The new frontier of cosmetics? Ingredients that connect the skin and the nervous system, capable of stimulating skin regeneration and promoting relaxed features, smooth and wrinkle-free skin and a radiant complexion. All these effects thanks to particular substances extracted from the world of plants, as emerges from a very recent research published in the Cosmetics magazine thanks to the work of an Italian team (Rizzi et al, Cosmetics, Jun 2021).
The skin, the mirror of how we are
The skin is the true mirror of what happens inside our body. In fact, the skin connects the nervous system and the immune system in a dense network of receptors and neurotransmitters that also influence our appearance. For example, looking at our skin it is possible to "read" the moods, such as anxiety, joy, fear, which are reflected in greater sweating, redness or a pale or bright complexion based on what you are feeling at that moment. The skin has a network of nerve cells that manage thermoregulation, the activity of the sebaceous glands and the production of melanin. Not only that, the epidermal cells themselves can act on the skin's immune system and stimulate the release of pro-inflammatory substances that, in the long term, trigger skin aging processes.
Given these considerations, the new frontier in the cosmetic field is to include substances in creams and serums capable of acting on the skin nervous system in order to improve the appearance of the skin. In particular, these substances are able to relax the facial muscles and thus smooth out wrinkles, make the complexion brighter and healthier and counteract skin inflammation and stress, the main cause of dry skin, reduced elasticity and the appearance of lines and wrinkles. But what are these substances, which you can find in cosmetics, and which by acting on the nervous system improve the skin and rejuvenate it with benefits for both mature and sensitive skin?
Neurocosmetics and anti-aging action
Agnus castus, Vitex agnus castus, is a plant capable of stimulating the release of beta endorphins in the skin. Beta endorphins are neurotransmitters that counteract the sensation of pain and, on the contrary, stimulate pleasant sensations, favoring the reparative and regenerative processes of the skin. Not only that, beta endorphins also influence the synthesis of substances that regulate inflammation and the production of melanin. Rhodiola rosea root also stimulates the release of beta endorphins, ensuring a brighter complexion and counteracting dull skin. Paeonia suffruticosa extracts counteract skin stress, reducing inflammation and thus inhibiting skin aging processes. A similar action is also shown by the Gallic rose and the moringa. Sunflower seeds are excellent neurocosmetics capable of counteracting skin stress and improving the appearance of the skin and its ability to regenerate.
Neurocosmetics and sensitive skin
Tephrosia purpurea extracts are considered useful to protect the skin from external stress factors, such as wind, humidity, temperature changes, making it useful in case of sensitive skin. And what about the water lily, Nymphaea alba, a wonderful aquatic flower, whose extracts act on skin inflammation, reducing it and increasing the release of beta endorphins. The microalga Rhodosorus marinus is a neurocosmetic ingredient useful in case of sensitive skin, since it reduces the cutaneous inflammatory response to external stimuli. Also the stone pine extracts, being rich in pinosylvin, an antioxidant molecule, calm the skin's excessive response to external agents and reduce the appearance of stress-related spots and aging. The idea of using stone pine extracts as skin soothing and relaxing ingredients arose from the observation that sleeping in a bed with Swiss stone pine stimulates relaxation and a good, restful sleep. Finally, green tea leaf extracts calm skin inflammations.