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Plant Ceramides Clinically Reduce Wrinkles

August 2018

By Michael Downey

In youth, abundant amounts of biologically active moisturizing oils known as ceramides are integrated into the skin’s surface layer to maintain skin moisture and a youthful appearance.

However, your body’s ability to synthesize ceramides declines over time, contributing to dry, aging skin.1,2

Seeking a way to revitalize aging skin, scientists have found skin rejuvenating benefits in ceramides from plant extracts.

These findings have been confirmed in a recent clinical trial, in which 88% of the participants experienced visible reduction of wrinkles and 90% experienced greater skin hydration.3

This unique oral intervention is producing younger looking skin in clinical trials.

What you need to know

  • Ceramides are natural lipid molecules with the critical capacity to preserve youthful-looking skin by maintaining the skin’s water-retaining properties.
  • Unfortunately, the skin content of ceramides substantially decreases with age.
  • Natural plant ceramides can be taken orally, allowing them to enter the bloodstream where they are naturally transported through all layers of the skin, working from the inside out.
  • Over the years, placebo-controlled, clinical studies have shown that a unique plant-ceramide extract, taken orally, boosts skin hydration, suppleness, smoothness, and other measures of youthful skin.
  • A remarkable new study now demonstrates that these strong anti-aging effects can also result in significant fine line- and wrinkle-reduction.

Skin Regenerative Effects

Skin Regenerative Effects  

A new, soon-to-be-published study demonstrates that a plant ceramide extract delivers a visible reduction of wrinkles, as well as a very high level of skin hydration.3

In order to appreciate the landmark nature of this new finding, it is important to understand skin ceramides and some past findings for this novel plant extract.

The age-related decline of internal ceramide production has a huge impact on one’s outer appearance. That’s because these compounds are essentially the mortar that holds the skin-cell bricks together.

Without ceramide replenishment, the skin moisture barrier becomes greatly compromised.1,2,4,5 This in turn results in thinning of skin with noticeable wrinkles, dryness, roughness, and even infection.1,6,7

Ceramides are present in food—including rice and wheat—but they do not occur in sufficient quantities to rejuvenate aging skin.8 Ceramide supplementation is a low-cost method to slow and reverse the effect of aging on skin appearance.

How Ceramides Function

Researchers working with ceramide-rich plant compounds were able to develop a potent, proprietary extract that can be taken orally.

The plant ceramide compounds in this oral extract are known as phytoceramides. This wheat lipid extract provides potent glycolipids, phytoceramides and glycosylceramides.

Once ingested, this extract can reach the skin’s outer layer. It is delivered by the bloodstream to the deepest skin-cell layers and then gently nudged into the extracellular matrix as nature intended.9 There, it restores the barrier function.1

Research validates the effectiveness of this unique phytoceramide. For example, a lab study demonstrated that this plant-ceramide extract hydrated human skin and restored its youthful structure after the skin cells’ protective barrier function had been disrupted.10

Another study found that these plant ceramides reduced levels of free radicals in the skin and inhibited elastase11—an enzyme that ordinarily destroys elastin and contributes to loss of skin flexibility and increased wrinkling.12

Prior to a new study demonstrating compelling wrinkle-reducing effects described later in this article, clinical (human) trials showed that this oral phytoceramide extract provides beneficial effects on aging skin.

Skin Rejuvenation via Oral Supplementation: Clinical Proof

In 2005, a placebo-controlled, clinical study was published, in which women with dry to very dry skin received either a placebo or a powdered form of the ceramide extract.

After three months of treatment, researchers evaluated changes in skin hydration in three different ways—via machine, dermatologist examination, and the patients’ own subjective assessment scores.13 There was a significant improvement in skin hydration.

Furthermore, women in the plant ceramide extract group, but not the placebo group, experienced a significant reduction in dry patches, roughness, and itching.13

These improvements were what scientists would expect to see if the ceramides successfully make their way through the bloodstream to the skin.

For further proof, researchers designed a larger, randomized, double-blind study to assess the wheat ceramide extract in its oil form. In this 2011 trial, women with dry to very dry skin took either 350 mg each day of the plant ceramide oil—providing glycolipids, phytoceramides and glycosylceramides—or a placebo.9

After three months, skin hydration was objectively measured by a technique known as corneometry. By this measure, the supplement—but not the placebo—significantly increased skin hydration of the arms, legs, and overall. The greatest improvement was observed on the arms, where skin hydration increased by more than 35%, compared to less than 1% in the placebo group.9

Participants were also asked to rate their own perceptions of the treatment effects (whether they had received the supplement or the placebo). The ceramide extract scored better at all measurement points in the following aspects:9

  • Roughness
  • Uniformity of complexion
  • Facial skin hydration
  • Leg skin hydration
  • Suppleness
  • Itchiness
  • Overall state of the skin

Based on these clinical results showing skin-rejuvenating effects, this oral phytoceramide extract was brought to market. Now, however, stronger new data show that this extract delivers powerful wrinkle-reducing effects!3

The Latest Clinical Findings

In a 2017 study, 64 women aged 42 to 66 were randomized into two groups of equal size. The women took either 350 mg of this plant ceramide extract, or one identical placebo, daily for 12 weeks. A variety of scientific measures were taken.3

The results of this study showed the oral ceramide supplement:3

  • Increased skin hydration for 75% of the women after four weeks,
  • Increased skin hydration for 90% of the women after 12 weeks,
  • Visibly reduced wrinkles around the eyes (crows’ feet) for 88% of the participants after 12 weeks,
  • Improved radiance and reduced dullness around the eye area after eight weeks and
  • Visibly reduced wrinkles through week 20 (even after discontinuation of ceramide supplementation), showing long-term benefits.

