Antioxidants used in skin care formulations.
The formation of free radicals is a widely accepted pivotal mechanism leading to skin aging. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons that can directly damage various cellular structural membranes, lipids, proteins, and DNA. The damaging effects of these reactive oxygen species are induced internally during normal metabolism and externally through various oxidative stresses. The production of free radicals increases with age, while the endogenous defense mechanisms that counter them decrease. This imbalance leads to the progressive damage of cellular structures, and thus, results in accelerated aging. Antioxidants are substances that can provide protection from endogenous and exogenous oxidative stresses by scavenging free radicals. Topical antioxidants are available in multivariate combinations through over-the-counter skin care products that are aimed at preventing the clinical signs of photoaging.