Using keratin in skin care products is definitely a very good idea. The outermost layer of your skin is mostly keratin, and within every cell in the skin a keratin structure is responsible for keeping the cell functioning well. Over the last few years some high profile medical research has shown that keratin protein plays a really important role in healing, meaning that it helps skin cells to do important things. Previously it was thought that keratin was more passive, and only useful in keeping the cells in the right place. Hydrolyzed keratin has been used in hand and nail care for many years, but hydrolyzed keratin is not really keratin at all, it is so damaged and modified it has lost all of its useful properties.
Last month a dramatic development changed how scientists see keratin in skin care. The University of Miami published a significant finding showing that a particular sort of keratin helps skin cells make two particular collagens very well (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22621188). Skin cells made more collagen 4 (C4) and collagen 7 (C7) in the presence of this keratin. C4 and C7 build the dermal-epidermal junction. These are two layers of the skin that need to join together well for smooth, healthy skin.
This is really important because as skin ages and wrinkles form C4 and C7 are lost and the dermal-epidermal junction breaks down. There was some very detailed science done by a distinguished French dermatologist in 1999 (http://www.scf-online.com/english/24_e/wrinkles_24_e.htm) that showed this very clearly.
The particular keratin studied by the University of Miami is the basis of Replicine™ Functional Keratin®. This is the core technology behind a unique treatment for the skin disorder epidermolysis bullosa, some forms of which mean the body is not very good at making C4 and C7 and so the dermal-epidermal junction is weak. Medical products using Replicine™ Functional Keratin® are making a significant difference to the quality of life of some people with this condition due to its ability to help the skin make more of the right collagens at the right place in the skin.
Replicine™ Functional Keratin® is also the basis of a new line of skin care products. Retrospect (http://www.retrospectusa.com) is the first retail skin care product containing Replicine™ Functional Keratin®. Any previous products containing this technology were only available from a Dr or physician directed practice. Watch out for more news about Retrospect soon.