In recent years, awareness of the importance of maintaining skin health has greatly increased. Several studies and publications have shed light on the damaging influence of external stress factors which has led to rising consumer interest in cosmetic actives with multifunctional stress-protection and anti-aging benefits, like Glycoin® natural (INCI: Glyceryl Glucoside, Aqua (Water)). Glycoin® natural belongs to a group of molecules called Extremolytes which are accumulated by extremophilic microorganisms and plants thriving in the most hostile environments on earth, such as deserts, salt lakes, geysers, and even the arctic ice.1,2 The Extremolyte Glycoin® natural is the protection and re-activation substance of the desert resurrection plant “Myrothamnus flabellifolia”. It enables the fascinating existence and survival strategy of this extremophilic plant. Myrothamnus flabellifolia is found in the deserts of Africa and has the impressive ability to survive very long periods without a single drop of water. During dry season, the bush desiccates and appears withered and dead, but in those rare moments of rainfall, the wonder of nature happens, and the plant comes back to life and re-greens within a few hours (Figure 1). After the rain stops, Myrothamnus flabellifolia dries out again until the next miracle of resurrection. This is possible because during desiccation of the plant, Glycoin® natural protects its structures. As soon as water is available again, the Extremolyte revitalizes the plant by boosting and stimulating its cell functions.3
Due to its comprehensive protection and revitalization properties, Glycoin® natural is used as a highly effective and multifunctional active ingredient for skin care formulations, which are tailored to different consumer needs and marketing trends.
Aging of the skin can be attributed to two main causes, natural aging and external factors. The natural process of aging leads to loss of elasticity and thickness of the skin, resulting in a wrinkled appearance. External stress factors like sun, visible light and pollution further accelerate this process and contribute to over 90% of premature aging.4 Due to an aging population, increased wealth and awareness of availability of anti-aging products, the worldwide anti-aging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.74% and reach a value of 93.1 billion USD in 2027.5 With its comprehensive efficacy and benefits, Glycoin® natural matches the need for an effective, clinically proven anti-aging active.
Glycoin® natural’s anti-aging benefits were demonstrated in a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical in vivo study where 30 female test persons (Phototype I to IV) applied a cream with 2% Glycoin® natural twice daily on the face for 8 weeks. All tested parameters were improved significantly: skin firmness increased by 24% while skin roughness decreased by 3% and wrinkle volume by 7%. Furthermore, biological (+30%), net (+34%) and raw elasticity (+41%) were enhanced. A graphical representation of the significant anti-aging efficacy of Glycoin® natural is presented in Figure 2.
Another factor leading to wrinkled appearance is loss of skin thickness. Adult skin thins progressively at a rate that accelerates with age with the epidermis thickness decreasing by up to 50% between the ages of 30 to 80.6 Changes in epidermal thickness are most pronounced in exposed areas such as the face, neck, and décolleté as well as hands and forearms. Overall epidermal thickness decreases at about 6.4% per 10 years, decreasing faster in women than in men. Dermal thickness also is reduced with age. The loss of dermal collagen and elastin makes up most of the reduction in total skin thickness in elderly adults: for example, in postmenopausal women, a decrease in skin thickness of 1.13% per year parallels a 2% decrease per year in collagen content.6 To show the positive effect of Glycoin® natural on the collagen and elastin production in the dermis and the resulting increase in dermal and epidermal thickness, a placebo-controlled in vivo study with 5 female test persons (45–58y) was conducted. After twice-daily application of a cream containing 1% Glycoin® natural vs. placebo on the inner forearm for 4 weeks, the epidermal and dermal density were measured by ultrasonography (DermaScan C®) to characterize the change in skin thickness.
It was found that 1% Glycoin® natural improves the skin density of mature skin by up to 9.9% after four weeks compared to untreated skin. In 100% of the test persons a significant increase in skin thickness was measured after Glycoin® natural treatment.
As shown in several studies,7,8 skin aging is also associated with a decrease in skin hydration. To examine the long-lasting skin hydration efficacy of Glycoin® natural, another placebo-controlled in vivo study was conducted over the course of two months. After the application of a cream containing 2% Glycoin® natural and placebo twice daily on the face of 30 female volunteers (40–60y), cutaneous hydration was measured on day 28 and day 56 with a Cutometer®.
