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Over-the-Counter Antioxidant Skin Care Nutrients

The single most popular and touted anti-aging ingredient in skin care are the anti-oxidants. They are in many topical products and are the buzz word in skin care over the past few years. They chemically work by destroying free radicals, which are destructive unstable molecules that form in the skin which has been exposed to sun, pollution, and general wear and tear. The free radicals are destructive to the collagen and cells in the skin and, hence, contribute to and accelerate skin aging. Anti-oxidant compounds work by neutralizing these free radicals, thus preventing their harmful effects.

The interesting question is what are the most effective antioxidants? Vitamins A and E are well known as well as CoEnzyme Q (CoQ10). How these directly compare in effectiveness and in what type of formulations are best has not been established. We are left to be swayed by marketing claims and packaging until further evidence is forthcoming. The most talked about antioxidant is from the coffee berry extract. What makes it so appealing is its apparent potency. It appears to have the highest antioxidant rating of any of the known antioxidants. Since penetration into the skin and delivery to the target, so to speak, is the rate-limiting step for any antioxidant, a high potency would suggest that even if only a fraction is actually absorbed, an anti-aging effect will still be seen. Or put another away, the coffee berry extract may be more effective at neutralizing free radicals than other antioxidants. We shall undoubtably see many more skin care products with it in 2008.

Regardless of the the type of antioxidant, the incorporation of these compounds in skin care products is important. They would be most effective in creams or serums that are applied at bedtime when the exposure to ongoing skin damage is minimized.

Dr Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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