Sunday, March 13, 2011
Cosmeceuticals: GABA or gamma aminobutyric acid
There are no studies or evidence that it works as a muscle relaxer. In fact, the most commonly quoted comment you'll see is this one from Paula Begoun (even a supplier that sells this ingredient quoted her!):
"There is no substantiated research proving GABA works in this manner when applied topically, and if it did, it would be cause for alarm. If GABA worked as stated and you applied it to your entire face, what's to stop it from affecting the muscles around your mouth, jaw, or neck? If it really relaxed muscles upon application, consumers would see more skin sagging, not to mention problems controlling the (relaxed) muscles in your fingers (assuming they come in contact with the product)."
I hate to be the bearer of bad news because this would be an amazing inclusion in a product, but there's simply no evidence that GABA will offer muscle relaxing properties in a topical product (except for testimonials for products containing GABA, but those aren't evidence!). As someone who gets $748 worth of Botox injected into my head every two months to stop muscle spasm related headaches, I can tell you that if it worked, I would spend every last penny I had to buy GABA and I'd glisten from the coating I would apply to my shoulders, neck, and face (and damn the breakouts!).
GABA can be eaten and you can find in some drinks as a relaxant (there's a lovely blueberry flavoured water I like that contains it...I haven't noticed I feel more relaxed, but then again I'm a little manic on my worst days). There is no proof that the internal muscle relaxation we feel from our body's GABA or ingested GABA translates in a topical product.
Having said all of this, there is some evidence it works as an anti-inflammatory, so you could include it in your products for that reason. And anti-inflammatories are great for those of us with reddened or swollen skin, skin that has been exposed to the elements, or acne prone skin.
Join me tomorrow for more fun with cosmeceuticals as we learn more about resveratrol!