The role of phytosterols in cosmeceutical products.
Phytosterols are extracted from different botanical sources such as olives, avocados, coconut, cocoa butter, sunflower seeds and soy. They are a type of sterol, a specific class of chemical compound, and are very similar to cholesterol, the type of sterol found in animals. In plants, phytosterols contribute to the structure of the cell membrane just like cholesterol does in animals. Foods rich in phytosterols include oils, nuts and wheat germ.
The fundamental biological effect of phytosterols is its anti-inflammatory properties for which it is used in anti-aging products. In clinical studies, phytosterols and polyphenols improved sun-damaged skin. Shea butter and avocado oil offer skin protection and rejuvenation benefits because of their high content of phytosterols. These compounds are used in skin care products with the objective of improving skin health. Hair care products use a mixture of phytosterols such as avocado or similar compounds primarily for their hair softening and conditioning properties. Still, the skin and hair benefits of phytosterols are not widely known, and in fact, are now evolving.
One of the contributing factors in the aging of the skin is the breakdown and loss of collagen, primarily because of unprotected sun exposure. As the body ages, it cannot produce collagen as it once did. This was the subject of the clinical study by National Institute of Health of Germany. In this study, various topical preparations were tested on skin for 10 days. The topical treatment that showed the most anti-aging benefits to the skin was the one that contained phytosterols and other natural fats. The study further found that phytosterols not only stopped the sun-induced slow down of collagen production, it actually encouraged new collagen production.
A second clinical study evaluated cutaneous reconstruction by apple seed phytosterols (International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Vol. 27, Issue 2, Mar. 2005). The study authors analyzed the effects of apple seed phytosterols on age-related structural and functional parameters using cell biochemical, molecular, biological and bioengineering techniques. This study was initiated because plant secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, isoflavones and phytosterols have been proposed as cosmetic ingredients displaying anti-aging effects. In the study, the expression of age-related genes was studied using skin equivalents and DNA microarrays. Incubation of skin equivalents with apple seed phytosterols had significant consequences, namely differential regulation of a set of genes associated with keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation, stimulation of hyaluronic acid synthesis and increase of epidermal thickness. Furthermore, in-vivo studies revealed that apple seed phytosterols improved skin elasticity while decreasing skin roughness. The study concluded that phytosterols displayed distinct biological effects and significantly improved the structure and function of mature skin.
A third clinical study examined in-vivo spectrophotometric evaluation of skin barrier recovery after topical application of soybean phytosterols. The study results showed clearly that phytosterols exerted positive results on skin repair. In fact, three days after tape stripping, the sites treated with a formulation containing phytosterols showed an appreciable recovery of barrier function compared to those treated with a vehicle control without soy phytosterols. Klaber coined the term, "phyto-photodermatitis" to address skin reactions that could be caused by external contact with plants or plant products and subsequent exposure to light (Brit. J. Dermatol., 64: 193, 1942).
Formulations and Claims
Adding oils that are high in phytosterols to cosmetic emulsions would surely help damaged skin recover from environment-induced injuries such as pollution and sun damage. Formulators are advised to conduct adequate safety studies prior to the product launch. It is also important to know that phytosterols are not water-soluble and they have very poor solubility in oils and fats. This solubility issue is largely resolved by Extracts & Ingredients, Union, NJ, through the use of its patented Vortex micronizing technology. This technique creates an easily suspendable material, MicroPhyte, which is suitable for both food and skin care products.
As noted in the clinical studies cited here, phytosterol-based skin care products deliver moisture to the skin, as well as softening, skin barrier strengthening, elasticity boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits. Phytosterols also have applications in hair care and bath products.
Phytosterols aid the skin's barrier mechanism recovery by penetrating into, rather than occluding onto, the skin. New uses will be explored for these botanical actives as consumers become more interested in using personal care products based on natural ingredients.
NAVIN M. GERIA
NAVIN M. GERIA IS VICE PRESIDENT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOR SPADERMACEUTICALS, MARTINSVLLLE, NJ. HE HAS MORE THAN 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE PERSONAL CARE INDUSTRY AND WAS PREVIOUSLY WITH PFIZER, WARNER-LAMBERT, SCHICK, BRISTOL-MYERS ARE, MOST RECENTLY, LEDERMA CONSUMER PRODUCTS LABORATORIES. HE HAS EARNED OVER 15 U.S. PATENTS, HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN COSMETIC TRADE MAGAZINES AND HAS BEEN BOTH A SPEAKER AND MODERATOR AT COSMETIC INDUSTRY EVENTS. E-MAIL: TOKUHO02@ OPTONLINE.NET.
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|Title Annotation:||Anti-Aging & Cosmeceutical Corner|
|Author:||Geria, Navin M.|
|Publication:||Household & Personal Products Industry|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2009|
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