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Lucuma fruit has anti-aging and wound healing potential

By Katie Bird , 15-Dec-2010
Last updated on 16-Dec-2010 at 17:27 GMT2010-12-16T17:27:21Z

The lucuma fruit, a popular flavoring for food and confectionary in much of South America, has potential for topical use as an anti-aging ingredient, according to recent research.

The edible fruit (Pouteria lucuma) has been consumed for many years, according to researcher at Rutgers University Leonel Rojo, and is common as a flavoring in sweets and ice creams.

“This has not been used before as a topical cosmetics ingredient, this is why it is such an interesting discovery. The lucuma fruit has been consumed for thousands of years in the Andes of South America, mainly in Chile and Peru, since the INCA's time,” Rojo told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

Rojo won the prize for the best poster when he presented his research into the anti-aging and wound healing properties of the Pouteria lucuma seed extract at the recent Cosmetic Technology Transfer conference organised by the New York chapter of the Society for Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC).

Anti-aging and skin repair properties

According to Rojo, who worked on the product along with the Rutgers Professor Dr. Ilya Raskin as well as researchers from ingredients supplier Lipo Chemical, the ingredient has anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and skin repair effects.

In vitro tests performed by the team on human cells looked into the effects the ingredient could have on the skin.

“The oil of lucuma seed basically has three effects,” explained Rojo.

“It increases the re-growth of endothelial cells; fibroblast migration, and tissue regeneration, and also display anti-inflammatory effect. This is important since wound closure and skin wrinkling are both intimately related to the migration of specific cells in our skin called fibroblasts,” he said.

In addition to its ability to help increase fibroblast migration, the extract from the seed of Pouteria lucuma can help increase the expression of elastin, Rojo explained.

“The lack of elastin, or the decrease in elastin fibres, is one of the main reasons for wrinkles to occur,” he said.

Wound healing

Within the poster presented at the NYSCC’s conference, there was also data on the effect of the ingredient on wound healing.

[This is because] the aging and wound healing processes are very linked, they both share common molecular targets, such as cell migration, extracellular matrix remodeling and inflammation, we have developed a promising botanical ingredient with potent effects in all the above mentioned molecular targets,” Rojo said.

According to the poster, the lucuma seed extract significantly accelerated wound healing in two animal models.

Skin wounds in mice were treated with topical formulations containing the extract and showed significantly increased wound closure compared to non treated mice. In addition, the extract promoted tissue regeneration in transgenic zebrafish.

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