When you think of the ingredients for great skin, you probably think of collagen, hyaluronic acid and retinol, but do you ever think maple syrup?
University of Rhode Island researchers are hoping to change that. A new study from the school shows that red maple leaf extract may be the new key to reducing the signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines and creases.
The study authors also hope to address other effects of aging such as sagging skin and uneven pigment.
The signs of aging often become visible during the mid-40s, but they start to develop during the early 20s.
“Skin quality begins to change during the early to mid-20s. Most notably, the face starts to lose fat volume. When this volume is lost, skin starts to sag,” said Dr. Gregory W. Chernoff, a triple-board-certified facial, plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
In addition to the loss of facial fat volume, the body’s production of collagen begins to decline around the same time.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and helps to give the skin its support and structure. Elastin is another protein critical to the health of the skin; it gives it the ability to retract after being stretched.
“The loss of fat, coupled with a decline in collagen and elastin production around age 22 to 25, sets the stage for the signs of aging to creep in,” Chernoff said.
The changes that occur in the 20s mean the potential for wrinkles in the 30s and 40s, and most people want to prevent looking older as long as possible, so finding new ways to prevent wrinkles is becoming a growing and very profitable industry.
While millions of anti-aging products are sold in the United States each year, the Rhode Island team believes that red maple leaf extract offers an all-natural alternative.
All-natural and organic skin care products are in demand. Statistics show that more than half of the women polled in the United States felt it was important to purchase natural products.
When researchers analyzed the red maple leaf extract in the lab, they found that it affects the activity of the enzyme elastase, a protein that breaks down the skin-critical elastin.
When skin retains its elastin, it also keeps its ability to stretch and retract.
In addition to its effects on elastin, red maple leaf extract may also reduce redness and inflammation, as well as lighten sun spots and other areas of dark pigment.
Although further red maple leaf extract research and human clinical trials are needed, the scientists on the study can definitively say that the product will not be able to address existing wrinkles, so individuals who are already showing signs of aging will need to incorporate other methods into their beauty routine.
“Using high-quality skin care products in combination with professional skin-rejuvenating procedures can help keep you looking younger for many years, and may ward off future wrinkles, lines and creases,” Chernoff said.
Skin-rejuvenating treatments that can help prevent wrinkles, lines and creases and improve skin tone and quality include procedures such as radiofrequency skin tightening, micro needling and laser skin treatments.
Chernoff offers additional tips to help protect the skin from premature aging.
“Get plenty of sleep, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated,” Chernoff said.
Avoiding excess consumption of alcohol and not smoking can also help protect the skin.
“Lifestyle factors make a significant difference in how the skin ages because they affect collagen production and can dull the skin,” Chernoff said.
The Rhode Island study comes at the right time; by 2024, the global skin care market is estimated to total $180 billion.
Allure. Maple Leaf Extract Could Be the Next Big Fine Line Smoother, According to Early Research. 23 August 2018.
Statista. Size of the global skin care market from 2012 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)