Monday, July 22, 2024

ProteXidine: This New Molecule Could Overhaul Sunscreen

ProteXidine: This New Molecule Could Overhaul Sunscreen

We all know that a huge factor in skin aging in the sun. And we all know that a critical way to stop that aging before it starts is by protecting our skin with sunscreen. Broad spectrum formulations are designed to protect us against dangerous UVA and UVB rays, but even with sunscreen, UV damage still slips through and damages skin.

For decades, scientists have been trying to find the solution, and they’re closer than ever before. Leading the way is TOPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. working with patented technology developed by the University of Minnesota, Center for Drug Design, and licensed exclusively to Topix.

And the molecule they’re working on is astonishing.

“I’ve been chasing this personally for 25 years,” explains Steve Hernandez, senior vice president of R&D at TOPIX Pharmaceuticals. “In the past we’ve thought we’ve found the holy grail a few times with some of the herbals that are being studied currently. All of them fizzled out.

“Except ProteXidine.”

Developed by the University of Minnesota, Center for Drug Design, ProteXidine is the culmination of decades of research on the impact of UV light and free radicals on our skin. Clinical studies suggest that this molecule can work with sunscreen and antioxidants to better protect skin against harmful UV. And part of what makes ProteXidine so interesting is its effects on cells that have already been damaged.

“Our laboratory studies run by the University of Minnesota, Center for Drug Design suggest that this molecule can selectively target damaged cells and induce what’s called selective apoptosis,” Hernandez says. “That means it’s able to work with the body’s natural processes to remove damaged cells while also sending a chemical message that they need to be replaced by new, healthy cells.”

How Free Radicals Cause Skin Aging

“Sunscreens are very good at shutting down erythema (reddening of the skin),” explains Hernandez. “In other words, when you put sunscreen on, and you’re not going to get a sunburn for much longer than it would take without it. Therefore, you feel that you can safely extend your time in the sun. But, while you’re not burning, you are still damaging your skin and generating these markers of high concern in your DNA molecules. These are called Cyclobutane Pyrimidine Dimers [CPDs] also known as thymine dimers in the DNA molecule.”

Your body is pretty good overall at correcting this kind of damage, but it doesn’t always catch and repair everything. Some of what it doesn’t catch are Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), a subset of free radicals that trigger premature aging, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer.

“UV is a free radical chain reaction initiator,” Hernandez explains. “Free radicals have unpaired electrons, meaning that they’re highly unstable, and want to return to their ground state as soon as possible. And to do that, they will deteriorate and destroy the things around it.”

These chain reactions are explosive, because each free radical triggers others to form.

“That’s why we love antioxidants,” Hernandez says. “They have a rich pool of electrons for free radicals to take from, thereby stopping that shotgun blast chain reaction. The antioxidant takes the bullet for you.”

Sunscreen Could Use a Helping Hand

TOPIX Pharmaceuticals was the first to put antioxidants in sunscreen formulas to increase skin protection. Now, they’re looking to do the exact same thing with ProteXidine.

ProteXidine is an antioxidant synergist, meaning it works very well in antioxidant systems to increase efficiency.

“Our clinical studies suggest that ProteXidine can stop the formation of CPDs,” Hernandez explains. “Which are those markers of high concern. We showed the prevention of the formation of CPDs after just four hours following UV exposure, and after 12 hours, CPDs were cleared almost entirely.”

Let’s be clear, this research about usurping sunscreen. It’s about potentially giving sunscreen it’s biggest helping hand in skin protection. yet.

“ProteXidine is truly a game changer for the industry and is revolutionizing the way we think about UV-induced discoloration. Going forward, this could be recommended to every single patient and become second nature, just like a sunscreen,” says dermatologist Dr. Naiem Issa.

A Bright Horizon

Once upon a time, sunscreens weren’t broad spectrum. But as formulas advanced, we’ve gotten better and better at protecting ourselves from the sun. These days, we consider broad spectrum protection the standard when we’re trying to stay safe from UVA and UVB rays. In the future, ProteXidine could shake up the world of sunscreen in a similar way.

“Your first line of defense from the sun is SPF,” Hernandez says. “You can think of antioxidants as a kind of second line of defense, but they aren’t going to trap all of those free radicals. Our clinical data suggests that ProteXidine allows your body to make more repair enzymes faster, thereby providing another line of defense against the sun.”

As TOPIX works to develop possible future applications of ProteXidine, it’s no stretch of the imagination to say that the next evolution of sun protection is on the horizon.

And thanks to ProteXidine, that bright horizon won’t be nearly as harsh on our delicate skin.

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