Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Talika Photo-Beauty Therapy Event and Product Reviews

I was invited to a Talika bloggers event in March for the launch of their newest products in their Photo-Beauty Therapy line that claims to be able to transform light energy into cellular energy to regenerate the skin. The basic premise is that the skin's DNA code is disrupted by dimers with time and daily exposure to UV light, which causes it to malfunction and accelerates the signs of ageing on the skin i.e. wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots. Talika apparently discovered and isolated an enzyme found in a blue microalgae that they call the "Photo-Beauty Enzyme", which supposedly has the ability to transform light energy into dermo-repairing energy that targets dimers and repairs DNA. Sounds good so far? Thought so. This is going to be a long post because I really did my research and tested the products thoroughly (they're quite expensive), so do bear with me and take the time to read if you're interested in the products!

At the event we had a short briefing about the new line, which uses this Photo-Beauty enzyme for two different functions - brightening and anti-ageing. I was pretty intrigued by the line, I must admit, even though I was a little skeptical of the claims that the Photo-Beauty Enzyme can target dimers that distort DNA and correct the skin's DNA, and allowing it to regenerate. From what the Talika representatives said, I garnered that this is a rather new advancement in skincare and isn't produced on a large scale yet (probably due to the expense). Ever the sleuth, I decided to do a little research online to see if these claims can be substantiated. This is what I found out:

  1. Pyrimidine dimers are formed within and distort the skin's DNA as a result of exposure to UV light. They are the main cause of melanomas, which can cause skin cancer.
  2. These dimers can be repaired by photoreactivation, a process carried out by photolyase enzymes in fluorescent light and sunlight.
  3. Photolyase can be found in many bacterial, fungal, plant and animal species, but humans seem to lack it.
  4. Photolyase can work on human skin to repair DNA that has been damaged by the sun. Currently, human DNA is repaired by another process that is less efficient.
  5. In 2006, a scientific paper published on PubMed describes how photolyase can recognise dimers and catalyse repair within a nanosecond. It also recognises the potential of photolyase for "skin cancer prevention by ectopical application".
  6. In 2010, PBS published an article suggesting that photolyase be added to sunscreens to allow for repair of sun-damaged skin.
Sources: Pyrimidine dimers (Wiki), Photolyase (Wiki), PubMedPBS

Here's a more reader-friendly version of things that most people would probably understand better:

I hope I didn't lose just about everyone there, but basically these pieces of evidence suggest that Talika's claims can in fact be substantiated, especially if the blue microalgae extract does contain the photolyase enzyme which can repair damage done to the skin's DNA.

That being said, I had to test the products out for myself, of course. I received the Brightening line of products for review first, which consists of the Brightening serum and cream:

The serum is supposed to lighten the complexion, reduce dark spots (with zinc and niacinamide a.k.a. Vitamin B) and moisturise the face (with vegetal glycerin). The cream performs the same functions, but moisturises with shea butter instead of vegetal glycerin, and so has a thicker texture.

I've used these products for more than a month, so this review is based on my experiences during that period. I didn't apply them every day, but tested them with my other products to see if there was a difference.
At $99 for 30ml, the serum is rather pricey. I liked the texture; is a little on the thick side, but when blended out, sinks into the skin effortlessly and without residue. There's a slight fragrance, but it's not overpowering. The serum doesn't cause my skin to feel oily or produce more oil, so that's a good thing. Let's take a look at the ingredients list:

Niacinamide (Vitamin B) is second on the list - that's good for people with ageing skin and acne. Right after that is Chlorphenesin, a synthetic preservative that's antimicrobial. It can cause allergic contact sensitivity in some people, which means this product isn't suitable for everyone. Here's the kicker - fifth on the list is Methylisothiazolinone, which is a preservative that is strongly associated with allergic reactions and skin irritation. Given the presence of these two potential allergens, I'd say that this product  is likely to cause skin irritation to those with sensitive skin. Lower down the list, there's the moisturising elements i.e. glycerin (humectant), anti-oxidant horse chestnut extract, as well as the plankton extract that's supposed to contain the photolyase that activates the DNA repairing action under light. I'm not sure if this is considered a "high dose" of the enzyme as claimed, but okay, it's there.

It's too bad that Chlorphenesin and Methylisothiazolinone are in the list as well, because they probably irritated my skin when used in combination my current skincare products. I used this serum as a moisturiser coupled with my Neutrogena Hydroboost Lotion, and many tiny bumps appeared on my skin over the span of an afternoon. At night I only cleansed my face with my new Bioderma Créaline H2O Solution (which is really fantastic - will review soon) because I didn't wear make up. The next morning I noticed that the bumps had subsided and my skin looked better. Pity, I was quite excited about the photolyase enzyme, but the formulation may have irritated my skin instead.

