An Extract from Ficus carica Cell Cultures Works as an Anti-Stress Ingredient for the Skin

Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Mar 25;10(4):515. doi: 10.3390/antiox10040515.


Psychological stress activates catecholamine production, determines oxidation processes, and alters the lipid barrier functions in the skin. Scientific evidence associated with the detoxifying effect of fruits and vegetables, the growing awareness of the long-term issues related to the use of chemical-filled cosmetics, the aging of the population, and the increase in living standards are the factors responsible for the growth of food-derived ingredients in the cosmetics market. A Ficus carica cell suspension culture extract (FcHEx) was tested in vitro (on keratinocytes cells) and in vivo to evaluate its ability to manage the stress-hormone-induced damage in skin. The FcHEx reduced the epinephrine (-43% and -24% at the concentrations of 0.002% and 0.006%, respectively), interleukin 6 (-38% and -36% at the concentrations of 0.002% and 0.006%, respectively), lipid peroxide (-25%), and protein carbonylation (-50%) productions; FcHEx also induced ceramide synthesis (+150%) and ameliorated the lipid barrier performance. The in vivo experiments confirmed the in vitro test results. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL; -12.2%), sebum flow (-46.6% after two weeks and -73.8% after four weeks; on the forehead -56.4% after two weeks and -80.1% after four weeks), and skin lightness (+1.9% after two weeks and +2.7% after four weeks) defined the extract's effects on the skin barrier. The extract of the Ficus carica cell suspension cultures reduced the transepidermal water loss, the sebum production, the desquamation, and facial skin turning to a pale color from acute stress, suggesting its role as an ingredient to fight the signs of psychological stress in the skin.

Keywords: Ficus carica; epidermal skin barrier; lipid peroxidation; nutricosmetics; oxidative stress protection; stress hormones.