Skin Care Research: Beneficial Ingredients

Beta Glucan to Fight Aging

The fight against aging has received a scientific boost thanks to an innovative study that dispels a hard-held belief about the natural ingredient, beta glucan.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, is the first to show that oat beta glucans can penetrate the skin—this after years of doctors and scientists believing that the molecule was too big.

The finding is significant, not only in the treatment of skin disorders and removing fine lines and wrinkles, but in the promotion of wound healing and reduction in scarring following surgical procedures, says Dr. Mark Redmond, president and CEO of Ceapro Inc, a spin-off company formed in the late 1980s to commercialize technology from the University of Alberta's faculties of pharmacy and medicine for the treatment of cold sores.

Beta-glucans is the soluble fiber found in the cell walls of oat kernels. Oat has a long history of safe use in providing fast, temporary relief of itching and pain associated with minor skin irritations. It has also been reported to improve the appearance of smoother skin as well as to aid in wound healing. But it has been long believed that such a large molecule as beta glucan was too big to penetrate the skin.

In this paper, Redmond and his co-authors describe using beta glucan-specific tracking dyes to show the skin penetration did take place. "Interestingly, the glucan penetrates in the same way that water penetrates a brick wall--it does not go through the brick, it goes through the concrete binding the bricks together," says Redmond. "As a result of our study, we now know that glucan works through the inter-cellular lipid matrix, or the cells' cement, to enter the lower levels of the skin. Of medical significance is the fact that beta glucan creams promote wound healing and reduction in scarring following surgical procedures."

The research team, made up of Redmond, Ravi Pillai and Joachim Roding both from Symrise, then measured the depth of the skin that the glucans penetrated. Photographs show the actual reduction of wrinkles and consumers should expect to see similar results on themselves in as little as 10 days, says Redmond. Beta glucans is already used in a number of products available to consumers including brand name products from Johnson and Johnson and Schering Plough. "The proof that we provide in this paper and other research that we have conducted is that glucan can have a specific and measurable effect on skin beyond making you look good and feeling great," says Redmond. "We also have indications that a number of applications in cosmetics are in the works to use glucans as the non-invasive alternative to Botox for those who are afraid of needles."

Ceapro has also discovered that beta glucan can be used as a transdermal delivery system to feed drugs and other compounds into the skin. This development may lead to new and better ways of delivering such medicines as antihistamines and pain relievers.

Source: Beta Glucan to Fight Aging

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