Q&A with LIFTLAB Founder Elliot Entis

LIFTLAB’s innovative line of skin care utilizes a special cell protection protein that’s sustainably harvested in the Arctic Circle—and protects skin from environmental aggressors like sun and cold while boosting cell regeneration. To learn more about the origins of this ingredient, we spoke with LIFTLAB founder Elliot Entis.

How did you first discover the cell protection peptide?

My introduction to Cell Protection Protein came from reading the New York Times in 1991. On a lazy Sunday morning, I came across an article about my grad school alma mater, UC Berkeley. A professor was doing research on how Arctic and Antarctic fish survive in the frigid waters. He found they produce a protein that protects them from freeze damage. He wondered whether this protein might have other uses—such as allowing human organs to be stored, frozen.

It got my attention, so I called the professor, Dr. Boris Rubinsky. By chance, he was coming to Boston to deliver a series of lectures, and a few days later, I explained how, because my family had been in the commercial seafood business, I might know where to find fish in the Canadian sub-arctic that produce this potentially invaluable protein. After a month of trips to Newfoundland, I found what I was looking for. In a scene that would be difficult to imagine with today’s security checks in place, I flew back to Boston lugging liters of fish serum in a cooler. I went to visit friends at a Harvard lab, where we began extracting and purifying what we hoped we would find: Cell Protection Peptide (CPP®). And thus my first company, A/F Protein, was founded. We began studies that led us to understand how to use the protein to freeze and keep alive human organs and tissues for later transplant and clinical studies.

Today, we still purify CPP from fish caught sustainably in Arctic regions, but we also produce it in yeast cells. And we still supply medical institutions and labs worldwide with pure CPP.

How did you make the transition to skin care?

For much of our history we focused only on medical uses of the peptide. But as our research results accumulated, we realized that CPP had a number of remarkable effects on the skin: when you applied it topically, it helped to increase skin’s production of its own anti-inflammatory proteins, plus collagen, elastin and antioxidants. It also powerfully attracts moisture to skin cell surfaces, and in a surprise finding, it limits chemical imbalances from occurring in skin cells—imbalances caused by temperature changes, dryness, environmental pollutants and toxins. To date, we have identified at least 41 skin proteins that are quickly and dramatically increased when CPP is applied.

With that information in hand, we began to develop the LIFTLAB Skincare line in 2010. We have one iron-clad rule: each of our products must contain a clinically effective concentration of CPP. That is a rule we expanded to mean that not only CPP, but every other active that we put into a LIFTLAB product must also be in a clinically effective concentration. We have agreements with all of our suppliers to maintain that standard. We know this increases the costs of LIFTLAB products, but it increases the health and wellness values of our products for our customers even more.

Sustainability is a key concern for many shoppers. How does LIFTLAB ensure sustainability in their production?

We partner with commercial fisherman in the Canadian sub-arctic. We pay them to save the remains from their food fish catch that would otherwise be thrown away. We also supply them with tools to help preserve the blood plasma that contains the Cell Protection Protein. Fishing is dangerous and not always a well paying job, so we’re proud to support these men and women, and to make use of what has been a by-product from fisheries that until now has gone to waste.

What are your personal must-have LIFTLAB products?

Everyone is different, but for me, I start with the PURIFY+CLARIFY Cleanser, our combination cleanser-exfoliant-mask in the morning, followed by our light anti-inflammatory serum LIFT+FIX. Then I apply LIFT+PERFECT, our multi-purpose anti-aging cream that includes the highest concentration of CPP. I find that this combination helps me the most—it prevents redness to which I am prone, while providing the protection and nutrition my skin needs.

Why did you decide to partner with Pharmaca?

Pharmaca is an ideal channel for our products. Its focus on health and wellness matches perfectly with our brand’s philosophy, and the highly educated and trained professional staff members are able explain our brand to individuals who want to know more. Pharmaca staffers are not “salespeople,” they are professionals who communicate with and relate to the customers they serve. And that helps our brand in the process.