Is maple-leaf extract the new Botox?
And what else should we be eating for ageless skin, asks Maria Lally
TAKE A BREAK, HYALURONIC ACID, there’s a new smart ager in town and it could be staring at us from the breakfast table right now.
A new study by the University of Rhode Island has discovered that an extract in maple leaves blocks the release of an enzyme called elastase. This breaks down elastin, the protein that keeps skin plump, but which declines as we age, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.
Previous research from the same university found that maple could also protect skin from inflammation, and even lighten age spots and pigmentation. It was those findings that led them to investigate whether extract from the leaves could help slow down skin ageing, too. Scientists there now claim that while their findings could result in a plant-based Botox, it’s more likely that maple extract will end up as a supplement or topical treatment.
The study is yet more proof of the link between food and skin ageing – as aesthetic doctor Dr Barbara Sturm says, we really are what we eat. ‘For improved skin, load up on anti-inflammatory foods such as blueberries, nuts, salmon and lots of leafy green vegetables,’ she suggests. ‘At the same time, cut down on processed meats, sugar, fried foods and refined flour.’ A word of caution on some oily fish: ‘One study has found high levels of mercury, specifically toxic methylmercury, in large Pacific fish such as swordfish and tuna, mainly due to emissions from Asia,’ says Dr Sturm. ‘It is tremendously toxic to skin, so try to avoid those as much as possible.’
Alongside these dietary tweaks, a wave of sciencebacked beauty supplements have been steadily finding their way on to shelves. They may sit alongside our trusty creams and serums, but they work from the inside out. Here are five we’re rating…