Formulation & Science

Strawberries ‘n’ cream! Study highlights UVA protector properties of summer fruit

06-Aug-2012 - By Andrew McDougall+
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Scientists from Italy and Spain have found that strawberry extract protects the skin against UVA rays, and could open the door to the creation of photo-protective cream made from strawberries.

The experiment showed that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against ultraviolet radiation as well as increasing its viability and reducing damage to DNA.

“We have verified the protecting effect of strawberry extract against damage to skins cells caused by UVA rays,” Maurizio Battino, lead researcher at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Italy told the Scientific Information and News Service (SINC).

For the study, the team prepared human skin cell cultures and added strawberry extract in different concentrations (0.05, 0.25 and 0.5 mg/ml), the only exception being the control extract.

Photo-protection

Using ultraviolet light, the samples were then exposed to a dose “equivalent to 90 minutes of midday summer sun in the French Riviera.”

The results, published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, showed that the strawberry extract, especially at a concentration of 0.5 mg/ml, displayed photo-protective properties in those fibroblasts exposed to UVA radiation, increases cell survival and decreases damage in the DNA when compared with control cells.

“These aspects are of great importance as they provide protection for cell lines subject to conditions that can provoke cancer and other skin-related inflammatory and degenerative illnesses,” outlines Battino.

The Italian researcher noted that this is the “first step in determining the beneficial effects of strawberries in our diet or as a possible compound source for ‘food integrators’ or cosmetics for instance.”

Antioxidative properties

Strawberries contain anthocyanidins and anthocyanins which are water soluble flavonoids that give colour and protection to plants.

They are very good antioxidants, scavenging those free radicals that lead to rancidity and spoilage, and can contain between 15 to 20 mg of anthocyanidins and anthocyanins in 100 grams of fruit.

Antioxidants make up a majority of the skin health ingredients in the cosmeceutical market because oxidative stress is generally accepted as a major contributing factor to skin aging.

The antioxidant activity that anthocyanins possess has skin health benefits and has long been a trend in the cosmetic industry.

Related topics: Anti-Aging, Formulation & Science, Skin Care