The Free Radical Theory of Aging

Free radicals have been implicated in the overall aging process, but are believed to be involved cutaneously in causing photoaging, carcinogenesis, and inflammation.

Free radicals also play an important role in skin aging. They are formed naturally through normal human metabolism but can be produced as a result of factors, such as UV exposure, air pollution, smoking, radiation, alcohol use, inflammation and exposure to certain drugs or heavy metals such as iron,stress, cigarette smoke and diet can be source of free radical damage.

Antioxidant Synergy

Used in the cosmetic industry are believed to work to generate and “enhance the power” of each other.

Different Antioxidants and Benefits

Vitamin E

Found in vegetables, oil, seeds, nuts, corn, soy, whole wheat flour, margarine, and in some meat and dairy products. Useful for treatment of minor burns, surgical scars and other wounds,it also offers photo protection. There is a correlation between dietary deficiency of vitamin E and an increase in oxidative stress and cell injury.

vitamin E can be used to treat or protect against various dermatologic conditions including skin cancer, dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, discoid lupus erythematosus, yellow nail syndrome, granuloma annulare, atopic dermatitis, pemphigus, and lichen sclerosus et atrophicus, among others.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally occurring nutrient available through food consumption. Its prolonged use reduces wrinkle formation in the corner of the eye.

Sebamed and eucerin on the market containing CoQ10. CoQ10 is stable in topical products.


It has been documented that dietary intake of tomatoes and tomato products containing lycopene is associated with decreased risk of chronic disorders such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Lycopene has been found to exihibit potent antioxidant properties.

Lycopene appears to have the potential to prevent skin cancer. Lycopene is included in various skin care products, including facial moisturizer, sunscreen, eye creams and formulation touted for their “antiaging” skin care.


Curcumin is a yellow pigment found in the root of the turmeric plant.. Curcumin has been shown to exhibit a broad array of biologic activities, such as anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, antimicrobial and wound healing.

Curcumin has a beneficial effect against chemo- and photocarcinogenesis. Further studies are needed in order to determine whether topical applications or oral intake of curcumin can protect against skin cancer. Its mechanism of action is not precisely known, but it is thought to inhibit initiation, promotion, and progression of cancer.

It promotes wound healing and has been used in ancient medicine.


Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant ,it is found in our body . glutathione helps in skin lightening by its antioxidant action of working on free radicals.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the only antioxidant that can treat wrinkles, but this capacity is because of its effects in promoting collagen formation, which is unrelated to its antioxidant effects. It is important to stress to patients that antioxidants prevent wrinkles but do not treat wrinkles. Vitamin C is the key ingredient in citrus fruits.

Decreasing the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and cataracts, as well as improving wound healing. Vitamin C has also been used as a topical antioxidant to prevent sun damage, and for the treatment of melasma, striae alba, and postoperative erythema in laser patients. Vitamin C has become a popular addition to “after-sun” products. Vitamin C and E, in combination also provided notable protection from UVB insult, though the bulk of protection was attributable to vitamin E. vitamin C, a strong antioxidant itself, also increases the efficacy capabilities of vitamin E. Vitamin c causes significant improvement in hydration, wrinkles, and brown spots as noticed.

Green Tea

Purported for its antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects. Green tea combined with other antioxidants may improves rosacea, prevent retinoid dermatitis and play a role in managing pigmentation disorders.


Silymarin is a naturally-occurring flavonoid. Silymarin or Milk thistle has been used for medicinal purpose for more than 2000 years.

Antihepatotoxic agent, It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties. Silymarin provides Strong protection against sun induced skin damage in the epidermis by a reduction in thymine.

Topical formulations available from skinCeuticals contain the product. Silymarin has been used in topical formulation to treat rosacea.

Polypodium Leucotomos

Polypodium leucotoms (PL) is an extract derived from the fern family. It is an oral photoprotectant with strong antioxidant propertie. Polypodium leucotomos extract has been used in various indications, including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis , vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, and tumors and light eruptions. It can be applied for the prevention and treatment of sunburn as well as for the prevention of photoaging.


