SKIN RENEWAL - Part Deux (how skin is renewed) forums

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Jun 26, 2005
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Duluth, GA
Skin Renewal Part Deux

When considering the effects of aging and a harsh environment of skin, identifying ways to make the desquamation process more efficient can be problematic. Historically, the skin care industry has approached maintaining nourished and radiant skin in a rather aggressive manner. Different methods have been used to guide a poorly funcitoning desquamation cycle back on track with varying levels of success. Among these more abrasive methods are microdermabrasion and treatments that use various neutral or alkaline proteases, alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), and even toxic acids, such as phenol and trichloroacetic acid (TCA). The abrasive tactic mechanically removes squames from the stratum corneum, while chemical peels use acids to exfoliate. Both approaches should be considered harsh, and they hardly mimic the enzymatic process found in nature. Furthurmore, when acid chemical peels are employed, their use often is associated with stinging irritation and long-term erythema hypo- and hyperpigmentation. When acids are used in high concentrations, there often is an actual peeling off of unsightly sheets of still interconnectedsquames from the stratum corneum, which can continue for several days and may discourage a client from being seen in public until healing is complete.

Plant-derived proteases, such as papain and bromelain, also have been used in attempts to promote an acceptable epidermal desquamation process. These enzymes have a wide pH-activity profile and thus have high proteolytic activity, even in the basic pH region (above pH7). Because of this, they are capable of hydrolyzing desmosomal linkages between keratinocytes located in the lowest levels of the epidermis. Their use often is associated with skin sensitivity problems, such as stinging, blistering and edema. Again, enzymes that are not acid proteases cannot be expected to mimic the orderly desquamation of surface squames.

The most effective approach for treating and correcting human skin exfoliation issues would be to duplicate the action of the acid protease cathepsin D under conditions that provide both optimal epidermal surface pH and optimal acid protease activity thoughout a defined period of time.

A MUSHROOM exfoliant

An enzyme isolated from the mushroom, Mucor miehei, classified as an acid protease, could be an exfoliant that would mimic the results of cathepsin D. This enzyme, long used in the food industry--particularly in cheese production--has a catalytic activity--pH profile very similar to that of cathepsin D. The proteolytic action of this enzyme, when applied topically in an acidic medium of approximately pH 4.0, has been shown to enhance orderly and effective desquamation. It was concluded that this methodology produces effective desquamation and epidermal cell renewal without the side effects of sensitivity, scaling or water barrier problems that often are associated with other exfoliants presently used in skin care.

Balancing Skin Naturally

By following Mother Nature's lead and exfoliating squames through a natural enzyme-based process, skin can be returned to its healthy, attractive state without painful or visible side effects. Incorporating treatments that capitalize on the benefits of the mushroom acid protease could provide a positive, natural exfoliation alternative for clients!


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