|Date: 12-15-2016||HC# 061634-558|
Abdul Karim A, Azlan A, Ismail A, et al. Efficacy of cocoa pod extract as antiwrinkle gel on human skin surface. J Cosmet Dermatol. September 2016;15(3):283-295.
Wrinkles are a sign of aging. Although wrinkles cannot be avoided, their presence on the skin surface can be reduced in several ways, including the application of topical functional cosmetic products that contain active plant extracts. Cocoa (Theobroma cacao, Malvaceae) pods, which constitute 75% of the cocoa fruit, are usually discarded onto the floor of cocoa plantations to serve as fertilizer. Cocoa pod extracts (CPEs) have exhibited antioxidant capacity and functional cosmetic benefits. The pods contain 32.3% carbohydrate, 21.44% lignin, 19.2% sugars, 8.6% protein, and 27.7% minerals. The total phenolic content has been estimated at 56.5 ± 0.57 mg gallic acid equivalents/g. These authors conducted a placebo-controlled, clinical trial to determine the efficacy of a CPE gel to reduce wrinkles in humans.
For this study, discarded cocoa pods were collected from the cocoa plantation at the Malaysian Cocoa Board Research and Development Centre in Jengka, Pahang, Malaysia. After being washed thoroughly, the pods were chopped, dried, and ground into fine particles. One gram of pod powder was soaked in 20 mL of aqueous ethanol and placed in a shaking water bath for 30 minutes at 35°C. The decanted portion was filtered, and the solvent was removed. After the dried extracts were freeze-dried at least 24 hours, the crude extracts were again dissolved in aqueous ethanol to reach the required concentration (2000 μg/mL).
The active compounds in the CPE, detected by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, were malic acid, procyanidin B1, rosmarinic acid, procyanidin C1, apigenin, and ellagic acid. Using fibroblast cells, the authors determined the effective concentration of CPE to maintain viability for at least 50% of the cells (EC50). The EC50was used to calculate the amount of CPE to include in the gel to be effective in suppressing the damaging effects of collagenase and elastase enzymes while not being toxic to skin cells. The gel was formulated to contain 62.34% water, 24.12% glycerin, 10% CPE, 3.20% alkyl acrylate copolymer as a thickener, and 0.34% methyl paraben as a preservative.
Twelve women aged 34 to 45 years participated in the 5-week study. During week 3 of the study, 1 subject withdrew due to pregnancy. The subjects agreed to stop using their own cosmetic products; instead, each subject applied placebo and CPE gel on their face at the smile line twice daily (morning and evening) for 5 weeks. The placebo was applied on the left side of the face and the CPE gel on the right side, with approximately 50 mg of both gels being applied to each of the areas. The placebo gel was formulated similar to the CPE gel but without any active ingredients or extracts.
Measured at baseline and weekly during the study, skin conditions were examined by using the ultraviolet A light of a high-resolution video camera, which illuminated the skin uniformly and eliminated undesired reflections of sharp skin image. The measured parameters (energy, entropy, wrinkles, and roughness) described the skin condition captured in the image. As the energy index indicates the general overview of the skin, applying an anti-aging treatment would be expected to increase the index value. The entropy index, which indicates improved skin texture, would increase with the application of a skin hydration product. The wrinkles index measures the number and width of wrinkles and the ratio of vertical and horizontal wrinkles. The roughness index value would decrease as skin condition and smoothness improve.
The authors presented sample photos of the skin changes of 2 subjects. At week 5, the skin of the first subject (aged 45 years) showed fewer wrinkle lines in the skin moistened with the CPE gel and an increased number of wrinkle lines with application of the placebo gel. The skin of the second subject (aged 35 years) revealed some reduction in black spots with application of the CPE gel compared with the placebo gel treatment.
Examining all 11 subjects, the authors report that the energy index value increased with the CPE gel (3.18 ± 1.06%) compared with placebo (1.33 ± 0.52%) (P ≤ 0.05) at week 3, indicating a significant improvement in hydration. The improvements were also significant from week 1 to week 5 with the CPE gel (13.68 ± 1.25%) compared with the placebo (3.51 ± 2.09%) (P ≤ 0.05). At week 5, the entropy value significantly increased with the application of the CPE gel (0.59 ± 0.02%) compared with the placebo (0.23 ± 0.04%) (P ≤ 0.05). Compared with baseline, the entropy value of the CPE gel-treated skin increased significantly over the 5 weeks (P ≤ 0.05).
The wrinkles index showed a significant improvement with the CPE gel application (−6.38 ± 1.23%) compared with the placebo (−3.05 ± 1.68%) at week 3 (P ≤ 0.05). At week 5, those reductions were significantly greater with the CPE gel (−12.39 ± 1.59%) compared with the placebo (−8.13 ± 1.21%) (P ≤ 0.05). Reductions in the wrinkles index in the placebo group were likely due to the presence of glycerin, a skin-hydrating agent, say the authors. A gradual reduction was observed in skin roughness; however, no significant differences were seen between the 2 treatment gels. Photos of 1 subject showed significant improvement.
The authors attribute the functional cosmetic effects of the CPE gel to its phenolic compounds such as procyanidins, apigenin, ellagic acid, and rosmarinic acid. The improvements in hydration (13%) and wrinkle reduction (12%) with the use of CPE gel compared with placebo after 5 weeks indicate that the extract has a potential anti-aging effect. The prolonged application of antiwrinkle products containing CPE as the active ingredient "may result in significant visual changes to the naked eyes," conclude the authors. No statements were made regarding conflict of interest. The lead author (A. Abdul Karim) and 2 other authors (BH Zainudin and NA Abdullah) are employed by the Malaysian Cocoa Board Cocoa Innovation and Technology Centre (Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia).—Shari Henson