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Microsoft word - l'ormone_della_bellezza.doc
THE BEAUTY HORMONE
Skin ageing is due to both external factors (such as exposure to the sun and wind) and endogenous factors (like
The skin becomes less elastic, on epidermal level, because of the reduced barrier function of the stratum corneum,
and there are also ageing processes of the dermis which often involve alterations of the microcirculation, with the
thinning of the vessels and sharp decrease in the main components of the dermis fibers, first and foremost
glycosaminoglycans. Moreover, it has been proved that using phospholipids and glucosamine in topical products,
can be very useful to the prevention and treatment of skin blemishes, due to both the ageing process and stressful
situations (such as exposure to exogenous agents or a lack of a sufficient period of rest), because the activity of
glucosamine (a precursor of the biosynthesis of hyaluronic acid) is highly supported by the carrying action of
phospholipids that penetrate into the deeper layers of the dermis.
A further enhancing effect of this cosmetic activity can be achieved using phytosterols or phytoestrogens,
molecules with steroid-like skeleton structure present in plants (they are part of the cell membranes of plants).
Forty types of phytosterols are known, many of which can be found in food, especially in vegetable oils, nuts and
some seeds and legumes. Among the most accessible and easiest phytosterols to manipulate, in terms of
formulation for topical use, there are those derived from soya bean which regulate, naturally, the physiological
hormone production. Considered an extraordinary and an excellent health food, soya bean is therefore
recommended in our daily diet. Moreover, an excellent substance for health is extracted from soya bean - lecithin-
a natural emulsifier that keeps cholesterol, present in our blood, in suspension by preventing its deposits on the
As for the activity of isoflavones in cosmetic products, they have demonstrated biochemical and
biological effects in a series of in vitro models. These effects are based on both the estrogenic properties of
isoflavones, and their role as modulators of membrane transport systems. Phytosterols, in fact, have a biomimetic
action, due to their structural similarity with cholesterol. Steroid hormones are involved in different biological
processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation and morphogenesis. Cellular responses to steroids are
attributed to steroid receptors ability to activate the transcriptional mechanisms in reproductive and non-
reproductive cells. These effects are responsible, in different cellular systems, for monitoring cell progression and
survival. Steroid receptors activate signal transduction pathways through complex molecular interactions that will
enable phytosterols to interact with receptors of fibroblasts inducing the synthesis of dermal macromolecules,
mainly collagen and elastin. As a matter of fact, when in contact with the receptors of fibroblasts, phytosterols
mime the presence of estrogens by inducing the metabolic synthesis of collagen and elastin fibres.
Needless to point out how the induced endogenous production of collagen and elastin is of primary importance to
the fight against ageing and regeneration of skin trophism, after exposure to certain stressful situations. A special
effect can be reached when associating phytosterols to phospholipids and glucosamine. Studies on gel-based
products, show that the skin, after a few weeks treatment, regains firmness and elasticity.
The specific activity of soya bean isoflavone, aimed at contributing to the synthesis of the main components of the
dermis, justifies the definition of "the beauty hormone”. However, It is necessary to point out that the action of plant
sterols, a valuable help against the chrono-ageing, is carried out only locally, without affecting in any way the
systemic equilibrium, given that it doesn’t have any kind of "side effect " or risk.
Dr. Massimo Perrone Cosmetic Chemist
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