The role of nutraceutical antioxidants in the balancing act of skin


Scientific Affairs Manager, AstaReal Inc., Burlington, United States


Dietary antioxidants support the skin’s natural defense against oxidative damage that can compromise barrier function, elasticity, and collagen integrity. Free radicals produced within the body, and those arising from external exposures, can deplete the skin’s antioxidant capacity. To maintain the skin’s redox balance, clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of dietary supplementation with antioxidant vitamins, polyphenols, and carotenoids. The success of these functional antioxidants for skin in the nutraceutical industry is driven by consumer demand for science-backed claims, natural and plant-based sources, and whole-body benefits. This paper summarizes the endogenous and dietary antioxidants that support skin health, the functional antioxidants that are major players for beauty-from-within, and the trends and innovations emerging for nutraceuticals focused on skin and beauty.

As the human body’s largest organ, with direct contact to the external environment, skin can face extreme conditions while fulfilling its role as a protective barrier. Human skin can respond in varied and complex ways to stress conditions to maintain a stable milieu. This balancing act is known as homeostasis; from the Greek word ‘homeo,’ meaning ‘similar to,’ and ‘stasis,’ meaning ‘standing still’. Homeostasis may refer to regulation of body temperature, hydration, pH, reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions, and many more parameters critical to human biology (1).


When stress exceeds the skin’s capacity to bounce back, there can be visible signs, such as dryness, or redness. The effects of some types of stress are harder to see because they occur over time on the molecular level. In particular, the accumulation of free radicals can damage skin cell proteins, lipids, DNA, and other macromolecules. If these “molecular injuries” are allowed to build up over time, they can exacerbate visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, reduced elasticity, loss in skin hydration, and hyperpigmentation (2, 3).


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