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J Nat Med. 2009 Apr;63(2):130-6. doi: 10.1007/s11418-008-0301-9. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Effects of the nonsugar fraction of brown sugar on chronic ultraviolet B irradiation-induced photoaging in melanin-possessing hairless mice.

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Division of Functional Histology, Department of Functional Biomedicine, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Shitsukawa, Toon City, Ehime, Japan.


Brown sugar has been used traditionally for the treatment of skin trouble as a component of soaps or lotions. Symptoms of aging including wrinkles and pigmentation develop earlier in sun-exposed skin than unexposed skin, a phenomenon referred to as photoaging. Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation is one of the most important environmental factors influencing photoaging. The aim of this study was to clarify whether the nonsugar fraction of brown sugar prevents chronic UVB-induced aging of the skin using melanin-possessing hairless mice. The nonsugar fraction (1% or 3% solution, 50 mul/mouse) was applied topically to the dorsal region every day for 19 weeks. Both solutions prevented an increase in skin thickness and reduction in skin elasticity caused by the UVB. The 3% solution also prevented wrinkles and melanin pigmentation as well as increases in the diameter and length of skin blood vessels. Increases in the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in UVB-irradiated skin was inhibited by the nonsugar fraction. Prevention of UVB-induced aging of the skin by topical application of the nonsugar fraction of brown sugar may be due to inhibition of increases in MMP-2 and VEGF expression.

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