The Brightening Cream costs $129 for 50ml, which is also rather pricey. The consistency is rather thick, due to the high concentration of shea butter, and when blended out, retains a filmy layer on my skin. I find it too moisturising for me - when I use it overnight, my skin still feels filmy the next morning. Let's take a look at the ingredients list:

As I mentioned before, Chlorphenesin that's second on the list can cause allergic contact sensitivity in some people. The next few ingredients are emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilisers and emollients. Shea butter and beeswax appear pretty high up in the list, so the cream is quite moisturising but may not be suitable for skin with easily clogged pores. Tocopheryl Acetate appears below beeswax, and it may cause skin allergies. Then there's soy protein further down, which moisturises and has anti-ageing properties. Lower down there's horse chestnut, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. And finally, plankton extract (the abovementioned blue microalgae) which is quite far down the list, but is not too far down the list of active ingredients. There's also Niacinamide (Vitamin B), which is great for the skin, but very far down the list. As a whole, it seems that this cream is less likely to cause allergic reactions than the serum, as the serum has both Chlorphenesin and Methylisothiazolinone at the top of the list.

On the whole, it's a rather well-formulated product, other than the potential allergy-causing ingredients for some people. I didn't use this cream very often though, as I felt that the texture wasn't very pleasant - probably due to the occlusive ingredients (dimethicone, beeswax, shea butter, lecithin), that provide a physical barrier on the skin (the filmy feeling). These ingredients can possibly clog the pores of certain kinds of skin too.
I got the Light Essence ($149 for 140ml) for review near the end of May, and as I was intermittently using the other two, I figured it would be good to try their star product and see if it made a big difference. As you can see, the texture is very watery, and it had a fragrant rose scent.

Here's the description of the product on the back of the box:

Basically, the Light Essence is supposed to activate light energy and boost the effectiveness of all subsequent products in your skincare routine. It is supposed to help brighten the complexion and diminish the intensity of dark spots while also hydrating the skin and relieving discomfort (with hyaluronic acid, gentle fruit acids, rose water and vegetal glycerin).

And the ingredients list:

Once again, Chlorphenesin appears pretty high (third) on the list, and it's a potential skin irritant. Now I'm picking out the ingredients that are either good or potential skin irritants, in the order they appear on the list: niacinamide (good), sodium hyaluronate (fantastic moisturiser), rosa centifolia flower water (rose water) that acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ingredient (very good), sorbic acid (potential skin irritant - not so good), methlisothiazolinone (also likely to be a skin irritant) and plankton extract (supposed to contain photolyase, the active "Photo-Beauty" enzyme). On the whole, this formulation has a good mix of ingredients. However, the chlorphenesin is the thing that may cause skin irritations, especially because it's so high up the list, and of course, there are at least two other potential skin irritants further down the list, so that's not so good.

After using this product in tandem with the Brightening line (order of use: Your own toner -> Light Essence -> Serum -> Cream), I don't really see much of an effect on my skin. Perhaps it's because I slap on sunscreen after the products, so the UV rays are blocked and the Photo-Beauty enzyme (photolyase) cannot be photoactivated. I tried using it the Light Essence and serum without sunscreen on while I was at home, but as I've mentioned, my skin got a little irritated at the end of the day and I suspect it's either due to the skin irritating ingredients in the products or the ingredients in combination with my toner.

I'm a little disappointed that the products didn't work for me because my skin is sensitive to the ingredients. Due to the high pricing, I can't recommend them to you especially if you have sensitive skin. The Photo-Beauty Enzyme ingredient is promising (check out my research above on photolyase and what scientists say about it), but unfortunately these products don't seem to suit me.

Still, much thanks to Talika for inviting me for the event and providing the products for review. I did learn a lot about the photolyase enzyme from this event and the products, and I'm looking forward to seeing more products with such innovative ingredients. I still have one more Talika product to review; it's the Eyelash Lipocils & Black (2-in-1 eyelash growth serum and mascara), and it's apparently fantastic for eyelash growth, according to reviews on MUA.

Here's a group photo with the rest at the Talika event; I'm in the pastel-coloured patterned dress! Special mention to the lovely Miss Rusty (Min Ru) in the grey top and shorts, who has since become a good friend of mine! 'Til the next post!

Disclaimer: I received the products in my post for review. My opinions are completely honest and solely my own. No compensation was received for this review.

Rachel loves sharing about the beautiful things in life from different perspectives. She writes on beauty and lifestyle in Cherchez Beauté , and does more abstract stuff on Antelune . When she's not writing, she's playing with her dog Holly, doodling and reading fiction. You can follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .