Fungal polysaccharides hold skin moisturising potential

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Skin

New research supports the use of a biopolymer duo in moisturising and anti-aging products.

Belgium-based company KitoZyme has performed a number of trials investigating the potential of its chitin-glucan ingredient in skincare products.

Chitin-glucan is a copolymer found in the cell wall of several fungi including Aspergillus niger​, the source of KitoZyme’s ingredient.

The company performed two tests, in conjunction with researchers from the University Hospital of Liege, Belgium, to investigate both the tolerance and the efficacy of the ingredient.

Moisturizing properties

According to the research, which was published in the December issue of the International Journal of Cosmetics Science, suggests that chitin-glucan has good moisturizing properties and can help fight against some of the signs of skin aging.

In a 16 week study a moisturizing day cream containing 1.5 percent chitin-glucan was applied twice daily to two 3cm areas on the forearm of 20 healthy men. A similar moisturising cream without the chitin-glucan was applied to the other forearm to act as a control.

Skin firmness, stratum corneum hydration and skin topography were measured as was skin surface harshness and skin roughness.

Skin firmness was measured by investigating the propogation speed of an ultrasound shear wave and, according to the results, treatment with chitin-glucan significantly firmed the skin compared to the placebo, particularly at the end of the treatment.

The electrical capacitance of the skin was used to measure the skin hydration and the study claims the chitin-glucan improved skin hydration by 11.3 percent from week 4.

Measurements of skin topography also improved after the application of chitin-glucan, the study claims.

Environmentally friendly extraction

The study concludes that the ingredient has potential for use in skin moisturizing and anti-aging formulations. In addition, it highlights the non animal-derived and environmentally friendly nature of the product in the hope of gaining interest from the natural and organic camp.

The authors note that previously chitin-based ingredients were often sourced from shellfish, and therefore could not be used in cosmetics products trying to steer clear of animal-derived ingredients.

However, KitoZyme’s chitin-glucan ingredient is extracted from the vegetative part (mycelium) of a microscopic fungi Aspergillus niger,​ which the company claims is a by-product of the production of pharmaceutical and food-grade citric acid.

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