The Firming Hand Cream That Took 2 Years To Develop Saved My Dry, Crepey Hands in Just 2 Days

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Any time you get a cut or a scrape, your body's natural wound-healing process kicks into high gear. It stimulates cellular regeneration to create fresh, healthy cells, which explains why the "new" skin that appears looks firmer and smoother (read: younger) compared to everything else around it. Thanks to the discovery of a molecule called "defensins" back in 2014, regenerative medicine doctors found a way to bottle up this process to deliver the same sort of fresh, baby-soft skin without any actual wound required. Their research led to a visionary new strategy for anti-aging and the eventual creation of DefenAge, an award-winning skin-care line known for its transformational results.

I've been a fan of DefenAge's facial skin-care products for some time, so when I heard the brand was adding a hand and body cream to its lineup, I was eager to give it a try.

The 10 Luxe Hand & Body Cream ($251) marks the first time that DefenAge's hallmark technology has been used in a product designed to be applied from the neck down. What's unique about defensins is that instead of simply repairing damaged skin cells, the way most anti-aging ingredients do, they help your body create new ones—just like it does when it gets hurt.

“Every time a scratch or wound on the skin is healed, the skin in the healed wound area is always younger than the skin around it.,” says Natalie M. Curcio, MD, MPH, a dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon based in Nashville. “This is because our body activates preserved, or dormant, cells to heal wounds— in other words, the body created new young skin to heal wounds. Defensins activate the same mechanism in our body, meaning that every time defensins are applied on the skin they activate the body to produce new and young skin without the wound.”

The cream took more than two years to create (and was revised six times based on doctor feedback), but the final formulation combines defensins with niacinamide and squalane, two ingredients the molecules pair particularly well with, says Suneel Chilukuri, MD, a cosmetic and dermatologic surgeon based in Houston. 10 Luxe also contains panthenol, an anti-inflammatory, and Ophiopogon japonicus root extract and Sinorhizobium meliloti ferment, two natural moisturizers known to help repair the skin’s barrier.

“The 10 Luxe Hand and Body Cream belongs to the category of ‘performance skin care’ that provides anti-aging benefits on a global scale,” says Dr. Chilukuri. That means addressing multiple signs of aging including enhancing skin firmness and elasticity, improving hydration and texture, ironing out crepey skin, and providing hydration and smoothing benefits to the hands, elbows, and knees (three areas that Dr. Chilukuri notes are notoriously challenging to treat).

What happened when I tried it

Before trying the 10 Luxe, the cream already had a couple of pluses in my book: Not using any animal- or human-derived ingredients (like all DefenAge products) and being a safe alternative to retinol. It’s also fragrance-free, great if you’re sensitive to scents, although I prefer a light fragrance in my body care products.

Results are said to come anywhere from immediately to one week after the first use, so the timing of my test was perfect because a stretch of cold weather had left my hands dry, cut, and cracked. Right away I loved the cream’s silky texture. As promised, it was non-greasy and absorbed quickly despite having a rich feel.

After only two days of applying 10 Luxe several times throughout the day, the small cuts and cracks on my hands were almost completely repaired, and my skin was noticeably firmer and more moisturized. Another unexpected bonus was that several red marks from a recent hot water burn became significantly faded and reduced in size, which Dr. Curcio attributes to the cream's regenerative abilities and anti-inflammatory ingredients. After about a week, there was a noticeable improvement in skin crepiness along my upper arms. Long-term results should fully take hold at six weeks, but at four weeks, my skin already looks firmer—particularly on my hands.

While 10 Luxe might be one of the first skin-restoring body-care products, it likely won’t be the last. “Technologies such as the defensin technology patented by DefenAge, which is based on regenerative medicine research, are definitely rising in the performance skincare segment,” says Curcio.

If this is the future of skin care, count me (and my already-firmer skin) in.

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