New research from the University of Bath and ASEA published in the journal Antioxidants concludes that antioxidants added to sunscreen and anti-aging products provide defenses against reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their over-production due to sunlight exposure.
Key to the researchers’ findings is that there is a strong interplay – often overlooked, they claim – between the excess accumulation of ROS and redox-active labile iron (LI). When these to come together, LI can catalyse the production of highly reactive species with “detrimental consequences to the skin”.
Interestingly, they note that iron accumulates in the body, notably in the skin. In women, this accumulation is more pronounced after menopause when the iron excreting route of menstruation stops.
Consequently, the most beneficial anti-aging ingredients have both antioxidant and iron-chelating properties.
Some polyphenols (such as apigenin) and flavonoid compounds meet the criteria as both potent AOs and iron chelators. However, the researchers also highlight some natural-based AOs that are capable of inducing the key redox Nrf2 transcription. A third category of antioxidants are also strong anti-inflammatories. Specific ingredients noted include vitamin E, some forms of algae A and a couple of botanical extracts: Chinese skullcap and edelweiss.
I was intrigued to read that what they describe as an “innovative” antioxidant is actually well-known to me. This is dimethylmethoxy chromanol – marketed under the name Lipochroman-6 and can be found in Your Best Face Boost ($65 in the shop) and Your Best Face Private Reserve Antioxidant Oil ($75 in the shop). The paper notes that this antioxidant is particularly effective as it captures both nitrogen and oxygen radicals to limit oxidative stress and has been shown to increase antioxidant capacity in the skin up nearly 40%.