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The Role of Antioxidants In Dermtological & Cosmetic Formulas



Free radical oxidation is the basis of the aging process because it causes permanent deterioration of the skin cells and supports structure by decreasing elasticity and resiliency.



By Mohinder Singh, PhD, Consultant to Blistex Inc



Published December 3, 2013
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The Role of Antioxidants In Dermtological & Cosmetic Formulas

Antioxidants play an important lifeline role in superior face and skin aging products. Antioxidants are natural substances made up of vitamins and minerals. They can counter “free radicals” that damage DNA, lipids and proteins.  Damaged skin cells can speed up aging with wrinkles, dry skin, dark circles under the eyes, dull skin, decrease elasticity and pliability.

Antioxidants most shown to combat skin problems are:
  1. Açai oil
  2. Alpha lipoic acid
  3. Green and white tea
  4. Retinol
  5. Vitamin C
  6. Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q-10)
  7. Isoflavones
  8. Polyphenols
  9. Curcumin
  10. Turmeric
  11. Pomegranate
  12. Rosemary
  13. Glutatione
  14. Slenium
  15. Zinc
Dermatological and cosmetic formulations contain fragrance, fats and oils, which are all subject to auto-oxidation by exposure to air, causing off odor and chemical degradation.

Addition of antioxidants can be used to preserve the formulations and increase the shelf life.  Antioxidants can be lipid-soluble, water-soluble or both.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are produced by sunlight, street air, auto pollution and other environmental factors, especially industrial sources. Antioxidant based products are just as important as sunscreen-containing products in battling aging and skin cancer. They create a barrier on the skin to protect from the environmental and ultraviolet infrared rays.

Free radicals are the normal byproduct when cells are burning glucose to create the energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), for the body. Free radicals cause damage because they are missing an electron. The loss of the electron makes the atom or molecule electrically unstable. To regain stability, free radicals tend to steal electrons from the surrounding substances in a chain reaction that continues until stopped by an antioxidant. This process is called free-radical oxidation chain reaction.

The Basis of Aging
Free radical oxidation is the basis of the aging process because it causes permanent deterioration of the skin cells’ support structure by decreasing elasticity and resiliency.

The human body has its own natural mechanism of protection from free radical induced damage.  This protective capacity diminishes with age and time of exposure where the magnitude of free radicals formed overtakes the body’s natural ability to neutralize them. 

Antioxidants in skin care products are capable of penetrating into the deepest layer of the skin.  Antioxidants enable living cells to repair and renew.  The end result is skin that looks and feels younger.

When formulating dermatological and cosmetic products it is very important to consider several factors regulating the impact of the product including, the ability to penetrate the upper layer of the skin, the concentration of the ingredients required to be effective and the time it takes to show the signs of improvement. Inclusion of effective antioxidants is extremely important.


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