High end moisturisers usually come with sky high prices and interesting formulations to tantalise us with new skincare technology.  Zelens prides themselves on backing up promises with clinical results but can we be so easily persuaded? Let’s take a closer look at their Recovery Intense Repair Balm and see if it really works…

The Claims!
This balm promises to repair skin with ‘powerful’ boosting ingredients to restore the hydro-lipidic layer and strengthen the skins natural protective barrier. We were also very interested by claims of its ability to reducing unpleasant sensations with neuropeptides to improve comfort and well-being of the skin…hmmm!? As an intense balm, it’s designed to relieve irritated skin, replenish lost moisture and overall strengthening of skin’s natural barrier function… We’ll see about that!

Repair Peptides
Let’s start with the two fancy repair peptides named Hexapeptide-11 and Tripeptide-29, marketed to be responsible for promoting skin repair and regeneration. But how exactly do they do this?

Tripeptide 29, which is made up of glycine-proline-hydroxyproline, is a component of the all-important collagen type 1. This tripeptide is synthetically made to stimulate collagen production and fibroblast proliferation, to improve skin wrinkles and elasticity- making it a strong contender for an anti-wrinkle compound. Studies looking at its activity in grown cells showed that it stimulate collagen-producing cells, while topical use in humans has shown a significant improvement in skin wrinkles and elasticity. Good news for this tripeptide (and for our skin!).

Hexapeptide-11 on the other hand has a structure Phe-Val-Ala-Pro-Phe-Pro and can extracted from natural yeasts or made synthetically. This peptide has been shown to increase the anti-oxidant defences of the skin itself, to help protect those all-important collagen-producing cells from oxidative stress. It’s thought that this stress can cause these cells to go into a kind of hibernation state, which isn’t good for collagen production in the skin, so hopefully protecting these cells will keep them wide awake and making new collagen! Researchers also observed an increase in skin elasticity when using this hexapeptide on human skin, which is another anti-ageing box ticked! We’re usually a little sceptical about science-sounding peptides, but these look like they back a science-savvy punch!

What exactly are neuropeptides?! Well, peptide can act as hormone-like signalling molecules in a number of places around the body, including the brain. When involved in the nervous system, these are known as neuropeptides. Their job is to carry important information between nerve cells in the brain, but some are also released into the blood where they have hormonal effects. It was difficult to find any evidence to suggest when applied topically, neuropeptides can reduce unpleasant sensations and improve ‘comfort and well-being’. We’ve seen some neuropeptides used successfully in cosmetics before, but we couldn’t identify the exact one used in this formula – eek! We can’t approve it when we can’t find it!

Moisturisers – Hyaluronic acid and Olive Oil
Hyaluronic acid (HA) has already been under the spotlight at BBTG. As a strong member in the anti-ageing world, we’re excited to see it in another product. HA is highly abundant in the skin and is responsible for hydration and space-filling capacity. This ‘space-filling’ function is what helps it smooth out lines and wrinkles when applied topically. It does this by acting like a molecular sponge by attracting moisture and filling in those pesky gaps by exerting pressure in the direction of the skin surface, resulting in smooth hydrated skin. Halleluiah to hyaluronic acid!

Olive oil is rich in primary fatty acids – oleic and linoleic acid which we are BIG fans of at BBTG. Olive oil seals the deal for dry skin sufferers as it delivers heavy moisturising effects by restoring normal skin barrier function and effectively seal in moisture. So that’s moisture ticked!

Sodium Chondroitin sulfate
Sodium chondroitin sulfate is marketed for its supposed firming properties from promoting dermis regeneration and collagen deposition. We were disappointed that we couldn’t find any studies using topical sodium chondroitin sulfate on the skin, and so have to give this one a thumbs down!

Silanols are thought to protect the cells of the skin against damage from UV radiation. Research shows that this may be through effects on molecular features called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), which accumulate as we age. Studies have shown that silanols can restore properties of skin cells called fibroblasts to synthesize collagen 1. The evidence that topical silanols can help the skin is really still maturing, but we’re hoping to see these promising agents in more studies soon!

The Verdict
At a hefty £95! You would expect a lot from this daily moisturiser! We’re not fully put off by the price as Zelens Recovery Intense Repair Balm has some nifty tricks up its sleeve. We were particularly impressed with the peptides included in this formula, and the Zelens website gives us some interesting study data showing improved skin barrier function in their “clinical proof” section.

We had difficulty finding reviews to help us with our final verdict but there is some savvy science that backs up its generous claims, we can’t resist the temptation of wanting to see if the price really reflects the quality!

Fancy trying Zelens Recovery Intense Repair Balm? You can find it here.