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Photoaging Update

Photoaging Update

CoffeeBerry Extract: The Next Big Thing

By Leslie Baumann, M.D.

CoffeeBerry extract ap-pears to be one of the prime candidates for the “next big thing” in terms of new ingredients to be used in skincare formulations. It is said to have higher antioxidant activity than pomegranates, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries as well as white and green teas.

The extract is harvested from the coffee cherry — the outer, fleshy coating around the coffee seed. When the fruit is harvested to make coffee to drink, the coffee cherry, which has the consistency of a grape, is discarded to obtain the seed (or bean). However, to make CoffeeBerry extract, the bean is overlooked and the prized coffee cherry is harvested subripe when it is green from the Coffea arabica plant.

Acknowledged at the AAD meeting this month as suitable for dermatologic application, CoffeeBerry is rife with polyphenols, particularly chlorogenic acid, condensed proanthocyandins, quinic acid, and ferulic acid.

Polyphenols, which are secondary metabolites in plants, are an important part of the human diet, as they are key ingredients in a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, green and black tea, and coffee beans (Annu Rev Nutr. 2002;22:19-34; Nutr Cancer. 1993;20:21-9; Pharmacol Ther. 2001;90:157-77; Am J Med. 2002;113:71-88; and others).

Research during the last several years has demonstrated the potential health benefits of these compounds. Corresponding pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals have been developed to harness the activity of polyphenols for medical and cosmetic applications.

The Coffee Berry Was Previously Overlooked

The coffee berry fruit has been traditionally ignored because it decays quickly, but a method to mine its apparently prodigious activity has been reportedly devised. The first skin formulation to boast the potent antioxidant activity of coffeeberry polyphenols will be RevaléSkin, an anti-aging skincare line developed by the manufacturer Stiefel Laboratories for imparting such activity as well as protection against UVA and UVB and its potential deleterious sequelae. According to Stiefel, CoffeeBerry extract was found to exhibit an antioxidant capacity 10 times higher than that of green tea in the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) assay. Proprietary research from the manufacturer has also shown that use of the RevaléSkin formulation over a 6-week period resulted in significant improvement in hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and overall appearance. Patients with sensitive skin reported no irritation. The products in this new product line, with 1% CoffeeBerry, will be made available to patients this May only through medical aesthetic professionals.

First-Time Use in Skincare Products

Prior to its inclusion in this new product line, CoffeeBerry extract (a registered trademark of VDF FutureCeuticals) had been used only in food products and supplements. If this product line exhibits the anti-aging properties ascribed to it, along with similar products in the pipeline, there appears to be cause for optimism regarding a significant advance in topical skincare and protection. Of course, more research, in the form of double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, are warranted to establish the efficacy of such products as well as this active ingredient.

Dr. Baumann is Chief of the Division of Cosmetic Dermatology and a Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami. She also heads the University of Miami Cosmetic Center, which was the first university-operated center dedicated to cosmetic dermatology in the United States.

Disclosure: Dr. Baumann is a clinical investigator for Stiefel Laboratories.

Indoor Tanning and New Legislation to Curb It

The World Health Organization recommends that no one under the age of 18 years old use a tanning bed because of the associated increased risk for skin cancer. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that school programs designed to prevent skin cancer advise students to avoid using sunlamps and tanning beds.

Yet despite these recommendations and others, in 2005, 8.7% of teens aged 14 to 17 years used indoor tanning devices, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (Data from the 2005 survey is shown below.) Girls aged 14 to 17 years were seven times more likely to use these devices than boys in the same age group. The use of indoor tanning devices increased with age from 14 to 17 years.

In an attempt to prevent some of the teen population from indoor tanning, a bill in California is seeking to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 16 years to patronize indoor tanning facilities.

The bill, AB 105 (Lieu), was introduced in California in early January, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, which is showing support for the bill. If passed, the bill would not only make it illegal for teens under age 16 to use indoor tanning facilities, but teens aged 16 to 18 would need written parental consent, proof of age, and would need also need to sign a consent form in the presence of a facility owner or employee of the indoor tanning facility.

According to the bill, indoor tanning establishments would also be required to conspicuously post warning signs in their front or main entrances. Furthermore, under the bill tanning facilities would be prohibited from claiming that indoor tanning has any known health benefits, and timers used to set tanning time limits would need to be placed remotely so as to be far out of reach from consumers.

For more information on this bill, visit

Aging Skin: Women’s Ages Faster Than Men’s

A German study reports that women lose collagen faster than men, according to a study published in Optics Letters, which is the journal of the Optical Society of America.

The researchers, who were from Germany’s Freidrich Schiller University in Jena and the Fraunhofer Institute of Biomedical Technology in St. Ingbert, used a non-invasive imaging system that uses infrared laser light to image the layers of the skin.

Previously, measurements such as these could only be attained via skin biopsy.

The researchers tested the forearms of 18 volunteers, gathering only tiny swaths of skin fibers to test the elastin/collagen content.
Researchers found that the amounts of collagen and elastin in the samples varied among individuals, and that it was not unusual for a healthy 35 year old to have some areas of skin comparable to the average levels found in a 25 year old.

Ultimately, however, the researchers found that the proportions of elastin and collagen were more dependent on the sex of the individual, with women having less collagen than the men who participated in the study.


How Do Plants Avoid Sunburn?

Everyone knows that plants don’t get sunburned, but now scientists know why.

It has been understood that plants use the defense mechanism known as photoprotection to secure themselves from the harmful effects of the sun, and scientists have also known that carotenoids play a role in photoprotection. But before now, no one knew just what role carotenoids played.

Previously, it was thought that when carotenoids become oxidized — or charged — they lose an electron, and it is during this process that carotenoids “carry away the extra sunlight energy in the form of unwanted electrons, sometimes wicking away the extra electrons across long distances from locations that could damage plant tissues and photosynthesis,” according to ASU Insight, Arizona State University’s Web site, where the researchers conducted this research.

However, through a series of numerous painstaking measurements that the scientists took over an intense 6-month period on particles 10,000 times smaller than the human hair, they “produced a new discovery that shatters the prevailing view” that carotenoids must lose an electron in order to effect photoprotection. Now they know that this is not the case but that carotenoids can still be quite photoprotective even in a neutral state.

The innovative work has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Conductance of a Biomolecular Wire: 593103v1).

Could Deep Wrinkles Signify Lung Disease?

Smokers with deep wrinkles were found to be five times more likely than smokers with wrinkles that were not as pronounced to develop serious lung disease, according to a study published in the journal Thorax.

In the study, researchers evaluated 149 former and present smokers who were on average in their mid to late 50s. They looked both at the amount of smoking each participant had done over his or her lifetime and gauged overall sun exposure.

As part of the study, participants underwent a high-resolution computed tomography scan of the lungs, and they completed a test to gauge the volume of air they could forcibly exhale in 1 second. Study participants also had both the right and left sides of their faces photographed, and they completed a survey to determine sun exposure and sunscreen use.

Dermatologists graded the degree of wrinkling based on the study participants’ photos, and the study’s researchers evaluated the remaining data.

They found that smokers who had the deepest facial lines were found to be the most likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and several other noncancerous conditions affecting the lungs. Of the 68 participants who had COPD, 25 were designated as having the most severe wrinkles. Of these people, 21 had COPD.

Researchers concluded that deeper lines in patients who smoke could be a sign of COPD.

According to the World Health Organization, deaths from COPD are increasing, and it is expected to be the third-leading cause of death in the world by the year 2020.

Source: Published online first: 14 June 2006. doi:10.1136/thx.2005.053827. Thorax 2006;61:568-671.


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