Beta Glucan Skin Care
The skin is the body's largest organ, occupying 15 percent of your total body weight, according to Medline Plus. The skin protects the body from injury and bacteria. Beta glucan, which is extracted from the cell wall of oat kernels, has a number of benefits for the skin.
The skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The outermost layer is known as the epidermis. Beneath the epidermis is the dermis, where hair follicles, nerves and sebaceous glands are located. This is also the layer where wrinkles form. The skin's primary function is to protect the body from toxins, bacteria and extreme temperatures.
Beta glucan is a form of soluble fiber. According to The Medical News, oats have been used in skin care for centuries to relieve itching and pain and help to heal minor wounds. It has been touted for decades for its moisturizing and smoothing effect on the skin, but it was initially thought that beta glucan molecules were too large to be able to penetrate the skin. Recent studies suggest that the molecules are small enough to penetrate the epidermis.
According to Smart Skin Care, when applied topically, oat beta glucan can help to moisturize the skin as well as heal minor burns and wounds. More recently it has also been established that beta glucan can also reduce wrinkles and promote anti-aging.
In a 2005 study, published in the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists' magazine, Dr. Pillai and his research team performed a series of experiments on skin section to assess the penetrability of oat beta glucan. The results showed that not only did the beta glucan penetrate the epidermis, it also reached the dermis. Although, on the surface, the results sound promising, they are ambiguous as Pillai's skin section had been frozen then treated with gamma radiation. In a separate study, Dr. Pillai treated 27 human subjects with 0.1 percent topical beta glucan or a placebo for eight weeks. After the trial period was over, the subjects treated with beta glucan showed improved skin smoothness and fewer wrinkles compared to the subjects treated with a placebo.
Although there are currently no known side effects from beta glucan, you should consult your doctor before using beta glucan.
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