high concentration (8X what is in the Barrier/Balance Cream) of defensins. These are the active molecules that stimulate a very specific stem cell location in the hair follicle. This particular stem cell location then starts working to produce new “fresh” skin. But you can’t produce new skin without many nutrients and if there is any skin damage. The 24/7 Barrier/Balance cream provides many of the nutrients necessary while also healing any skin barrier disruption. Finally, the mask performs gentle exfoliation, a process that improves absorption of the active products and also gives a signal to the skin to increase metabolism, so this also kick starts the process.
LVBX: Many skin care lines claim changes in the skin with continued use. How does QuantifiCare help to quantify your findings of DefenAge? Also, can you explain this claim of a “youthened” skin appearance up to 18 years (+ or – 4, average per group). How did Quantificare help you to come to this claim?
KELLER: Quantificare is one of the first devices that can measure a wrinkle via 3D computerized imaging techniques that are similar to those used in Hollywood for animation. Precise measurement of the wrinkle’s depth and improvement can be made without silicone molds. Quantificare measures roughness, moisture, and other changes in the skin and compares them to a computerized database to establish an average age of the skin in terms of a percentile of the population. At the 50% for a given age, we found that the post treatment patients improved in age by 18 +/- 4 years when compared to their database. Since subjective findings are often just that, subjective, we could measure objective real-time changes in the skin.
LVBX: I am certain you have been approached by a multitude of skin care companies – what made you decide to become involved with DefenAge?
GOLD: When I look at the different skin care companies that are out there, I am always looking for one that has something different, something that has a story that I can make sense with, and that actually means something from a science point of view. All of the products we are exposed to are the best thing ever – we have to differentiate real from fluff and so far, what I have seen with DefenAge, I have been impressed with – the story and the beginning science.
TAUB: This is a great question because you are right. I even feel very sorry for companies that have developed great products but the field is so crowded that in order to stand out you need to have something truly different AND the results need to be pretty extraordinary. I was basically motivated to work with them due to the science, which I found to be superior. There is a move to molecular specificity in many fields of medicine. It has been true in the treatment of psoriasis with the development of biologic therapy and you have been hearing a lot about this in cancer treatments too. Defenage is an advance in skincare; instead of blanketing the skin with many growth factors, it stimulates one locus of stem cells that are very powerful in being able to generate young skin. Other growth factors stimulate “old” fibroblasts to make more collagen; defensins make the stem cell turn on (which is only used in emergencies, essentially) to make proteins from a young cell.
LVBX: What is a “liposomal system?” and how does it contribute to the efficacy of DefenAge?
TAUB: Liposomes are carriers of active ingredients that have been around for a long time. The skin membranes are made principally of lipids (fat) and if you don’t have lipid surrounding your molecule it won’t penetrate. Liposomes are like lipid spheres that contain the product; it goes through the skin and deposits the ingredients on the other side.
LVBX: Describe how Age Repair Defensins work to reduce age spots at their source as opposed to other “lightening” agents.
KELLER: We found in double-blinded clinical studies that formulas containing Age-Repair Defensins reduce the appearance of age spots. The mechanism is unknown, but based on the peptide-nature of defensin, they do not cause a bleaching effect as chemicals do.
LVBX: Many don’t like the term “anti-aging” when referring to the abilities of skin care. Would you consider DefenAge to be “anti-aging?”
TAUB: Yes, it is meant to “wake-up” the skin. Unfortunately, as we age our metabolism in many areas, including the skin, slows down. Add to this that our catabolic processes (those that break down collagen and elastin) increase, so we have a double whammy in the skin. I guess a term is meant to describe what the products that are in this category are trying to do; to make the skin appear as it did when we were younger. I think the dislike is that so many companies and products make this claim that it is difficult to figure out what is real and what isn’t. Obviously, no skincare product is going to actually make you younger. But it wouldn’t hurt if you appeared to be younger, or as I like to say, healthier or like you look like you take care of yourself. When someone’s skin is dull and wrinkled and has brown spots, it gives the impression that that person has not cared for himself or herself well. But maybe it is more important that the person themselves feels better about their own appearance and enjoys the process of taking care of their skin.
LVBX: How do you incorporate DefenAge with other products like Retinoids and Vitamin C, or do you? Other skin care lines?
GOLD: Incorporating DefanAge into a skincare routine is not difficult and we routinely use some products from one line and some from another – in our customizing skin care for our patients. This is pretty common.
KELLER: The mechanism of action of DefenAge is very different from any other skin care products and ingredients. We believe that DefenAge can complement any other skin care regimen including retinoid treatment and vitamin C treatment. We only advise to be cautious with the combined use of DefenAge skin care products that contain niacinamide because the cream and the serum also contain high-dose niacinamide.
TAUB: This is complex. I always incorporate a sunscreen, as they declined to design one, principally because that is not their focus and there are so many good ones already created. I respect them for that – too many skincare companies try to be everything to everyone and then they wind up having one product that is their hero product and everything else is a me-too.
However, I do have some patients who already love certain products and don’t want to completely change. Therefore, usually I will either add in the Vitamin C or replace the 24/7 with it, but then you don’t get the barrier repair. I would replace the mask with the retinol or retinoid, but so many people are fanatical about the mask, they might not know what they are missing. If someone has pretty tough skin (ie not delicate, dry or sensitive) they may be able to use both.
I can tell you that Defenage is the only skin care kit I have ever sold through Skinfo. I usually like to hand pick the items that are in the Core 4 (based on patient preference for cost, feel and whether they are sensitive, oily, etc.) However, they did such a good job with this kit and it comprehensively covers the Core 4 without the sunscreen that I thought it was a great addition. It has proven extremely popular for a number of reasons: People like simplicity so it is easy, the products work and they like them, and it is actually pretty affordable when you look at competing skin care products.
LVBX: As a plastic surgeon, what role does DefenAge play in your practice when surgical procedures or non-invasive fillers/lasers may also be necessary or preferred?
DR. KELLER: DefenAge can help “prep” the skin and improve it, so that these procedures can have a better result. Several dermatologists have felt that DefenAge promotes laser healing. This would be logical since Defensins are one of the triggers that activate wound healing pathways. After procedures, I feel, based on our study findings, that DefenAge can help to maintain the skin and prolong the results of these procedures.
LVBX: How do you use DefenAge as opposed to or in addition to other tools at your disposal for the reduction of wrinkles/age spots/ etc. Before and after peels/resurfacing?
GOLD: This seems to be a perfect group of products for those concerned with skin aging who are looking to turn back the clock. The early clinical trials show marked improvement in age-related skin changes and this can be special for your patients. I see this being used for photodamage, photoaging, and also with my cosmetic patients having procedures who are looking for additional skin improvements. Clinical work showing this is in progress now.
TAUB: We believe in skin care as the Core 4. We prefer it when people use a comprehensive system such as DefenAge plus sunscreen for a minimum of two weeks before every procedure, but ideally it would be three months. The reason is simple; your skin won’t have to go from A to F with the procedure. Since it is already “primed”, it will go from F to Z with the procedure. To keep it at Z you need skincare.
To read more about DefenAge and to see before and after pictures, please visit: www.defenage.com
Our readers will receive a 10% discount with the code LVBX16.
Terms: The discount can not combined with any other offers. Promo code valid only for retail purchases made through DefenAge.com until August 31, 2016.