The ALPHASCIENCE Ultra Firm is an award-winning product that is highly effective at diminishing neck lines and skin crepiness with its firming and redefining properties. Using advanced, innovative ingredients such as Shiitake, L-Glutamine and Genistein, we will explore these further scientifically to see how they act on the skin and refine signs of aging.
Glycation & Carbamylation
As you age, hormones fluctuate and cause changes in the body, affecting the skin’s appearance, firmness and thickness. In particular, the neck and decollete are the most delicate areas and are prone to aging first, showing in the form of neck lines, wrinkles, sagginess and crepiness. Much of this can be attributed to two processes: glycation and carbamylation. Glycation causes the degradation of collagen, a protein that supports and strengthens the skin by providing structure. Carbamylation is a similar process, but has a more potent effect on collagen breakage due to its deeper action. Collagen and elastin are extracellular matrix proteins (ECM) which provide structure and strength to skin tissue, making them key components for maintaining a youthful, healthy complexion. These proteins are also most at risk to carbamylation, therefore substantially affecting the look and feel of skin.
Post-translational modifications are chemical modifications that cause changes to proteins after they are produced. These are significant in providing high functionality and quality of collagen by regulating its activity. In particular, NEPTMs, Non-enzymatic post-translational modification, jeopardizes this by altering protein function. The most common form of this is Glycation, which is the binding of a sugar molecule to a protein without enzymatic regulation, resulting in reduced collagen function and further leading to the formation of AGE (advanced glycation end) products. Another common NEPTM is Carbamylation, involving the binding of proteins with Isocyanic Acid, which additionally affects collagen and can lead to CPDs (carbamylation-derived products), contributing to skin aging and decreased skin elasticity. These two processes are highly significant modifications that contribute to molecular and skin aging.
Shiitake Complex - Anti-carbamylation action
Shiitake is a mushroom that originates from Eastern Asia with antiaging and antioxidant properties. This ingredient has proven to show a significant impact in reducing carbamylation levels and improving collagen fibrils organisation, helping to keep the skin intact.
In Vitro Efficacy Test using Ultra Firm
In Vitro efficacy tests had shown a reduction in carbamylation levels in type 1 collagen by 75.9% when treated with 2% Shiitake Complex, in comparison to a control group where it was left untreated.
Ex Vitro Efficacy Tests
The images below show collagen fibril bundles under a microscope, depicting how structural damaged collagen is less cohesive and aligned whereas well-preserved collagen is more parallel and straight, therefore presents better functionality.
In Vivo Efficacy Firmness Evaluation
A 56-day clinical testing period was carried out on 19 volunteers between the ages of 41 and 56 with skin sagginess on multiple body areas including the jawline, chin, neck and lips, to test the effectiveness of the Shiitake complex in Ultra Firm.
Firmness was evaluated numerically by calculating the maximal deformation (R0) with a cutometer, with a lower R0 meaning firmer skin.
Neck and decollete results:
Before and after neck results:
Before and after décolleté results:
Before and after face results:
L-Glutamine Complex Peptide
Glutamine is an amino acid naturally produced by our bodies and contributes to maintaining firm and supple skin. When there is a lack of glutamine, the body uses proteins from muscle mass to convert it into glutamine and energy, which results in protein loss that leads to thinner muscle strands and saggier skin.
Glutamine is involved in collagen production by acting as a precursor of proline and hydroxyproline (components found in Collagen) as well as a powerful stimulator of collagen biosynthesis in cells that produce collagen (creates a 400% increase in collagen biosynthesis after 12 hours of incubation). Exclusive to ALPHASCIENCE, L-Glutamine has been transmitted as a dipeptide, L-alanyl Glutamine, in Ultra Firm, producing a powerful collagen-boosting effect that helps improve wrinkles and skin density.
- Enhances nucleotide synthesis
- Enhances protein turnover in muscles by stimulating proteasomes
- Anti-glycation effect by stimulating glycogenesis
- Produces direct effect on cicatrisation and inflammation
As discussed earlier, aging causes hormonal fluctuations, particularly oestrogen which has an impact on the appearance of skin by negatively affecting collagen production. Isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens (plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity), help mimic estrogen within the body. These can be found in legumes in the form of flavonoids, or soybeans in the form of glycosides binded to a sugar molecule, with digestion or fermentation causing unbinding from the sugar molecule, resulting in a isoflavone aglycone. A significant isoflavone aglycone is Genistein, incorporated in the ALPHASCIENCE Ultra Firm.
Genistein & collagen production
Genistein plays a role in collagen synthesis by binding to oestrogen receptors to activate collagen production and reducing its degradation through inhibiting metalloproteinase.
A 3D skin model has shown the effects of Genistein on collagen using immunolabelling techniques, portraying its ability to increase biosynthesis of collagen IV which is important for maintaining skin structure. Further to this study, the immunofluorescent staining of collagen IV and cell nuclei had shown a 53% increase in collagen IV when treated with Genistein. Its impact remains exclusive to collagen, as the number of cell nuclei remained the same. In addition to its collagen-enhancing effects, Genistein has antiglycation properties, therefore helping collagen to stay intact and promoting high functionality.
After reviewing the several properties and functions of Shiitake, L-Glutamine and Genistein, we are able to see their powerful influence on the aging process through its effects on collagen synthesis, glycation and carbamylation. Hence, Ultra Firm is an exclusive, innovative treatment that uses these ingredients to address aging concerns by boosting collagen and protecting it from degradation, whilst simultaneously fighting glycation and carbamylation.
Source & references:
ALPHASCIENCE, ULTRA FIRM Our new face and neck sculpting concentrate, September 08 2021.