The Difoprev® system in treatment of the skin of the elderly: preliminary data obtained in patients with dryness and hyperkeratosis
Center and School of Echography, Department of Internal Medicine, Maggiore Hospital, Bologna, Italy
Background: Aging brings with it a number of structural and functional modifications of the skin and adnexa, particularly in the lower extremities, which may determine a gradual reduction in elasticity, with associated functional alterations which may determine preulcerative lesions. The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of the Difoprev® system, consisting in a sock functioning as a vehicle for microcapsules containing moisturizing agents (Pseudoalteromonas ferment extract, a glycoprotein synthesized by the bacterium, Pseudoalteromonas antarctica NF3). The system is already widely used for cutaneous treatment in cases of neuropathic diabetic foot, and in prevention/treatment of dryness and hyperkeratosis of the skin of the lower extremities in elderly persons (shin/foot).
Methodology: Sixteen patients aged >70 years (group A) were treated with the Difoprev® system for 8 weeks. This group was compared with 8 patients of the same age (group B) who wore the same type of sock without microcapsules. Following initial assessment at the time of recruitment, the patients underwent controls at 15, 30, and 60 days to assess the degree of hydration of the skin derived from an objective evaluation of degree of keratosis according to an arbitrary scale of seriousness ranging from 1 (absent) to 4 (marked). The changes were rated according to a scale ranging from 1 (no improvement) to 5 (marked improvement). A comparative study of all cases was conducted by means of photographs taken as the treatment commenced and on termination of treatment.
Results: Most patients treated with Difoprev® presented a reduction in the degree of keratosis of the skin (90%, of whom 15% had marked improvement), compared to the patients who wore only the sock with no microcapsules (10% with slight improvement). None of the patients undergoing Difoprev® system treatment displayed signs of intolerance or untoward reactions.
Conclusion: While the clinical assessment was conducted on a small number of patients, the results obtained nevertheless demonstrate that the Difoprev® system is a safe, simple method for obtaining improvements to the skin of elderly people by reduction of the degree of keratosis through enhanced hydration.
Keywords: nanotechnologies, cutaneous hydration, hyperkeratosis, ulcerative lesions