15.03.2019 change 15.03.2019

A compound obtained from hop cones will help to care for the skin

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Xanthohumol found in hop cones is one of the strongest antioxidants, it has antifungal, antibacterial, anti-aging activity and supports wound healing. Polish researchers have developed a method of obtaining this compound in an almost pure form.

Xanthohumol - a flavonoid compound found in hop cones - seems to have innumerable advantages. Research carried out in many laboratories around the world has shown that it has strong antioxidant properties (4 times higher than that of vitamin C). It also exhibits anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial, antiviral and antimalarial activity. It is effective in the treatment of prostate cancer and leukaemia. It protects neurons from damage due to oxidative stress, which is why researchers hope that in the future it may be helpful in the fight against neurodegenerative disorders.

The compound also protects the skin from oxidative stress and its effects, such as the weakening of collagen fibres. Disorders in the production of collagen cause slower wound healing, accelerated loss of skin tissue, skin striae, cellulite and the formation of wrinkles. It has also been shown that xanthohumol improves the structure and firmness of the skin. It can therefore be successfully used in many fields of medicine and cosmetology. But obtaining pure xanthohumol is neither simple nor cheap.

Cosmetologist Paulina Stopczyk and Aneta Czaplicka from the start-up DermoTech Beauty investigated the possibilities of using it in cosmetics. They worked on obtaining pure xanthumol with the scientific team of Dr. Mariusz Bosiak from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and the Synthex Technologies laboratory, who pioneered the attempts to synthesize xanthohumol.

"There are attempts to synthesize xanthohumol in the world, but they are very expensive. In cooperation with the Toruń laboratory, we first developed a synthesis method for xanthohumol, which allows to obtain a 99% pure sample. Then we started tests, but it turned out that xanthohumol was not stable in aqueous environment, it quickly transformed into inactive isoxanthohumol. It was necessary to increase its stability, so we enclosed in a cyclodextrin" - says Aneta Czaplicka.

As a result, the researchers successfully developed an original complex of xanthohumol. This allowed to use xanthohumol in cosmetics. According to the researchers, this is the world`s first start-up that uses xanthohumol for the production of cosmetics.

Although there are available cosmetic products based on hop extracts, Czaplicka explains that those are completely different. "Hop extract contains microscopic quantities of xanthohumol, we synthesize pure xanthohumol" - she notes. "Knowing the benefits of using xanthohumol contained in hop cones, some try to produce beers with such a high concentration of xanthohumol, hoping that these beers would have a preventive effect in cancerous diseases. But this is absurd, because how large the concentration of hops would have to be in order to achieve such a strong action of xantheshumol?" - Czaplicka says.

According to Paulina Stopczyk, cosmetics based on antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and brightening properties of xanthohumol will be addressed mainly to aesthetic medicine clinics and beauty salons. "We want to take advantage of all its possible properties" - she says.

The patent procedure for the newly developed xanthohumol complex is underway, and its creators are awaiting confirmation of research that will enable the product to be introduced to the cosmetics market. The project was financed under the BRIdge Alfa project of the National Centre for Research and Development.

PAP - Science in Poland, Ewelina Krajczyńska

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