Recently, I was at the Estée Lauder counter, about to purchase my beloved Advanced Night Repair, when I discovered that my favorite was no longer available and (gasp!) reformulated. Of course I did what any good beauty blogger would do: I bought it, analyzed the ingredients list, and passed the results onto you.
The company claims that the new version (Synchronized Recovery Complex) features Chronolux™ technology to “repair past damage” and “prevent signs of future damage,” which is accomplished with adding tripeptide-32 and Lactobacillus ferment to the original Protective Recovery Complex. According to the official company patent, the aim of the product is for tripeptide-32 to activate the clock gene PER-1, which regulates the normal sleep cycle, or Circadian rhythm. The theory is that when you apply tripeptide-32 before you sleep, the PER-1 gene activator will activate your keratinocyte genes at a time when they would normally be less active or inactive in the normal sleep cycle. Which is pretty genius in theory.
However, questions arise: One, the genetic material of the keratinocyte cell, including the DNA, is protected in the nucleus. Is there evidence that tripeptide-32 is able to penetrate through the cellular and nuclear membranes to affect the actual genes and subsequent proteins produced? Typically the formulations that have been documented to do so are packaged in liposomes, which this product is not. Still, supposing tripeptide-32 does make it through, by exactly how much is the keratinocytes’ nighttime activity altered? It is possible for the results to be significant – but I wish that the company released more of its scientific data to the public.
The second question is whether or not we want to turn these “clock” genes on or off in the first place. Increasing the activity of cells is great in theory – after all, retinoids are arguably the gold standard of anti-aging right now, and the JAAD acknowledges retinoids increase cellular turnover rates. But, on the other hand, we also have sirtuins, which do exactly the opposite, turning off unnecessary gene expression. (For the record, ever-popular resveratrol activates sirtuins through inhibition of NAD, which normally inhibits sirtuins). So with that said, do we really want to keep our genes on? No one seems to know.
DNA Repair Enzymes
The second new ingredient in Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair: Synchronized Recovery Complex is Lactobacillus ferment, which contains DNA repair enzymes. This is the same theory that underlies popular products like Remergent DNA Formula ($68.95, Amazon.com ). However, Estée Lauder “one-ups” normal DNA repair formulas in combining the DNA repair enzymes with the PER1 gene activator. The theory is that tripeptide-32 turns your genes on, and then the DNA repair enzymes are able to “maximally” repair your skin. As for whether or not it works, mainstream research has shown that DNA repair enzymes packaged in liposomes can have positive effects on the skin, but the verdict is less clear on DNA repair enzymes in other formulations (such as in the serum form here). Again, we’d need the in-house research studies to know for sure.
Estée Lauder is one of my favorite companies – their products are innovative, their research theories are fantastic, and let’s face it, every little girl with fabulous memories of getting dressed up with Grandma feels the company is luxurious. I just wish that they released more of the results of their studies to the public.
At this point, based on my research, I don’t know whether it is better to “turn on” or “turn off” genes in the skin. Both camps have fantastic ideas, and without, say, controlled long-term identical twin studies (one uses retinoids or PER1 gene activators, the other uses sirtuins or resveratrol), it’s hard to say when we’ll know the answer. I’m sure scientists are working on the answer with some clever methodology. Until then, while I would rather keep the ingredients out of my genes (sorry, I couldn’t resist), I love Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair so much, I am still using that bottle of the new formula.