For an anti-aging product with intriguing claims, Ren certainly didn’t endeavor to make the backbone of this formula much different from that of their other facial moisturizers, which lack to some extent the exaggeration and bravado of this one. Based on the name and claims, you’re likely wondering what sirtuin is. Sirtuins are proteins that work to regulate certain biological processes by controlling the chain of events that cause these processes to happen (that is why they’re often referred to as information regulators). The anti-aging connection has to do with their potential to regulate cellular processes responsible for aging. It is believed that if certain sirtuins can be modified to work against the mechanisms of aging that the results may be visible on skin (think fewer wrinkles, less sagging, and greater resiliency). Although it’s more likely that sirtuin manipulation would be used to develop ways to control age-related degenerative diseases, that, of course, didn’t stop some cosmetics companies from jumping on the youthful skin connection and parlaying the research about sirtuins into skin-care products.
What seems promising is that topical application of specific sirtuins derived from yeast and the red grape component of resveratrol (Ren doesn’t use either source) seem to have a protective effect on skin in the presence of oxidative and ultraviolet light stress. However, more research is needed before I’d suggest anyone run out and look for products that increase sirtuin activity in their skin.
The problem is twofold: There is limited research showing how much and what type of sirtuin is needed topically to cause desirable cellular changes leading to younger skin; also, the bioavailability of a topically applied source of sirtuins is questionable given that we don’t know how efficiently they penetrate intact skin. (Testing skin cells in a lab setting with concentrated doses of ingredients that stimulate sirtuins is an entirely different story.)
An even bigger concern is that whenever normal cellular processes are manipulated, you run the risk of causing a potential overproliferation of cells, which is the blueprint for cancer. In other words, how would the sirtuin-influenced cells know when too much of a good thing becomes a health-threatening problem? (Sources: Current Medicinal Chemistry, 2008, pages 1887–1899; Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2007, pages 14–19; Nature Reviews: Drug Discovery, June 2006, pages 493–506).
Ren claims their source of sirtuin is rice, but there is no evidence that rice is a particularly rich source of these proteins. Therefore, we wouldn’t bank on this product being an anti-aging elixir for skin. Although this moisturizer contains some intriguing, proven ingredients, none of them are capable of making skin look remarkably younger. Actually, the citrus oils, fragrance chemicals, and the first listed ingredient rose water (which is little more than eau de cologne, and that does not make for good skin care) are problematic ingredients mixed into an otherwise good formula.
It contains the latest bioactive technology: Sirtuin. Culled from rice, Sirtuin has the ability to activate the protein of cell longevity. Cells live longer and work more efficiently which also enhances the performance of other antiaging bio actives present.
Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Source Coconut Oil), Cetearyl Octanoate (Source Palm Oil), Cetearyl Alcohol (Source Palm Oil), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Oil, Myristyl Myristate (Source Palm Oil), Oleyl Alcohol (Source Palm Oil), Cetearyl Glucoside (Source Corn), Glycerin (Source Coconut Oil), Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Triheptanoin (Source Coconut Oil), Lauryl Laurate (Source Palm Oil), Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Lipid, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea (Lingonberry) Seed Oil, Palmitoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein (Source Palm Oil And Wheat), Oryzanol (Source Rice), Calcium PCA, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline (Source Amino Acid), Phenoxyethanol (Source Aromatic Ether), Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Mannitol (Source Sugar), Cyclodextrin (Source Sugar), Yeast Extract, Disodium Succinate (Source Salt), Omega 6 Ceramide (Source Carthame), Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract, Laminaria Ochroleuca (Algae) Extract, Carbomer (Source Polymer), Sodium Hyaluronate (Source Wheat), Cassia Alata (Candle Tree) Leaf Extract, Inulin (Source Wheat), Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide (Source Wheat), Pueraria Lobata (Kudzu) Symbiozome Extract, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (Source Amino Acids), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Berry Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, 100% Natural Fragrance, Geraniol, Citronellol, Limonene, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Hailing from the United Kingdom, the Ren line was developed by two businessmen who are, according to company information, "evangelical" about skin care. The story goes that Robert Calcraft and Anthony Buck were former consultants who began researching the skin-care market after Buck's wife began having adverse reactions to every skin-care product she used while pregnant. Apparently neither man believed that there was a line out there that offered consumers high-tech products that were "totally clean" and "completely effective," and so, voilá, a new skin-care line was born.
We wish we could write that these men were really onto something for all women, not just Buck's wife, but that's simply not the case. First of all, their assessment of the cosmetics industry is bizarre, because in truth there are indeed many cosmetic lines offering "clean" and "effective" products ("clean," by Ren's definition, are products that don't contain problematic ingredients). Second, which lines did Ren's founders check out to determine that there was a missing link? An even better question is: What criteria were they using, because almost all of their products are either poorly formulated or contain irritating ingredients?
Calcraft and Buck apparently worked with a cosmetic pharmacologist; although that sounds impressive, a cosmetic pharmacologist works with drugs designed to improve mental ability in healthy individuals, not with skin-care formulations. All of this back story is nothing more than proof that the people behind this line really didn't do their homework, and the consumer who buys these products will be the poorer (both skin health- and money-wise) because of it.
It still shocks us when we review a line that's laden with products claiming to improve wrinkles and other signs of aging skin, and yet there's limited options for sun protection. Few researchers question how critical daily sun protection is to preserving the health and appearance of skin. Many of Ren's products contain antioxidants, and several have high amounts of green tea oil. But all the green tea in Japan isn't capable of protecting skin from environmental damage, which of course includes sunlight.
More so than many other lines that eschew certain ingredients for their alleged (and, sometimes, proven) negative effects when present in skin-care products, Ren loves to point out everything they don't use. This is a line for those who love to see the word "No" followed by a long list of chemical-sounding names that can seem scary to the uninformed. A consumer may have no idea what a polyquaternium is, but because of lines like Ren, the message is clear that it's not desirable. Ren doesn't provide any documentation supporting their ban on certain ingredients, which is typical of lines whose marketing angle relies on perpetuating the myth that synthetic ingredients are evil and that natural is the only truly safe way to go.
It would be great if Ren's "do not use" list benefited consumers, but it doesn't. Frustratingly, many of the ingredients Ren opts to use instead of synthetics are proven irritants for skin. Bergamot, peppermint, tangerine, and arnica are indeed natural ingredients, but each has its share of problems for skin. We could go on, but you get our point: Ren is really nothing more than an overly fragranced, fear-mongering, natural "me too" line using the same tired plant-based ingredient angle as countless other brands. The difference is that many of those other brands have a product assortment that, either from a price or formulary perspective, is much better than this one.
For more information about Ren, call (732) 553-1185 or visit www.renskincare.com.