Products for protection against free radicals and oxidative stress
Anti-Pollution Matrix > Categories of Active Ingredients and Product Classes > Protect
> Products for protection against free radicals and oxidative stress
The skin, as the primary barrier between the environment and the body, is exposed to solar radiation on a daily basis. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation accounts for 3 - 7% of the total solar spectrum and in dermatological photobiology is divided into the following three spectral regions: UVA (320 - 400 nm), UVB (290 - 320 nm) and UVC (200 - 290 nm). While UVC is completely filtered in the stratosphere and does not reach the Earth's surface, the UVA (90 - 95%) and UVB (5 - 10%) fractions are biologically effective in the skin . UV light generates the most radicals [~60%], followed by irradiation in the visible (VIS) and near infrared (NIR) [In total ~40%].
VIS and NIR irradiation penetrate deeper into the skin than UV light, promoting increased radical formation in deeper skin layers .
Substances that adhere to particulate matter (PM) and other environmental pollutants (e.g. ozone, nitrogen oxides) also trigger oxidative stress and produce ROS that can damage cell proteins, DNA and cell membranes.
This can lead to tissue damage that manifests as wrinkles, dehydration, fine lines, and loss of youthful volume.
Solar radiation and/or environmental pollutants can lead to the formation of free radicals (reactive oxygen species, ROS). ROS must be strictly controlled to prevent accumulation of damage in the cell (oxidative stress); otherwise they are harmful to metabolic processes: increased oxidation of cellular components such as membranes, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids (genotoxicity) may result and increase cell and tissue damage. In terms of skin physiology, ROS are significantly involved in the development of erythema, sunburn, inflammatory skin diseases, immunosuppression, barrier damage, and premature skin aging.
A possible solution to circumvent the negative effects of various pollution sources is the use of e.g. protective film formers, antioxidants and chelating agents.
Face & skin care products (e.g. creams, serums, ointments)
Examples of ingredients
Antioxidants can be natural, derived from nature, or synthetic.
- Natural antioxidants derived from nature.
- plant extracts, polyphenols such as tannins, phytosterols marine ingredients, exopolysaccharides, yeast extracts
- Vitamins of synthetic or natural origin, e.g.
- tocopherol, ascorbic acid and their derivatives
- chelating agents of synthetic or natural origin
- UV filters
- VIS-NIR protection
- Peptides and proteins
Examples of claims
- Minimizes lipid peroxidation
- Neutralizes ROS
- Preventive anti-pollution effect due to metal chelation
- Protects against epidermis alterations
- Scavenger of free radicals
- Reduces oxidative damage to the stratum corneum
- Prevents the formation of skin peroxides
- Protective effect against blue light induced oxidative stress on skin cells
- Protects the skin from smoke and heavy metal
Examples of evidence of efficacy / Methods
Methods used to detect the anti-pollution effect of antioxidants , such as
 Mistry N. 2017, Review Guidelines for Formulating Anti-Pollution Products, Cosmetics, 4, 57, https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics4040057
 Velasco et al, 2018, Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 54 (Special): e01003, DOI: 10.1590/s2175-97902018000001003
 Bundesgesundheitsbl - Gesundheitsforsch -Gesundheitsschutz 2008 · 51:1464–1482, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00103-008-0720-5