Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin C’
In the world of medical aesthetics, hydroquinone is often a necessary part of skin care. It is the gold standard for treating dark skin irregularities known as hyperpigmentation. As effective as it is, there is a rising concern regarding the number of people who are using hydroquinone incorrectly, without on going professional guidance. Many of those who are using hydroquinone do not understand the risk of hydroquinone resistance or how to properly use it, as to enhance efficacy. It is important to use hydroquinone in a way to maximize it’s benefit, before the skin builds a resistance and how to properly transition off, to reduce incidence of rebound hyper pigmentation. Always seek a professional guidance before starting or continuing hydroquinone use. It should be used only under the strict supervision of a professional.
Why do we need Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is the single most effective topical ingredient for treating skin discolorations. Skin discolorations can include sun spots, Melasma and Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH), pigmented acne scars. When the skin is inflamed it can respond by over producing melanin, this inflammation can come from acne, injury, surgery or aesthetic procedures such as laser or chemical peels. UV exposure and hormones can also induce skin discolorations. In the world of medical aesthetics we are really dependent on the ability of hydroquinone to quickly correct hyper pigmentation. There are non-hydroquinone skin brighteners that are very good products, however they are not as effective as hydroquinone. That does not mean that botanical lighteners do not have a place, as you will learn, both hydroquinone and non-hydroquinone brighteners are important.
Resistance to Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone works by inhibiting tyrosinase, which is necessary for melanin production. It is believed that with extended hydroquinone use, the skin will compensate by increasing tyrosinase. This would causes the skin to become resistant to the effects of hydroquinone. When the skin becomes resistant to the effects of hydroquinone it will quit improving the hyper pigmentation. To prevent building resistance, it is not recommended to continue use for extended periods of time with out cycling off. It is usually recommended to cycle off hydroquinone after about 4-6 months. If needed, hydroquinone may be resumed after about 2 months. If you stop hydroquinone “cold turkey”, there is a risk of rebound pigmentation. To prevent rebound pigmentation, it is generally recommended to transition your skin off. While transitioning off and breaking from hydroquinone, continued stimulation with a retinoid is beneficial. When it is time to transition off your hydroquinone, you may begin to incorporate a non-hydroquinone skin brightener. There are several professional products that may be recommended. Exact regimens will vary individually, depending on skin condition and any skin treatments, such as laser treatments or chemical peels, that are planned. Do not attempt to cycle off hydroquinone without professional guidance!
Maximize Hydroquinone Effectiveness
When using hydroquinone to treat hyper pigmentation, the goal is to correct the condition before the skin builds resistance. In order to maximize effectiveness, we need to use a high quality hydroquinone product in the appropriate dosage, along with products that optimize penetration, assist in correction and protect from exacerbating factors.
We want to use enough of hydroquinone to reach correction, so a skin care professional needs to show you how to measure your hydroquinone and give you a time frame that you should expect to run out of product. Using hydroquinone every morning and night is a common protocol for treating facial skin.
We want the hydroquinone to have optimal ability to penetrate and work. Prepare the skin by cleansing with an appropriate cleanser. This would exclude anything that does not sufficiently clean the skin or leaves any occlusive film, this could inhibit product penetration. For this reason, I generally do not recommend cleansers like CeraVe or Cetaphil. Anything that is too harsh or active, should also be avoided, as we do not want to induce any unnecessary inflammation or irritation. After cleansing, an appropriate toner should be used, this will restore the skins PH balance after cleansing, preparing it for corrective skin care products. (astringent is not toner). Hydroquinone should be applied after toner, unless you have been instructed to use a Vitamin-C serum or other corrective serums. Always, confirm with your Esthetician or provider, the order your products should be applied.
When Hydroquinone is used with a mild exfoliant and Tretinoin (Retin-A), the pigment will be more evenly distributed. The goal is not just to suppress the production melanin (pigment), it is to have even distribution of the pigment. When the skin has hyper pigmentation, the melanocytes are not functioning properly. Not only is there an over production of melanin, but the pigment is not being evenly distributed to skin cells called keratinocytes. When Hydroquinone is used with Tretinoin, it works to evenly distribute the pigment. A mild chemical exfoliant will enhance the process by increasing the skin cell turnover. It is important that the exfoliant be appropriate to your skin type and personal skin care regimen, to reduce risk of any unnecessary inflammation. Here is the icing on the cake, tretinoin will also treat acne, increase collagen production in the dermis, as well as glycosaminoglycans such as Hyaluronic acid that bind to water and improve skin moisture. There is also evidence that tretinoin may positively effect gene expression in the skin. – Yes, please! I want all of that.
