I look forward to any new launch from Dr Marko Lens’ brand Zelens, but when it’s two very potent and impressive serums, I really sit up and take notice. Dr Marko is a world-leading authority on skin cancer and regularly contributes to some of the most cutting-edge research when it comes to skincare. His own Zelens skincare line offers powerful, advanced formulas that are subjected to the most lengthy and thorough clinical trials – this is impeccably-researched skincare at its best.
I always tend to go off on some kind of love-fest when I talk about Dr Marko so I’ll cut to the chase and get straight to the serums! Intense Defence Antioxidant Serum and Z Luminous Brightening Serum both have active ingredient lists that each take up the best part of an A4 page. Two columns, not one. Little writing. But it was the Antioxidant serum that most caught my interest, mainly because I don’t currently have any dark spots and my skin is quite even in tone, so the Brightening version wasn’t something I felt I needed. (Though, thinking about it, I did use the Olay Luminous Serum for much of my pregnancy and I’ve mentioned before, tentatively, how perhaps that has kept my skin in check…)
So the antioxidant serum: helps to protect against free radicals that attack the skin. Think stress, alcohol, smoking, air pollutants. I’m not going to delve too deeply into the science, here, because last time it gave me a right headache. If you want to read my shockingly bad pub/antioxidant analogy then do read this: Shockingly Bad Pub/Antioxidant Analogy or if you want, my more sensible post on antioxidants. The Zelens science goes further than this, at any rate, identifying the three different types of free radical attack and formulating a product that will address all of these types, rather than just the one that is tackled by a typical antioxidant product. The result is a serum that provides protection from environmental aggressors and that helps to repair existing damage which, in turn, reduces the appearance of fine lines and helps with skin firmness and elasticity.
At which point, in my head, I’m usually going “yeah, yeah, yeah” in a sarcastic manner, but as usual Zelens have the clinical results to back things up. In fact the results of this particular trial have been published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, so you can look them up yourself if you so wish – search Assessment of the kinetics of the antioxidative capacity of topical antioxidants. The highlights of the trials showed that the Zelens Intense Defence Antioxidant Serum provided strong antioxidant protection, reducing UV-induced oxidation of the skin surface lipids by 74% after one hour. After five hours, 50%. Incredibly impressive.
As well as some familiar ingredients – Vitamin E and stable Vitamin C, Squalene, Hyaluronic Acid, Coenzyme Q10 and Green Tea – the formula is packed full of potent actives that address inflammation and strengthen the skin’s barrier as well as providing antioxidant protection. Superoxide Dismutase, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Pycnogenol (me neither!) and TriPeptide-1 to boost collagen, and sesame protein to provide an instant tightening effect. The actual visible results of this serum would be, you would think, slow to make themselves apparent. A bit like protecting against long-term sun damage – it’s not until much later that you reap the rewards of having adequately protected your skin. But actually the visible results were quite prompt: glowing, less-dull skin that felt smooth and calm and altogether tip-top. And I don’t know whether this was purely coincidence, but I sat outside a few times in the sun without SPF (shock horror – I was waiting for the dog to become de-constipated and basically spent a lot more time in the direct sunlight than I had anticipated! A half hour catching up on Instagram feels like a mere thirty seconds once you get absorbed in it…) and I didn’t get the remote bit of redness or freckly occurrences. I wonder, I wonder…must ask about whether these antioxidants can boost the skin’s defences against the sun, a bit like a natural SPF? (*UPDATE: I did ask! Dr Marko’s answer: “many strong antioxidants act as natural SPF and in fact without adding any sunscreens filters they provide some degree of SPF. They also boost SPF of sunscreen formulations.”)
You’ve probably guessed that this serum doesn’t come cheap (but if you’ve used Zelens before you’ll know that this is high-end, hi-tech stuff) – it’s priced at £125. Oil-free, suitable for all skin types, use it after cleansing and before your moisturiser. (Add an SPF if you’re waiting for your dog to de-constipate / sitting outside wasting time on Twitter.) You can find Zelens Intense Defence Antioxidant Serum online here.