Quality skin care is the foundation of any aesthetic treatment and over the past two decades great strides have been made in terms of product development with ingredients that can reduce fine lines and wrinkles and, in some cases, turn back the clock. However, few products change the paradigm when it comes to sustainable and lasting results in the way that DefenAge® has. DefenAge®, is an aesthetic industry game changing skin care system developed by Progenitor Biologics®, LLC (Carlsbad, CA), is rapidly becoming the skin care solution of choice for many leading cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons. DefenAge’s exclusive ingredient Age-Repair Defenins® offers a mind-blowing mechanism of action. In this interview with Aesthetic Insider™ Dr. Vivian Bucay, a leading dermatologist and skin care guru discusses why she chose to offer DefenAge to her patients. Dr. Bucay will also discuss the results of a recent double-blind placebo study in which she participated. Dr. Vivian Bucay, who practices at The Bucay Center for Aesthetics and Dermatology in San Antonio, TX, is nationally recognized for her expertise in minimally invasive facial rejuvenation through the combined use of neuromodulators, injectable dermal fillers and skin resurfacing. Considered one of the pre-eminent dermatologists in the country, Dr. Bucay’s credentials span a wide scope of biomedical research, patient care, and medical education. Licensed in both the United States and Mexico she is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. To learn more about DefenAge visit www.defenage.com. To learn more about Dr. Vivian Bucay visit www.drvivianbucay.com.
Why did you choose DefenAge as a treatment of choice for your patients? It’s an interesting story. Some years ago I was speaking at a medical conference in Las Vegas and was approached by Dr. Nikolay Turovets, the CEO of Progenitor Biologics, LLC, developers of DefenAge, who asked if he could speak to me for a few minutes about a new product. Being a dermatologist you can imagine I get requests like this all the time, and being a speaker giving multiple lectures I was running behind sessions so I said “yes, but I only have five minutes”. Well, those five minutes turned into two hours! I was absolutely blown away by the science behind DefenAge. Being a science nerd (before medical school I majored in Natural Sciences with a heavy interest in Chemistry and Bio-chemistry) so for me skin care has to make sense from the beginning. What I thought was so fascinating about DefenAge was that it was something that could simulate dormant stem cells which I had never seen in this type of delivery system before. There are many products claiming to have stem cells, but creams don’t contain living organisms in them so the idea that you could stimulate the skin to become more useful without turning on bad cells was a very exciting proposition. That’s what led me to try DefenAge on myself first, and then my patients.
From a clinical point of view how does DefenAge stimulate dormant skin cells?
DefenAge contains peptides. Many people have heard about peptides as they are in a variety of consumer skin care lines. However, there are different types of peptides and the ones that are unique to DefenAge are called Age-Repair Defensins. Defensins – a scientific term – are meant to defend the body and there are two kinds of defensins called Alpha and Beta defensins. DefenAge contains both of those defensins which are naturally occurring peptides that work directly to stimulate dormant LGR6 positive stem cells to create enduring new healthy cells from a pool of cells that are themselves young.
How is this different than growth factors?
Growth factors don’t actually penetrate the skin but they do send signals to turn on cells. The difference is that the cells they (growth factors) are activating are cells that have already been working for the age of the person, so they are turning on tired and fatigued cells, whereas DefenAge’s Age-Repair Defensins act upon the dormant cells that have never been turned on and are basically brand new, never been used before cells – basically very “fresh” cells.
Is there any concern that growth factors can turn on aging cells?
With age there’s always the possibility that we’ve accumulated damage – internally and externally – so a concern is that growth factors might stimulate damaged cells such as skin cancer cells. There is no evidence to say this is true, but as a dermatologist it is a theory I don’t want to see become a reality. The unique thing about defensins is that in all the literature that’s been searched, there’s not one single link of defensins being linked to skin cancer or any type of cancer. Moreover, scientific articles indicate that some tissues enhance the defensin production as a natural protective immune response to tumors.
What do you enjoy most about DefenAge?
One thing that I really like about DefenAge is the simplicity of the regimen. It’s easy for my patients to follow as all it consists of is an exfoliator, a cream and a serum. It’s really simple and patients can choose their own sunscreen. Sunscreen, of course, is non-negotiable – all my patients wear one. People must wear sunscreen. I’m a big advocate of that. But what I really like about this product is that it addresses all of those concerns of aging skin from roughness and dryness to large pores and irregular pigmentation, and everything in between. It works well on all skin types from oily to dry and the products do not sensitize the skin to the sun. We begin to see results immediately but after six weeks the skin is transformed and looks healthier, smoother and more even toned. I also like that we can apply DefenAge to the delicate skin of the neck and décolletage without having to switch to a different product. The peptides work beautifully across the face, neck and décolletage without causing any irritation and it’s nice to not need a separate product for this area.
Does DefenAge come to the market as a long term brand?
