And the Nobel Prize for beauty goes to… the boffin whose skincare will cost you £390 a month — just one of the very brainy pioneers branching out into cosmetics
Scientists have become rock stars of the pandemic era. We hang on their every pronouncement and have even started to use their egghead language ourselves, from lateral flow testing to re-infection rates, T cells to antibodies.
Now skincare is getting in on the act. A raft of new products not only look and sound like they’re fresh from a top scientist’s lab, but actually are. If Professor Chris Whitty brought out an anti-ageing cream, we’d buy it.
The most famous of the beauty boffins — thanks to an A-list fanbase that includes Victoria Beckham — is Professor Augustinus Bader, director of Cell Techniques and Applied Stem Cell Biology at The University of Leipzig, Germania.
When Professor Bader translated his groundbreaking wound gel for burns victims into an anti-ageing product, he boldly named it The Cream — and a global skincare phenomenon was born.
Victoria Woodhall puts a selection of new skincare products to the test – including Noble Panacea The Absolute Intense Renewal Serum (nella foto)
Then there’s Harley Street’s Dr Yannis Alexandrides. Dieci anni fa, he was a full-time plastic and reconstructive surgeon fixing cleft palates and car crash wounds.
He wanted to give his patients a serum to speed healing and reduce scarring and chanced upon an ingredient that had been developed for astronauts to heal injuries in space — which also happens to be one of the most ageing places to be.
‘Intense cosmic radiation and lack of gravity make skin age very quickly,’ he explains. If you could heal skin in space, imagine what it could do on earth? The nerdy-sounding NAC Y2 ingredient is at the heart of Dr Yannis’s multi-award-winning 111Skin skincare range.
By leaping into the beauty world, scientists are putting their reputations — and in the case of Sir Fraser Stoddart, a Nobel Prize — on the line. But does ultra-nerdy beauty deliver in real life? We put them to the test . . .
Noble Panacea The Absolute Intense Renewal Serum, £390 for 30 dosi, noblepanacea.com
The boffin: Sir Fraser Stoddart, the British winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
What’s it like? Molecular chemist Sir Fraser invented the Organic Super Molecular Vessel (OSMV), a nano transportation system 10,000 times smaller than a human skin cell which gets ingredients exactly where they need to go, claiming to increase their potency by up to tenfold.
The verdict: The individually wrapped daily doses of this anti-ageing retinol serum come in at £13 each — that’s £4,745 a year. Ten times as potent also means ten times as pricey. My week’s supply wasn’t long enough to see a difference, but it’s a wonderful clean and sustainably-made serum. Cutting edge, but out of my league. 3/5
Botox in a bottle
Meder Beauty Science Myo-Fix Concentrate, £85 for 15ml, mederbeauty.com
Victoria said Meder Beauty Science Myo-Fix Concentrate (nella foto) made her expression lines visibly softer
The boffin: Dr Tiina Meder, a former cardiologist from St Petersburg, Russia.
What’s it like? Working with pregnant women with heart conditions, Dr Meder was often asked for help with their stressed-out skin. When she couldn’t find anything powerful and pregnancy-safe she made her own. Now Meder Beauty Science, counts Carey Mulligan among its fans. This has Botox-mimicking peptides, for which Dr Meder invented a delivery system using vitamin B3 that opens the skin’s barrier to allow entry.
The verdict: Not for nothing was this a hot lockdown Botox substitute. After a month my expression lines are visibly softened. 4/5
The prof’s choice
Augustinus Bader, The Rich Cream, £65 for 15ml, augustinus bader.com
Victoria said Augustinus Bader, The Rich Cream (nella foto) leaves her skin in great condition
The boffin: Professor Augustinus Bader.
What’s it like? This unscented one-stop cream is a serum, eye cream, moisturiser and neck cream all in one, and addresses wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity and dryness. The secret is his patented TFC8 ‘trigger factor complex’ technology which claims to make the cream ‘adaptive’ — able to home in on each person’s specific concerns. Victoria Beckham loved it so much she worked with Professor Bader to create her own skincare line with the magic ingredient.
