An extract made from maple leaves may prevent skin wrinkles, as well as improving dark spots and fading unwanted freckles. The news was revealed ahead of the upcoming American Chemical Society exposition, which will take place on Thursday. If brought to market, the extract could be applied topically to one’s face as a non-invasive treatment.
Researchers at the University of Rhode Island researched red and sugar maple trees, finding glucitol-core-containing gallotannins (GCGs) in the leaves. The team studied how these compounds interact with elastase, an enzyme that breaks down elastin, a protein that maintains skin elasticity. The study reveals that GCGs may inhibit elastase and help prevent the formation of wrinkles.
As well, the team previously found that these GCGs may also lighten dark spots on the skin and offer a protective effect against inflammation. The work has included the creation of a proprietary extract dubbed Maplifa that contains GCGs from the maple leaves and sap.
Unlike Botox, which requires an injection, Maplifa could be used in topical products like cremes that are applied to the skin. The particular maple leaves and sap used for the formulation are in abundant supply in the eastern United States, where they could be gathered during the autumn season.
Talking about the research is principal investigator Nvindra P. Seeram, PhD, who explained, “You could imagine that these extracts might tighten up human skin like a plant-based Botox®, though they would be a topical application, not an injected toxin.” Additional testing is planned.