Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin C’
Rosacea is primarily a facial vascular disorder in which blood vessels are functionally and structurally abnormal. Currently rosacea can’t be cured, however it can be effectively treated and controlled. Rosacea is a progressive skin disorder, that should be treated when symptoms first begin. Treatment should be aimed at treating the underlying vascular issues associated with rosacea. Vascular Lasers and IPL treatments are extremely effective at treating existing redness and broken blood vessels. In addition to avoiding rosacea triggers, topical products can be used to prevent flushing and further damage that can accelerate the progression of the disorder.
Laser and IPL Therapy
Both Laser and IPL therapy are very effective at treating telangiectasia (broken blood vessels), generalized redness and flushing. IPL therapy can also be enhanced with Levulan to get the added benefit of treating acne, rosacea papules and pustuals.
Lasers that are absorbed well by hemoglobin are used to treat vascular concerns. The laser energy is absorbed by the blood vessel and creates heat within the vessel which damages the vessel wall and permenatly closes that vessel. The treated vessels are then absorbed by the body. Although there isn’t a cure for rosacea, studies show that laser treatment can permantly remove damaged facial blood vessels and with repeated treatment blood vessels will not always be created to replace the old vessel. Facial blood vessels treated with lasers are sometimes replaced with connective tissue. This is good news, because this will permently reduce the number of blood vessels in the face, near to the level of vessels found in healthy skin.
Lasers have a single wavelength that work at a very specific depth. So any idividual laser has it’s limitations. KTP 532 nm and Pulsed Dye: 577 -585nm lasers are well absorbed by hemoglobin and are very effective at treating superfical blood vessels in the face, while Nd:YAG 1064nm lasers are also well absorbed by hemoglobin, they are effective at treating vessels that are located deeper in the skin.
Intese Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL skin treatments are known by many names including Fotofacial, Photofacial, Photoderm and Photo rejuvenation. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) differs from lasers because IPL uses a wide spectrum of wavelengths at the same time (for example: 500nm — 1200nm) that can target any chromophore in that range, while lasers have a single wavelength. You can think of the laser like a sniper that can precisely hit a single target with one shot, and IPL is like a grenade that hits several targets at once. IPL uses special cut-off filters that can be selected to target chromophors in a certain range within the skin. When treating rosacea or any vascular concern, the intended target is hemoglobin. The advantage IPL treatments have over laser treatments is that IPL can target vessels at different depths.
Combined Laser and IPL Therapy
Best results are achieved when you combine IPL and Laser treatments. IPL and Laser treatments can be done independently, however combining technologies at the same treatment time will provide a better result. This type of treatment is fairly aggressive and should only be done by someone that is very experienced in combining these technologies.
Oral and Topical Products
Topical Metronidazole Gel
Metronidazole is topical agent used to treat rosacea, available only by prescription. The primary action of Metronidazole is anti-inflamatory. Metronidazole is effective at reducing papules and pustules and has a fairly minimal effect at reducing inflammation. Unfortunately, it isn’t effective for treating broken blood vessels or flushing.
Antibiotics have long been used to treat rosacea, however they work primarily through their anti-inflammatory properties rather than antibacterial. Antibiotics are effective at reducing papules, pustules, and inflammation. The limitation with antibiotics is that they are not effective at treating telangiectasia or flushing.
Antihistamines are effective at reducing facial inflammation, swelling and burning associated with rosacea. Histamine contributes to swelling, itching and burning. Histamine has also been shown to play a role in inflammation and redness.
Sunblock with Zinc Oxide
UV rays can penetrate the skin and activate sensory nerves that release potent vasodilators, as well as creating heat in the skin causing facial flushing. Zinc oxide reflects both UVA and UVB rays, blocking out heat from the sun. Topical zinc oxide also has significant healing properties when applied to damaged skin and has been shown to decrease inflammation in both the epidermis and dermis.
Dimethicone is a silicone based ingredient with moisturizing ability. Dimethicone is also a protective ingredient that has been shown to reduce flushing caused by skin irritants.
