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Is the Key to Great Skin In the Pantry?


The first ingredients that come to mind when you think of what you want in skin care likely include things such as retinol and hyaluronic acid. But would you ever consider maple syrup as good for your skin?

Some researchers are hoping that you'll soon say yes.

Before adding Mrs. Butterworth's to your skin care regimen, read on.

A new study from the University of Rhode Island reveals the powerful ability of red maple leaf extract to reduce wrinkles, fine lines and creases. Red maple leaf extract also can help tighten the skin and correct problems with pigmentation.

These skin issues often develop during the mid-40s, but changes in the skin during the early 20s are what set the aging process in motion.

"The peak of skin quality is during the early to mid-20s. During this time, you have great collagen and elastin levels, and you have peak facial fat volume," said Dr. Bill Johnson.

Johnson is a Dallas, Texas, cosmetic physician who works with patients to reduce or eliminate the signs of aging.

"So after the mid-20s, things start changing for the skin. The face begins to lose fat volume, and the body slows down its production of collagen," Johnson said.

Collagen and elastin are critical to the skin. These two proteins give the skin its support and its ability to stretch and retract.

"When this slowdown happens, the skin starts to droop and sag, and although faint for many years, lines and wrinkles start to appear," Johnson said.

When these lines appear, most individuals hurry to erase them and prevent more from forming, often turning to skin care products and skin-rejuvenating procedures.

Some individuals want anti-aging and skin care products that are organic and all-natural, which is where the Rhode Island team believes their red maple leaf extract discovery will come in.

"Using natural products or products that contain ingredients found in the body, such as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, is increasing in popularity," Johnson said.

The Rhode Island researchers found that red maple leaf extract can stop elastase, a protein that breaks down elastin, from activating.

When elastin stays in the skin, the skin maintains its ability to stretch and retract.

Red maple leaf extract also helps to reduce inflammation and redness and lighten areas of dark pigment.

While further research is needed to determine the full benefits of red maple leaf extract, the study authors are confident it will help prevent the signs of aging from developing. They can also say definitively that it will not be able to treat wrinkles that already exist.

But, people who want to get rid of their wrinkles shouldn't lose hope; there are still many high-quality skin care products and skin-rejuvenating procedures that can help reduce the appearance of lines and other signs of aging.

"Professional-grade skin-rejuvenating procedures, such as chemical peels or micro needling procedures, can make a major impact on the appearance of the skin," Johnson said.

In addition to getting a little help from products and procedures, Johnson offers advice to keep the skin looking youthful.

"Drink plenty of water, establish a quality skin care routine and wear sunscreen year-round," Johnson said.

He also cautions patients not to smoke and to minimize alcohol consumption.

"Smoking and overconsumption of alcohol negatively impact collagen and elastin and cause the skin to become dehydrated and drab," Johnson said.

Whether or not red maple extract is the next big thing in skin care, there is no doubt that the skin care market is booming.

Researchers estimate that by 2024, the industry will total $180 billion in sales annually.


Allure. Maple Leaf Extract Could Be the Next Big Fine Line Smoother, According to Early Research. 23 August 2018.

Statista. Size of the global skin care market from 2012 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)

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