Milk Thistle May Prevent Photo-Aging and Skin Cancer

milkthistle 2For more than 2,000 years, a spiky purple plant known as the “liver herb,” has been used in traditional medicine for healing a wide range of conditions from mushroom poisoning to indigestion.  Modern researchers have now added the prevention of photo-aging and skin cancer to the long list of milk thistle’s benefits. Continue reading

Strawberry Extract Protects Against UVA Rays

An experiment has shown 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. Developed by a team of Italian and Spanish researchers, the study opens the door to the creation of photo-protective cream made from strawberries.

“We have verified the protecting effect of strawberry extract against damage Continue reading

Turning Human Skin Cells into Functioning Nerve Cells

Scientists at Stanford report that they can turn human skin cells directly into functioning nerve cells in the lab dish. The process does not involve an intermediate step of forming a stem cell, but directly converts skin cells into neurons.

Last year this group showed that they could accomplish this direct conversion with mouse cells. The new results, reported in the journal Nature, accomplish this conversion for the first time with human cells by adding four genes to the skin cells. Other researchers have obtained similar direct conversion results in the formation of blood, heart, and insulin-secreting cells.

The direct conversion technique is similar  Continue reading

Protect DNA Damage of Skin Cells with Vitamin C Help

LISBON – – Researchers at the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal have found that vitamin C can help protect DNA damage of skin cells and lead to better skin regeneration.

Previous research has shown that DNA repair is up regulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements.

In the new study, the researchers have provided some mechanistic evidence.

The researchers used affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the ‘Comet’ assay to study DNA damage

“The exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher incidence of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage,” said lead researcher Tiago Duarte, formerly of the University of Leicester, and now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal.

“Our study analyzed the effect of sustained exposure to a vitamin C derivative, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AA2P), in human dermal fibroblasts.

“We investigated which genes are activated by vitamin C in these cells, which are responsible for skin regeneration.

“The results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration into the wounded area. Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibroblasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions,” Duarte added.

The researchers hope that the results will be of great relevance to the cosmetics industry.

“The study indicates a mechanism by which vitamin C could contribute to the maintenance of a healthy skin by promoting wound healing and by protecting cellular DNA against damage caused by oxidation,” said Dr Marcus S. Cooke from the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and Department of Genetics, at the University of Leicester.

“These findings are particular importance to our photobiology interests, and we will certainly be looking into this further,” Cooke added.

The findings have been published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.