Fucus extract: cosmetic treatment for under-eye dark circles

J Cosmet Sci. 2014 Mar-Apr;65(2):103-13.


Background: Dark circles around the eyes are a complex issue with two main possible causes, the accumulation of melanin in the skin around the eyes and the accumulation of heme resulting from blood leakage. The free heme produced in this manner is highly cytotoxic, proinflammatory and pro-oxidative.

Aims: To evaluate the effect of Fucus extract on heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) stimulation activity, and to study its in vitro anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and collagen stimulation activity.

Methods: The HO-1 stimulation activity was first evaluated at gene level by reverse transcriptase- polymerase chain reaction targeting specific HO-1 gene, and then followed by Western blot in protein level. The in vitro anti-inflammatory effect was measured by quantification of interleukin-8 (IL-8) level. The in vitro antioxidative activity was measured. Collagen stimulation activity was quantitatively measured by the amount of deposited collagen I in the extracellular matrix.

Results: Fucus extract was identified to have HO-1 stimulation activity at both gene and protein level. By stimulating this enzyme, it promotes the degradation of toxic heme to its protective catabolites (CO, Ferritin, and bilirubin) and reduces the source of dark circles. In addition, Fucus extract showed good anti-inflammatory efficacy. The strong antioxidation property of Fucus extract can reduce eye bags and wrinkles while its collagen boosting activity will potentially reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Conclusion: Fucus extract is a novel product that brings a quadruple approach to the treatment of under-eye dark circles.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biphenyl Compounds / metabolism
  • Cell Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Face
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fucus / chemistry*
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / drug therapy*
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Picrates / metabolism
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Cell Extracts
  • Collagen Type I
  • Picrates
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
  • Heme Oxygenase-1