Background: Clay is often used in cosmetic treatments, although little is known about its action.
Aim: To evaluate the effect of topical clay application on the histoarchitecture of collagen fibres in rat skin.
Methods: Animals received a daily application of clay and retinoic acid (RA) 0.025% to the dorsal skin over 7 and 14 days, under vaporization at 37 °C for 40 min. Control skin was not vaporized. Samples from each region were excised, and stained with picrosirius red for collagen evaluation.
Results: Seven days after clay treatment, an increase in the number of collagen fibres was observed in treated skin compared with control skin (51.74 ± 1.28 vs. 43.39 ± 1.79%, respectively, P < 0.01), whereas RA did not alter the collagen level (45.66 ± 1.10%). Clay application over 14 days did not induce a further increase in skin collagen, whereas treatment with RA did (58.07 ± 1.59%; P = 0.001 vs. control).
Conclusion: Clay application promotes an increase in the number of collagen fibres, which may account for its beneficial effects.
© The Author(s). CED © 2012 British Association of Dermatologists.