The Science Behind Environ

Posted by Nicole Pigott on

By: Shawna Akin, Master Educator for DermaConcepts

Prof. Des Fernandes' research into skin health reveals that vitamin A & broad spectrum antioxidants are the best strategies in the fight against photoaging; mitigating the effects of free radical damage and delaying the shortening of telomeres, thus, staving off pre-mature cellular senescence (skin cell suicide). Prof. Des developed Environ’s core powerhouse formulations, the step-up vitamin ranges, to provide these non-negotiable ingredients and much more. He included ingredients such as green tea, niacin, hyaluronic acid, robust polyphenols such as resveratrol, scientifically proven peptides, as well as growth factors in their naturally perfect ratios; all are harnessed to make the real changes in the appearance of the skin.

Decades ago, Prof. Des understood it is necessary to adhere to certain physiological principles in order to normalize and rehabilitate damaged skin cells. He knew it is not a single ingredient or category that wins the race, but the synergy of many. First, by providing the essential molecules vitamins ACE & D we can build the perfect engine; all the parts work in sync under the pristine direction and coordination from the information processing system, vitamin A. Each carefully chosen ingredient in foundational skin formulations is designed to be nourishing and create the ideal formula to ensure the skin's top performance from birth to death, reliably delivering healthy-looking and radiant skin. Prof. Des adheres to the scientific method in everything he brings to the industry.

‘Des-ciples’ agree that vitamin A, the single most important molecular signaller, as well as broad spectrum antioxidants and bioactive peptides, synergistically play a major role in the look and feel of skin repair, regeneration and preservation. Prof. Des always manages to be lite-years ahead of the pack. He also said photo-damaged skin is indeed diseased skin and the worst form of sun damage is skin cancer. These scientifically researched ideas are the roots of Environ, focusing on the health and well-being of the skin.

Here is the science behind Dr. Des' 30 plus years of research and skin care philosophy.


A-repair of DNA

B-enhances epidermal growth and repair in parallel with vitamin A, controls melanosomes transfer to the keratinocyte

C-helps the migration of the fibroblast, a major radical fighter, slows down reverses photoaging, tone & elasticity are improved

D-acts as a natural SPF

Vitamin C has limited activity on DNA itself, but stimulates at least four genes related to collagen and particularly elastin production as well as playing a critical role in the maintenance of a mature collagen network.

Vitamin C effects pigmentation in two different ways; it counteracts the oxidative process within the melanocyte by binding to the reactive oxygen atoms that drive the production of pigment. It also inhibits the metabolism of tyrosine into the end product, melanin, in two places. Vitamin C, used in conjunction with vitamin A, is known to improve the tethering down of scars, when applied with the combined technology of iontophoresis and sonophoresis.

Vitamin C is a tricky molecule to get into the skin due to its water solubility, however, forms such as magnesium (sodium) ascorbyl phosphate are suitable for iontophoresis. Ascorbyl tetra- isopalmitate, ascorbic acid wrapped in fat (palmitic acid) passes through the lipid bi-layers and cell walls with ease allowing for use on delicate skins in high concentrations.

Vitamin E protects us from the harmful rays of UVA by deactivating free radicals before they do damage to the cellular membrane and the degradation of intracellular components. Vitamin E has also been shown to lengthen the life of skin cells by delaying the shortening of telomeres.

Vitamin E is recycled by vitamin C and when used along with betacarotene, creates the brilliant antioxidant network that allows endogenous antioxidants to recycle one another. This synergy of molecules helps to restore levels of intrinsic anti-oxidants in the skin cell such as alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 and glutathione. Glutathione can only exist inside the cell despite many trying to say
otherwise. Vitamin D shares receptors for many genes with vitamin A. When levels of vitamin A & D in the skin are ideal, our cells function much better. The precursor to vitamin D, dihydrochoesterol, is a chromophore for UVB. With UVB stimulus we can manufacture vitamin D3 in the skin.

Unfortunately, too much UVA will destroy vitamin D3. Practicing sun-sense is the healthiest and safest way to get our vitamin D3 whilst improving our immunity and outlook on life.

