The findings, presented at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting by researchers from the University of Rhode Island, stated that maple leaf compounds could slow the degradation of elastin in the skin. As we age, wrinkles form when elastase, a pancreatic enzyme, digests elastin in the skin. The compounds found in the leaves of maple trees, called glucitol-core-containing gallotannins (GCGs) could block elastase activity, which slows down the degredation of the elastin that keeps skin firm and supple.
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In addition to preventing wrinkles from forming, the extract could also help fade hyperpigmentation and prevent skin inflammation. The researchers have parlayed their findings into a skin care venture that would put the future of anti-aging in North American maple tree farms. University of Rhode Island Professor and lead study author Dr. Navindra Seeram told Science Daily, “Many botanical ingredients traditionally come from China, India and the Mediterranean, but the sugar maple and the red maple only grow in eastern North America.”
While the scientists involved in the study are seeking a patent for their upcoming skin care products, including a cream named Maplifa and a supplement, they admit that more testing is needed to see what the effects of the extract will do for skin when tested on humans. But they’re banking on the fact that skin care and anti-aging consumers are veering toward more natural solutions. “You could imagine that these extracts might tighten up human skin like a plant-based Botox, though they would be a topical application, not an injected toxin,” adds Seeram.