A new study published in the Marine Drugs has reported that Posidonia ethanolic extract (PEE) could be profitably used in the development of products for skin ageing, undesired hyperpigmentation, and cellulite.

Collagen is the main constituent of the dermal matrix, which is produced by fibroblasts, is essential for skin tone and turgor, and undergoes physiological turnover through continuous degradation by matrix metalloproteinases and replacement by fibroblast neosynthesis.

During skin ageing, collagen degradation tends to overwhelm renewal, resulting in the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and other alterations. Hence, the maintenance of fibroblast function is a prerequisite for contrasting skin ageing.

In the present study, the complex of effects induced by PEE on fibroblast growth rate and collagen synthesis indicate a positive stimulation of fibroblast activity, suggesting the possible use of PEE in anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing skin care formulations.

Seagrasses are high plants sharing adaptive metabolic features with both terrestrial plants and marine algae, resulting in a phytocomplex possibly endowed with interesting biological properties.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the in vitro activities on skin cells of an ethanolic extract obtained from the leaves of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, family Potamogetonaceae, herein named Posidonia ethanolic extract (PEE).

PEE showed high radical scavenging activity, high phenolic content, and resulted rich in chicoric acid, as determined through HPLC-MS analysis. The use of MTT assay on fibroblasts showed a PEE cytotoxicity threshold (IC05) of 50 µg/mL at 48 h, while a sub-toxic dose of 20 µg/mL induced a significant increase of fibroblast growth rate after 10 days.

In addition, an ELISA assay revealed that Posidonia ethanolic extract (PEE) doses of 5 and 10 µg/mL induced collagen production in fibroblasts. Posidonia ethanolic extract (PEE) induced dose-dependent mushroom tyrosinase inhibition, up to about 45% inhibition at 1000 µg/Ml.

While 50% reduction of melanin was observed in melanoma cells exposed to 50 µg/mL Posidonia ethanolic extract (PEE). Finally, PEE lipolytic activity was assessed by measuring glycerol release from adipocytes following triglyceride degradation.

Due to its abundance in the plant and in Posidonia ethanolic extract (PEE), the complex consisting of chicoric acid and flavonoids is a major candidate for at least part of the observed PEE effects on skin cells and activities.

In conclusion, the team have collected data concerning the biological effects on skin cells of a chicoric acid-rich, ethanolic extract of the seagrass P. oceanica. The obtained results represent a novel discovery among the studies on the biological effects of plant phytocomplexes. The findings indicated that the P. oceanica phytocomplex can be profitably used in the development of products for contrasting wrinkle formation and skin aging, undesired hyperpigmentation, and cellulite.