Free radicals have been shown to cause structural damage to vascular walls and many free radicals are potent blood vessel dilators. Dietary and topical antioxidants help to block the damaging effects of free radicals.
Studies show that vitamin C can protect blood vessel walls from free radical damage and reverse existing vascular damage. People with rosacea should get plenty of vitamin-C in their diet, and may want to consider a vitamin-C supplement. In addition to being a great antioxidant, topical vitamin-C has anti-inflammatory qualities.
*This post is intended for informational purposes only.
The use of topical antioxidants can help prevent wrinkles, reduce hyperpigmentation (sun spots), and improve skin tone. Topical antioxidants are available in many serums and moisturizer, formulations are available with a variety of antioxidants and strengths.
How Do Topical Antioxidants Work?
A free radical is any atom or molecule that is missing an electron from it’s outer shell, so it attacks an other molecule and steels an electron. The molecule that has been attacked by a free radicle, is now missing an electron and has become another free radical. This creates a chain reaction. Antioxidants stop the chain reaction, by giving an electron to the free radical.
Click to learn more about free radicals and antioxidants
Topical antioxidant stop the chain of reaction caused by free radicals. Free radicals are damaging to the skin and can accelerate extrinsic aging. Although some topical antioxidants are purely antioxidants, some have additional actions.
Topical antioxidants also help protect the skin from UV damage. Human studies have demonstrated protective effects of antioxidants when applied topically before ultraviolet radiation exposure. Antioxidants don’t work the same way that sunblocks do, so you still need a daily SPF. Sunblocks absorb or reflect out UV radiation and antioxidants neutralize the UV rays. Photoprotective topical antioxidants work by the inhibiting the UV-induced biochemical changes that lead to photoageing and DNA mutations.
Vitamin C is currently the most recognized topical antioxidant, however it works synergistically with other antioxidants such as vitamin E. There isn’t any one antioxidant that is effective on all free radicals, you need a variety of antioxidants. Each has a unique set of chemical behaviors and biological properties. Antioxidants work together as part of a network, and no single antioxidant can do the work a group. Some antioxidants may excel at fighting certain types of free radicals, or only work in certain parts of a cell. However, when it comes to topical antioxidants, there are some that are more stable and are better absorbed by the skin.
Types Of Topical Antioxidants
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic)
There are many derivatives vitamin C, however they don’t penetrate well. Look for products that contain L-ascorbic acid. Topical Vitamin C is the most popular topical antioxidant, and for good reason. In fact the benefits are so great, I will need to write an entire post devoted to topical vitamin C.
- Potent antioxidant
- Vitamin C is nessacerry to produce collagen
- Protects skin from both UVA and UVB, by neutralizing the UV rays.
- Can reduce sun – induced pigmentation, due to tyrosinase inhibitor function
- Anti- inflammatory qualities
Retinol ( Derived from Vitamin A )
- promotes healing
- promotes collagen synthesis, and inhibits cellular degeneration
- also increases epidermal thickness, and an emollient
Vitamin B3 ( Niacinamide)
- essential for cellular metabolism
- increases microcirculation
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)
When choosing a topical vitamin E product, look for a-tocopherol. Vitamin E derivatives such as (tocopherol acetate) are common in cosmetic ingredients, and although they are good as a moisturizing ingredient, they are not antioxidants.
- Protects cell membranes and lipid structures from free radical attack.
- Vitamin E is regenerated when it is in the presence of Vitamin C.
- Vitamin E doubled the UV protection in the skin when added to vitamin C.
- Inhibits the immunosuppression and tumorigenesis induced by ultraviolet radiation.
- Vitamin C can not scavenge lipo-philic radicals directly within the lipid phase, however vitamin C works synergistically with a- tocopherol to reduce lipid peroxide radicals.
- a plant antioxidant
- Increases L-ascorbic acid ( vitamin C) stability.
- synergistic with other antioxidants, specifically vitamin C and E.
