Introduction: Placenta extract is used as an ingredient in ointments for treating dermatological diseases, skin dryness, and for skin beautification. However, the clinical effects of the equine placenta on humans and the underlying mechanism of action are unclear. This randomized, controlled, double-blind study aimed to clinically evaluate the effect of oral intake of equine placental extract on human skin quality. Methods: Healthy women volunteers between the ages of 30 and 59 years (n = 29) were randomly assigned to receive 220 mg of equine placental extract–placebo orally, once daily for 4 weeks. Skin quality parameters such as skin hydration, skin barrier function (transepidermal water loss [TEWL]), and melanin index were assessed at baseline and after 4 weeks of administration. Results: The melanin index was significantly increased in the placebo group, whereas it remained unchanged in the equine placenta group. The pattern of melanin index change was significantly different due to intake or no intake of equine placenta supplements over 4 weeks. No significant difference was found in skin hydration and TEWL between the two groups at 4 weeks of postadministration. It was shown that the intake of the equine placenta was more effective in protecting the skin condition against the change of ultraviolet (UV) sensitively than the change in temperature and humidity. Conclusions: Effect of equine placental extract intake was evident on the cheek skin of the equine placenta group where participants were protected from UV-induced pigmentation. Equine placental extract is useful for decreasing melanin synthesis and melanin content in the human skin and can be used as an effective food supplement to maintain human skin quality.
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