The pilot study, written up in Phytotherapy Research, was funded in part by the Almond Board of California (a non-profit organization that is responsible for helping stabilize market conditions for almonds through a marketing order issued by the US Department of Agriculture).
And according to a media release circulated by the board, a longer, more thorough study on the skin care benefits of eating almonds is already underway.
The initial study looks to capitalize on the beauty-from-within (supplements and ingestibles) trend. “Food as a means of promoting skin health – the ‘health from the inside out’ idea – is of growing interest to those looking for options for healthy aging,” says dermatologist Raja K Sivamani, in his remarks to the press. And, Sivamani notes that food as a means to skin health is “also a growing area of scientific research.”
Of particular importance here, “almonds are a rich source of antioxidant vitamin E and deliver essential fatty acids and polyphenols,” says Sivamani “They're a smart choice for overall good nutrition. And, as seen in this study, almonds may hold promise as a food to include as part of a healthy aging diet, especially for post-menopausal women.”
A team of 8 scientists from the University of California Davis set out to determine if almonds have an effect on the skin’s lipid barrier, on sebum production, or on wrinkles.
28 volunteers took part in the study. Half ate 20% of their daily calories in almonds (about 2 ounces) daily; the others ate a comparable nut-free snack. Otherwise everyone ate as usual, taking care not to eat any nuts. Photographic analysis of wrinkles as well as measurements of transepidermal water loss and sebum production were taken at the start of the study and again at 8 and 16 week intervals. And, the most compelling data show that wrinkle width decreased by 10% and wrinkle severity decreased by 9% in the group of women eating the almonds.
The researchers acknowledge that their pilot study necessarily had limitations: “Because aging is a long‐lasting process, our 16‐week experimental findings can be difficult to generalize to extended periods of time. Second, skin aging is multifactorial in nature, and although we excluded people with a long or recent smoking history, there is a variance in participant‐aging confounders such as frequency of UV light exposure and emotional stress, which were outside the scope of our study,” as the published article explains.
Still their findings are promising: “Overall,” the article concludes, “our results suggest that daily consumption of almonds may be an effective option to prevent progression of normal aging including wrinkles in postmenopausal females. Our results warrant future studies with expanded population groups and additional evaluations for signs of skin aging.”
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.