Research to uncover elderberry skin care benefits

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

A new study will be undertaken in the UK later this year to
discover the nutritional benefits of elderberry fruit to the skin.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia will explore whether the skin's condition is improved when exposed to a compound, anthocyanin, that give the berries their colour.

Led by Professor Aedin Cassidy from the university and Dr Paul Kroon of Food Research, the 12-week trial is based on oral application of the elderberry fruit, with participants either consuming extracts of the berry, or placebo capsules in order to assess whether the berry would be useful as a skin care application on the cosmetics market.

"If the results of our study are positive, it may lead to innovations in skin health products and may also give us vital information about diets which promote healthier hearts," said UEA's Dr Peter Curtis who is leading the project.

Post-menopausal women will have their skin structure and appearance measured with state-of-the-art equipment used by skin care experts, while at the same time being monitored to assess whether the elderberry extract could reduce risk factors for heart disease.

"We already know that a healthy diet can help protect against heart disease and skin damage, and that a mixture of similar food components have been shown to improve the skin's structure.

There is also evidence that the active components have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be important in helping people stay healthy," Curtis said.

The fruit ingredient trend has remained strong within natural and organic cosmetic manufacturing, with many companies launching product ranges incorporating fruit extracts.

An unprecedented number of cosmetic products, from facial colour cosmetics to skin care lines, have been launched that incorporate fruit extracts - benefiting from the natural anti-oxidant properties they contain.

Now even self-tan/sun care manufacturers are picking up on the trend, indicative of the fact that things appear to have gone full circle in the industry, while increasing the prevalence of the natural and organic sector in the cosmetics market.

With market research company Organic Monitor estimating that the European market for natural and organic products is currently growing at 20 per cent a year, and set to surpass a value of €1bn, the trend for fruit extracts should serve to help take these figures to new heights.

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