I would say it does. We have seen a few ingredients over the last 40 years of skin care that have made a huge impact and I would say DefenAge is a paradigm shift for aging skin. The retinol and prescription retinols do reverse some of the signs of photo aging but not everybody can tolerate them and sometimes the over-the-counter products are not that effective. Currently there is nothing like DefenAge on the market and the company is so scientifically advanced that it will continue to be a leader. The fact that you can turn on dormant cells to make healthy new cells that then continue to endure and make the skin more youthful without the risk of skin irritation is interesting and fascinating to me. Yes this is a paradigm shift and this is revolutionary.
You recently completed a very comprehensive double blind placebo controlled clinical study of 45 patients, 15 of which were at your site. Can you please tell us more about that?
It’s very unusual for a cosmeceutical company to underwrite such a detailed study but they wanted to know exactly what these defensis were doing and the only way to know is to do a double blind placebo study. What that means is that the patients do not know if they are applying the DefenAge formula with defensins in it or not. We had 15 people in our site, but there were two other sites that were also participating so there was a total of 45 patients and again nobody knew (including the doctors) whether the patient was applying the fully active product or not. The patients were each given the products to use and we did an initial baseline biopsy to see the underlying condition of each patient’s skin. Their skin was regularly analyzed for changes and further baseline biopsies were taken at 6 and 12 weeks. The study patients were all first-time patients meaning they had not had any previous chemical or laser peels, had not had Botox® or fillers or anything else that would compromise the study. Each time they came in for follow-up we would take photographs using the VISIA Complexion Analysis, which is a computerized clinical complexion analysis system, as well as each physician investigator would perform their own skin diagnosis. We would then rank several things including pore size, brown spots, redness, inflammation, smoothness, dryness, hydration, suppleness, elasticity, fine line and wrinkle reduction in examining the patients. Even though I did not know which products patients were using, it was obvious that some of the patients were experiencing rapid results and the quality of their skin began to improve almost immediately especially in terms of inflammation. The patients seeing the immediate results were very excited and in fact one of the patients not getting any results asked if she could switch to the products her friend was using, which of course we couldn’t do. There are three key products in the DefenAge system, the 2-Minute Reveal Masque Exfoliator, 24/7 Barrier Balance Cream and 8-in-1 BioSerum. Half the patients used these three products, while the other half used the placebo products (no activity in it). The study also required that each patient use the same pre-selected identical cleanser and sun screen so that we would see factual results. We are just starting to get the data from the other sites and I think it is going to be a very impactful study once released. My understanding right now is that there is skin thickening and smoother skin being noticed, but on a microscopic level that’s beyond what the eye can see, and also looking at skin ultrasounds that are still underway at one of the other facilities, is that the results are very, very promising. My own study patients saw dramatic results and are continuing to use DefenAge.
Are you able to use DefenAge on a broad range of skin types?
Absolutely. I live in San Antonio, TX which is 70% Hispanic. Hispanic as a cultural ethnicity is really one of the most racially diverse cultures in terms of skin types. They are a blend of many different populations and their skin ranges from people with very dark skin to very light skin, oily to dry, uneven skin tone, etc. Sometimes their skin is reactive and sensitive to different products but I have been able to use DefenAge to treat this broad spectrum of skin types and age groups. I also see many young women who have used tanning beds, or spent a lot of time at the beach or outdoors playing tennis and they already have substantial lines and age spots in their twenties, as well as women in their fifties who are just realizing they need to take better care of their skin. DefenAge is making a difference for those patients too.
Can the DefenAge products be combined with any other skin care regimen?
Yes. DefenAge is compatible with many other products that my patients use including specific products such as cleansers, sunscreens, eye creams and prescription treatments for rosacea, skin discoloration, acne, etc. It layers well and does not become diluted.
Do you have a favorite among the DefenAge trio?
My personal favorite is the 8-in 1Bio-Serum which I absolutely love. I use it twice daily.
How do patients like the TSA approved Travel Kit?
They love it! DefenAge is a high-end skin care brand and most high-end brands do not make travel sizes. So it’s great for those patients that travel and don’t want to interrupt their routine, or even for patients that take short weekend trips and don’t want to have to check in their suitcase but still want to continue using the products. Many of my patients say that the travel size kit makes things much easier for them.
In your opinion, how has DefenAge gained so much market share in such a short time?
The science behind DefenAge speaks for itself, as do the results. But what I think is helping it gain rapid acceptance among doctors is that the company has a very individual approach to the core specialties of dermatology and plastic surgery. Without even having a large sales force DefenAge is now available in over 200 medical practices nationally due in part to the fact that they’re so incredibly dedicated to educating doctors and their staff and spend a lot of time with each practice. It’s an exclusive brand and the fact that patients can easily purchase it from their physician or from DefenAge, rather than on a discount website gives it further allure. The most important aspect though is that patients keep coming back for more. With other products patients have been easily swayed to try something else. With DefenAge we are definitely seeing a brand loyalty stronger than anything else I have seen in my practice before and what is creating that brand loyalty is that DefenAge is a product that works.
To learn more about the DefenAge® skin care line or for inquiries, CLICK HERE!
To listen to Dr. Bucay’s interview on Aesthetic Insider™ Radio, CLICK HERE!