The use of antioxidants in a skin care regimen is vital in both preventing and repairing age-related damage. The following pages provide a summary of the necessary role antioxidants play in care of your skin. The antioxidants described in this section have been studied and found to be beneficial in the care of your skin. Products available at Dr, Glicksman’s office are listed, along with their ingredients at the end of this section
Free Radicals, Antioxidants, and the Aging Process
The body is constantly barraged by ultraviolet light, cigarette smoke, and environmental pollutants. Internal stress associated with aging also contributes to the formation of free radicals-unstable molecules that cause damage to living cells. An accumulation of free radicals is the principal cause of skin aging. Free radicals produced by ultraviolet light cause photoaging, blotchy hyperpigmentation, mottling and wrinkling. Smoking, another confirmed cause of free radicals is known to destroy dermal collagen.
If free radicals are the weapons that cause the damage, antioxidants can be your defense. Antioxidants have been shown to work in two ways. First they protect cells from environmental damage; second, they travel through the body repairing cellular damage and stimulate age-reversal changes. Humans cannot make enough antioxidants on our own, and therefore we must supplement the body through food and topical application.
Although most antioxidants can be used as a single agent, they work better when paired together in combinations.
Human sebaceous glands produce Vitamin E as either alpha-tocopherol or gamma-tocopherol, and these act as the skin’s first line of defense against environmental stress. Skin aging and damage occurs when the rate of tocopherol reduction exceeds the amount of production. This explains why oily skin tends to age slower than dry skin.
Vitamin E and skin care:
Vitamin E is found in many skin care products due to its exceptional photoprotective effects, its excellent moisturizing effects and its ability to act as a natural preservative in cosmetics. Because it also offers significant protection against ultraviolet damage, and penetrates the skin well, it increases the benefits of sunscreens and even more so if paired with Vitamin C
This water-soluble vitamin plays an important role in collagen synthesis and is an antioxidant. Studies have shown that Vitamin C reduces wrinkles and improves the appearance of aged skin. Ithas also been shown to significantly lighten hyperpigmented skin by blocking the enzyme tyrosinase. Unlike vitamin E, the body cannot make vitamin C, so it must be supplemented through diet and topical application. Most vitamin c products manufactured today are unstable and tend to oxidize quickly making them ineffective. Look for products that contain the L-ascorbic acid anhydrous water-free form, it is the most stable and recommended version.
Lipoic acid is readily absorbed into the skin and becomes dihydrolipoic acid once absorbed. Studies have shown it decreased the effects of ultraviolet radiation and results in improvement in photoaging and wrinkling
The best known ubiquinone is Coenzyme-Q10. This potent free radical inhibitor is found in all cells. Coenzyme-Q10 is needed to create energy in a cell, and as cells age and are damaged, levels of coenzyme Q-10 decrease as well. Most studies involve supplements added to the diet, but one study showed that Coenzyme Q-10 can penetrate the skin and reduces wrinkle depth, and prevent sun-damage.
IDEBENONE : a powerful synthetic form of coenzyme Q-10- has demonstrated great promise as an antioxidant, showing better results than vitamin C, lipoic acid and vitamin E in oxidation and sun-protection.
Polyphenols are a group of chemical substances found naturally in plants and have shown great promise as antioxidants
Catechins: GREEN TEA contains a high concentration of catechins and has been shown to decrease erythema, inflammation, as well decrease in the number of sunburned cells after ultraviolet exposure.
Procyanidins: the most concentrated supply of this potent antioxidant is found in GRAPE SEED EXTRACT. Procyanidins have been found to stabilize collagen and elastin , and improve flexibility and appearance of the skin. This antioxidant can be absorbed through the skin and may be more potent than Vitamin C or E. It may work best combined with the other antioxidants.
FERULIC ACID: can be found in whole grains, spinach, grapes, parsley, and rhubarb. It is frequently added to other antioxidants, and in several studies has shown great promise in its ability to protect skin from ultraviolet light and possibly prevent tumor creation and growth.
POMEGRANATE: Recently popularized in drinks, pomegranate has now found its way into skin care products. A polyphenol based antioxidant, possibly more powerful than green tea and red wine; studies suggest it may be a useful sun block. More studies are needed to determine its effects on skin aging.
COFFEE BERRY: The fruit that grows on the coffee bean plant is loaded with Polyphenols. In studies it has been shown to contain as much as 1o times the antioxidant strength as Green Tea in absorbing free radicals. It has been shown to protect against ultraviolet light and we may see this antioxidant increasingly added to skin care products for its potent antioxidant properties.
GENISTEIN: found in soy, it has been shown to protect photodamaged DNA. Experimentally it has been shown to protect against tumor production and may be potentially useful in skin cancer prevention.
CAROTENOIDS: found in many vegetables, these natural free radical scavengers, which include lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene, are compounds that give vegetables their color and make them nutritional powerhouses. When used in combination, they afford excellent photo protection.