Naturally aged skin is usually smooth, pale, and finely wrinkled, whereas photo-aged skin shows coarse, deep wrinkles and dyspigmentation. Depletion of the Ozone layer leads to an increase in UV-B rays reaching the earth, increasing the photo-aging effect.
Studies testing the benefits of PS intake on the skin include studies in animals, aimed at learning about the mechanisms that lead to the benefits of PS for the skin, and in humans, proving the benefits in human beings.
PS benefits the skin via two mechanisms that are different but complementary to one another.
The first mechanism found in animal studies relates to the way in which PS increases the levels of internal collagen production. Collagen is a protein which is the structural basis of skin. Reduction in collagen formation results in skin wrinkling, drying and deformation. The second mechanism relates to the way PS prevents the production of another protein, known as MMP1, which is an enzyme responsible for collagen breakdown.
The two combined mechanisms lead to increased collagen formation. Indeed, studies in humans show that intake of PS results in reduced wrinkling and increased skin moisture.
PS increases and restored collagen levels
Collagen is the main structural protein building the skin. When collagen levels are reduced, or when the collagen is damaged by internal or external factors, such as UV light, the skin becomes damaged and wrinkled, spots may form, moisture is reduced and the skin elasticity is reduced. This process is known as “photodamage”. PS was found to increase the levels of collagen and protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV light.
PS reduces the extent of wrinkle formation
As we age our skin loses some of its collagen and moisture, leading to the formation of wrinkles. The effects of PS on skin wrinkles were tested in a study conducted on hairless mice. The skin of the hairless mouse is usually quite smooth (left picture), but exposure to UV light leads to the formation of wrinkles. Ingestion of PS by the mice led to protection from UV-induced skin wrinkling, and even to improvement in skin texture compared to the skin of mice who did not consume PS.
PS anti-wrinkling effect in humans
The ability of PS to reduce skin wrinkles has also been tested in humans. In a double-blind, placebo controlled study, participants received 300mg/day of PS for 12 weeks. The skin around the eyes was evaluated by a dermatologist, and wrinkling of the skin was found to be reduced in subjects who consumed PS.
PS more than doubles skin moisture
Aged skin often has reduced moisture, affecting the elasticity of the skin and leading to wrinkle formation. In a double-blind, placebo controlled study, people aged 40-60 years took 300 mg/day of supplemental PS for 12 weeks. Their skin moisture was found to more than double in comparison to those taking the placebo.
The minimal dose of PS shown to be effective for the skin is 300 mg/day. Clinical studies of PS intake show benefits after just 12 weeks of consumption.