What Is Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), and Why Is It So Good for the Skin?

Sean Abel is a Cosmetic Chemist and the founder of Australian skincare brand, Derma Energy. When it comes to sourcing the best ingredients to assure the health of the skin, Sean is at the forefront. The very naming of Derma Energy was inspired by the lesser known ingredient, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Sean details what makes this ingredient so valuable to the skin that beauty professionals ought to know. Interview by Hannah Gay.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an ingredient that underscores the entirety of the Derma Energy product line-up. What makes this ingredient so beneficial to the skin when applied topically? 

“1. Enhanced Cell Function: ATP helps to indirectly energise and fuel cells by promoting their optimal functioning through water balancing . This can lead to improved cellular metabolism, increased collagen production, and enhanced skin cell turnover.

2. Increased Hydration: ATP has been shown to boost the production of hyaluronic acid, a natural moisturising substance in the skin. This can help to improve skin hydration and reduce the appearance of dryness and fine lines. 

3. Protective Effects: ATP has antioxidant properties, which can help to protect the skin from oxidative stress and free radical damage. This can potentially slow down the aging process. 

4. Improved Circulation: ATP has been found to enhance blood circulation in the skin, which can promote a healthy complexion and improve the delivery of nutrients to the skin cells.

5. Wound Healing: ATP plays a crucial role in the healing process by providing essential moisture to cells involved in tissue repair. It can help to accelerate wound healing and reduce the formation of scar tissue.”

Derma Energy founder, Sean Abel

Adenosine triphosphate is not an ingredient this beauty journalist recognises in any other professional skincare lines! Why do you believe it is not commonly utilised by other professional skincare brands?

“Simply because preservation and water balance is often dismissed as ‘basic’ and not transformative like retinol.” 

If one’s skin is new to using adenosine triphosphate, will it take some time for it to adapt? Are there any contraindications associated with applying adenosine triphosphate?

“No, there is no irritation profile from ATP. It is 100% safe. Results can be seen within just 7 days of using an ATP based product.” 

Run us through the Derma Energy ethos, and why you source the ingredients you source.

“Because Derma Energy was originally created for a younger demographic, the brief was light-weight, breathable skincare. We wanted to create a medical cosmeceutical that leaned into preventative care. We know prevention is better than cure. We think most skincare lines are desperately trying to turn back the clock (with minimal success). 

It’s the analogy of applying an antioxidant to a cut apple. Yes it will delay the apple from turning brown (oxidising) but once it has oxidised, applying the antioxidant post-oxidation will not return the apple to its healthy state. The same goes for the skin. It’s much harder to reverse skin damage. 

Therefore our brand is about preserving what you have and the best way to protect it starts with protecting the skin barrier. The heart and soul of the brand is water. 

In order to be able to fulfill its variety of tasks, the skin needs to have sufficient water: here we refer to skin moisture. Thus the flexibility and elasticity of the stratum corneum (SC) is directly dependent on the water content of the corneocytes. Adequate hydration of the keratin fibres is essential for mechanical strength, because if there is a shortage of water then cracks and breaks will develop in the SC layer. The skin also needs water for its self-regeneration and for the correct desquamation of the corneocytes. Corneocytes are closely connected with each other via so-called corneo-desmosomes. This connection must be disrupted before a corneocyte can flake off from the surface of the skin. The enzymes responsible for this can only operate in the presence of water. When there is a shortage of water, scaly skin develops.

Derma Energy begins with a corrective approach to cleansing – this is where we introduce our Derma Brush. A soft silicone cleansing brush. You could say, a toothbrush for your skin. Once a thorough cleanse is achieved, then active serums can traverse much easier (and deeper). This is one huge difference in our range. 

Because we’re obsessed with correcting the water balance of the skin, we have a 3 step approach –

  1. Correct cleansing and commencement of the removal of the Stratum Corneum (with the Derma Brush)
  2. ALL serums containing Hyaluronic Acid to attract and hold moisture within the skin
  3. And ALL serums containing ATP to balance and maintain the moisture levels.”

“Therefore our brand is about preserving what you have and the best way to protect it starts with protecting the skin barrier. The heart and soul of the brand is water. “

On average, do products from Derma Energy’s Black Label line contain higher levels of adenosine triphosphate compared to your White Label line?

“This is correct, our Black Label contains four times stronger concentration of ATP. Our white range has 1% ATP in our serums and 4% in all Black Label serums.”

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