Lycium barbarum L. (Solanaceae) glycoconjugates (LbGp) display an interesting array of anti-apoptotic and antioxidant properties, which may be beneficial for human skin. We therefore set out to determine the effects of LbGp in full-thickness human skin, and in dermal fibroblasts. It was found that LbGp decreased the level of MMP (matrix metalloproteinase)-1 significantly, but not that of MMP-3 or -13, in the whole human skin system, without compromising the viability of the skin. Consistently, LbGp inhibited skin expansion under mechanical stress, which in this model depends on the activity of MMP-1. We found that one of L. barbarum glycoconjugates, the LbGp5, promoted the survival of human fibroblasts cultured in suboptimal conditions. Furthermore, in the presence of LbGp5, these cultures also contained higher levels of the MMP-1 substrate--collagen type I. Together these results suggest that L. barbarum glycoconjugates in general, and LbGp5 in particular, may have important skin-protective properties.