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What on earth is Progeline™?

First, as always, INCI, the list of ingredients that tells you what’s in there.

Progeline is a trade name for an ingredient that contains glycerin, water, dextran (a polysaccharide used in artificial tears) plus a fluorinated peptide,  trifluoroacetyl-tripeptide-2. The INCI for this ingredient: it is a solution of dextran (thickener), glycerin (humectant), a tripeptide L-Valine, N-(2,2,2-trifluoroacetyl)-L-valyl-L-tyrosyl- (a synthetic, fluorinated peptide), and water. The order of concentrations is more likely to be: water, glycerin, dextran, and tripeptide, with a preservative in there, somewhere, because otherwise, the mix would have to be kept frozen to prevent bugs eating the glycerol within a couple of days.

And then, as usual, “claims”. The people who sell it say that it “modulates progerin, a marker of senescence”.

First, I will tell you what I know about progerin (you can find more in Wikipedia). And then, you can tell me whether would you trust a mystery synthetic peptide to “fix” it for you?

Before progerin, there is Lamin-A, a nuclear fibrillar protein.  Lamin A is a major structural component of the lamina,  a scaffold of proteins found inside the nuclear membrane of the cell. It is, obviously, very important, it helps keep the shape of the nucleus and who knows what else.

Progerin is a faulty version of Lamin-A; this faulty protein does not integrate well within the lamina, so the nucleus is badly affected, the visual result is a lobular nucleus instead of the usual self.

Where does this progerin happen? In people who have a faulty gene for Lamin-A. As a result, they have an illness called progeria. It seems that the presence of progerin (or the absence of enough Lamin_A) starts a whole lot of disasters in the cell, some of them related to DNA repair.

Do you have to worry about progerin? NO, unless you have Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome, a very rare syndrome that has devastating consequences for those who carry that gene.

Progerin may also be related to problems in people with very advanced age.

Does progerin has anything to do with normal skin aging? Very unlikely. If you had lobulated nuclei in your cells you would have other problems to worry about.

Is there any evidence that trifluoroacetyl-tripeptide-2 has any effect preventing the production of progelin? If there was, the person who created it would have a Nobel Prize and photos with the people who he cured of Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome. Also, there would be some trace in the scientific literature of this mystery peptide (there isn’t).

So how come there is somebody selling this peptide? Progeline is a good sounding name and that is all you need to sell an ingredient for skincare. Sad, isn’t it?  A common trick used by the skincare industry: “appropriate” a skin problem and claim that you have a cure for it, Tradenames are useful in this trick because they resemble the name of the skin problem you claim to fix.

Example: “progeline”. It sounds “scientific”, right?  It isn’t. There is no mention of it anywhere in the scientific literature.

Please note that our bodies are not used to see fluorinated peptides. We don’t have fluoride in our proteins! I have no idea how the people that designed the peptide came to the conclusion that it would inhibit cell senescence. Searching for the synthetic peptide in the scientific literature didn’t produce any results either. Another explanation is that fluorinated peptides are used in scientific research so they may be available commercially, but that would be crass, right?

For general information about what peptides can do for your skin, and what they can’t do (much more frequent) please see my posts https://hannahsivak.com/blog/understanding-peptides-diy-recipes-with-peptides-and-how-to-use-them/, https://hannahsivak.com/blog/peptides-in-the-cosmetic-industry/.

You are warned. It is unlikely that this ingredient will harm you. It is used in minuscule concentrations, most of Progeline is water, glycerol, and dextran. The peptide, if present there at all, will be eliminated somehow, by your body.  In the end, you will have lost some money. But, if you decide to believe whatever you read on the internet, then this is absolutely your fault!

And if you believe that such a peptide can repair your cell nuclei and will also reduce sagging and wrinkles and improve your jawline, then I have a bridge I can sell you,  how about the Ponte Vecchio? Much prettier than the Brooklyn Bridge.

If you are interested in skin aging (and who isn’t) keep your eyes open for senolytics. Senescent cells accumulate in aged skin and may be driving the functional deterioration that characterizes aging skin and age-related skin diseases. Senolytics are compounds that selectively eliminate senescent cells could treat and prevent various age-related diseases. A couple of skincare ingredients, e.g. quercetin and fisetin, have this activity.

 

Wang, A. S., & Dreesen, O. (2018). Biomarkers of Cellular Senescence and Skin Aging. Frontiers in Genetics, 9. doi:10.3389/fgene.2018.00247

Buer, B.C., B.L. Levin and E.N.G. Marsh (2012). Influence of Fluorination on the Thermodynamics of Protein Folding. J. Am. Chem. Soc, 134, 13027 – 13034

Suzuki, Y., B.C. Buer, H.M. Al Hashimi and E.N.G. Marsh (2011). Using Fluorine NMR to Probe Changes in Structure and Dynamics of Membrane-Active Peptides Interacting with the Lipid Bilayer. Biochemistry, 50, 5979–5987

 

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