Published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, the preliminary study was carried out to assess the recovery rate of the epidermal permeability barrier function following controlled stripping and applications of samphire and control formulations.
The skin barrier slows down dehydration and prevents the invasion of microorganisms and harmful materials in the skin, but, as individuals age, the body’s ability to repair any weakening of the skin barrier function often slows down.
However, this study, carried out by researchers from the Laboratory of Skin Bioengineering and Imaging, at the University Hospital of Liège in Belgium, has found that skin sites treated with samphire cell biomass displayed a much quicker recovery.
“The present experimental pilot study brings some clues supporting a beneficial boosting effect of samphire cell biomass on the kinetics of epidermal permeability barrier repair,” the researchers said.
The researchers tested the effects of the plant cell by evaluating 12 healthy patients under the age of 50.
Participants first underwent a 14-day skin pre-conditioning, with daily applications of formulations enriched with or without a samphire biomass, in the form of cosmetic serums, creams and oils.
Application and testing
Controlled strippings from the outermost layer of the skin (stratum corneum) were then used to increase the transepidermal water loss (TEWL), the measurement of the quantity of water that passes from inside a body through the skin, just above 15 g/m2/h.
The epidermal permeability repair kinetics was then assessed for 14 days by daily measurements of both TEWL and the colorimetric value a*, with an untreated skin site used as a control site.
The researchers found that the samphire pre-treated sites resulted in a rapid recovery to lower TEWL values (0.1 percent serum, 0.05 percent cream, the serum–cream association, and 0.5 percent silicone oil), a process that was significantly faster than that on both the placebo-preconditioned (silicone oil) site and the untreated site (P < 0.001).
“The reduction in value a* following applications of samphire formulations suggests some soothing effect of the samphire cell biomass, which could be a direct effect or be secondary to the skin barrier improvement,” concluded the study.
“This finding at least rules out any induced inflammatory reaction. The increase in skin capacitance related to the preconditioning by samphire products is likely interpreted as the result of a moisturizing effect.”
Caucanas, M., Montastier, C., Piérard, G. E. and Quatresooz, P. (2011), Dynamics of skin barrier repair following preconditioning by a biotechnology-driven extract from samphire (Crithmum maritimum) stem cells. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 10: 288–293. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00584.x