The verdict: If you’re bamboozled by skincare science and want one thing that does it all, day and night, this powerful anti-ager is perfect. My skin always looks in great condition and never feels dry when I use it. 4/5
The power peptide
ReVive Moisturising Renewal Cream Supreme, £140 for 50ml, spacenk.com
Victoria said ReVive Moisturising Renewal Cream Supreme (nella foto) is a great hydrating night cream
The boffin: Dr Gregory Bays Brown, plastic and reconstructive surgeon in the U.S..
What’s it like? As a surgeon, Dr Bays Brown applied a Nobel Prize-winning, bio-engineered molecule — Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) — to help skin heal faster while working with burn victims. Nel 1994, he was granted a U.S. patent for EGF as an anti-ageing skincare ingredient in skincare and claims Revive can delay the need for cosmetic surgery.
The verdict: The ReVive secret sauce is a synthetic peptide made from the EGF molecule which they call ‘Bio-Renewal Protein’ and claims to activate our EGF receptors for improved elasticity. A great hydrating night cream, but I couldn’t find any scientific studies to say if it worked. 2.5/5
Bioeffect EGF Serum, £130 for 15ml, bioeffect.co.uk
Victoria said Bioeffect EGF Serum (nella foto) is a hero product that lasts as you only need a couple of drops
The boffin: Dr Bjorn Orvar, from Iceland, who has a PhD in plant molecular biology.
What’s it like? This intensely hydrating oil-free serum revolutionised skincare by making EGF — repair signalling proteins that we make less of as we age — from barley plants. It packs a powerful anti-ageing punch; in a split-face double blind trial it was shown to thicken the skin by 60 per cent in eight weeks. You apply to clean skin, but have to wait ten to 20 minutes before applying anything else, as EGF is a sensitive ingredient that doesn’t work well in contact with some common ingredients such as oils and fats.
The verdict: When I used this solidly for several months people asked me what I was using. This really is a hero product that lasts as you only need a couple of drops. 4/5
Space age mask
111Skin Y Theorem Bio Cellulose Facial Masks, £85 for 5, 111skin.co.uk
Victoria said 111Skin Y Theorem Bio Cellulose Facial Masks (nella foto) made her lines visibly softer
The boffin: Dr Yannis Alexandrides, Harley Street plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
What’s it like? Celebrities from Jennifer Aniston to Margot Robbie have been spotted snapping selfies in 111Skin masks. They come soaked in NAC Y2, the patented repairing formula that Dr Yannis originally developed to help his surgical patients heal faster, but which also has incredible anti-ageing results. It combines powerful antioxidants and amino acids.
The verdict: I’ve used these biodegradable masks for years and they are one of the best on the market, with a generous dose of this hydrating serum inside. My lines are visibly softened and my make-up sits better. 5/5
Skin Actives Scientific Vitamin C Serum 20 per cento, £18.33 for 30ml, skinactives.com
Victoria said Skin Actives Scientific Vitamin C Serum 20 per cento (nella foto) is easy to use and does not sting like high-strength vitamin C skincare often does
The boffin: Dr Hannah Sivak, molecular biologist and former research professor who studied under Argentine Nobel Laureate Luis Federico Leloir.
What’s it like? When U.S.-based Dr Hannah left academia, she made it her mission to create evidence-based skincare at an affordable price. This high-strength serum contains L-ascorbic acid, the most active form of vitamin C, to protect against stress, prevent pigmentation, promote collagen production and brighten.
The verdict: This easy-to-wear serum does not sting like high-strength vitamin C skincare often does, making it easy to enjoy its damage-protecting and pigment-busting effects. It’s definitely worth more than its nominal price tag and Dr Hannah’s mission seems credible — the only downside is it’s not available in the UK and I had to order £135 worth of products for them to ship from the U.S. (although I loved everything in my haul). Great if you are happy to buy in bulk. 3/5