Phytokeratin or vegetable-based keratin, is structurally very similar to keratin, which is already present in the skin, hair, and nails. This ingredient is most commonly found in hair care products, but it is also found in some skincare products.
What Role Does Keratin Play in the Skin?
Keratin is a fibrous protein rich in sulfur atoms. In vertebrates, it is mainly present in the outermost layers of the epidermis (horny layer), but also in the dander (hair, nails, feathers, horns, beaks…).
Animal keratin exists in two different forms: beta-keratin and alpha-keratin. Both types of keratin are found in different sources. Beta-keratin is found in reptiles and birds while alpha-keratin or cytokeratin is present in all mammals, including humans.
Keratin is essential to the mechanical
strength of the skin. It is part of a
supracellular filamentous protein network
that ensures the cohesion
and integrity of epithelial tissues.
In a process called differentiation or cell turnover, epithelial cells mature and become loaded with keratin, resulting in dead cells (corneocytes) that are eventually shed. Alpha-keratin can represent up to 95% of the total proteins present in the stratum corneum.
What Is Phytokeratin?
Phytokeratin is a fine beige powder obtained by hydrolyzing wheat or almond proteins through an enzymatic process. It is a vegetable alternative to animal keratin and comes with all its benefits.
Phytokeratin is used in the cosmetic industry because it has an amino acid structure close to the keratin naturally found in the skin, hair, or nails. On the INCI lists, it is recognizable under the names Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein or Hydrolyzed Sweet Almond Protein. We use it in some of our hair and nail products such as the Hand & Nail Serum, the Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and the Volume Shampoo.
The Benefits of Phytokeratin for the Skin.
Although this plant-based keratin is mainly used due to its benefits for hair and nails, it also shows many virtues for the skin.
Phytokeratin reduces skin flaking, a process resulting from the end of the keratinocyte life cycle. In addition, keratin participates in the hydration of the skin through the retention of water in the epidermal cells. Thus, it makes it possible to decrease the insensible loss of water. It also offers protection against aggressive external factors, particularly UV rays. Finally, it gives a soft and supple feel to the skin.
At Typology, we have formulated a serum with all keratin benefits to take care of your hands and nails. Our Hands & Nails serum contains 1% phytokeratin and 2% hyaluronic acid. Phytokeratin helps to strengthen the nails. At the level of the skin, it acts in synergy with the hyaluronic acid in order to hydrate and protect it from external aggressions.