Derm Appeal Blog

Increasingly, healthcare providers and patients are adopting a more holistic approach to the aging process – otherwise known as well-aging. In recent years, industry watchers have noted the maturing women are now more likely to embrace a lifestyle promoting not just their physical appearance but their wellbeing and health as well.

Many personal care products marketed to older demographics target specific mechanisms of action involved in the biological aging process – ranging from skin wrinkling to hyperpigmentation – to improve the skin’s appearance. As a more holistic approach to aging grows in popularity, researchers are beginning to identify and examine multifactorial treatment methods with new, broader targets in mind. Looking to not only enhance complexion appearance and mitigate signs of aging, but to also promote mental and physical wellbeing, investigators from the Research and Development department of Givaudan France evaluated the multi-faceted benefits of Tephrosia purpurea extract on aging concerns.

Tephrosia Purpurea

A common wasteland weed recognized for its therapeutic benefits by Ayurvedic traditional medicine, Tephrosia purpurea grows abundantly in the Gangetic plains and western Himalayas. The herb is commonly used in India and South Africa, where it is grown as a green manure in paddy fields and in tobacco and rubber plantations.

Extracts of the herb carry numerous positive health benefits, including hepatoprotective, anti-ulcer, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antiallergenic activity, as well as the potential to stimulate beta-endorphin secretion. Moreover, all parts of the plant have tonic and laxative properties, while the dried plant is diuretic and can be used in the treatment of bronchitis, bilious febrile attacks, and obstructions of the liver, spleen, and kidneys. Hoping to uncover even greater potential of the T. purpurea extract, researchers analyzed the plant’s effects on skin health in conjunction with its ability to stimulate well-being hormones. 

A New Strategy for Well-Aging

Considered a representative component of the well-aging movement, T. purpurea extract is a promising treatment strategy for many concerns associated with aging. In previous trials, Givaudan researchers discovered that the T. purpurea extract helped stimulate well-being hormones – beta-endorphin and dopamine – and reduce cortisol levels, which have a direct impact on skin health.  In its most recent study, the research team hypothesized that the extract may be able to positively influence global skin homeostasis by protecting cells against exogenous stress and tested their theory both in vitro and in vivo.

At first, the study’s authors evaluated the impact of the T. purpurea extract on cortisol, beta-endorphin, and dopamine secretion by normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs) in forehead skin. They conducted a gene expression study as well as assays for heme oxygenase-1 (HMOX-1) and H-quinone oxidoreductase (NQO-1), which both have antioxidant properties.  Finally, the team conducted a clinical study on 21 healthy women living in polluted areas – who are at risk for premature aging and over-exposed skin – to observe the effect of the extract compound on global skin improvement. 

Not only did researchers find that T.purpurea extract significantly reduced levels of released cortisol, but they also certified its ability to stimulate beta-endorphin and dopamine production. Genes involved in antioxidant response and skin renewal were upregulated by the extract, while the induction of HMOX-1 and NQO-1 was confirmed at cellular and tissue level.

Clinical study participants applied a cream with T. purpurea 2% daily for 28 days. Researchers evaluated the improvement of skin condition by assessing the topical’s effect on skin clarity, redness, and quantifying skin color. They found that the extract reduced dark eye circles and diminished skin redness at both 14 and 28 days.

These recent findings indicate that Tephrosia purpurea may have beneficial effects on skin homeostasis through its ability to control well-being and antioxidant defenses, which are often disrupted by endogenous stress and external forces. Treating skin with topical T. purpurea extract may significantly improve the appearance of dark circles – a feature particularly affected by exogenous and emotional factors. The state of well-being promoted by T. purpurea extract demonstrated in the study, alongside its positive impact on skin appearance, presents a promising new strategy for healthier aging.


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