By Alice Hart-Davis
One reason I love this job is that there’s always something new around the corner. Usually it’s a shade of nail varnish (mushroom, anyone?) or a clever formula of shampoo but every now and again comes something that’s just breathtaking.
Just such a thing is a line of skincare that generates an electrical current within your skin. Research scientists at Johnson & Johnson have laboured on e-pulse technology for the past eight years and it is the most innovative way of tackling the perennial problem of ageing skin.
“Bio-electricity, the small electrical current that your body generates, is a natural process used for muscles to function and for cell-to-cell communication in the nervous system,” says Natalie Issachar, head of research and development at Johnson & Johnson. “This bio-electricity decreases with age, so we aim to compensate for this with e-pulse technology, which provides a mini-battery to jump-start the skin by delivering tiny doses of electricity inside the skin.”
Gadgets such as Nu-skin use an electric current to drive products further into the skin, while Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Power Patches, which are gel-laden eye masks, contain a miniature battery which enhances the absorption of active ingredients in the mask. But this is the first time something you apply to the skin has been shown to stimulate the skin’s electrical signalling process. Accordingly, e-pulse technology is protected by no fewer than 10 US patents.
“Electrical stimulation of the fibroblasts in the skin is known to encourage the production of collagen and elastin,” says dermatologist Dr Susan Mayou, of the Cadogan Clinic. “It’s a novel idea to incorporate the technology to produce a micro-battery within an anti-ageing cream to mimic this.”
It’s a new direction for skincare. Most recent advances focus on chemical activity in the skin, using complex delivery systems to transport active ingredients into the skin or creating chemical “messengers” of peptides to relax or activate skin tissue; looking for genetic keys within the skin which might prompt old skin cells to behave like young ones. Instead, e-pulse uses a physical reaction to liven up old skin cells.
E-pulse is already available in the US in RoC’s Brilliance line at around $50 a product and will arrive in the UK, with a different name, in the autumn. I’ve tried the Eye Beautifier: this consists of a grey, silicone-based serum containing ions of copper and zinc (the constituents of the “battery”), over which you layer a cream containing water which activates the battery. After three hours it produces a slight tautening effect. Over time, it’s meant to rejuvenate; according to clinical results reported on www.brilliance.rocskincare.com, 97 per cent of people who tried it saw results, and fast. Is it worth a try? I’d form the queue now.