New formula activates body's natural defence and signals new approach to skin conditions

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

These are the consequences of skin exposure to stressors. (Credit: Maya Ben-Yehuda Greenwald)
These are the consequences of skin exposure to stressors. (Credit: Maya Ben-Yehuda Greenwald)

Related tags: Antioxidant

Researchers have developed a nanotechnology-based formula that activates the body's natural defence against free radicals and could control a variety of skin pathologies and disorders, such as over exposure to UV rays and inflammatory conditions.

The delivery system, developed by scientists at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, contains a protective cellular pathway inducer that activates the body's natural defence against free radicals efficiently, could also help infections, internal disease, and a host of conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's.

The work was published in the peer-reviewed journal Cosmetics​ by the University in collaboration with Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and suggests that an innovative way to invigorate the body to produce antioxidant enzymes, while maintaining skin cell redox balance, is a gentle equilibrium between Reactive Oxygen Species and their detoxification.

"The approach of using the body's own defence system is very effective. We showed that activation of the body's defence system with the aid of a unique delivery system is feasible, and may leverage dermal cure,"​ says Hebrew University researcher Maya Ben-Yehuda Greenwald.

"Currently, there are many scientific studies supporting the activation of the body's defence mechanisms. However, none of these studies has demonstrated the use of a nanotechnology-based delivery system to do so."

Ben-Yehuda Greenwald says that by applying nano-size droplets of micro-emulsion liquids containing a cellular protective pathway inducer into the skin activates the natural skin defence systems.

Skin science

Our skin is constantly exposed to stressors that exist in our day-to-day environment, such as UV rays and pollution, and when these filter into the body they can create Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which are able to damage and destroy cells, including lipids, proteins and DNA, leading to wrinkles and various skin conditions.

The body is naturally equipped with defence mechanisms to counter oxidative stress, such as anti-oxidants and, more importantly, anti-oxidant enzymes that attack the ROS before they cause damage.

Production of antioxidant enzymes in the body is signalled in the DNA by activation of the protein, Nrf2, which is capable of co-ordinating the cellular response to internal as well as external stressors by tight regulation of phase-II protective enzymes.

In their work, Ben-Yehuda Greenwald and her team also discovered a new family of compounds capable of activating the Nrf2 pathway, and that by incorporating them into the unique delivery system she has developed, she managed to efficiently stimulate the activation of the Nrf2 pathway and mimic the activity of the body's' natural way of coping with a variety of stress conditions.

"The formula we have created could be used in topical medication for treating skin conditions. Our formula could be used both as preventive means and for treatment of various skin conditions, such as infections, over-exposure to UV irradiation, inflammatory conditions, and also internal disease," ​she says.

While the researchers focused on the skin, they say the formulation could also prove to be effective in enhancing the body's natural protection against the damaging effects of ROS in other parts of the body, such as inflammation in cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's.

Related topics: Formulation & Science, Skin Care

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