A group of scientists from Beiersdorf Research and Development have completed research that states that the nitrogenous organic acid creatine could represent a beneficial active ingredient for topical use in the prevention and treatment of human skin ageing.
According to a study published in the December edition of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, creatine has shown to improve the clinical signs of skin ageing by stimulating dermal collagen and could be incorporated into topical creams.
Creatine is known to play a crucial role in the body’s energy supply, serving as an energy store, which can, in the case of high cellular energy demand, rapidly phosphorylate ADP to generate ATP.
Sufficient energy levels in the form of ATP are necessary to maintain vital function and health of human skin cells, as well as being required for all cellular mechanisms involved in repair and defence processes, and also for synthesis of important cutaneous bio-molecules such as collagen.
Stimulation of collagen synthesis
“The dermal extracellular matrix provides stability and structure to the skin. With increasing age, however, its major component collagen is subject to degeneration, resulting in a gradual decline in skin elasticity and progression of wrinkle formation,” said the study, carried out byt Dr Volker Achterberg and his team.
“Previous studies suggest the reduction in cellular energy contributes to the diminished synthesis of cutaneous collagen during ageing.”
In its controlled study, the Beiersdorf research team worked with 43 male Caucasians, who applied a facial care formulation containing creatine, guarana extract and glycerol to determine its influence on facial topometric features.
Topical use brought positive results
Penetration experiments were also performed with a pig skin ex vivo model. The effects of creatine on dermal collagen gene expression and procollagen synthesis were then studied in vitro using cultured fibroblast-populated collagen gels.
The study found that cultured human dermal fibroblasts supplemented with creatine displayed a stimulation of collagen synthesis relative to untreated control cells both on the gene expression and at the protein level.
In skin penetration experiments, topically applied creatine rapidly reached the dermis, whilst topical in vivo application of a creatine-containing formulation for six weeks significantly reduced the sagging cheek intensity in the jowl area as compared to baseline.
“This result was confirmed by clinical live scoring, which also demonstrated a significant reduction in crow’s feet wrinkles and wrinkles under the eyes,” added the report.
Peirano, R. I., Achterberg, V., Düsing, H.-J., Akhiani, M., Koop, U., Jaspers, S., Krüger, A., Schwengler, H., Hamann, T., Wenck, H., Stäb, F., Gallinat, S. and Blatt, T. (2011), Dermal penetration of creatine from a face-care formulation containing creatine, guarana and glycerol is linked to effective antiwrinkle and antisagging efficacy in male subjects. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 10: 273–281. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00579.x