- Aging & Longevity
Role of Dietary Supplements and Botanicals in Anti aging creams
Soy the beauty secret from the East
Appearance of signs of aging
Aging of skin consists of a combination of intrinsic aging and photoaging. Intrinsic or chronological aging is a result of genetic factors. As we grow old in years, our skin becomes thin, more fragile, with a reduced blood supply and collagen content. Fine lines and wrinkles begin to show, the skin appears sagged, translucent and delicate.
Photoaging, on the other hand occurs mainly due to our outdoor activities, be they occupational or recreational. Long term exposure to ultra violet rays of sun leads to mottled skin pigmentation, deep wrinkles, change in superficial texture resulting in coarseness of skin and formation of comedones or black heads.
Regular intake of dietary supplements slows down aging process of vital body organs and their skin application delays the appearance of aging signs and repairs the damage that has already been done.
Alpha Lipoic acid - a cosmeceutical
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) or the reduced form of dihydrolipoate, is a vitamin, a strong antioxidant and a potent scavenger of toxins like hydroxyl free radicals, superoxide radicals, singlet oxygen species and nitric oxide. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
It is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. It has a small molecule size, and being fat soluble it gets easily absorbed into and used by the skin.
With increasing age, oxidative damage to DNA, cells and vital organs increases, particularly damage to mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondia are the "powerhouse" of cells, without which no cell of our body can function.
Alpha lipoic acid is a coenzyme that retards the age related decay of mitochondrial function of cells on the skin and in our body. It has a dramatic protective effect in conditions of ischemia or impaired blood supply.
It suppresses ultra violet -B radiation induced redness when applied immediately after sun exposure.
5% alpha lipoic acid containing creams when applied regularly lead to a 50% reduction in the depth of medium vertical lines on the upper lip and a significant reduction in the fine lines around the eyes.
As a dietary supplement, it increases the amount of nucleic acids and proteins in the cells.
It is more potent than both vitamin-C and E in anti aging benefits. It reduces the roughness of skin.
The only rare side effect is local irritation on application during the first few weeks, but that also eventually reduces and disappears.
Otherwise known as ubiquinone, coenzyme - Q10 is an endogenous cellular antioxidant present in almost every part of our body including the skin. Levels of coenzyme - Q10 reduce with age.
When added to antiaging creams, it can treat senescent appearing skin by acting as an antioxidant counteracting ultraviolet radiation induced damage, and also by replenishing its endogenous stores that have been depleted due to the aging process.
Extracts of soybeans and soy milk including isoflavones such as genistein and daidzein have anti cancer, skin lightening and antioxidant benefits.
Genistein and daidzein increase hyaluronic acid production, thus reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Soy isoflavones being a part of phytoestrogen family have estrogen-like effects on postmenopausal skin.
Soy isoflavones, especially genistein have a protective effect against sun induced skin cancers by inhibiting the DNA damage caused by harmful ultra violet - B and ultra violet - A rays.
The combination of DNA protective effects, anti pigmentary and overall skin lightening capabilities and ability to boost hyaluronic acid levels in the skin, provide some defense against the changes that occur in skin over time, making soy extracts the most promising "natural" ingredient utilized for cosmetic preparations thattreat the aging skin.
Natural substances with antiaging effects
Alpha lipoic acid
Grape seed extract
Green tea-the cuppa of beauty
The leaf and bud of the plant Camellia sinensis are used to manufacture non-herbal teas such as white tea, green tea, oolong tea and black tea. All of these teas contain polyphenolic compounds that have a significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
Green tea extracts in antiaging creams reduce the sunburn and redness that is common with sun exposure. It also prevents ultra violet radiation induced DNA damage, lipid peroxidation and skin cancers. It is effective against both ultra violet - A & B types of rays.
Black tea extracts also help reduce post sun exposure redness of the face.
Oolong tea also has similar effects. It also curbs treatment resistant eczema and atopy due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Botanical extracts and Essential oils
Botanicals are the most common ingredient in over-the-counter antiaging creams. They enjoy this popularity due to their antioxidant properties and ability to modulate certain types of environmental damage.
The ginkgo biloba plant, better known as a dietary supplement for treatment of dementia and memory loss also has antiaging effects on skin. The ginkgo plant contains various flavonoids as quercetin and sciadopitysin that have free radical scavenging activity and anti-inflammatory effects against cycloxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes of metabolism. Ginkgo extracts in optimal concentration aid in collagen synthesis, have a superoxide dismutase enzyme like activity and inhibit oxidative damage of phospholipids and ceramides that make the binding cement of skin cells, thereby preventing environmental skin damage.
Grape seed extracts are rich in polyphenols procyanadins that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity as well as promote wound healing. Grape seed polyphenols exert a free radical scavenging effect that is stronger than vitamin - C or -E and also inhibit peroxidative cell damage at concentrations much lower than tea extracts.
Lemon oil extracts when applied to the skin confer it increased resistance to damage by environmental hazards. This antioxidant activity is greater than that of vitamin - E.
Lavender oil reduces the frequency of, and cures the immediate type of skin allergic reactions.
Ginseng, one of the most widely used medicinal plants, especially in the field of traditional eastern medicine, is also a popular antiaging ingredient. It acts as a scavenger of reactive oxygen free radicals and inhibits tumor formation, preventing skin cancers.
Rosemary extractis another botanical that has made a leap from traditional herbal medicine to a common antiaging ingredient. It contains antioxidants such as phenolic diterpenes. On application, it heals the damaged skin with its antioxidant, anti tumor and anti inflammatory effects.