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Latest Anti-Aging Skin Product Destined from Trees

Tim Boyer's picture
Anti-aging skin care products from trees

The winner of the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge competition in Canada is 16-year-old Waterloo Collegiate Institute student Janelle Tam who presented her findings that when compounded with nanoparticles, cellulose from trees have potent anti-oxidant properties that can potentially be used for numerous anti-aging skin care products.

"Her super anti-oxidant compound could one day help improve health and anti-aging products by neutralizing more of the harmful free-radicals found in the body," Bioscience Education Canada said in a statement.

The form of cellulose used in the award-wining project is called “nano-crytalline cellulose” (NCC)—a relatively new compound that because it is natural, renewable, recyclable, compostable and bio-degradable has raised significant interest as a sustainable resource with multiple applications.

“NCC is non-toxic, stable, soluble in water and renewable, since it comes from trees,” says Janelle.

NCC is obtained from the pulp of trees in a process that is similar to how pulp is isolated for paper making. It is a rod-shaped nanoscale material with exceptional strength and physicochemical properties that makes it a promising reinforcing agent for industrial biocomposites such as those used in construction materials and other products that must be both lightweight and durable. According to one manufacturing source, one ounce of NCC added to one pound of plastic can make a composite material up to 3000-times stronger than the original plastic alone.

However, aside from its durability and sustainability, NCC is important in that it exhibits low toxicity and poses no serious environmental concerns. This is especially relevant for bioapplications used in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Some of the health-related proposed uses of NCC include:

• Freeze-dried nanocellulose aerogels used in sanitary napkins, tampons, diapers or as wound dressing

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• The use of nanocellulose as a composite coating agent in cosmetics e.g. for hair, eyelashes, eyebrows or nails

• A dry solid nanocellulose composition in the form of tablets for treating intestinal disorders

• Nanocellulose films for screening of biological compounds and nucleic acids encoding a biological compound

• Filter medium partly based on nanocellulose for leukocyte free blood transfusion

In her research competition project working under the guidance of Dr. Zhaoling Yao from the University of Waterloo, Ms. Tam was successful in chemically binding NCC to the well-known nanoparticle called “Buckminster fullerene,” (colloquially known as “buckyballs”) which are already used in cosmetic and anti-aging products as well as a filler in vitamins and supplements.

What she discovered was that with the NCC complexed with the nanoparticles that the compound would then act like a “nano-vacuum.”sucking up free radicals and neutralizing them.

“NCC is really a hot field of research in Canada,” says Ms. Tam, who notes that antioxidants have anti-aging and health promoting properties, including wound healing since they neutralize “free radicals” that damage or kill cells.

Biotech companies with health and beauty divisions are expected to find her results holding promise for a new generation of anti-aging skincare products.

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile

Reference: Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge news release