Our desire to stop time – or at least halt its effects on our bodies – is not new. From fairytales of magical potions to stories of mythical fountains, the allure of eternal youth has long been a source of fascination.
And while there are inalienable truths we must accept (the passing of time being one), science has been working on taking prolonged youth out of the realms of fiction and into reality. Research has shown that a complexion that belies our chronological age is the goal for many of us. More than that, though, the aim now is to make our skin behave like younger skin – so it doesn’t just look younger, it is younger.
But before science could work out how to turn ageing on its head, it needed to work out exactly why our skin ages in the first place. “The challenging part was discovering the age trigger,” says Laure Crabbe-Vert, the scientific coordinator at LVMH’s Life Sciences department. “For the first time, we have discovered [a process called] cellular senescence, which are cells that are unable to function properly.”
Crabbe-Vert explains that senescent cells – aptly also known as “zombie cells” – are cells that have died and stopped multiplying yet stay in the skin releasing chemicals rather than disappearing. “This was really a major discovery,” she says. “We worked out that the release of these harmful molecules can then affect the skin environment and the neighbouring cells.”
Like a naughty teenager who has a bad influence on her friends, the zombie cells affect surrounding healthy skin cells by sending out inflammatory signals. This makes the healthy cells act in the same ageing way – effectively “spreading” ageing throughout the skin. This phenomenon means that ageing can course throughout the body at an accelerated rate, affecting skin structure, texture and colour. The effect when we look in the mirror (or into a camera on Zoom) is a loss of skin volume, tone and radiance, and an increase in sagging and wrinkles.
Dior’s scientists have taken this new knowledge and made it their mission to help reverse the signs of ageing. Turning back the years on our complexion is a big call but the experts at the maison believe that – with consistent use – its newest serum, Le Nectar Premier, is able to help pause the ageing message at its source (coined the age signal), thereby helping to slow the visible signs of ageing.
It all comes down to one very special rose. At the heart of Dior’s luxury skincare line, Dior Prestige, the Rose de Granville is more than just beautiful. It is able to bloom twice a year, and the house’s scientists have studied the flower to determine how it has such impressive life force and resilience to bloom perfectly even after the harshest winter. The question was, could such resilience help to fortify our skin cells in a similar way?
Cultivated in the Dior Rose Garden in Normandy, near Christian Dior’s childhood home in France, the buds became the focus for Le Nectar Premier. Twice as concentrated as the blooms, each bud is handpicked on a single spring day at a particular hour. Through a process of cryo-extraction, where buds are cryo-frozen, then cryo-ground and filtered, scientists have created a concentrate called Rosapeptide Premier, a patented complex of 99 molecules derived entirely from the special Dior rose.
“The Rosapeptide acts on the skin mechanisms and reverses the three dimensions of ageing,” says Virginie Couturaud, Christian Dior’s scientific communication director. Engineered for optimum absorbency into the skin, the new complex is said to be able to act on the age signal as well as support skin structure, smooth and strengthen, and leave skin looking more luminous and even.
But no product is a complete cure-all. Couturaud says it is important to have a complete skincare routine in play. “It’s very important to give your skin all the micronutrients for optimum skin function.”
She recommends combining Le Nectar Premier with other products in the house’s Prestige range, such as the cult-followed La-Micro-Huile de Rose as a pre-step and Dior Prestige La Crème as a density boosting third step. Combined, the effect on the skin is the appearance of more volume, a more refined texture and enhanced radiance. And you can feel good using it, too. Each of Dior’s roses is sustainable and traceable.
Dior Prestige Le Nectar Premier, $950 at dior.com.au
Further evidence: Le Nectar Premier’s formula has 97 per cent natural origin ingredients, while its luxe packaging is not only refillable (a first for the brand) but also made from recycled and recyclable glass and boxed in recycled cardboard. “We are very proud of this,” says Couturaud. “The refill system means a reduction in carbon footprint, [and] we want to encourage that a luxury product can also be good for the planet.”
It certainly shows that luxury and sustainability can be happy bedfellows. And like that rosebud that blooms perfectly each season, perhaps true skin renewal is also not as far off as we imagine. Certainly, some of the women who tested Dior’s product said they felt like four years had been wiped off their faces. So, fountains aside, while we may not be able to stop time per se, one day we may be able to suspend our skin as time marches on.
Dior Prestige Le Nectar Premier is available at dior.com.au.