Galactoarabinan (not surprisingly often abbreviated to GA!) is a highly functional polysaccharide (basically the form in which most natural carbohydrates occur), extracted from already-harvested North American Larch trees which grow in abundance in the Northwest United States. These Larch trees are found only in cold latitudes, growing at elevations of more than 600 metres on open mountainsides.
GA is entirely natural, being extracted directly from trees, it’s bio-available, so has a highly beneficial interaction with skin cells, and is biodegradable. According to folklore, early US inhabitants used the resin and the bark from Larch trees for food, cosmetics and medicinal purposes and the Thompson River American Indians prepared a mixture of the GA resin for use as an application to treat cuts, sores and burns. The patented extraction process is a water-based extraction using only heat, pressure and water without using any solvents.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Skin Cell Renewal Efficacy.
Skin keratinocytes in the lower level of the epidermis undergo mitosis. These newly formed cells gradually push the existing cells upwards. The older keratinocytes are eventually pushed to the surface where they are sloughed off. Through surface exfoliation, these dead skin cells are removed to reveal younger skin underneath. A higher rate of skin exfoliation may indicate faster cell turnover rates, and a faster cell turnover rate can lead to a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. AMA Laboratories (New City, NY) conducted studies into GA’s properties as both a primary exfoliant as well as its role as an exfoliant enhancer, and in both cases GA displayed significant properties as an exfoliant and, when used in combination with lactose, properties as an exfoliant enhancer (by acting as a film-former, and increasing the functionality of the lactic acid by holding it to the skin).
Reduction of Fine Lines and Wrinkles.
Faster skin cell turnover, as evidenced by enhanced exfoliation, may help explain GA’s effect on fine lines and wrinkles, by bringing younger skin to the surface more rapidly. International Resources Inc conducted a study using 15 panellists to evaluate the effect of GA on fine lines and wrinkles in the crow’s feet area of the face. In an 8 week, full face, randomized, double-blind, positive-controlled study, Galactoarbinan was proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by 19%. Product performance was assessed using both trained evaluators and instrumentally (using silicon replicas with subsequent image analysis).
Reduce Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL).
TEWL is the measurement of the water loss from a body that passes through the skin epidermis through diffusion, which then evaporates into the atmosphere. This measure is used to define skin barrier characteristics. Reduction of TEWL (i.e. lower TEWL readings) indicates that the skin barrier is more effective in retaining moisture in the skin, allowing it to feel more moisturised. A test conducted by International Research Services Inc in Port Chester, NY, on 21 subjects which measured TEWL after one application of a product containing 2% GA as against a placebo showed a statistically significant reduction in TEWL levels after only 2 and 4 hours, indicating that GA successfully helped to maintain skin barrier function.
Provides film forming and skin tightening - yielding an instant skin radiance, as well as having been shown to increase cell metabolic activity by increasing ATP production.
Increases dispersion of UV filters.
GA has been shown to improve dispersion of inorganic sunscreen particles (such as titanium dioxide) leading to a more uniform and effective transference onto the skin surface. This leads to less clumping of the sunscreen particles and therefore more efficient packing of the sun protection per UV level.