Organic Ingredient Discovered by UM Scientists Comes to Market as Wrinkle Reducer


Sustainable Youth’s line of skin-care products contains Alasta, an active ingredient discovered by scientists at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi. UM photo by Robert Jordan.

Miss. – A new skin-care product is getting nationwide press for an
organic ingredient discovered by scientists at the University of
Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research

active ingredient, Alasta, an extract derived from the rind and gel of
the aloe plant, helps improve the skin’s elasticity and firmness.

general public will be introduced to Alasta through Sustainable Youth
Technologies. The new beauty and wellness company is promoting it as
the key ingredient in its products, including its Immune Performance
Elastifirm Supplement, which is featured in the May issue of Vanity

According to David Pasco, research professor and assistant
director of NCNPR, the aloe ingredient helps enhance skin elasticity
and reduce wrinkles by directly targeting the immune system.

Besides Pasco, the team of NCNPR scientists who discovered that active ingredient includes Nirmal Pugh, senior scientist; Mahmoud Elsohly, research professor; and Samir Ross, associate professor.

Their work began 10 years ago when Pasco and Pugh studied the aloe plant and found inconsistencies with what had previously been published about aloe’s potential benefits to the immune system.

“The component within aloe that everybody thought was responsible for improving the immune system could not account for the activity that we detected,” Pasco said. The team of scientists was able to identify and extract the previously unknown compound from the rind of the aloe plant, and this component is now present in Alasta, the active ingredient in Sustainable Youth Products.

“We knew that the immune system influenced structural components of the body like the skin, and repair depends on the immune system,” said Pasco, adding that he wasn’t therefore surprised by the improved elasticity Alasta imparts to the skin. “[However,] I was definitely surprised by the reduction in wrinkles.”

Besides its age-defying capabilities, Alasta is an organic ingredient, extracted using sustainable and renewable technologies. Because of that, Sustainable Youth President and Chief Executive Officer Denise DeBaun says that Alasta not only is the key ingredient in the company’s products, which include the supplement as well as a serum and a cream, but also its discovery served as the launching point for the company.

“The company started with the ingredient. The technology is the core inspiration,” said DeBaun, who has 30 years of experience in the beauty and health business. DeBaun said she saw the opportunity to explore building a sustainable company around the ingredient after successfully completing placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials using Alasta both orally and topically. “We had excellent results – better than expected results,” she said.

In fact, Alasta qualifies as a renewable resource in multiple ways. In addition to its being extracted from the aloe plant using sustainable and renewable technologies, the plant itself – typically grown by farmers in fields – is a sustainable product. One of the components of Alasta comes primarily from the rind of the plant, which helps ensure that none of the plant is wasted.

Alasta is also unique among organic ingredients in its consistency from batch to batch, Pasco said.

“A major purpose of this center is to develop therapeutically important ingredients from plants,” he said. Because of their expertise in the field, NCNPR scientists are able to determine the primary benefits of organic ingredients – which can vary drastically depending on time of harvest, shelf life and more – and can ensure that every batch of an ingredient like Alasta consistently delivers the same benefits.

That consistency allows Sustainable Youth to rely almost entirely on the ingredient in its products. “We know that the active is actually working,” DeBaun said.

There are two patents – one issued and one pending – on the technology, and Sustainable Youth has also developed a natural preservative alternative, which is patent pending. The company holds an exclusive license to use Alasta and continues to get scientific input from the researchers at the center.

“It is clear that among the wonders of our natural world there are many undiscovered secrets,” said Larry Walker, NCNPR director. “Sometimes they take many years to uncover and many more years to bring to application. It is very rewarding to see tangible benefits like these translated to the marketplace and to people’s health and well-being.”

For more information visit the National Center for Natural Products Research .