The study, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, suggests that salicyloyl-phytosphingosine (SP), when topically applied to the face, reduces the depth of wrinkles and improves skin texture in photoaged skin. The report describes photoaging as the combination of chronological aging and exposure of the skin to UV radiation, resulting in skin that is stiffer and less elastic, characterized by a rough texture and deep wrinkles. This is due, amongst other things, to the destruction and loss of the extra cellular matrix (ECM), a complex structural entity that supports and surrounds the cells in the skin, containing proteins such as collagen and elastin. The latest generation of anti-aging products are based on the stimulation of the skin's own production of collagen and other ECM proteins, thereby improving the appearance of the skin. The recent study on SP, funded by Germany-based fine chemicals group Degussa, which is also developing the product, was 'prompted by the known independent benefits of salicylic acid and phytosphingosine on the skin'. Furthermore, positive results from preliminary in vitro tests prompted the team to test the in vivo effects of SP in an oil and water cream as a vehicle. Thirty women with moderate photo damage to facial skin, aged between 41 and 69, were asked to apply the SP cream to half of the face whilst applying a placebo cream to the other half, twice daily for four weeks. The three dimensional profile of the subjects' skin was then measured; changes were quantified using skin smoothness and skin roughness parameters, and measuring the distribution of wrinkle depth. Results showed both an improvement in skin smoothness and a reduction in wrinkle depth, suggesting positive applications for the ingredient in anti-aging products. For the moment the exact mechanism leading to these positive benefits remain undetermined, however the team suggests it is due to SP's ability to stimulate the skin's own production of ECM proteins. The ingredient is likely to join the already extensive range of anti-aging products, one of the fastest growing markets in the personal care industry. Likewise, the arrival of products specifically for photoaged skin, along with recent developments in anti aging treatments for male skin, suggests further that there are likely to be still further developments in ingredients designed to target photoaging.. Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science 2007, volume 29, issue 4, pages 319-329 "Salicyloyl-phytosphingosine: a novel agent for the repair of photoaged skin" M. Farwick, R. E. B. Watson, A. V. Rawlings, U. Wollenweber, P. Lersch, J. J. Bowden, J. Y. Bastrilles and C. E. M. Griffiths
A recently patented ingredient based on naturally occurring skin lipids promises to reduce wrinkles and improve the texture of photoaged skin, reflecting further specialization in the anti-aging market.