It was demonstrated that Glycoin® natural has a significant, long-term skin hydration effect as it increases cutaneous hydration by 26% after 4 weeks and by 45% after 8 weeks, compared to placebo.
Protection against blue light-induced pigmentation
Besides improving signs of aging, protecting skin from extrinsic stress factors is crucial when wanting to counteract skin aging. One such external stress factor is blue light (450 to 495 nm). It is part of the visible light spectrum (390 to 700 nm) and is not only emitted by the sun, but also by digital devices like computer or smartphone screens. Various studies have shown negative consequences of visible light radiation on the skin including erythema, pigmentation, thermal damage and free radical production. Visible light can also induce indirect DNA damage due to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).9 In the past years, it was demonstrated that blue light irradiation induces a decrease in the expression of Aquaporin 3 (AQP3) in the epidermis and dermis.10 Aquaporins are water and glycerin channels of the membrane and play a crucial role in hydration. AQP3, the most abundant aquaporin, is also involved in different processes in the cell like wound healing.11 Averting a reduction in AQP3 level is important as a reduced AQP3 level has been associated with conditions like psoriasis, leukoplakia, diabetes mellitus, and aging.12,13,14,15,16,17 Glycoin® natural can prevent a decrease in the level of AQP3 in the cells induced by visible/blue light, thereby maintaining the hydration status of the skin. In a placebo-controlled in vitro study, a growth medium with normal human epidermal keratinocytes of a 23-year-old Caucasian woman was exposed to blue light (220 J/cm2, 1 h 50 min daily) for three days. The parameter to measure the boosting effect on important cell functions of 0.5% Glycoin® natural was the immunolabeling of Aquaporin 3 (AQP3).
After daily exposure (1 h 50 min) to blue light for three days, a significant decrease in AQP3 content in the NHEK cells was observed in the placebo control. The reduction in AQP3 may result in an imbalance in water and glycerol exchange and consequently a reduction in skin hydration. Keratinocytes treated with 0.5% Glycoin® natural on the other hand showed a significantly higher amount of AQP3 positive cells compared to the placebo, boosting the AQP3 expression during the blue light-induced stress. Therefore, it can be stated that Glycoin® natural protects skin from blue light induced damage and maintains the natural content of AQP3 in keratinocytes.
Prebiotic microbiome support
Another aspect of skin protection that gained awareness in recent years is skin microbiome support. The human skin is home to millions of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The microscopic organisms play an important role in maintaining our skin’s health by building a protective layer against invading pathogens and biodegradation on skin.18 Furthermore, they are essential for the education of our immune system. Not only commensal (“good”), but also pathogenic (“bad”) microorganisms are crucial for the microbiome of the skin, which varies from individual to individual. A healthy microbiome helps the skin by stabilizing pH-value and producing beneficial nutrients which is why microbiome protection and support is important to maintain healthy skin and prevent premature aging. To determine the effect of Glycoin® natural on the human microbiome, a placebo-controlled in vitro study was conducted. The measured parameter was the growth of bacterial strains after incubation with 0.5% and 1.0% Glycoin® natural for 48 h. The bacterial mixture used contained both commensal and pathogenic bacterial strains and represented a large percentage of the human skin microbiome (Staphylococcus aureus ATCC® 6538™, Staphylococcus epidermidis ATCC® 14990™, Cutibacterium acnes ATCC® 6919™, Corynebacterium striatum ATCC® 6940™). Bacterial growth was evaluated by measuring the OD600nm using a photo-meter (see Figure 7 and Figure 8).
The results show that both concentrations of Glycoin® natural enhance bacterial growth over time and maintain the viability of the microorganisms after 48 h of incubation. Therefore, Glycoin® natural is a microbiome-friendly active ingredient that also has a prebiotic effect on the human microbiome due to its growth-promoting activity even at low concentrations.
The natural stress protection molecule Glycoin® natural has gained attention as a multifunctional active ingredient in the past years. Its efficacy has been proven in various studies (in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo/clinical). The bioactive was shown to improve numerous aging-related parameters like skin firmness, elasticity, roughness thickness, density and wrinkle volume. In addition to reducing signs of aging, Glycoin® natural provides protection from external stress factors like blue light, making it a comprehensive anti-aging active ingredient. Moreover, as a cell-energizer it stimulates important cell functions for faster regeneration of the epithelial barrier and stabilizes the skin flora. To complete its multifunctionality, Glycoin® natural shows instant and long-lasting skin hydration, brightening and prebiotic properties. The enzymatically produced bioactive is vegan, EcoCert, Cosmos, Natrue, Halal certified, and China applicable. In conclusion, Glycoin® natural is a multifunctional, natural, and safe active ingredient with clinically proven efficacy. It is suited for skin care formulations for all skin types and matches various consumer demands and market trends.
