Carnosine – the new kid on the block
Carnosine is found naturally in brain and muscle tissue. It is a dipeptide composed of two amino acids, β-alanine and histidine. It has gained a lot of interest recently as some studies show it might be used in preventing skin cell ageing.
Carnosine has been shown to protect human skin cells against UV radiation. In a study on human skin cells, carnosine was shown to reduce the oxidative damage caused by the UV on both DNA and proteins.
It is also able to activate synthesis of other naturally produced antioxidants, such as glutathione peroxidase, whose main biological role is to protect the cell from oxidative damage.
Carnosine and related molecules have even stronger anti oxidative capability than vitamin E, however it is advisable to apply these two antioxidants together, not only for synergistic protective effects but also because vitamin E improves the delivery of carnosine, resulting in higher levels of this molecule in the skin.
Carnosine is also able to reduce the effects of glycation. This process occurs naturally during ageing and produces damaged forms of proteins, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Collagen is among the proteins most affected by this, and its glycation may be responsible for loss of elasticity or other negative consequences of skin ageing. Carnosine is a competitive target for glycation, thus protecting collagen from it. Results from studies indicate that carnosine improves skin visual parameters, maintains firmness, reduces roughness, fine lines and oily appearance.