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Dear Mangiferin, save my skin!

Probably this is the first time that you’ve heard about the term ‘Mangiferin’. It may sound flavourful, a bit exotic but so effortlessly related to mango. And you are partially right!

Mangiferin and its derivatives were historically assumed to be compounds naturally present only in the mango tree parts (Mangifera indica Linn., Anacardiaceae fam.) until they were found to be scattered in different concentrations in seeds, leaves, flowers, fruits and even peels of plants belonging to the families Gentianaceae, Swertia Genus, Zingiberaceae, among others [1,2].

Besides their abundance, these endearing molecules keep drawing all attention since these phytochemicals display antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressive, antimicrobial, anticancer and even cardioprotective properties [1,3,4] that seem very promising. To this day, this ‘appetising’ free radical-scavenging xanthone has been proved to have low toxicity as well as drug-like properties [4] which remain particularly interesting to be applied then in our skin.

Consider for example, the extrinsic skin aging effects (photoaging) induced by UVB exposure. Mangiferin helps reducing the degree of wrinkle formation and the epidermal thickness augmentation by hindering matrix metalloproteinase MMP-9 expression which regulates part of the collagen degradation and therefore, affects the skin structure [5]. In addition, it works as a non-competitive dose-dependent inhibitor on both elastase and collagenase (Extracellular Matrix enzymes- ECM) that when activated by oxidative stress, accelerate degradation of elastin and collagen, respectively [6].

Fig 2. Inhibitory effect of Mangiferin on skin aging induced by UVB [5]. Collagen fibers of mice dermis (in blue) appear less damaged in mangiferin-treated skin than in the UVB-vehicle group (with no particular treatment) in comparison to the healthy skin control.

There’s a catch, though- Mangiferin has limited solubility and poor lipophilicity which makes it difficult to be delivered and being effective in both oral and topical applications. But keep your cool: new nano systems including phospholipid complexes, nano-emulsions, nanoparticles, and crystals, are being developed to improve skin retention and transdermal permeation [2,4,7]. To give you an idea about how this works, some studies are described below.

In the case of inflammatory disorders (as atopic dermatitis), when oxidative stress and severe inflammation were induced with TPA in mouses, those treated with nano emulsions of Mangiferin encapsulated in hyaluronic acid (HA) showcased an important improvement in the skin condition reducing the activity of MPO, an inflammatory modulator enzyme [2]. Similarly, Mangiferin-loaded transfersomes (phospholipid vesicles enhanced with glycerol, propylene glycol and mucin) applied in vivo on provoked lesions, led to an increase of proliferation and migration of fibroblasts during the wound closure process, exerting a faster skin regeneration and a protective effect against skin damage (being even keratinocyte friendly!) [7].

At this point, I bet you (and your skin) already want to get these incredible benefits, but you will have to wait… for a while. There are currently several patents filed on therapeutic and cosmetic applications of this compound, including it as a main or an active ingredient [1,4] and some primary assessments in formulated creams [8].

Rest assured: sooner or later we will get our hands on these fantastic Mangiferin-based products. Meanwhile… don’t forget to eat your mangoes!

Images credits: Pexels


[1] Saha, S., Sadhukhan, P., & Sil, P. C. (2016). Mangiferin: A xanthonoid with multipotent anti-inflammatory potential. In BioFactors (Vol. 42, Issue 5, pp. 459–474). Wiley.

[2] Pleguezuelos-Villa, M., Nácher, A., Hernández, M. J., Ofelia Vila Buso, M. A., Ruiz Sauri, A., & Díez-Sales, O. (2019). Mangiferin nanoemulsions in treatment of inflammatory disorders and skin regeneration. In International Journal of Pharmaceutics (Vol. 564, pp. 299–307). Elsevier BV.

[3] Imran, M., Arshad, M. S., Butt, M. S., Kwon, J.-H., Arshad, M. U., & Sultan, M. T. (2017). Mangiferin: a natural miracle bioactive compound against lifestyle related disorders. In Lipids in Health and Disease (Vol. 16, Issue 1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC.

[4] Quadri, F., Telang, M., & Mandhare, A. (2019). Therapeutic and cosmetic applications of Mangiferin: an updated patent review (patents published after 2013). In Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents (Vol. 29, Issue 6, pp. 463–479). Informa UK Limited.

[5] Kim, H.-S., Song, J. H., Youn, U. J., Hyun, J. W., Jeong, W. S., Lee, M. Y., Choi, H. J., Lee, H.-K., & Chae, S. (2012). Inhibition of UVB-induced wrinkle formation and MMP-9 expression by Mangiferin isolated from Anemarrhena asphodeloides. In European Journal of Pharmacology (Vol. 689, Issues 1–3, pp. 38–44). Elsevier BV.

[6] Ochocka, R., Hering, A., Stefanowicz–Hajduk, J., Cal, K., & Barańska, H. (2017). The effect of Mangiferin on skin: Penetration, permeation and inhibition of ECM enzymes. In H. A. Santos (Ed.), PLOS ONE (Vol. 12, Issue 7, p. e0181542). Public Library of Science (PLoS).

[7] Allaw, M., Pleguezuelos-Villa, M., Manca, M. L., Caddeo, C., Aroffu, M., Nacher, A., Diez-Sales, O., Saurí, A. R., Ferrer, E. E., Fadda, A. M., & Manconi, M. (2020). Innovative strategies to treat skin wounds with Mangiferin: fabrication of transfersomes modified with glycols and mucin. In Nanomedicine (Vol. 15, Issue 17, pp. 1671–1685). Future Medicine Ltd.

[8] Shamsuddin, A. M., Sekar, M., & Ahmad, Z. M. (2018). Formulation and evaluation of antiaging cream containing mangiferin. In International Research Journal Of Pharmacy (Vol. 9, Issue 6, pp. 55–59).

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