PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY BRYANT FUKUTOMI / BFUKUTOMI@STARBULLETIN.COM
The cost of skin care is pretty lofty, but aging boomers keep reaching for youth. La Mer's Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream, left, uses a secret "miracle broth" ($110 for 1 ounce to $1,200 for 16.5 ounces); RéVive's Arréte Booster C corrects uneven skin with vitamin C ($300); RéVive's Peau Magnifique Youth Recruit ($1,500); RéVive's melanin-blocking, spot-lightening Blanche ($400); and Natura Bissé bio-regenerative Diamond Extreme Cream ($350).
Save Our Skin
Baby boomers scoop up products that promise to help turn back time
GOOD SKIN is something no one appreciates when they're young. Even if a few precocious types make a habit of staying out of the sun and faithfully applying sunscreen to prevent wrinkling and spotting, sadly, these are the least of one's worries.
More dire is the rapid hormonal depletion that leaves post-40-somethings helplessly clutching their mirrors as the skin under their eyes start to sink, while laugh lines -- ha ha! -- start to fold in on themselves like photographer Edward Weston's creased and fleshy bell peppers.
It's enough to send men and women of a certain age scrambling to cosmetics counters in search of the latest miracle potion that promises to change their haggard countenances to an enchanting vision of youth and vitality.
Instead of pixie dust, however, members of the AARP brigade are discovering any number of cosmetic/cosmeceutical/dermatology brands offering a possible solution, for a price.
Where once the idea of a $50 skin cream seemed astronomical, the latest products on today's market run from $75 for Cosmedicine Private Nurse Recovery and Repair Cream -- to put that in perspective, no more than the cost of a single dinner or a concert -- to $350 for Natura Bissé's Diamond Extreme Cream, and now, $1,500 for a 28-day supply of RéVive's new Peau Magnifique Youth Recruit.
Peau Magnifique is set to debut at Neiman Marcus on Sept. 1, and there's already a waiting list.
Similarly, a waiting list has been started for the Sublimage Essential Regenerating cream, set to debut in Chanel boutiques later this month at $350. Chanel's cream isolates Panifolia-PFA from a rare vanilla plant grown only in Madagascar and combines it with camellia and other oils to moisturize and even pigmentation. It's intended to be easy to use, unlike many new products that require mixing serums, gels and powders to activate the ingredients.
INTEREST in creams and anti-aging serums seems to be picking up as baby boomers speed toward the far side of 50. Having held on to the notion of a surgical fix as a last resort sort of reset button, many are realizing that surgery is no solution at all.
"We've found face lifts are not the answer," said Hylton Lea, national sales director for RéVive, the skin-care line started by plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Bays Brown in acknowledgment of the limitations of surgery.
"You can pull the skin, get rid of bags and wrinkles, but you're still left with old skin," said Lea, in town two weeks ago to conduct training sessions at NM, noting that surgery does nothing to restore the suppleness and glow of young skin.
Brown claims the keys to youthful vitality are proteins and enzymes that jump-start our cells to produce new skin cells. EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor), originally used by Brown to accelerate healing in burn victims, is now being used to help aging skin.
The discovery of EGF won biochemist Stanley Cohen and biologist Rita Levi-Montalcini a Nobel Prize in 1986, but according to the company's press materials, Brown was the first doctor and scientist to apply the bioengineered version of EGF into skin care. His findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1989. He won the cosmetic patent for EGF in 1994 and launched RéVive in 1997.
His $1,500 Peau Magnifique combines EGF and telomerese, dubbed by scientists as the "immortality enzyme."
If you'd kept up with science after high school, you would know that a living cell can divide only a finite number of times, then it dies, and massive cell death is associated with aging. Telomerese has been found to repair and prevent the shortening of the telomeres, the "biological clocks" that cap DNA strands when a cell divides. Researchers are tantalized by the possibility of using telomerese to prevent cell death and increase longevity, but for now the science is being put to use in skin care.
Whether a surface application of telomerese slows skin aging is open to debate, but Lea's pitch sounds convincing.
"I always tell people who try RéVive, 'Welcome to your addiction,'" said Lea, who has had access to Peau Magnifique since January and says he can see the results on his own face. The product is intended to be used alone -- no "cocktailing," or mixing it with any other product -- for 28 days, then put aside for six months.
"That's because it stays in your skin," he said. "Peau Magnifique gets inside the matrix of the skin to heal trauma to the epidermis. It's been tested in cases of extreme trauma in burn wards and on those who've been subject to chemical peels, major microdermabrasion and surgery.
"The concept is so simple. It creates brand-new skin, and you can talk about all the science, but the bottom line is everybody understands brand-new skin."