Cosmetic creams are rich in a number of chemicals. Among these chemicals, some of the most important are anti oxidants. Anti oxidants have numerous protective actions and act as scavengers of oxygen free radicals and hydroxyl radicals.
It is believed that the major damage caused by the sun is due to formation of hydroxyl and oxygen free radicals. Thus products which contain anti oxidants may help protect the skin against the effects of sun.
Anti oxidants are frequently added to cosmetic creams, lotions and ointments to help reduce photoaging, skin cancer, lines and wrinkles.
The most common anti oxidants include
Addition of these anti oxidants to cosmetic creams is not always helpful because the concentration of the chemicals is low in most instances. Further, the majority of these anti oxidants are not able to penetrate the skin layers and protect the lower layers. The creams also wash off and thus the duration of treatment is not long. Currently newer methods of delivering these antioxidants are being studies. The aim is to prolong their action on the skin and help prevent the signs of photoaging
Vitamin C. This is the most common and well known anti oxidant. Over the years, numerous studies have shown vitamin C to posses strong anti oxidant activities. Laboratory research has shown it to decrease cancers, limit sun damage on animal skins, reduce inflammation, increase synthesis of collagen, and help make strong bone and sturdy skin without wrinkles. However, vitamin C is water soluble and can not penetrate the skin.
Today, various products have been designed to increase the stability of vitamin C and improve its skin penetrability. It effective in the treatment of wrinkles is still being investigated, why some individuals do show an improvement and others do not remains a mystery. Vitamin C containing products have to be applied regularly for years before any demonstrable benefit is observed
Vitamin E. Vitamin E also is known to posses strong anti oxidant activities. Unlike vitamin Cm vitamin E is fat soluble and can penetrate the skin. It has been shown in the laboratory to decrease the effects of sun damage on the skin. There are various creams available which contain vitamin E. the vitamin has to e applied daily on the skin for the best results. Vitamin E can not reverse the lines or wrinkles on the face but can help prevent any additional sun damage. One should not take continuous oral pills of vitamin E since oral formulations have not been shown to have any benefit on the skin
Selenium. Cosmetic creams also contain various amount of selenium. There is a lot of hype about selenium being the ultimate anti oxidant and protects against sun damage. There have a few laboratory studies which reveal teat the product can delay cancers and sun damage. But this has definitely not been seen clinically in humans. Selenium is an essential element in the human diet and adequate amounts are obtained from the diet. Supplements are not required and the Selenium is still looking for a disease it can cure or prevent.
CoQ10: CoQ10 is one of the most glamorized chemicals of the past 2 decades. It is said to treat everything under the sun and cosmetic products are awash with CoQ10. Millions of women have been eating, drinking and applying CoQ10 for its hypothetical medical benefits. And so far the chemical has accomplished nothing. There is no scientific evidence that CoQ10 can treat or prevent any skin disorder. CoQ10 like selenium is still looking for a disorder it can treat.
It is difficult to know exactly what anti oxidants do on the skin and what is the best treatment for skin damage caused by the sun. Rather then buying expensive creams with products which have no proven scientific value, the best way to avoid photoaging is to avoid the sun.
Wearing protective clothing and use of sunscreens is cheaper and more effective at preventing sun induced skin damage than all the cosmetic creams combined.