“I live in my house as I live inside my skin: I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy and more picturesque skins: but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine.” Primo Levi

Sometimes you meet an interesting chemical compound in an entirely different background than you might expect. This happened to me when I encountered the beautifully symmetric molecule Perfluorodecalin for the second time in my life. I’ve heard of it for the first time in science fiction movies like The Abyss and in oldschool anime Neon Evangelion Genesis where they showed mammals, deep-sea divers and anime protagonists in underwater respiratory-systems (watch here and here). I must admit back then I thought they made the liquid-breathing thing entirely up but as I found out it actually has its roots in real science! After the movies I didn’t hear from PFD and other Perfluorochemical molecules enough to take notice of it and forgot about it. Until last week, which was the time I decided to check out new makeup and skincare like Sunday Riley’s Effortless Tinted Primer and La Prairie’s Cellular Power Charge Night(499 USD!). So there it was, right in their ingredients: Perfluorodecalin (or’Rejuvenox’). What was it doing there?

Perfluorodecalin is a derivative of decalin in which all of the hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine atoms. Your alert bell might ring when you hear poisonous fluorine but in Perfluorodecalin it is both chemically and biologically inert (not reacting). It is stable up to 400°C and finds its use in nanomedicinal applications as a carrier for molecular imaging agents and drugs (check 1, 2, 3). According to Sunday Riley it keeps the Effortless primer “drenched in oxygen.” As a magic ingredient that sits in between the silicone base of the primer and can dissolve and deliver oxygen to the skin. There are alot of claims like anti-aging, acne-reducing effects on side of Sunday Riley and La Prairie takes it even further with pretensions from Dr. Daniel Stangl, lead researcher of La Prairie. He stated in an interview with Vogue Germany that the barrier function of skin is lower during the nighttime and the skin is more permeable to active ingredients then. ‘Cellular Power Charge Night’ supposedly uses this knowledge to implant Retinol for the formation of collagen and elastin fibers aswell as Perfluorodecalin, the ‘oxygen booster’ (read here). If you’re serious about some promising evidence or wary words about PFD check out following sites (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). I couldn’t find anything satisfying about the retinol-enhancing properties and independent, clinical trials about claims like this. Only studies which vaguely implify wound healing properties. Anyways, you can be sure everytime words like ‘oxygenize’, ‘oxygen-loaded’ and ‘oxygen’ in general pop up on the product it is very likely to contain fluorocarbon. To blast pure oxygen alone in your skincare product with no reasonable ‘nanocarrier’ like PFD would be witless, if you heard about ROS (reactive oxygen species) which might emerge, you would know it could support the damage of our mitochondria and therefore interrupt a healthy cell function. If I missed something important, got something wrong (I hope I didn’t) or if you found studies worthy of mention feel free to put them in the comment section! Packing up for a trip to Amsterdam, Ea Birkkam

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