Anti-aging ingredients for your cupboard

Dr Karen E Burke, in her presentation to the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting, said there are three antioxidants that have been proven to decrease the effect of the sun and prevent further damage. These are vitamins C and E and selenium. Antioxidants have been found to stop free radicals from damaging cells in the body and skin. Free radicals can be internal, or external, created by exposure to UV rays, smoking or pollution – these all speed up the aging process.

The problem with applying antioxidants to your skin is that they are not well absorbed, and only have short-term effects. However, research presented at the annual meeting indicates that more effective formulations that deliver the antioxidants to the skin will be more beneficial.

Selenium: This mineral is believed to protect against cancer (including skin cancer), improve tissue elasticity, and help to slow down the signs of aging.

Vitamin E: This protects cell membranes and prevents damage to enzymes associated with them. Laboratory studies suggest vitamin E helps to activate free radicals, making them less likely to cause damage. Burke stated in a press release: “For additional sun protection, individuals may consider taking vitamin E supplements. Supplementing with vitamin E in 400mg a day has been noted to reduce photodamage and wrinkles, and improve skin texture.”

Vitamin C: Considered the most common antioxidant found in the skin, vitamin C is believed to be important in repairing free radicals. Burke said in a press release: “Even minimal UV exposure can decrease the vitamin C levels in the skin by 30%, while exposure from the ozone or city pollution can decrease the level by 55%.” However, Burke warns that creating a skin cream with a useful dose of vitamin C is difficult, as this antioxidant reacts immediately when exposed to oxygen. Skin Care companies and scientists are finding ways to improve on this.