A new study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology assessed whether keratin gel isolated from hair could help reduce neck wrinkles.
Wrinkles are a physical manifestation of aging caused by the incorrect repair of injured elastic and collagen fibers. When an individual smiles or frowns, these fibers are broken down and regenerated. However, over time some of these fibers are replaced by ‘long’ collagen fibers which make parts of the skin looser and other parts stiffer, resulting in wrinkles.
There are numerous procedures to reduce the appearance of wrinkles such as laser therapy, surgery and filler injections. Autogenous tissue grafts are also gaining popularity due to their low number of side effects and long-lasting results. However, these procedures are often invasive and expensive.
Keratin is a fibrous structural protein which makes up the outer layer of skin, as well as hair, horns and claws. Experiments have proven high biocompatibility and low biodegradation of keratin in animal models. A new study conducted in China and published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology tested whether keratin could improve the appearance of neck wrinkles.
In this study, autologous cultured skin cells (skin grafts) were collected from healthy volunteers and mixed with keratin gel isolated from their hair. This mixture was then injected into the neck wrinkles of these individuals. Twenty-five volunteers were treated with this method, while five other volunteers were given hyaluronic acid as a control treatment. These individuals were then evaluated over the course of two years.
Astonishingly, the treatment with keratin gel ameliorated observable neck wrinkles with no severe complications. These changes lasted over the course of two years and were much more visible than the control treatment.
In conclusion, the researchers argue that the mixture of keratin gel with skin cells injected into wrinkle sites have a long-term repair effect. This may be a new soft tissue filler method in clinical applications to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Written by Neeti Vashi, BSc
Reference: Wang, Yue, et al. “New soft tissue filler derived from autologous keratin and fibroblast for neck wrinkles.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2017).