This new study demonstrated how plant ceramides can reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also showed improvements in features of the skin’s barrier function that are typically lost to aging and environmental exposure.

Stated differently, individuals who supplemented with this product experienced measurable improvements in “beauty from within.”

Beyond a Youthful Appearance: Ceramides Support the Skin’s Antimicrobial Defenses
Ceramides Support the Skin’s Antimicrobial Defenses

The age-related decline of skin ceramides represents more than a mere cosmetic problem—the loss of these bioactive lipids may constitute a health risk.

Declining ceramide levels and the resulting loss of skin moisture are associated with greater susceptibility to contact dermatitis1,14,15 and reduced structural integrity,5,6,16 which in turn increases the threat to the skin from environmental assaults, such as low humidity, solvents, and detergents.17

To inhibit the loss of ceramides and the multiple health risks that can result, it is important to boost ceramide levels not just on the upper surface where lotions sit, but deep inside the skin cells beneath the stratum corneum.

So maintaining youthful levels of ceramides in the critical barrier layer of the skin achieves more than promoting a better appearance and feel—it powerfully blocks skin infections14 and other skin diseases.1,17

Summary

Summary  

Natural lipid molecules known as ceramides play an essential role in the maintenance of water-retaining properties of the skin—critical to preserving skin’s youthful appearance and texture.

Over time, levels of ceramides in the skin decrease, producing visible signs of aging.

Several studies have indicated that, when taken orally, plant ceramides are transported deep into the cells at the skin surface, working from the inside out. The results are improved skin hydration, smoothness, suppleness, and other youthful measures.

A compelling new study demonstrates that plant ceramides deliver wrinkle-reducing benefits.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

References

  1. Imokawa G, Abe A, Jin K, et al. Decreased level of ceramides in stratum corneum of atopic dermatitis: an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin? J Invest Dermatol. 1991;96(4):523-6.
  2. Coderch L, Lopez O, de la Maza A, et al. Ceramides and skin function. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2003;4(2):107-29.
  3. Supplier Internal Study. Clinical evaluation of the hydrating and the anti-aging effect of Lipowheat® versus placebo as a dietary supplement on healthy volunteers. Data on File. 2017.
  4. Boireau-Adamezyk E, Baillet-Guffroy A, Stamatas GN. Age-dependent changes in stratum corneum barrier function. Skin Res Technol. 2014;20(4):409-15.
  5. Rabionet M, Gorgas K, Sandhoff R. Ceramide synthesis in the epidermis. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014;1841(3):422-34.
  6. Leveque JL, Corcuff P, de Rigal J, et al. In vivo studies of the evolution of physical properties of the human skin with age. Int J Dermatol. 1984;23(5):322-9.
  7. Yilmaz E, Borchert HH. Effect of lipid-containing, positively charged nanoemulsions on skin hydration, elasticity and erythema--an in vivo study. Int J Pharm. 2006;307(2):232-8.
  8. Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/983b/950dd796d79b573a33e490f6434909467021.pdf.. Accessed May 7, 2018.
  9. Guillou S, Ghabri S, Jannot C, et al. The moisturizing effect of a wheat extract food supplement on women’s skin: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2011;33(2):138-43.
  10. Supplier Internal Study. Cutaneous Hydration Evaluation After A Vegetal Ceramide Based Cream Application On Normal Human Skin Tissue Model Maintained Alive, Submitted To A Dehydration Model. Data on File.
  11. Supplier Internal Study. Anti-Elastase And Anti-Radicalar Effect Of Ceramides. Data on File.
  12. Roy A, Sahu RK, Matlam M, et al. In vitro techniques to assess the proficiency of skin care cosmetic formulations. Pharmacogn Rev. 2013;7(14):97-106.
  13. Supplier Internal Study. Clinical Evaluation Of A Hydrating Food Supplement: Double Blind Randomized Study Versus Placebo. Data on File. 2005.
  14. Jennemann R, Rabionet M, Gorgas K, et al. Loss of ceramide synthase 3 causes lethal skin barrier disruption. Hum Mol Genet. 2012;21(3):586-608.
  15. Perry AD, Trafeli JP. Hand dermatitis: review of etiology, diagnosis, and treatment. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009;22(3):325-30.
  16. Del Rosso JQ, Levin J. The clinical relevance of maintaining the functional integrity of the stratum corneum in both healthy and disease-affected skin. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2011;4(9):22-42.
  17. Proksch E, Brandner JM, Jensen JM. The skin: an indispensable barrier. Exp Dermatol. 2008;17(12):1063-72.
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