1 Mackay, M. A., Norton, R. S., & Borowitzka, L. J. (1983). Marine blue-green algae have a unique osmoregulatory system. Marine Biology, 73(3), 301-307. 2 Bianchi, G., Gamba, A., Limiroli, R., Pozzi, N., Elster, R., Salamini, F., & Bartels, D. (1993). The unusual sugar composition in leaves of the resurrection plant Myrothamnus flabellifolia. Physiologia Plantarum, 87(2), 223-226. 3 Dinakar, C., & Bartels, D. (2013). Desiccation tolerance in resurrection plants: new insights from transcriptome, proteome and metabolome analysis. Frontiers in plant science, 4, 482. 4 Li, X. (2015, June). Anti-aging cosmetics and its efficacy assessment methods. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 87, No. 1, p. 012043). IOP Publishing. 5 Statista. Size of the anti-aging market worldwide from 2021 to 2027. https://www.statista.com/statistics/509679/value-of-the-global-anti-aging-market/ (Accessed on March 7, 2023). 6 Miller, M. A. F. K. W., & Maibach, H. I. (2009). 4 Degenerative Changes in Aging Skin. Textbook of Aging Skin, 19, 25. 7 Man, M. Q., Xin, S. J., Song, S. P., Cho, S. Y., Zhang, X. J., Tu, C. X., … & Elias, P. M. (2009). Variation of skin surface pH, sebum content and stratum corneum hydration with age and gender in a large Chinese population. Skin pharmacology and physiology, 22(4), 190-199. 8 Marrakchi, S., & Maibach, H. I. (2007). Biophysical parameters of skin: map of human face, regional, and age-related differences. Contact dermatitis, 57(1), 28-34. 9 Godley, B. F., Shamsi, F. A., Liang, F. Q., Jarrett, S. G., Davies, S., & Boulton, M. (2005). Blue light induces mitochondrial DNA damage and free radical production in epithelial cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280(22), 21061-21066. 10 Avola, R., Graziano, A. C. E., Pannuzzo, G., & Cardile, V. (2018). Blue light induces down-regulation of aquaporin 1, 3, and 9 in human keratinocytes. Cells, 7(11), 197. 11 Bollag, W. B., Aitkens, L., White, J., & Hyndman, K. A. (2020). Aquaporin-3 in the epidermis: more than skin deep. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology, 318(6), C1144-C1153. 12 Lee Y, Je YJ, Lee SS, Li ZJ, Choi DK, Kwon YB, Sohn KC, Im M, Seo YJ, Lee JH (2012). Changes in transepidermal water loss and skin hydration according to expression of aquaporin-3 in psoriasis. Annals of Dermatology, 24(2), 168-174. 13 Kim, N. H., & Lee, A. Y. (2010). Reduced aquaporin3 expression and survival of keratinocytes in the depigmented epidermis of vitiligo. Journal of investigative dermatology, 130(9), 2231-2239. 14 Lee, A. Y. (2012). Role of keratinocytes in the development of vitiligo. Annals of dermatology, 24(2), 115-125. 15 Ikarashi N, Mizukami N, Kon R, Kaneko M, Uchino R, Fujisawa I, Fukuda N, Sakai H, Kamei J (2019). Study of the mechanism underlying the onset of diabetic xeroderma focusing on an aquaporin-3 in a streptozotocin-induced diabetic mouse model. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(15), 3782. 16 Ikarashi, N., Kon, R., Kaneko, M., Mizukami, N., Kusunoki, Y., & Sugiyama, K. (2017). Relationship between aging-related skin dryness and aquaporins. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(7), 1559. 17 Li, J., Tang, H., Hu, X., Chen, M., & Xie, H. (2010). Aquaporin-3 gene and protein expression in sun-protected human skin decreases with skin ageing. Australasian journal of dermatology, 51(2), 106-112. 18 Byrd, A. L., Belkaid, Y., & Segre, J. A. (2018). The human skin microbiome. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 16(3), 143-155.
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