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Shiseido research isolates cause of smile lines and leads to a new treatment

By Simon Pitman , 31-May-2012
Last updated the 31-May-2012 at 15:07 GMT

Researchers at Shiseido claim they have clarified the reason for nasolabial folds, commonly known as smile lines, a discovery that has also led to a plant-based extract targeting prevention and improvement.

The research found that nasolabial folds become more pronounced and deeper as the skin ages, which is caused by the fact that the subcutaneous fat in the cheek increases, causing enlarged adipocytes and free fatty acids to be secreted, ultimately leading to this type of dermal damage.

The damage leads to a degradation of the resilience and elasticity of the skin, which means it can no longer support the cheeks in the same way, leading to the formation of the folds, which are a key indication of facial skin ageing.

Prevention focused on enlarged pores

The Shiseido research team revealed that it had targeted the prevention and improvement of this condition by focusing on the enlarged adipocytes process and treating the enlarged pores in an effort to reduce the secretion of the damaging free fatty acids.

To treat this condition, the researchers turned to a leaf extract known as Rubus suavissimus Shugan Lee, which is said to provide a way of regulating the size of the adipocyte pores, regulating the secretion of the free fatty acids and ultimately leading to less skin damage.

The company says that it has patented the new process in both Japan and worldwide, and is aiming to develop it as an ingredient for new ranges of anti-ageing and skin care products that are mooted for launch in the Autumn of this year.

Nasolabial lines have proved difficult to treat

Nasolabial lines have traditionally been considered as one of the most difficult skin ageing conditions to treat, and Shiseido has previously funded specific research projects that have targeted the condition in an effort to move closer to the development of an effective treatment.

Its previous research into the condition has revealed two important discoveries, firstly that nasolabial folds are ‘boundary lines’ that are more pronounced when the individual is sitting up as opposed to lying down, therefore indicating that they are gravity induced.

The second discovery was the fact that the accumulation of subcutaneous fat deposits in the cheek also adds to the condition by weighing down the cheek, ultimately exacerbating the fold.

Previous launch pointed to gravity and fatty deposits

These two discoveries led the Shiseido team to take its research to the next level by targeting the adipocytes, which constitute the cheeks subcutaneous fat.

The fact that the enlargement of the adipocyte pores leads to an accumulation of fatty deposits, which ultimately culminates in a more pronounced fold, led the researchers to realise that finding a treatment that targeted the size of the pores was paramount.

The researchers say that after targeting and screening various plant extracts, the Rubus suavissimus Shugan Lee was the most effective in reducing the size of the enlarged adicopytes and ultimately decreasing the secretion of the fatty acids.

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