Cosmetic effectiveness of topically applied hydrolysed keratin peptides and lipids derived from wool


Clara Barba
Department of Surfactant Technology
Chemical and Environmental Research Institute of Barcelona
Jordi Girona 18-26
Barcelona 08034
Tel: +34 93 400 6179
Fax: +34 93 204 5904


Background/purpose: Skin moisturisation, elasticity, feel and appearance can all be improved through the topical application of protein hydrolysates. Recent studies suggest that supplementing intercellular lipids of the stratum corneum can enhance the functioning of the skin.

Methods: In this study, a hydrolysed keratin peptide (molecular weight <1000 Da) was prepared from wool and tested on skin in two different formulations: an aqueous solution and an internal wool lipids (IWL) liposome suspension. In vivo long-term studies were performed to evaluate the water barrier function of the skin after topical application of different formulations. During the treatment period, hydration and elasticity were determined. A sorption–desorption test was also performed to assess the hygroscopic properties and water-holding capacity of the different treated skin sites.

Results: Significant differences were found between the control and treated sites, with the treated areas showing an increase in hydration and elasticity as a result of keratin peptide application. Measurements also indicated that the keratin formulations reinforce the skin barrier integrity, improving its water-holding capacity.

Conclusion: A combination of the keratin peptide with the IWL showed beneficial effects, indicating that this combination is suitable for designing new cosmetics products.