Fibroquin: the skin care ingredient discovered by AI

It’s not every day that beauty editors report on new active ingredients in skincare. Most of the buzz revolves around new formulations of dermatology’s time-tested staples with the largest amount of existing research, with formulas containing brightening vitamin C, exfoliating glycolic acid, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and cell-turnover-boosting retinol tending to take the spotlight. Who would even know where to start when it comes to finding the next “notable contender” in the anti-aging skincare space?

In the case of the newest ingredient fibroquin, the answer turns out to be downright robotic (wink, wink). Evan Zhao, PhD and co-founder of Revela, explains that pharmaceutical discovery works by sifting through millions of already-made molecules stored in warehouses waiting to be ordered by chemists. Usually each molecule has to be manually searched and tested. But Revela’s team decided to search more efficiently by using artificial intelligence “to find something that could specifically improve the health of fibroblasts and collagen production in the skin,” says David Zhang, PhD and Revela’s other co-founder.

To help describe what the search entailed, Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, cosmetic chemists and founders-in-residence at Chemist Confessions, compare the process to Cher’s iconic closet scene from “Clueless” — only, instead of different garments, they present molecular configurations for.

“Before AI, you had to manually test every possible ingredient in the lab,” says Zhao. “If we keep the ‘Clueless’ analogy, this would be like having to try on millions, if not billions, of different outfits.” Using AI, it took a total of about eight months to narrow down the pool of millions (including Fibroquin), order it, test it in vitro, and then formulate the Revela Fibroquin Essence, $138.

Learn more about AI-discovered ingredient Fibroquin, the latest elasticity powerhouse to enter the skincare market, below.

What is Fibroquine?

Fibroquin is the latest pro-collagen active ingredient to hit the market, which has been shown to lift and firm the skin through firmness and plumpness. As Lu explains, skin loses its collagen stores starting at age 25, and the subsequent loss of skin elasticity can result in thinner, sagging skin. Revela’s team wanted to find an ingredient to bring back the “resilient” skin quality that babies have in excess.

“We knew that fibroblasts are deeply involved in collagen production and that collagen is directly linked to plumper, more resilient skin,” says Zhang. “So fibroblasts were the main focus of our research.” After making sure the active was effective, non-toxic and non-sensitizing, they set to work testing the formula they created to prove the validity of their new discovery.

“At the clinic [trial]Fibroquin was found to improve skin elasticity [via] a more plump, toned and lifted look,” says Lu. Each participant’s skin elasticity was measured to establish a baseline, then again after eight weeks to determine clinical improvements. “Springback” of the skin is called the cutometer,” says Fu. “It’s essentially a fancy suction cup that pulls up the skin and measures how quickly it returns to its normal state.”

To determine efficacy compared to the current industry gold standard, retinol, the team’s trial compared two groups of participants: those taking 0.5 percent retinol and those taking fibroquin. After eight weeks of consistent use, participants’ skin elasticity was measured in both groups. Fu says the participants who used retinol alone showed an average 10 percent improvement in skin elasticity. In comparison, most study participants who took Fibroquin twice a day showed an average 21 percent improvement in elasticity.

How does fibroquine work?

In the most succinct terms, fibroquin works by promoting the health of skin cell fibroblasts to maintain collagen production in the skin. “In the in vitro studies, the molecules were tested on fibroblasts and we were looking for improved fibroblast proliferation,” says Lu.


As New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, explains, the skin cell’s fibroblasts are the source of the structural proteins, collagen and elastin. “Collagen gives the skin its structure, while elastin allows the skin to stretch,” she says. She adds that as skin ages, collagen breakdown increases, while collagen and elastin synthesis decreases. “As you make less and less of these proteins, the skin loses its resilience and elasticity [as it] becomes thinner and laxity increases.”

Board-certified dermatologist Anar Mikailov, MD, founder of Skintensive, points out that yet another cause of aging skin’s loss of elasticity is due to a decrease in the number of fibroblasts and a decrease in their production capacity. Thus, the proliferation of fibroblasts is an essential key to maintaining the elasticity of the skin and helping to maintain the levels of collagen and elastin in the skin. In fact, this is the same intended function of anti-aging actives such as retinoids, growth factors and anti-aging peptides.

How To Use Fibroquin In Your Skin Care Routine

One-to-two pumps of Fibroquin work best twice a day, with clinical results visible after about eight weeks. The formula is lightweight and absorbs without a greasy finish, sits nicely after your toner and layered with your serums, under your moisturizer and makeup. If you’re concerned about how it fits into your current regimen, rest assured that it’s sensitive, skin-friendly, and works well with other actives.

“Fibroquin can be combined with any actives already in your regimen,” says Lu. “It’s stable at low pHs, so you can combine it with your vitamin C and AHAs without any issues. We also tested it with a lower dose, 0.3 percent retinol, and found that it didn’t cause any kind of irritation to the retinol product.” Basically, if you’re a die-hard retinol fan, this isn’t an “either/or” situation; you can absolutely use both. You can also rest assured, before you press add to cart, that this is a cruelty-free product.
Image source: Revela

Fibroquin: the skin care ingredient discovered by AI

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