University essay from Lunds universitet/Tillämpad biokemi; Lunds universitet/Teoretisk kemi

Abstract: Skin integrity is something that matters to a lot of people since it makes up a protective barrier but also contributes to a beautiful appearance. To maintain skin integrity there is a wide range of skin care products on the market to choose from. However, lately one particular product group called "cosmeceuticals” have increased. Cosmeceuticals contain biologically active substances among which recombinant growth factors are commonly seen. Recombinant proteins have already been used for a long time in pharmaceuticals where they are under much stricter regulations than in cosmetics. This means that neither the purity or the effectiveness, nor the concentration of the growth factors in cosmeceuticals are meeting the requirements of cosmetics. Thus, there is a risk that consumers will be misled or, in even worse cases, have adverse effects. In this master’s thesis five different cosmeceutical products containing recombinant growth factors were studied with the aim of detecting and characterizing protein. Different methods of sample preparation were performed to detect protein with electrophoresis followed by characterization with chromatography and two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis. The obtained results showed that only one out of five products contained protein. This could mean that no protein was included in a majority of the products, although in future experiments additional analysis with higher sensitivity should be carried out to confirm this. Considering the protein that was found, it was not only the growth factor FGF, claimed to be there, but mainly another one that shared a lot of properties with bovine serum albumin. Hence, there seems to be reason to question the quality of cosmeceuticals and it would be advisable to establish stricter regulations.

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