Although the industry, and even consumers, is familiar with the concept of “beauty-from-within," there is still a demand for science supporting these types of claims. Topical and oral products are a popular couple in the beauty industry, as their synergistic relationship supports internal processes necessary for healthy skin.
A new randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled pilot study published in the Natural Medicine Journal studied the effectiveness of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM; as OptiMSM® from Bergstrom Nutrition) as an oral supplement on skin health (2015;7(11). An initial preclinical in vitro gene marker study evaluated the effects of 2.5 percent MSM solution on the expression of 92 genes associated with skin function. The primary clinical trial randomized 20 female participants to receive either 3 g/d of MSM or placebo over 16 weeks. Skin health was evaluated through expert grading, instrumentation and participant self-assessment at weeks eight and 16.
“The preclinical stage showed OptiMSM impacted gene expression in a 3D skin model," explained Rod Benjamin, director of technical development at Bergstrom Nutrition and an author of the study. “We then followed up this preclinical data with a human clinical study that has shown efficacy utilizing three separate types of measurements: grading, instrumentation and participant self-assessment."
After 16 weeks, MSM regulated the genomic expression of key genes responsible for skin health and the prevention of aging. Furthermore, MSM supplementation showed statistically significant improvements over placebo by expert grading in crow’s feet and skin firmness, and statistically significant improvements from baseline in crow’s feet, skin firmness, tone and texture. Using photo instrumentation analysis, MSM supplementation produced statistically significant improvements over placebo for wrinkle (crow’s feet) total count, length, severity and deep line counts and for wrinkles (global) total count, length, and severity. The product was well-tolerated, and overall, the MSM group gave more favorable self-assessment than the placebo group, though the improvement was not statistically significant.
The researchers concluded: “MSM supplementation appears to benefit skin health, primarily the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. Effects on gene expression may partially account for the benefits, but further research is needed to verify results and mechanism of action."
Benjamin noted: “With MSM being 34 percent sulfur by weight it has long been recognized for its potential in supporting healthy skin. However, scientific data supporting efficacy in this area has been lacking," said. “This study helps fill the gap, providing scientific data that supports the oral efficacy of OptiMSM for reducing fine wrinkles and supporting healthy skin."