Strelitzia nicolai seed aril extract degrades bilirubin to increase skin brilliance
Skin brilliance and luminosity are important attributes for giving skin its youthful glow. The skin chromophores bilirubin and collagen impact skin luminosity. Bilirubin, a breakdown product of blood and heme, is one cause of dark circles around the eye. Until recently, it was unknown that plants produced bilirubin. To date, a small group of plants are known to produce bilirubin and hence contain a mechanism to control production and degradation of the compound. An extract of Strelitzia nicolai, a plant that produces bilirubin, was found to degrade solutions of bilirubin. When tested in an in vitro assay, the extract increased Collagen III levels. A human in vivo assay ascertained that topical applications of the plant extract decreased dark circles and improved luminosity of the skin.
The appearance of skin is partially determined by how much light is reflected back to the eyes and which chromophores are present in the skin. Skin luminosity can be optimized by having an even skin color and fine texture on the skin surface. The four primary skin chromophores that influence skin luminosity are hemoglobin, bilirubin, collagen and melanin (1, 2).
The human body comprises a number of pigmented molecules that contain porphyrin-containing components that comprise iron as part of the porphyrin molecule. These are frequently referred to as “heme” type molecules. Hemoglobin and to a lesser extent, myoglobin, neuroglobin and cytoglobin are all well-known porphyrin-containing molecules (3). Hemoglobin in particular is important for skin complexion because hemoglobin is one of the primary pigments that define skin tone and color. The fine vascularization of the skin is also important for the “rosy” glow attributed to healthy skin.
When heme-containing molecules like hemoglobin break down in the body, they can convert to a number of degradation products that are also pigmented. For example, hemoglobin first conv ...