In addition to shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and reishi (Ganoderma
lucidum) mushrooms, which have anti-irritant and antioxidant
properties,3 Cordyceps taii and Sparassi crispa show promise
for the treatment of photoaging. Cordyceps species have been
utilized for years in traditional Chinese medicine. In vitro studies
have shown that aqueous extracts (freeze-dried samples)
of Cordyceps sinensis and militaris exhibit antioxidant properties. 4 Xiao et al conducted an in vivo study on D-galactose
aged mice, to evaluate the ability of Cordycepts taii extracts to
reduce oxidative stress and enhance endogenous antioxidant
production. Polysaccharides from C. taii promoted endogenous
antioxidant activity while also scavenging free radicals and inhibiting
Veratric acid is phenolic acid found in Sparassis crispa. After
exposing HaCat keratinocytes to UVB, some cells were treated
with veratric acid and the remaining cells received no post-
UV treatment. Veratric acid-treated cells exhibited a reduced
amount of DNA damage, a decreased number of cyclobutane
pyrimidine dimers, and prevention of UVB-mediated apoptosis. 6 Shin et al also conducted a UVB erythema test on 18
human subjects who applied veratric acid or the vehicle to their
forearms for 30 minutes prior to exposure to 1.5 MED. Erythema
was measured at 0, 1, 2, 3, and 6 days after exposure.
Participants who applied veratric acid displayed significantly
reduced (P < 0.01) UV-induced erythema as compared to the
vehicle-treated control group. No allergic or irritant reactions
were noted after application of veratric acid to the skin.6
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a member of the Asteraceae family, which also includes daisies and chrysanthemums.
Originally used as a fever reducer, it is known to have anti-inflammatory,
anti-irritant, and antioxidant properties.3 It contains
volatile oils, flavonoids, and sesquiterpene lactones,7 including
parthenolide, a potent contact sensitizer. To avoid the complications
associated with parthenolide, parthenolide-depleted
feverfew extracts have been developed.
Parthenolide-depleted feverfew is believed to enhance DNA
repair activity via activation of a PI3K-dependent Nrf2/ARE
pathway. Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) is a signaling
kinase that induces Nrf2 to bind to the antioxidant response
element (ARE) promoter. Among many functions, the ARE
promoter ultimately regulates the transcription of antioxidant
proteins. Parthenolide-depleted feverfew extract was shown to
significantly reduce both UVA and UVB-induced DNA damage
of human keratinocyte cells after UV exposure, thus reducing
the degree of oxidative damage.8
In a randomized double-blinded study of 12 participants, topical
formulations of 1% parthenolide-depleted feverfew and placebo
were applied to the skin of the back twice daily for two days,
irradiated with UVB at 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 MED, and then re-applied
for two days. Erythema was evaluated at 24 and 48 hours postirradiation.
The feverfew-treated skin showed a statistically
significant (P < 0.05) decrease in erythema at 24 and 48 hours
post-irradiation as assessed by clinical grading and confirmed
by chromameter readings.9 Figure 1 demonstrates a subject
who used a topical feverfew product on her face for 3 weeks.
The significant reduction in erythema is clearly evident.10
Green tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. It has
garnered much attention due to its antioxidant, photochemopreventive,
and anti-aging effects, which are attributed to
polyphenols such as epicatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin,
and epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Although topical green
tea has been utilized as monotherapy, we review two studies
that enhance its effects with adjunct ingredients.
One such study examined tannase-converted green tea extract.
Tannase is an inducible enzyme that can enhance the effect of
polyphenolic compounds. 42 Korean females were asked to apply
either a tannase-converted green tea extract or a normal green tea
extract to their crows' feet twice daily for 8. Although both extracts
displayed free radical scavenging activity, the tannase-converted
green tea extract exhibited significantly higher activity (P < 0.01).
While both extracts displayed anti-wrinkle effects, as measured
by a Skin-Visiometer SV 600 (Courage and Khazaka electronic
GmbH), the tannase-converted green tea extract showed a more
visible decrease in small wrinkles and deep furrows.11 The methods
by which these extracts were produced were not detailed.
Lotus plant extract has been shown to improve the efficacy of
green tea in the treatment of rhytides. In a placebo-controlled,