A potent antioxidant derived from apples and root bark of fruit trees with a broad range of activity.
- Anti- inflammatory
- Accelerates cell renewal
- Pigment inhibitor
- Enhances product penetration
- has wound healing and anti-inflammatory ability’s
- UVB protection
Bioflavonoids are a group of substances that are potent antioxidants, many have anti-inflammatory ability and help protect from UV damage.
Centella Asiatica (Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid)
- promotes collagen synthesis, and inhibits cellular degeneration
- increases microcirculation
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract ( Green Tea Extract)
- protects cell from oxidative stress
- increases microcirculation in the cell
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
-Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is found in food and is made by the body. It is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy.
- ALA is both fat- and water-soluble.
Idebenone is a synthetic analog of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is a vitamin-like natural compound found naturally in the body, that plays a pivotal role in the cellular energy production and as an antioxidant. Idebenone is closely related to CoQ10, however it is more water-soluble. Idebenone has been known as a pharmaceutical agent since the 1980′s, before it became popular as a skin care ingredient.
There are claims that idebenone is the most powerful topical antioxidant available, based on it’s EPF® rating. I have not been able to confirm that an “EPF” rating is an actual recognized rating, or verify the strength of antioxidants that were used in the EPF study. There are also studies that show that idebenone, offers less photoprotective value compared to topical vitamin C. I would like to find an independent study that compares L-ascorbic acid 20% to Idebenone 1%, until then it is hard to say which is truly the stronger antioxidant. Personally, I alternate between an Idebenone product and a topical vitamin C serum.
Topical Antioxidant Products
Skin Ceuticals Phloretin CF®
Phloretin (2%), vitamin C ( 10% L- ascorbic acid ) and ferulic acid (.5%)
Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic®
Vitamin C (15% L-ascorbic acid), Vitamin E (1% alpha tocopherol), and ferulic acid (.5%)
Ferulic acid doubles the synergistic benefits of the vitamins C+E.
Obagi Professional-C Serums
Available in four concentrations of L-ascorbic acid .
20% Highest concentration of L-ascorbic acid
15% All skin types
10% Dry, sensitive or reactive skin
5% Protection for the sensitive eye area
Is Clinical Pro Heal Advanced Serum+
New time-released L ascorbic acid (in a 15 percent concentration) plus Copper Tripeptide Growth Factor maximize performance
Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E ( Alpha Tocopherol), Retinol, Soluble Bioflavonoids
Olea Europea (olive leaf extract)- Synergistic with vitamins C and E, also antibiotic, anti-acneic, anti-inflammatory.
Mushroom Extract (a source of Kojic acid) – natural lightening to even pigment, antibacterial
Arbutin – corrects abnormal pigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase enzyme.
IS Clinical Super Serum Advance+
New time-released L ascorbic acid (in a 15 percent concentration) plus Copper Tripeptide Growth Factor maximize performance.
Zinc Sulfate, Centella Asiatica
Pentapeptide Amino Acids – protein building blocks, increases cellular metabolism and integrity.
Mushroom Extract (a source of Kojic acid) – natural lightening to even pigment, antibacterial
Understanding Free Radicles
What is a free radical?
A free radical is any atom or molecule that is missing an electron from it’s outer shell, making it unstable. Free radicals float around until they stabilize. They stabilize by attacking an other molecule and steeling an electron. There are a wide variety of molecules from which they can steal an electron. The molecule that has been attacked by a free radicle, is now missing an electron and has become another free radical. This creates a chain reaction.
Free radicals are a necessary part of life.
Oxidation reactions are necessary part of life, unfortunately they can also be damaging. Our body produces free radicals almost constantly. Free radicals are by-products of a basic metabolic process called oxidation. Immune cells will also release free radicals in order to fight invading viruses and bacteria in, making them an important part of the body’s defenses.
Environmental sources of free radicals
The second source of free radicals is the environment. Free radicals from your environment can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed into the body. Air pollution, tobacco smoke, herbicides, and pesticides all form free radicals. UV rays, from sun exposure are also a cause of free radicals.
