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Reduce wrinkles and enhance skin during sleep

Article-Reduce wrinkles and enhance skin during sleep

Copper-oxide fibers used in pillowcases might just revolutionize the old adage "Get your beauty sleep." A new study says that just sleeping on the pillowcases may reduce wrinkles and improve skin appearance.

Cupron, the company that makes the pillowcases — as well as masks, gloves and other beauty products — out of fabrics made with copper-oxide infused fibers, published the double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study in the May 20 edition of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.

"Women slept on either our pillowcases or another pillowcase. It was blinded so they didn't know," explains Gadi Borkow, Ph.D., the study's lead author and chief medical director at Cupron's headquarters in Beit Shemesh, Israel. "There was a statistically significant difference between the groups. Those sleeping on the pillowcases containing the copper oxide had significant reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, a significant reduction in the appearance of fine lines, and overall improvement of skin glow." The study looked at 57 participants' skin after two and four weeks of sleeping on the pillowcases. Because the copper oxide is embedded into the fibers, Borkow says there is no way to tell either visibly or by touch which pillowcases contained the copper.

THE COMPANY Cupron, which has U.S. headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., makes copper-based antimicrobial products and medical devices.

In May, the company received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study whether copper-oxide based filters can be used as a shield by HIV-infected mothers to breast-feed without transmitting the virus to their babies. Borkow will lead that study, as well.

With a background in virology, particularly the study of HIV, Borkow says he never expected to study the cosmetic effects of a product. He decided to conduct the study after examining anecdotal reports of skin improvements from people trying out wound dressings and socks made with the fibers.

"We made socks that, when you wore them, they treat athlete's foot, because copper has antimicrobial properties that kill fungi. And athlete's foot is caused by fungi," Borkow explains. "Using the socks, we saw that the skin actually looks much better. In addition to that, when we were using the socks with diabetic patients, the podiatrist who was working with the patients said that the skin looked much better and healthier."

FIGHTING ACNE Borkow wondered if the antimicrobial effects of wound dressing might also work on acne. That's when he had the idea to create a pillowcase instead, thinking it would be much easier for a teenager to sleep on a pillowcase to cure acne. He gave a pillowcase to a teenager he knew. Soon, the teen's mother, who had pimples, too, started sleeping on it as well.

"She calls me one week later, and she says, 'People are asking me what cream I am using now,'" Borkow says. "So when she told me that, together with what we were seeing on the foot of the patients with the socks, I thought there might be a cosmetic effect. I went through the literature, and there's quite a bit of literature showing that copper is an elemental material that we need to survive. It's used by the body for the nervous system, immune system and skin formation."

That's when he thought that the fibers with copper-oxide might be stimulating the formation of collagen, along with other important components of cell development, including integrins and fibronectins.

"There is a lot of well-documented literature about copper peptides and skin. Less that I'm aware of for copper oxide," says David McDaniel, M.D., assistant professor of clinical dermatology and plastic surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Virginia Beach, Va., who reviewed the paper for Cosmetic Surgery Times.

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