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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2015 Mar;144:94-103. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2014.12.025. Epub 2015 Jan 6.

A dietary supplement improves facial photoaging and skin sebum, hydration and tonicity modulating serum fibronectin, neutrophil elastase 2, hyaluronic acid and carbonylated proteins.

Author information

1
Poliambulatorio del Secondo Parere, Modena, Italy; Specialization School of Laboratory Medicine, University "G. d'Annunzio" of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.
2
Poliambulatorio del Secondo Parere, Modena, Italy; Department of General Surgery and Surgical Specialties, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Medical School, Surgical Clinic, Modena, Italy.
3
Poliambulatorio del Secondo Parere, Modena, Italy; Department of Neuroscience, Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Excessive exposure to the sun can cause severe photoaging as early as the second decade of life resulting in a loss of physiological elastic fiber functions. We designed a first study to assess differences in facial skin pH, sebum, elasticity, hydration and tonicity and serum levels of fibronectin, elastin, neutrophil elastase 2, hyaluronic acid and carbonylated proteins between patients affected by facial photoaging and healthy controls. In a second study we tested the hypothesis that a dietary supplement would improve facial photoaging, also promoting changes in the above mentioned skin and serum parameters.

METHODS:

In the first study we enrolled 30 women [age: 47.5 ± 1.6 years (mean ± standard error of the mean)] affected by moderate facial photoaging (4 cm ≤ Visual Analogue Scale (VAS)<7 cm) and 30 healthy women [age: 45.9 ± 1.6 years (mean ± standard error of the mean)]. In the second study we enrolled a cohort of 30 women [age: 43.6 ± 1.2 years (mean ± standard error of the mean)], affected by moderate (n = 22) and severe (VAS ≥ 7 cm; n = 8) facial photoaging, who were randomized to receive a pharmaceutical formulation (VISCODERM Pearls; IBSA FARMACEUTICI ITALIA Srl, Lodi, Italy) containing Pycnogenol, collagen, coenzyme Q10, low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate (n = 15) or placebo (n = 15). Dietary supplement and placebo were administered 2 times a day for 4 weeks. Facial photoaging was assessed by VAS in the first cohort of patients affected by facial photoaging and healthy controls and, at baseline and 2 weeks after the end of treatment, in the second cohort of patients who underwent treatment with VISCODERM Pearls and placebo. Skin Tester was used to analyze differences in facial skin parameters between patients affected by facial photoaging and healthy controls. Skin Tester was also used to assess the effect of VISCODERM Pearls on facial skin parameters and compared with placebo 2 weeks after the end of treatment. Serum levels of fibronectin, elastin, neutrophil elastase 2, hyaluronic acid and carbonylated proteins were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in the first cohort of patients affected by facial photoaging and healthy controls and, at baseline and 2 weeks after the end of treatment, in the second cohort of patients who underwent treatment with VISCODERM Pearls and placebo.

RESULTS:

VAS photoaging score was higher in patients affected by photoaging, if compared with healthy controls (p < 0.0001). pH and sebum were increased in patients affected by photoaging, if compared with healthy controls (both p < 0.0001), while elasticity, hydration and tonicity were decreased in patients affected by photoaging, if compared with healthy controls (all p < 0.0001). Serum fibronectin and hyaluronic acid concentrations were lower in patients affected by photoaging, if compared with healthy controls (both p < 0.0001). Serum neutrophil elastase 2, elastin and carbonylated protein concentrations were higher in patients affected by photoaging, if compared with healthy controls (p < 0.01, p < 0.01 and p < 0.0001, respectively). Dietary supplement administration resulted in an improvement in VAS photoaging score, if compared with placebo (p < 0.0001), as observed 2 weeks after the end of treatment. Facial sebum, hydration and tonicity were increased in the active treatment group vs. placebo (p < 0.0001, p < 0.0001 and p < 0.05, respectively) 2 weeks after the end of treatment. Serum fibronectin and hyaluronic acid concentrations were increased in the dietary supplement group, if compared with placebo (p < 0.01 and p < 0.001) 2 weeks after the end of treatment, while no statistical difference in serum elastin concentration was observed between the two groups. Serum neutrophil elastase 2 and carbonylated protein concentrations were decreased in the dietary supplement group 2 weeks after the end of treatment, if compared with placebo (p < 0.001 and p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

We found significantly increased serum levels of neutrophil elastase 2, elastin and carbonylated proteins and decreased levels of hyaluronic acid and fibronectin in patients affected by facial photoaging, if compared with healthy controls. These findings coupled with a significant decrease in skin hydration, tonicity and elasticity and increased skin pH and sebum. Treatment with the dietary supplement VISCODERM Pearls significantly improved VAS photoaging score and skin hydration, sebum and tonicity 2 weeks after the end of a 4-week treatment period in patients affected by moderate to severe facial photoaging. These findings coupled with a significant increase in serum fibronectin and hyaluronic acid and a decrease in serum carbonylated proteins and neutrophil elastase 2 in the active treatment group, if compared with placebo. Our findings suggest that VISCODERM Pearls is effective for treatment of facial photoaging but further studies in larger cohorts of patients are required.

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