Increasing evidence suggests that environmental stress, such as UV radiation, generates reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in skin cells, leading to histochemical changes including skin disorders and aging, hyper pigmentation, and increased formation of wrinkles. Besides the defensive system in skin composed of vitamins and intrinsic antioxidant enzymes, topical and skin conditioning products have been used commonly to eradicate or eliminate these skin ailments. Among various ingredients providing nourishing and moisturizing effect in skin, antioxidants have been reported to be a key ingredient to counteract skin aging processes and skin disorders. Derived from a patented extraction process, a polyphenol rich sugarcane concentrate (Officinol™) becomes the focus of this study due to its rich content of polyphenols known to be strong antioxidants. In this work, we carried out a series of cell-based in vitro studies to examine the use of Officinol™ in anti-aging and skin care functions. Our studies show that Officinol™ activated telomerase, a major biomarker that have been reported to be associated with slowed cellular aging process. When skin cells were under environmental stress such as UV radiation, Officinol™ inhibited MMP-1, an interstitial collagenase in skin cells, and deterred the breakdown of collagen that provides supple texture in skin. Officinol™ also inhibited cellular expression of melanin pigmentation and tyrosinase activity, two major biomarkers causing skin pigmentation and aging spots, and inhibited elastase, an enzyme that facilities the reduction of skin elasticity. At the end of the investigation, we carried out a 10-person, pilot study to examine the effect of Officinol™ on skin lightening and fine line and wrinkle reduction in human skin. The combination of the in vitro and the human pre-study indicates that Officinol™ could provide significant preventative and protective functions including antioxidant, anti-aging, wrinkle reduction, and skin brightening for human skin suffering from aging and other stress. These findings are to be confirmed with a larger scale clinical study at a later stage.
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