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Nutricosmetics: Feeding the Skin
By: Bud Brewster, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Posted: January 30, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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LS used several tests to support claims for the efficacy of its lychee extract.7 A clinical study of skin complexion on 20 women found that the group using a cream containing the lychee extract at 5% for eight weeks scored an improvement in various skin complexion parameters (such as color of the cheekbones and facial tonicity) evaluated on a semiquantitative scale by trained specialists, and this improvement was 39% greater than for a group using a placebo cream. An in vivo test demonstrated that the ingredient’s scavenging effect was similar to tocopheryl acetate in protecting against oxidative stress. An in vitro test indicated good protective activity against UVB- and UVA-irradiated stress. In vitro and ex vivo tests showed the ingredient’s ability to reduce the release of MMP-1 after UVA and UVB irradiation, demonstrating protection against photoaging. Also, a Tagami test showed the ingredient’s moisturizing activity lasts up to 24 hr.
Beauty foods: An article8 appearing in the November 2006 issue of Nutraceuticals World, titled “Beauty from the Inside Out: Claims Versus Science in Cosmeceuticals and Beauty Foods,” authored by Joerg Gruenwald, president of Analyze & Realize AG, a Berlin-based specialized business consulting company for herbal medicine, dietary supplements and functional foods, defines beauty foods as “common food ingredients that are now entering consumers’ awareness as not only being healthy, but also as having a beneficial impact on overall appearance.” In contrast to cosmetics and topically used cosmeceuticals, beauty foods claim to improve appearance from within the body. Among the claimed effects are wrinkle reduction and general improvement of facial skin structure, cellulite reduction and body shaping through slimming, and improved structure of nails and hair, but Gruenwald admitted that it is difficult for the consumer to know whether these claims have any basis in fact.
Gruenwald analyzed a variety of available natural or herbal beauty foods, their claims, and the existing clinical evidence supporting those claims. His conclusion was that in general, most cosmeceuticals and beauty foods contain low levels of active components but high levels of claims “without backing those claims with proof of any kind.
“Nevertheless,” he concluded, “there is encouraging scientific evidence for the effectiveness of some products, even if the methodology often leaves room for improvement.”
Where’s the Science?
Where is the science on nutricosmetics that encourages Gruenwald but leaves others like Allen Burke9 of QVC and Ralph Bronner10 of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps unconvinced?