Background/purpose: The polysaccharide-rich composition of Aloe vera extracts (Aloe barbadensis Miller), often used in cosmetic formulations, may impart moisturizing properties to the product. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of cosmetic formulations containing different concentrations of freeze-dried Aloe vera extract on skin hydration, after a single and a 1- and 2-week period of application, by using skin bioengineering techniques.
Methods: Stable formulations containing 5% (w/w) of a trilaureth-4 phosphate-based blend were supplemented with 0.10%, 0.25% or 0.50% (w/w) of freeze-dried Aloe vera extract and applied to the volar forearm of 20 female subjects. Skin conditions in terms of the water content of the stratum corneum and of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) (Corneometer CM 825 and Tewameter TM 210) were analysed before and after a single and 1- and 2-week period of daily application.
Results: After a single application, only formulations supplemented with 0.25% and 0.50% (w/w) of Aloe vera extract increased the water content of the stratum corneum, while after the 2-week period application, all formulations containing the extract (0.10%, 0.25% and 0.50%) had the same effect, in both cases as compared with the vehicle. TEWL was not modified after a single and after 1- and 2-week period of application, when compared with the vehicle.
Conclusion: Our results show that freeze-dried Aloe vera extract is a natural effective ingredient for improving skin hydration, possibly through a humectant mechanism. Consequently, it may be used in moisturizing cosmetic formulations and also as a complement in the treatment of dry skin.