Sun protection is important for several reasons. 1) UV exposure stimulates the production of melanin, while hydroquinone is working to suppress it. It literally, defeats the purpose of using hydroquinone, if you do not have proper sun protection. 2) Hydroquinone, tretinoin and exfoliants can all cause photosensitivity of the skin. 3) Heat, including heat from the sun dilates capillaries in the skin and induces inflammation, which can exacerbated pigmentation problems. 4) UV exposure causes skin discolorations, free radical damage and breaks down collagen and elastin.5) UV rays damage DNA and causes skin cancer, and melanoma can be life threatening.
Your sunscreen should be an SPF 30 or higher and should have zinc oxide. Zinc Oxide can help by blocking some of the UV induced heat, that contributes to inflammation and exacerbates hyper pigmentation. Zinc also provides broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB rays without the irritation occasionally seen with chemical sunscreens. Professional zinc products are more elegant and will look better on the skin. Using a moisturizer, BB Cream or cosmetic with an added SPF, is not enough. It is important to have an actual sunscreen, with high broad spectrum coverage. Sunscreen should go on after any moisturizer, it is the last thing you put on, but before makeup. Sunscreen needs to be used EVERY day!
Topical antioxidants are useful for many reasons, but in regards to skin discolorations we especially like topical Vitamin-C. First, Vitamin-C reduces oxidized dopaquinone, which helps further brighten the skin. Perhaps, more importantly, Vitamin C helps to reduce inflammation in the skin that can cause or exacerbate hyper pigmentation. Some antioxidants, including Vitamin-C also have photo-protectant ability, enhancing the effectiveness of sunscreen. They works by neutralizing the UV rays, rather than reflecting or absorbing UV rays like a sunscreen, so use them together to maximize your protection. We recommend using an l-ascorbic acid form of vitamin c, in serum form. A quality l-ascorbic acid, needs to be packaged in a glass bottle with a glass dropper, the bottle should be dark to reduce oxidation of the product.
Not all skin care products play well together and there are some skin care products that may be contraindicated to your personal skin care regimen. For example, you should not use any product that contains benzoyal peroxide with products that can oxidize, such as Hydroquinone and Vitamin-C Serums. Always inform your Esthetician or skin care provider of the products you are using, and do not add anything new without having it approved first.
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Summer time heat and sun can contribute to common skin concerns such as skin discolorations, sun damage, free radical damage, heat induced inflammation, acne, premature aging and skin cancer. With the appropriate skin care products you can prevent some of this damage while still enjoying a little fun in the sun.
I have always referred to “summer as acne season”. It is hot and everyone is sweating, this can contribute to an increase in clogged pores and breakouts. First of all, you need an actual facial cleanser. Facial wipes, makeup remover and shower gel, do not count as a facial cleanser. In the summer I recommend a foaming cleanser, if you have dry skin use a gentle foaming cleanser. It is also good to incorporate an exfoliating cleanser with active ingredients such as glycolic or salicylic acid with exfoliating granules that are not too abrasive. I usually recommend using an active cleanser at night and your basic foaming cleanser in the morning. Some active cleansers are stronger than others, so be sure to consult with your Esthetician for recommendations on which product is best for you and how often you should use it.
Exfoliating Cleansers We Like : AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser or GlyPro Exfoliating Cleanser by Skin Medica, Offects Exfoliating Cleanser by ZO, BioGlycolic Rusurfacing Body Scrub by Jan Marini.
Daytime Antioxidant with Vitamin C
Sun exposure and pollution cause oxidative stress on skin. Oxidative stress can directly damage cell membranes, proteins, DNA as well as turning on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that accelerate aging. This means a break down of collagen, less collagen production and increased inflammation. Use topical antioxidants during the day to help combat the many free radicles we encounter during the day and reduce inflammation in the skin, which can result from heat and sun exposure .
Some antioxidants such as vitamin-C, have photo-protectants abilities and are believed to enhance the effectiveness of sunscreen. A photoprotectant works by neutralizing the UV rays, rather than reflecting or absorbing UV rays like a sunscreen, so use them together to maximize your protection.
Nighttime Antioxidant with Resveratrol
Most topical antioxidants are used during the day, however resveratrol is best used at night. Resveratrol has a dual antioxidant capacity. This means that not only does resveratrol scavenge free radicals from the environment, it also works to increase the production of the bodies own “endogenous” antioxidants. The depletion of naturally occurring (endogenous) antioxidants contributes to aging. Resveratrol preserves collagen, so it helps to reduce “thinning” of the skin. It is important to know that resveratrol is degraded by UV rays, so it must be used at night. Additional benefits include:
– Reduce skin inflammation
– Helps with skin discoloration (tyrosinase inhibitor)
– Inhibits non-melanoma skin cancer formation, when applied topically
– Positive effect on extrinsic and intrinsic skin aging
– Works synergistically with antioxidants such as vitamin E
– Increased epidermal and dermal skin density ( with topical Resveratrol BE )
Pro-Niacin delivers niacin to the skin cells and enables healing from within, helping the skin repair and protect itself from sun damage. Nia24 has a line of products that contain Pro-Niacin, including the neck and décolletage. The Nia24 Skin Strengthening Complex is a light weight daily moisturizer that contains 5% Pro-Niacin, Vitamin-A, antioxidants, ceramics and peptides.
Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
It seems pretty obvious to use a sunscreen, but choosing the best sunscreen can be confusing. You should select a product that is an SPF-30 or above, but more importantly it should be broad spectrum. Broad spectrum means it will protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays. There is currently no rating that measures UVA protection. I recommend looking for a sunscreen that contains Zinc Oxide as it is the most broad band protectant and also works to block some of the heat that can contribute to inflammation, rosacea flareups and broken capillaries.
Do not forget to protect the delicate skin around the eyes, which is highly susceptible to skin cancer. Skin Cancers on the eyelid can be difficult to detect and challenging to treat. If you find that your eyes sting or burn with your usual sunscreen, try Skin Ceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense, it is formulated for the area around the eye and will not migrate or run into your eyes. In addition to protecting the skin from the damaging effects of the sun it is also slightly moisturizing and tinted. I use this on my kids and it is easy to put on them without a fight.
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The eyelids are one of the most common places for skin cancer and the first place we see the signs of aging. Skin cancer in this area is especially dangerous and hard to detect. Luckily, there are products that can protect the delicate skin around the eye.
The eyelids are very susceptible to skin cancer and the aging effects of UV exposure. About 10% of skin cancers occur on the eyelids, which is kind of shocking when you consider that the face/head accounts for less than 5% of the total body surface area. There are many additional concerning factors regarding skin cancers on the eyelid. There is a significant risk for tissue damage to nearby vital ocular structures and even blindness. Tumors in this area can also spread into the nasal and orbital cavities (the area behind the eye). Let not forget that the skin of the eyelid serves to protect the eye and when that skin has to be removed we are presented with a host of issues such as preventing infection and reconstruction of the eyelid is very difficult. Early detection can be challenging because these tumors tend to grow inward toward the deeper layers of the skin and bone, before they are seen on surface of the skin. The appearance of this type of cancer varies and looks different than other types of skin cancers, making detection even more difficult. Reoccurrence of skin cancer on the eyelid is among the highest. It is important to take measures to prevent skin cancer, and become an established patient of a good dermatologist before you think you need one.
As if cancer was not enough, photo-aging of the eyelid is another concern. Photo-aging is a term used to describe sun damage and premature aging caused by UV exposure. Consider that the skin is a direct reflection of health and that sun damaged skin is not healthy skin. Photo-aging goes beyond vanity, it really is about skin that is not functioning properly or at a healthy state.Sun damaged skin will have lowered immunity against infection and impaired wound healing ability. Furthermore, UV rays age skin cells, damage DNA, break down collagen, elastin and damage pigment producing melanocytes. All of this equals unhealthy skin that is thin, lax (loose), with lines wrinkles and skin discoloration. There are products and treatments that can be done to improve these issues, but it will take time, money, and a little work.
Prevent the damage and reduce risk of cancer
The first line of defense is a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or more. The eyes and the skin around the eyes are sensitive to chemicals in sunscreen so you should look for a physical sunscreen, meaning the only two active ingredients are Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide. I like Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 by Skin Ceuticals, it is a non-migrating, high protection sunscreen designed specifically for the upper and lower eyelids. This is a pure physical sunscreen that you apply like and eye cream. The formula is tinted to enhance tone, however it will nor provide coverage like a cosmetic. I like to say it’s tinted for a man. It blends right in and doesn’t settle into fine lines or make your eye area appear dry/cakey. the ceramics in it will nourish the skin, but I still recommend using your usual eye cream first then SPF.
For additional protection I recommend using a topical product with vitamin-C, every morning. While sunscreens absorb or reflect out UV radiation, antioxidants such as vitamin-C neutralize the UV rays. Photoprotective topical antioxidants work by the inhibiting the UV-induced biochemical changes that lead to photoageing and DNA mutations.
Studies show that sunglasses do help protect eyes from UV damage, however some UV light can still get to the eye area, depending on the type and style of sunglasses. Look for sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection and remember that sunglasses do not eliminate the need for sunscreen.
The Eyelids: Highly Susceptible to Skin Cancer / Skin Cancer Foundation
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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.