From tree skin to human skin: a circular economy concept


Lucas Meyer Cosmetics, Québec, Canada


From tree skin to human skin, red maple extract has proved to be a good source of protective bioactive molecules. The extract protects the skin from oxidative insults and low-grade chronic inflammation, supports dermal regeneration and restores the skin barrier, for visible, clinically demonstrated, anti-ageing benefits in the form of wrinkle reduction and increased skin firmness. At the same time, red maple extract maximises bark eco-valorisation, thus improving wood circular economy.


The key concept behind circular economy is to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each life cycle (1). In the wood industry, bark was long considered as a useless by-product generated in the course of wood transformation and, as so, was simply discarded creating environmental issues. Nowadays, residual bark is rather burned to create renewable energy. However, all natural active compounds that the bark may contain are destroyed in the process. A creative way of maximizing bark eco-valorisation would be to extract bioactive molecules before recycling bark into energy or compost.

Acer rubrum, or red maple, is a fast growing tree with strong wood and bark. Red maple is most famous for its brilliant autumnal scarlet foliage. This tree is native to Canada and is one of the major hardwood species of Quebec’s forests. Red maple is commonly transformed into furniture, wooden pallets and paper, generating millions of tons of biomass by-products, mostly bark. The bark of red maple is rich in bioactive pol ...