Resveratrol is a compound found in the skin and seeds of grapes, berries, peanuts, red wine, and other food and has been reported to exhibit a wide range of biologic and pharmacologic properties. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant with antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory properties.

Grape Seed Extract

Grapes, also known as vitis vinifera which belong to the flavonoid family. They are believed to exhibit a wide range of biologic, pharamacologic, chemoprotective, and antioxidant activities.

Grape seed extract is included in topical cosmetic formulation with the intension of imparting an antiaging effect. It is popular ingredient in “organic” products.


Pomegranate (punica granatum) is an edible fruit native to north India. In Ayurvedic medicine, pomegranates reputedly nourish and resort balance to the skin.

Pomegranate have been shown to possess strong antioxidant properties in several instances. Pomegranate juice display the greatest antioxidant potency and was at least 20% stronger than any of the other beverages tested. More potent antioxidant effect than comparable quantities of green tea and red wine.

Pomegranate fruit extract has been demonstrated to exert sun protection,photochemo-prevention, decrease sun mediated damage. It can soothe and promote skin healing .Pomegranate extract is already available Over the counter in various skin care products.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant agent used for the treatment and prevention of aging skin. Its Anti-inflammatory properties that may also make it useful in the treatment of postlaser redness.

ALA could prevent free radical damage to skin and thus prevent photoaging and carcinogenesis.

Currently marketed in cleansers, moisturizers, and oral supplement. Fine skin lines may improve after a few weeks of has also been helpful in conditions like acanthosis nigricans and hair fall.

ALA exhibits antioxidant and exfoliating properties that may render it a good choice for resistant skin typeswith a tendency to wrinkle.


soybeans contain several ingredients with demonstrated anticancer activities, genistein is its most important component. genistein is known to possess various biologic activities, such as helping in the treatment and prevention of certain cardiovascular conditions and osteoporosis. Its classification as a phytoestrogen accounts for additional health benefits including the modulation of perimenopausal symptoms without the associated dangers of hormone replacement therapy.

Genistein is a potent antioxidant and its anticarcinogenic effects are well documented on several cancers, including the skin. Genistein, either topically applied or orally supplemented, has been shown to inhibit Sun induced skin carcinogenesis.


Pycnogenol is a pine bark extract . it is a potent free radical scavengers that can also be found in grape seed, grape skin, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, black cherry, red wine, and red cabbage.Pycnogenol exerts depigmenting effects, thus pycnogenol is a safe natural product that is included in various skin care products.


It Was discovered to be a direct free radical scavenger.Besides its ability to directly neutralize a number of free radicals and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, it stimulates several antioxidative enzymes including superoxide dismutase. This increases its efficiency as an antioxidant. It offers natural sun protection , it has been demonstrated that topical melatonin reduces UV-induced erythema (sunburn).

Melatonin is also used as a medication for sleep disturbance in depression and in people complaining of jet lag. It is currently available in an oral form and has also been added as an ingredient to various topical products, such as facial cleansers and moisturizers, eye creams and skin lighteners.


It is a frequent additive in antidandruff shampoos because it is able to inhibit proliferation of the yeast pityrosporum ovale. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. In addition many studies have suggested that selenium has an anticancer effect. Low level of selenium have been associated with an increase of cancer in several studies. Selenium has also been shown to boost immunity. All these actions work synergistically to give selenium its anticancer properties.

Although there is much interest and enthusiasm regarding the use of antioxidants, there is alack of clinical trials examining the capacity of antioxidants to prevent or decelerate the aging of skin. There is no reason to believe that antioxidants treat already formed wrinkles unless it can occur by a different mechanism such as through increased collagen synthesis as seen with vitamin C. current researches suggests that combinations that of various antioxidants might have synergistic effects and consequently more efficacy, as each antioxidant is endowed with various properties that distinguish it from other antioxidants. This has resulted in the entry of many antioxidant-containing topical products onto the market.