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A three-month, open-label single center study on a barley extract serum found that:

“Clinical evaluations showed statistically significant improvement in the appearance of fine lines and rhytids, skin texture, pore size, and various dyschromatic conditions apparent within the first month of use, and continuing improvement trends for the duration of the study.” Improved texture and appearance of human facial skin after daily topical application of barley produced, synthetic, human-like epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum. […] Efficacy of this novel serum and treatment protocol resulted in meaningful improvements in photodamage and visible signs of aging.” – Source: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 2012 May;11(5):613-20.

However, the 29 women (hardly a meaningful sample size) in the study were also using a basic sunscreen in addition to the serum containing barley extract.

  • Can have antioxidant properties when ingested, but there is no research showing this to be the case when applied topically (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, March 2001, pages 1455–1463).
  • Barely and its extracts/derivatives are a source of gluten. Obviously avoid if you suffer from celiac disease or are gluten intolerant. Even though you aren’t eating the stuff, your skin might show sensitivity – Better safe than sorry!
  • Some (biased) sources claim barley extract in skincare provides astringency, soothing and skin repair and can be used in lotions, creams and serums. In making skin care, it’s recommended use is 5-10% of the finished product.
  • Another (biased) supplier claims “barley extract has soothing, cooling, and refreshing properties.”
  • Another skincare shop says “barley extract is high in linoleic acid and plant phytosterols. It is known to soothe and moisturize skin, promote replenishment of the skin’s protective barrier and renewal of cell membranes. It is perfect for treating dry and itchy skin.”

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