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Oral wheat ceramides may improve skin hydration

By Katie Bird , 04-Aug-2010
Last updated on 04-Aug-2010 at 13:19 GMT

Taking supplements of wheat ceramides daily for three months may improve skin hydration, although the difference in the skin feel noted by users was less significant.

Ceramides are one of the major constituents of the stratum corneum and are thought to be active in helping the skin retain water.

Hitex, the French subsidiary of pharmaceutical firm Lavipharm, markets a botanical ceramide from wheat (Triticum vulgare) called Lipowheat, for use in nutritional supplements, beauty drinks and biscuits.

A recent study financed by Hitex, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, investigated the effect of three month supplementation of the wheat ceramides on 50 women with dry and very dry skin.

Skin hydration tests show significant improvement

The participants either took 350mg of the ceramide mix or the placebo for 84 days, and measurements of skin hydration were taken using a corneometry on day 0 and day 84.

Self assessments of skin hydration with participants choosing on a scale from very dry to very hydrated were also performed, as were dermatologists’ evaluations that looked at dryness, roughness and redness.

After the three month study period, skin hydration measurements taken by the corneometry, which tests the bioelectric potential of the skin that varies with the amount of water in the tissues, showed significant decreases in skin dryness.

On the arms, where the biggest improvement was measured, skin hydration increased by 35.1 per cent with the treatment compared to 0.85 per cent with the placebo.

Self and dermatological assessments less convincing

However, the results from the dermatological and self assessments were less significant, according to the study.

While the dermatological assessments tended to show improvements in skin dryness and redness for the legs, arms and face, there wasn’t a significant difference between the placebo and treatment groups.

Similarly, the self assessments showed a tendency for an increase in skin hydration for both body and face, but these were not statistically significant, and the perception of facial improvement was similar in both treatment and placebo groups.

According to one of the study authors Emmanuelle Gaillard, products and innovation engineer for Hitex, the dermatological and self assessments could have been affected by the unusually high humidity during the study period.

“Skin seems more moisturised with high ambient humidity, which is why all the objective measurements (corneometry) are done in a humidity and temperature controlled room,” she told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

More effective with other actives

Although the current investigation looked at Lipowheat on its own, Gaillard said the ingredient can also be used with others.

“Lipowheat is really efficient alone but we are sure that a synergy with other active ingredients could be more effective. As Lipowheat is available in powder form or in oil form it could be associated easily with different kind of ingredients,” she said.

According to Gaillard, the oral ingestion of such ingredients has benefits over topical application as it can improve skin hydration for a longer time and on the whole body, rather than locally and temporarily.

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Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science
Doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00600.x
The moisturising effect of a wheat extract food supplement on women’s skin: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial
S. Guillou, S. Ghabri, C. Jannot, E. Gaillard, I. Lamour, S Biosnic

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