By Stephen Daniells, 10-Aug-2010
Extracts from berries and pomegranate may protect the skin from the detrimental effects of UV exposure, offering interesting dietary approaches to prevent skin wrinkles, suggests a new study.
Korean scientists report that ellagic acid may prevent the degradation of collagen in human skin cells, which would maintain skin structure and slow the formation of wrinkles, according to findings published in this month’s issue of Experimental Dermatology.
Additional studies with hairless mice showed that the polyphenol prevented the thickening of the skin on exposure to UV radiation. Topical application of ellagic acid was associated with a decrease in levels of pro-inflammatory compounds in the skin of the animals, report researchers from the Department of Food and Nutrition at Hallym University in Korea.
“Topical or dietary interventions with berries and pomegranate rich in ellagic acid and ellagitannins are promising strategies in curtailing skin wrinkling and cutaneous inflammation associated with chronic UV exposure leading to photoageing,” wrote the researchers.
The results tap into the growing awareness of the link between diet and health, and by extension physical appearance, means that many consumers are receptive to the concept of 'beauty from within'.
There is a growing body of science focusing on the potential benefits of nutrients to boost skin health from within, with lutein, lycopene, flavanol-rich chocolate, hydrolysed collaged, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) having been reported to improve skin health.
The Korean researchers used human skin cells (keratinocytes) and human fibroblasts, which produce the extracellular matrix and collagen in the skin. The cells were exposed to UV-B radiation and ellagic acid.
Results showed that the polyphenol attenuated the UV-B-induced toxicity of these cells, while also preventing the degradation of collagen that is associated with wrinkle formation.
When topically applied to hairless mice at a concentration of 10 micromoles per liter, ellagic acid was associated with a reduction in the production of the pro-inflammatory compounds interleukin-1beta (IL-1b) and IL-6.
“These results demonstrate that ellagic acid prevented collagen destruction and inflammatory responses caused by UV-B,” concluded the researchers.