‘Stress Free’ – Scientific Basis for Natural Anti-Ageing Skin Care

Beauty awakens the soul to act”. Dante Alighieri

‘Stress Free’ – Scientific Basis for Natural Anti-Ageing Skin Care

Ageing is driven and controlled by intrinsic and extrinsic stresses, which cause damage to biomolecules including DNA. Accumulating findings indicate that longevity depends on the ability of the organism to cope with extrinsic or intrinsic stressors (Kirkwood & Austad, 2000).

The ageing process takes place within all organs of the body, and the skin shows visible signs of ageing. Skin ageing is driven by several factors including:

  1. Genetics;
  2. Hormonal disruptions;
  3. Metabolic processes; and
  4. Environmental stressors.

Some of the age-related changes are intrinsic to the organs concerned, some are dependent on hormonal and other systemic mechanisms, and some involve environmental factors such as UV radiation.

Skin ageing consists of two elements:

  1. Intrinsic ageing, which is primarily genetically determined; and
  2. Extrinsic ageing, which is caused by environmental stressors.

Together these elements are responsible for the changes in skin structure, function and appearance. Chronologically, aged skin is dry, with the loss of elasticity and age-related loss of architectural integrity.

Intrinsic and extrinsic ageing processes share several similar molecular mechanisms; despite they have differences in morphology and pathophysiology.

The central and most critical aspects of skin ageing are:

  • The formation of reactive oxygen species and free radicals
  • Induction of matrix metalloproteinase enzymes

The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) represent total 23 enzymes in a human being, including collagenases, gelatinases, stromelysins, and membrane types; these enzymes are responsible for degrading and destroying collagen.

The intrinsic human skin ageing is influenced by the genetic pre-disposition and the hormonal system. It is correlated to the degradation processes that also take place in the other organs of the body. Hormones are decisively involved in ageing. The hormonal changes due to ageing lead to the development of a distinct body and skin phenotype. The skin has not only a protective function for the organism, but is also an active peripheral endocrine organ, which even releases effective hormones in the circulation (Zouboulis & Makrantonaki, 2007).

Oxidative Stress & MMPs

Oxidative stress is considered to be the primary reason behind the skin ageing process. The reactive oxygen species are necessary for up-regulating expression of matrix-metalloproteinases, which are responsible for the increased collagen degradation in aged human skin. Reduced levels of collagen and elastin, with impaired organization are primarily because of decreased protein synthesis affecting types I and III collagen in the dermis, with an increased breakdown of extracellular matrix proteins (Callaghan & Wilhelm, 2008).

The family of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc- dependent extracellular protein-degrading enzymes, also called matrixins or collagenases, which breakdown the extracellular matrix (ECM).The breakdown of ECM contributes to a decrease in the number of fibroblasts.

Collagen fibres, elastin fibres and glycosaminoglycans (hyaluronic acid)are produced by fibroblasts and are primarily affected by skin ageing resulting in visible changes in the skin such as wrinkles, pigmentation and changes in thickness (Jenkins, 2002).

The extracellular matrix gives tissue its structural integrity and mainly comprises of the collagens, basement membrane, and elastin fibers composed of elastin and fibrillin(Philips, Auler, Hugo, & Gonzalez, 2011).

Anti-Ageing – Quantitative Analysis

Advances in dermatology and cosmetic science have provided us the means to reverse the visible signs of ageing and photo damage, with the purposes of achieving cosmetic benefits and preventing photo-carcinogenesis. Recent developments in skin biology have clarified the mechanisms by which skin ageing occurs and have given rise to new ingredients, technologies, and products.

Various skin parameters including skin visco-elasticity and hydration level affect the formation of wrinkles. The advent of quantitative noninvasive skin-measuring equipments has provided us with the means to establish relationships between the four skin characteristics, that is, wrinkles, skin viscoelasticity, hydration, and age.

KJ PlantPics-1


Kismet Jardin Innovation:

Changes/distortions in collagen and elastin fibres of the extracellular matrix are the main reasons for the visible signs of skin ageing such as wrinkles, sagging and loss of elasticity.

Eighty percent of skin dry weight is collagen which is responsible for the tensile strength of the skin. Elasticity is due to the elastin fibre network making up 2–4% of the extra cellular matrix, and glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) are involved in the hydration of the skin (Jenkins, 2002).

Kismet Jardin has identified a number of natural products that can inhibit MMPs and elastase, and help to support collagen and elastin synthesis. These natural products consist of polyphenols, catechins, phenylpropanoids or flavonoids with a remarkable antioxidant, topical anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties.

Natural compounds either in pure forms or extracts represent an extraordinary inventory of high diversity natural chemicals as the major anti-ageing skincare ingredients which, when topically applied; help to delay cellular senescence and affect cellular signalling pathways.

The following plant extracts/natural compounds can inhibit collagenase and elastase enzymes, and help improve skin elasticity and tensile strength:

  • Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
  • Equisetum arvense (Horsetail)
  • Punica Granatum (Pomegranate)
  • White & Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
  • Rose extract (Rosa centifolia)
  • Arctium lappa (Burdock Root)
  • Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola)
  • Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel)

The first line of defence against environmental stressors is achieved by the action of topically applied antioxidants like; mixed tocopherols, vitamin c and CoQ10.

Stress & Ageing

The main cellular signalling pathways affecting skin ageing are stress responsive pathways, main stressors like reactive oxygen species( ROS) or advanced glycation end products (AGEs) create oxidative stress and inflammation (Argyropoulou, Aligiannis, Trougakos, & Skaltsounis, 2013).

It is becoming increasingly IMPORTANT that anti-ageing skin care interventions should address and interface with cellular stress response mechanisms whilst providing cosmetic benefits of the products.

The plant extracts/natural compounds that delay visible signs of ageing by mobilizing stress responsive pathways and confer protection against stressors that damage cellular biomolecules, are:

  • Rhodiola Rosea (Rose root)
  • Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower Herb)
  • Astragalus membranaceous (Astragalus root)


“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them”. David Hume


Manoj Jain

Director R&D at Kismet Jardin Pty Ltd www.kismetjardin.com


Argyropoulou, A., Aligiannis, N., Trougakos, I. P., & Skaltsounis, A.-L. (2013). Natural compounds with anti-ageing activity. Natural Product Reports, 30(11), 1412–37. doi:10.1039/c3np70031c

Callaghan, T. M., & Wilhelm, K. P. (2008). A review of ageing and an examination of clinical methods in the assessment of ageing skin. Part I: Cellular and molecular perspectives of skin ageing. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 30, 313–322. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2494.2008.00454.x

Jenkins, G. (2002). Molecular mechanisms of skin ageing. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. doi:10.1016/S0047-6374(01)00425-0

Kirkwood, T. B. L., & Austad, S. N. (2000). Why do we age? Nature, 408, 233–238. doi:10.1038/35041682

Philips, N., Auler, S., Hugo, R., & Gonzalez, S. (2011). Beneficial regulation of matrix metalloproteinases for skin health. Enzyme Research, 2011, 427285.

Zouboulis, C. C., & Makrantonaki, E. (2007). Hormones and skin ageing. Giornale Italiano Di Dermatologia E Venereologia.

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