Background: Apart from well-known medical plants of rational phytotherapy there is a variety of plants, such as Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L., whose potential effects are not examined sufficiently to date. Therefore, in 3 pilot studies we investigated the dermatological effect of an extract of M. crystallinum (Mesem Cream).
Materials and methods: In a retrospective user survey and a pre-post study with 6 persons in a wheelchair the efficacy profile of Mesem Cream was investigated. In a third placebo-controlled pilot study changes in skin hydration was measured using corneometer measurement in 6 healthy volunteers with dry skin.
Results: Compared to untreated skin, corneometer measurement revealed a significant increase of skin hydration with Mesem Cream (25.8 ± 5.8 pre to 46.6 ± 9.2 post treatment vs. 26.3 ± 6.0 pre to 33.8 ± 6.0 post treatment) as well as a statistical trend (p=0.11; t-Test) compared to basic cream (25.1 ± 4.7 pre to 41.9 ± 7.3 post treatment). Improvement in skin hydration was also found in 17 of 29 survey participants. Further, the volunteers in the wheelchair showed significant improvements in their subjectively rated skin softness and hydration level.
Conclusion: These pilot studies investigated skin hydrating effects of the traditional medical plant M. crystallinum. Although the results were promising, they have to be interpreted with caution in particular due to low sample size. Further, study design should be more clear-cut and focus skin hydration as a main outcome parameter in more detail.