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Cell Prolif. 2012 Feb;45(1):48-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2184.2011.00795.x. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Neuroprotective effects of a new skin care formulation following ultraviolet exposure.

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Institute of Biomedical Research, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.



Chronic ultraviolet (UV) exposure is a major environmental factor involved in extrinsic skin ageing (photo-ageing). Skin nerve fibres are significantly reduced in number following UV irradiation and new skincare compounds with neuroprotective effects are thus highly warranted.


We developed a new skincare formulation from a plant extract and evaluated its neuroprotective effects of ex vivo UV irradiation.


The new skincare emulsion was formulated from Echinacea purpurea extract and was enriched with antioxidants (patent no. PROV020110087075). Skin samples were obtained from 20 healthy patients enrolled for plastic surgery and were immediately treated with placebo (SPF 15) or test emulsions. Skin samples were exposed to UVA and UVB for 60 min. Nerve fibres were identified by immunofluorescence using a monoclonal antibody, anti-human CD56. Cell damage was quantified by image analysis.


UVA and UVB significantly reduced (40-60%) densities of nerve endings in control samples treated with placebo (P < 0.001). Samples treated with test emulsion completely blocked UV-related effects on skin nerve endings. These neuroprotective effects were similarly observed regardless of age or tissue analysed (breast versus abdomen).


Our new skincare formulation obtained from E. purpurea provides important neuroprotective effects of UV irradiation and could be used together with SPFs to prevent chronic deleterious effects of solar exposure.

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