Q & A: Coffee, anyone? Coffee berry extract contains variety of polyphenols

August 1, 2008

Coffee berry extract is an antioxidant blend found as the signature ingredient in a new line of physician-dispensed cosmeceuticals, consisting of a cleanser, morning moisturizer and evening moisturizer.

Key Points

Q: What is coffee berry extract?

A: Coffee berry extract is an antioxidant blend found as the signature ingredient in a new line of physician-dispensed cosmeceuticals, consisting of a cleanser, morning moisturizer and evening moisturizer.

Coffee berry extract is derived from the fruit covering of the coffee bean. It contains a variety of polyphenols, including chlorogenic acid, quinic acid and ferulic acid. These fruit acids have a mild exfoliating effect on the skin, and also act as humectants to attract water, depending on concentration.

A: Many of the products that claim to instantly create the appearance of more hair can be generically classified as spray-on hair thickeners. These products list keratin protein fibers as their main ingredient. The keratin protein fibers are wool fibers that are dyed in eight shades to match most hair colors. The fibers are placed in a polymer base and given a charge to allow them to attach to the scalp hairs. They are sprayed over the area of thinning and remain in place until the next shampooing.

Q: Why has urea become popular in moisturizers, both in the prescription and cosmetic market?

A: Urea has been used for many years to soften calluses. It is able to digest keratin, functioning as a keratolytic, allowing water to bind to dehydrated callouses. For this reason, urea is also used in the treatment of hyperkeratotic conditions, verruca and corns.

Urea can be used as a penetration enhancer for topical corticosteroids in hyperkeratotic skin diseases, such as psoriasis.

Finally, it has been discovered that urea is transported through aquaporin channels in the skin.

The ability of urea to transport through aquaporin channels suggests that it has the potential to produce important skin benefits.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a Dermatology Times editorial adviser and investigator, Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, N.C.

Questions may be submitted via e-mail to zdraelos@northstate.net
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