Tara Cohen, Neolastin’s Chief Marketing Officer, sat down with Dr. Vyavahare to find out about his vast research on elastin, what makes Neolastin skincare so different, how he discovered our patented NUFLEX™ technology, and what impact it can have on aging skin.
Tara: Let’s talk a little bit about your background first.
Dr. Vyavahare: I’ve been a Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University for the past 23 years, with a PhD in Chemistry.
My area of study is cardiovascular conditions. They’re the leading causes of death not only in the United States, but worldwide. We really wanted to discover what conditions make cardiovascular diseases worse. One protein found in our arteries and heart is called elastin. Elastin protein is like a rubber band that gives elasticity to your arteries. So, when your heart is well-functioning it is pushing the blood through your arteries. Your arteries and heart are more elastic so they can move blood to flow effectively to your organs.
As you age, you get plaque in your arteries and that makes your arteries become stiff. Then they don’t work well and the elasticity they used to have is lost. This elastin protein is only made once. The elastin that’s in your arteries, lungs, skin is made when you are about 15-20 years old - and then rapidly declines from there. Our cells really can’t make elastic fibers after that.
This is the problem that happens with cardiovascular conditions, we lose elastin. Our bodies can keep making collagen, but that doesn’t really give elasticity, that rubber band like property that elastin has. When that happens our arteries get stiff, that puts more pressure on the heart, and the heart gets bigger. Eventually the heart can get hypertension.
So, my research for the last 20 years has been to understand why elastin degrades. How can we stop the degradation of elastin? Is there any way to repair elastin?
T. C.: What did you find?
Dr. V: Elastin is a very complex protein, and when it degrades, there’s no way to stop it.
In our research we found a compound called polyphenols (PPs). What’s great about it is that when inflammatory enzymes (from inflammation in our skin and bodies) chew on the elastin in your skin it causes degradation, but when these PPs bind to the elastin fibers it blocks the enzymes from chewing. So, the PPs first help stabilize the elastin that you have. Second, as we get older and that assembly line of elastin production starts to get chewed apart and degrade, the PPs help attract other small molecules, called tropoelastin made by cells, to bond to it, reinforcing and repairing the elastin fibers.
T. C.: You mentioned inflammation, what else can degrade your skin’s elastin?
Dr. V: The inflammation can be due to smoking and heavy drinking. They cause internal inflammations that can affect your elastin, your skin and its health. But as we age, sun damage or photooxidative stress damage from the sun is the most impactful assault to our skin. Environmental free radicals are very reactive and they can break down both collagen and elastin in the skin. Think of how a rubber hose left outside in the sun slowly cracks and degrades. As a result of free radical damage, our skin cells can become inflamed. That inflammation can also cause a slow degradation of elastin – and the assembly line of elastin that crosslink to form the band-like strength.
T. C.: What’s in Neolastin’s NUFLEX™ technology?
Dr. V: In our NUFLEX™ we have a special polyphenol, which restores and repairs elastin. We have collagen producing peptides, hyaluronic acid (HA) and micro hyaluronic acids. You need all three to make your skin supple and strong. Additionally, we have GABA-Care which increases natural collagen and HA production in the skin; Ectoin to protect skin from UV-induced cellular damage and prevent skin dehydration; and finally, we have Matrixyl 3000, an anti aging peptide that promotes the production of natural collagen and HA in the skin.
T. C.: I find it interesting what you said earlier, that collagen can be reproduced your entire life. There are many skincare products with peptides and collagen in them, and you can get collagen injections. Plus, HA can be found naturally in your skin or can be easily supplied back into your skin. The key factor here is our patent around NUFLEX™ technology with mini/micro hyaluronic acid, which is unique. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Dr. V: Anything that you apply topically has to absorb into the top epidermal layers of skin. Something with a large molecular weight will just sit on the top of the skin and get washed away. You need very small molecule sizes to really work. Our micro HA can not only hold water for hydration, but has also been shown to improve elastin production in the skin. So, it boosts hydration and helps cells make more elastin.
T. C.: The elastin part is really the breakthrough of NUFLEX™ technology. It’s what differentiates Neolastin from other skincare brands. The polyphenols are critically important. Are they naturally derived? Why are they special?
Dr. V: Polyphenol cells are a very good compound that have been known for years. They have antioxidant properties. They can help block/prevent free radical and oxidative damage to the skin because they’re antioxidants. But the polyphenols binding to the elastin is a unique thing. Our patent shows that we can stabilize elastin with our unique polyphenols. They sit there and they will not allow enzymes to degrade the elastin. They are small molecules so they can penetrate the skin and keep binding for many months. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a hydrophobic binding not chemical; it’s a physical absorption and will stay there for 6-8 months. It does not wash away. Once it’s there, it can also attract tropoelastin molecules which accumulate on top of the special polyphenols and cross-link to make elastin fibers again. It’s like an assembly line creating new elastin. But without the polyphenols to bind them together, the tropoelastin would just wash away in your blood or urine.
T. C.: I think that’s the key, and the amazing part about this. The origins of our patented polyphenol are really truly based in science. You're working with it on an internal level with arteries, aneurysms and lungs. This is the same polyphenol that we’re applying topically in the Neolastin skincare system. This ingredient has very beneficial applications on a scientific and humane level as well. That’s our differentiator.
Dr. V: Yes, this polyphenol naturally helps your own elastin to be stabilized, while also encouraging and aiding your cells to create more elastin and collagen. No other skincare brand can claim this. And we’ve won awards for it, including the 2021 Global Beauty & Wellness Award for Best Emerging Cosmetic Product for our Revitalize & Firm Eye Cream. The science is there, it really can transform your skin. We made sure to include it in all three of our core skincare products, in addition to the eye cream we have our Rejuvenate & Hydrate Moisturizing Cream and the Face & Neck Regenerative Serum. Used individually or as a system, our clinical studies show that consumers can see results in 28 days.