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Plant-based oligosaccharides for skin hydration

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Liposomes with fructose oligosaccharides to relieve stressed skin

The fructose oligosaccharide inulin is extracted from the roots of Chicory (Cichorium intybus​) which is one of the most common wild herbs in Central Europe that delights many people with its blue flowers. It is an important medicinal and cultivated plant, and its leaves are used in salad while its roots are used as a substitute for coffee.

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The root component inulin is a polymer of the sugar fructose and it is known as non-digestible dietary fiber with low caloric value. Inulin is commonly used as a prebiotic, fat and sugar replacer, as well as for the development of functional foods, thanks to its beneficial role in gastric health.

Because inulin is also an excellent humectant, it was used to develop the skin moisture active PolyFructol Plus. In order to increase its efficacy, inulin was combined with lecithin liposomes. Inulin draws water from the environment into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated. In addition, it forms a smooth and pleasant film on the skin that acts as a skin-conditioning agent, leaving the skin soft and smooth. All of this is further supported by the lecithin derived liposomes.

Due to prebiotic properties, i.e. nourishing a healthy bacterial flora, PolyFructol Plus helps to preserve the healthy appearance of the skin by balancing the skin’s microbiota. Thanks to this quality, inulin enhances the natural protective barrier of the skin and maintains it in a good condition. Overall, a balanced skin microflora will result in improved moisture retention and a fuller, healthier skin.

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Skin hydration after a single application was demonstrated in a study involving 20 female volunteers. PolyFructol Plus at different concentrations, incorporated in a rinse-off formulation, was applied once on the forearms of the volunteers and rinsed with tap water. As control, the formulation without active was applied. Skin hydration was measured with a corneometer after 30 and 60 minutes. Results showed that PolyFructol Plus increased skin hydration in a clearly dose-dependent manner, after a single use and despite rinsing. The skin gained moisture in comparison to the placebo and untreated skin.

To demonstrate a protective and firming effect, PolyFructol Plus was tested on skin stressed by harsh washing. It was a randomized placebo-controlled clinical study with twenty female volunteers. The study was conducted in three phases. During the first seven days, the skin area of the inner side of the forearms was washed three times daily with a non-hydrating shower gel. A cream containing 1% PolyFructol Plus and the corresponding placebo were applied to the skin after each wash. For the following seven days, only the test products were applied onto the inner sides of the forearms twice daily. The final application of the test products was at day 14. On the last two days of the study, the skin was no longer treated. The skin parameters moisture, TEWL, elasticity and roughness were measured at the beginning of the study and after each study phase. For all the different parameters, the results showed the same tendency. Whereas skin conditions worsened on the placebo-treated area during the stress phase, the skin treated with PolyFructol Plus was protected. During the recovery phase, application of PolyFructol Plus let to a much better improvement of all measured skin parameters. And finally, the values analyzed two days after the last product application, showed a long-lasting effect for PolyFructol Plus.

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An active containing inulin combined with lecithin liposomes proved a strong hydration effect even in a rinse-off product after a single application. Interestingly, in compromised skin such as after excessive washing the ingredient PolyFructol Plus showed also a protecting effect. This might be because of inulin’s prebiotic nature. The fructose oligosaccharides are a perfect food source for the skin microbiota and help in recolonization after washing. 

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