Whats the damage?
Damage caused by free radicals include aging, destruction of DNA and clogging of arteries. It is also believed that free radicles may play a role in cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Oxidative stress may also damage or kill cells. Free radicals cause damage to your skin’s structural support and decrease its elasticity, resilience, and suppleness.
Free Radical Theory of aging
The free-radical theory of aging (FRTA) states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time. There is evidence that reducing oxidative damage can extend life span. Dr. Denham Harmon, M.D., Ph.D., first proposed a theory of aging in the 1950′s, it is now considered a major theory of aging. Dr. Harmon’s theory also implies that antioxidants will slow the aging process.
What is an antioxidant.
Antioxidants stop the chain reactions of free radical, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules.
Antioxidants have an extra electron, so they can their extra electron to a free radical. When antioxidants donate an electron to a free radical, they neutralize that free radical.
Exogenous and Endogenous
Endogenous antioxidants are made by the body, compared to Exogenous antioxidants which are obtained from our diet. Unfortunately, as we age the body produces less endogenous antioxidants. It is believed that the decrease in endogenous antioxidants leads to premature aging. The body is incapable of producing enough endogenous antioxidants to combat free radicals on their own, so it is essential to get additional antioxidants through diet.
The body makes five types of endogenous antioxidants:
superoxide dismatuse (SOD), alpha lipoic acid (ALA), coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), catalase and glutathione peroxidase. Catalase and glutathione peroxidase are important, because the body can produce more of them when certain free radicals are present.
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities of food.However, because the ORAC method is derived only in test tube experiments it cannot be applied to human biology. Currently there aren’t any food compounds other than, antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, C and E ) that have been proven with antioxidant efficacy in vivo. Antioxidant from non-nutrient compounds in foods, such as polyphenols, which have high antioxidant capacity in vitro can provide an artificial index of antioxidant strength with the ORAC measurement. Many of these ORAC values remain unconfirmed and are not scientifically credible, and may mislead consumers. The FDA has published guidance disallowing food product labels to claim an antioxidant benefit, when no evidence currently exists. Numerous health food and beverage companies have promoted products claimed to be “high in ORAC”.
Is more, better?
Researchers are still learning about the effects of an excessively high intake of antioxidants, some studies are showing that excessive amounts may have negative effects, like inhibiting key enzymes in the body.
You need a variety of antioxidants.
Any molecule that protects your cells against oxidation is technically an antioxidant, but not all antioxidants operate the same way. Antioxidants are not interchangeable, each has a unique set of chemical behaviors and biological properties. Antioxidants work together as part of a network, and no single antioxidant can do the work a group. Some antioxidants may excel at fighting certain types of free radicals, or only work in certain parts of a cell. There are even some that are only effective under the right conditions. Antioxidant diversity is important.
Sources of Antioxidants
All plants produce antioxidants. Even meat, dairy products, and eggs contain some antioxidants, which mainly come from the nutrient-rich plants the animals fed on. Plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and various peroxidases.
Antioxidant enzymes made by the body:
superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Glutathione
Vitamin A and Carotenoids
Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots (bright-colored fruits and vegetables)
Citrus fruits like oranges and lime etc, green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes
Nuts & seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and liver oil
Fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic
Flavonoids / polyphenols
soy, red wine, purple or Concord grapes, pomegranate, cranberries, tea
Tomato, tomato products, pink grapefruit, watermelon
dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, kiwi, brussels sprout and spinach
flax seed, oatmeal, barley, rye
My conclusion is simple:
- Eat a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t depend on any single “super” antioxidants, a variety of antioxidants are needed.
- Just because you read that red wine, tea or chocolate is high in antioxidants, you don’t want to depend on them as your main source of antioxidants. Remember currently only antioxidants from food compounds with vitamins (vitamins A, C and E ) have been proven with antioxidant efficacy in vivo.
- Avoid environmental factors that produce free radicals.