Printer Friendly

Lactobionic acid.

Lactobionic acid (4-O-beta-galactopyranosyl-D-gluconic acid), a disaccharide formed from gluconic acid and galactose, has been established as a potent antioxidant well suited for use in solutions intended to preserve organs stored for transplantation. (1,2) This polyhydroxy bionic acid is used as an excipient agent in some pharmaceutical products and has been the object of increasing interest and use in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. (3) It is included in skin care formulations for its strong humectant and antiaging effects. (3,4)

Lactobionic acid has been shown to suppress the synthesis of hydroxyl radicals by dint of iron-chelating activity and hinders the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which promote photoaging. (2,3,5) It may also present an advantage over the class of alphahydroxy acids used to treat photoaging by engendering less or no irritation, because of its larger molecular size and corresponding slower penetration rate. (6) This column will focus on some recent research on the application of this strong antioxidant in dermatologie practice.

Lactobionic acid as an ingredient and vehicle

In 2010, Tasic-Kostov et al. compared the efficacy and irritation potential of lactobionic and glycolic acids (in gel and emulsion vehicles). In 77 healthy volunteers, the investigators found that formulations containing lactobionic acid yielded better skin metrics than ones containing glycolic acid, insofar as the former caused no irritation or skin barrier damage. In a second part to the study, they determined that efficacy of the acids was improved through the use of vehicles based on the natural emulsifier, alkyl polyglucoside (APG). They concluded that lactobionic acid in a 6% concentration in an APG vehicle warranted consideration as a low-molecular option in cosmeceutical products. (6)

In a subsequent study, the same team found supportive evidence that APG-based emulsions are safe cosmetic/dermo-pharmaceutical vehicles and carriers for extremely acidic and hygroscopic AHAs, particularly lactobionic acid. They did note, however, that lactobionic acid markedly affected the colloidal structure of the emulsion and fostered the development of lamellar structures, which could influence water distribution within the cream. They concluded, therefore, that such an emulsion, which was stabilized by lamellar liquid crystalline structures, would not be a viable carrier for the hygroscopic actives to achieve optimal moisturizing potential. (7)

More recently, Tasic-Kostov et al. investigated the antioxidant and moisturizing traits of lactobionic acid in solution as well as in a natural APG emulsifier-based system using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl free radical scavenging and lipid peroxidation inhibition assays. The researchers found that lactobionic acid exhibited suitable physical stability (though it exerted notable impact on the colloidal structure of the vehicle) as well as antioxidant activity in both formats, suggesting its application as a versatile cosmeceutical agent for treating photo-aged skin. (2)

In 2017, Chaouat et al. found that lactobionic acid was a key component in a green microparticle carrier system for cosmetics also containing chitosan and linoleic acid (as the skin penetration-enhancing constituent). Chitosan and lactobionic acid made up the shell surrounding the linoleic acid core. The carrier system, in an aqueous solution, was found to be stable and able to encapsulate the hydrophobic skin lightener phenylethyl resorcinol. (8)

Potential in atopic dermatitis treatment

Using an oxazolone-induced, atopic dermatitis-like murine dermatitis model, Sakai et al. demonstrated in 2016 that the coapplication of a PAR2 inhibitor and lactobionic acid, which maintained stratum corneum acidity, could target skin barrier abnormality and allergic inflammation, the key mechanisms in atopic dermatitis etiology. (9)

Lactobionic acid in chemical peels

Early this year, Algiert-Zielinska et al. reported on the results of a split-face study with 20 white women in which the effects of a 20% lactobionic acid peel were compared with those of the 20% peel combined with aluminum oxide crystal microdermabrasion. Treatments were administered weekly over 6 weeks, with the peel alone performed on the left: side and the combination therapy on the right. The combination was found to achieve a significantly higher hydration level as well as skin elasticity measurements. There were no statistically significant differences between the tested therapies in transepidermal water loss, which decreased for both approaches. Both the lactobionic acid peel and combination procedure delivered notable moisturizing effects. (10)

Previously, this team performed a comparative evaluation of the skin-moisturizing activities of lactobionic acid in 10% and 30% concentrations in 10 white subjects between 26 and 73 years old. In this split-face study, 10% lactobionic acid was applied on the left side and 30% on the right on a weekly basis through eight treatments. A 5% lactobionic acid cream was supplied for overnight use. Skin hydration levels were measured before each weekly treatment. Although any differences between cutaneous hydration between the lactobionic acid preparations could not be ascertained, the investigators identified a statistically significant enhancement of hydration levels for both concentrations after the full series of treatments. They concluded that lactobionic is a potent moisturizing compound. (11)

The same authors also conducted a literature review on the moisturizing properties of lactobionic and lactic acids, noting that both acids are capable of binding copious amounts of water and display robust chelating characteristics, as well as antioxidant activity, by suppressing MMPs. The authors added that both act as strong moisturizing substances, helping to maintain epidermal barrier integrity, and are suitable for sensitive skin. (3)


Greater capacity to moisturize and deliver Anti-aging benefits while causing less or no irritation are desirable qualities in a dermatologie agent. Evidence is limited, but the data available seem to suggest that lactobionic acid exhibits such qualities in comparison to alpha-hydroxy acids. Much more research is needed, though, to determine the most appropriate ways to use this promising compound.


(1.) Annu Rev Med. 1995;46:235-47.

(2.) Int J Cosmet Sei. 2012 Oct;34(5):424-34.

(3.) Int J Dermatol. 2019 Mar;58(3):374-79.

(4.) Clin Dermatol. 2009 Sep-Oct;27(5):495-501.

(5.) The next generation hydroxy acids, in "Cosmeceuticals" (New York: Elsevier Saunders, 2005, pp. 205-11).

(6.) J Cosmet Dermatol. 2010 Mar;9(l):3-10.

(7.) Pharmazie. 2011 Nov;66(ll):862-70.

(8.) J Microencapsul. 2017 Mar;34(2):162-70.

(9.) J Invest Dermatol. 2016 Feb;136(2):538-41.

(10.) J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019 Jan 20. doi: 10.1111/ jocd. 12859. [Epub ahead of print J.

(11.) J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018 Dec;17(6):1096-100.

Dr. Baumann is a private practice dermatologist, researcher, author, and entrepreneur who practices in Miami. She founded the Cosmetic Dermatology Center at the University of Miami in 1997. Dr. Baumann wrote two textbooks: "Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice" (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002), and "Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients" (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014), and a New York Times Best Sellers book for consumers, "The Skin Type Solution" (New York: Bantam Dell, 2006). Dr. Baumann has received funding for advisory boards and/or clinical research trials from Allergan, Evolus, Galderma, and Revance. She is the founder and CEO of Skin Type Solutions Franchise Systems LLC. Write to her at
COPYRIGHT 2019 International Medical News Group
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Cosmeceutical Critique
Author:Baumann, Leslie S.
Publication:Dermatology News
Date:Apr 1, 2019
Previous Article:Aspire Higher scholarship program.
Next Article:TCA CROSS is an option for icepick acne scars.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |