Skin health and antioxidants

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The skin is the largest organ of the body and accounts for 16% of the total body weight, it is a complex and versatile organ. The skin protects the body from physical, chemical and infectious harmful factors in the environment and plays a role in various biological and biochemical processes (1). The skin is an important facilitator of human social interaction and actively participates in non-verbal communication. People attach great importance to beautiful, healthy and youthful skin. Partly under the influence of the cosmetics industry, the universal beauty of the skin includes a radiant atmosphere without imperfections or skin damage (2).

One of the most important parameters for skin health is the radiance of the skin. There is no universal definition of skin glow. Skin color is more of a factual fact and it is difficult to enumerate all the parameters that condition it with its relative ratios (3-5). The main features are the skin contrast defined by brightness and transparency, the skin color is mainly influenced by the microcirculation of the skin as well as skin impurities such as dark circles or spots (3,4,6). Find our new product for this article.

Environmental factors affect skin aging, which leads to a decrease in skin radiation over time. A high-quality diet, and especially foods and supplements rich in antioxidants, can help fight skin aging. Skin glow is affected by intrinsic and external factors that can modulate skin aging (7-10). While internal aging is inevitable, external aging is the result of the interplay of external factors and human behavior such as smoking, unbalanced diets, alcohol, stress, and excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. All these factors affect oxidative stress due to excessive production of reactive oxygen species – ROS (7,9,10). Therefore, with age, the skin is potentially exposed to more oxidative stress, resulting in increased production of long-term harmful free ROS radicals (11-13).

Excessive production of free radicals, which plays an important role in the aging process of the skin, damages the skin cells and further leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. These fibers are responsible for the firmness and elasticity of the skin and the integrity of the blood vessels and thus for the good blood circulation of the skin (9,10,14). In addition, cell breakdown and excessive exposure to UV radiation lead to excessive melanin production, resulting in blemishes on the face and decreased skin quality (15).

Mechanisms of antioxidant action

To avoid such cell damage, reducing exposure to secondary oxidants is a complementary step toward lowering oxidative stress levels. This is done primarily by improving the synthesis of primary antioxidants in the body and reducing their spread due to secondary antioxidants. Secondary antioxidants as a second level of protection against ROS radicals correspond to exogenous substances, including water-soluble (vitamin C, glutathione and polyphenols) and fat-soluble antioxidants (vitamin E, carotenoids and bilirubin), which reduce skin cell damage (11).

Therefore, a high-quality diet that is particularly rich in active ingredients in the form of antioxidants could help protect the skin from aging. Firstly, they can act against oxidative stress, and secondly, some of them can affect special biological mechanisms that improve the protection and repair processes of the skin.

Scientific research is intensifying in the study of the role of antioxidants as an effective method of maintaining the health and appearance of the skin. Certain ingredients are involved in the development of formulations that are used as dietary supplements. One of the nutritional formulations is specifically designed to protect the skin from oxidative stress by applying various antioxidants, monomers of flavanol from grapes, vitamin C and zinc (16-18). The potentially synergistic effect of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and flavanol monomers has been demonstrated in in vitro and in vivo studies . This synergistic effect was observed on the antioxidant enhanced abilities of polyphenols in the presence of ascorbic acid (19). The authors hypothesized that the greater ability to remove radicals may be due to the process of regeneration of antioxidant species by ascorbic acid. Another synergistic potential has been confirmed in in vivo research , where polyphenols have been shown to improve the bioavailability of vitamin C (20).

The noted improvement in the firmness and elasticity of the subjects' skin suggests that the elastic fibers are successfully protected by this dietary supplement. In fact, skin firmness is mainly associated with collagen and elastin, which give the dermis stability and improved elastic properties (9). In addition, improving the firmness of the skin also allows to reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin. The formation of ROS species, especially through UV radiation, stimulates the production of the enzyme collagenase and elastase, which is responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis and acts as a cofactor in the hydroxylation of proline and lysine, essential amino acids in the formation of collagen fibers (21,22).

This beneficial effect on the elastic fibers of the skin directly affects the circulatory system and acts on capillary resistance. It has been observed that this effect on skin circulation improves skin color after supplementation, since the main pigments responsible for different shades are melanin, bilirubin and hemoglobin. Reducing redness and dark spots on the skin is associated with these effects on blood circulation. In addition, the effects of improving vascularization are also possible through the effects of vasodilation and improved blood circulation. First and foremost, this allows for the improvement of nutrient circulation, and contributing to the bioavailability of nutrients is also important. Blood flow is also involved in the skin hydration process.


The results of clinical studies suggest that supplementing the diet with a formulation rich in antioxidants (grape seed extract, vitamin C and zinc) has a positive effect on the glow of the skin (improving shine, reducing damage and improving skin firmness) in women. When women were asked if they looked better after supplementation, 64.7% answered yes. In parallel, 82.4% replied that they were satisfied with the effectiveness of the supplement (from moderate to very good). Tolerance to product use is considered safe because there were no serious side effects of consumption during the study.

The aforementioned study provides positive arguments for oral supplementation with a formulation rich in specific antioxidants to protect the skin from everyday damage due to environmental factors and internal aging (23).


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