Another important molecule is resveratrol, known to hasten wound repair, promote more collagen and elastin, down-regulate melanocyte activity, release epidermal growth factors, improve skin cell architecture whilst protecting skin from UVB damage.

Polyphenols are some of the most effective antioxidant molecules available, including rooibos tea, honeybush tea extract and green tea. This synergy of the tea-trilogy makes for a powerful UV protector. Rooibos tea is indigenous to South Africa and contains a unique polyphenol called aspalanthin, along with many other powerful molecules such as flavonoids and flavones such as quercetin which are more active than vitamin C in its radical quenching effects and is not deactivated by light as vitamin C is. Rooibos tea as well as honeybush tea extract, together demonstrate antioxidant effects are even higher due to the up-regulation of superoxide dismutase. In addition, Rooibus tea and honeybush tea contains numerous minerals like calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, sodium and potassium.

Blueberry extract, Pterostilbene, belongs to a large family of polyphenols, called flavonoids, that protect the blueberry plant from injury and is a close cousin to resveratrol. Pterostilbene has been shown to have suppressive effects on inflammation, apoptosis (cellular suicide), lipid regulation, melanin production, and matrix preservation in the skin.

Green tea is another ingredient rich with polyphenols, containing a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a potent singlet-oxygen antioxidant that prevents lipid perioxidation and restores antioxidant levels within cells (such as glutathione) as well as reducing the formation of the pyrimidine dimers that can lead to skin cancer. ECGC prevents the normal erythema response to UVB irradiation, instigates a thicker stratum spinosum, protects fibroblasts from UVA damage and reduces the activity of the enzymes that breakdown collagen. In addition, ECGC has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is why entire lines have been built on the use of this wonderful compound.

Rosemary is a very competent ingredient due to its ability to reduce UV damage in cells, suppresses collagenases when used in conjunction with vitamins C and E, as well as helps to preserve and protect products from microbes due it its antiseptic properties.

Carotenoids such as beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A synthesis), and non vitamin ingredients lycopene and zeaxanthin are essential in the fight against UV irradiation due to their antioxidant benefits and stability. Betacarotene defends against ionizing infra-red rays that produce a huge array of free radicals as well as up-regulates the production of endogenous superstar anti oxidant glutathione.

Vitamin B5, panthenol, is easily absorbed into skin cells, soothing and increasing hydration while serving as on of the most important intracellular antioxidants due to its up-regulation of glutathione, protecting the mitochondria and other intracellular organelles. Vitamin B5 also helps prevent follicular obstructions and is a popular  dermatologic go-to for decades for its wound healing properties, barrier restoration and anti-inflammatory effects.

Vitamin B3, niacin/nicotinamide is a water soluble B vitamin involved in skin cell energy metabolism. In addition, B3 serves as a potent anti-inflammatory, and rivals the antibacterial effects of clindamycin, at high enough percentages, rendering it an effective agent in the fight against acne. Niacin/nicotinamide interferes with the transfer of melanin from the melanocytes to the keratinocytes, helps to build keratin, and is considered a formidable radical fighter. Entire skin care lines have been built on multi tasking B3 vitamin due to it efficaciousness in the fight against troublesome skin conditions. Vitamin B12, methylcobalamin, is extremely sensitive to sunlight and easily depleted in the skin. It is important for healthy DNA synthesis and energy production in our skin cells.

Peptides are amino acid chains of varying length have a crucial importance in regulating the functions of cells as co-enzymes, cytokines and grown factors. Peptides can stimulate the cell to produce ideal ratios of growth factors that work in concert with vitamin A to instruct the fibroblast to produce more and better quality collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans as well as a thicker epidermis. Peptides can also can also inhibit enzymes from destroying collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, as well as alter the production of pigment, serve as anti-oxidants, and neuro-modulators.

New generation hyaluronic acid technologies assist in the skin’s own abilities to restore the benefits of the optimal level of hyaluronic acid, stimulating the effects of hyaluronic acid, neosynthesis and by sustaining its renewal. In addition, the water sphere surrounding the keratinocyte is improved.

There are many more strategic ingredients Prof. Des has researched for his formulations. One has to remember that the effectiveness is not only in the ingredients but in their specific combinations and concentrations that make them efficacious and result in helping to create beautiful skin for a lifetime.

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