When discussing Skin care, Toronto patients often ask about the difference between day and night creams. In our view, the main goal of a day cream is to protect the skin, whereas night creams should stimulate and restore. Protection must be aimed not only to guard against the elements like dry air, wind and sun but also from oxidation. Oxidation is important because it is an integral part of the aging process, but it is poorly understood by most people.
Oxidation is technically defined as a chemical interaction between oxygen and other substances. With advances in atomic chemistry, scientists realized that oxidation always involved the loss of an electron. Loss of an electron can be useful, such as in manufacturing, for example when anodized aluminum is being created. But oxidation is also what causes a cut apple to turn brown, or metal to rust, neither of which are very pretty!
Oxidation in our skin isn’t pretty either, as it results in damage to lipids, proteins and DNA, all things essential to maintaining healthy, youthful skin structure.
Free radicals are molecules that cause oxidation to occur because they have unpaired – or “free” – electrons. They interact with elements within our tissues, causing them to give up an electron, ie oxidize. Many so called ” stressors” promote the formation of free radicals, including UV radiation, tobacco, excess alcohol, poor diet, lack of sleep, and skin irritants such as Talc, Parabens, and Petroleum. Our body has some natural protection against free radical formation, but as we produce fewer of these molecules as we age, we can benefit from additional protection from topical as well as oral antioxidants.
One of the best known antioxidants is vitamin C. It’s important to have vitamin C in our diets, and there is scientific support for the use of topical vitamin C, especially when it is in a formulation that is accessible, and can be well absorbed into the skin. Good amounts of absorbable vitamin C can be found in Obagi® Professional-C Serums™ line, and C-VIT by Sesderma®, as well as SwissTEC™ Concentrated Renewal Cream.
Sea fennel, a marine organism, is one example of many antioxidants that have recently been discovered in the sea. Shown in the lab to protect against the development of free radicals in response to UV radiation, it is another key ingredient in SwissTEC Concentrated Renewal Cream. Vitamin E, is a key ingredient in Hayal Ceutic and K Ceutic creams by Dermacutic, and is another well-known antioxidant.
Idebenone has been shown to target mitochondria, a location inside cells where much of the intrinsic oxidation process takes place.It is a very potent antioxidant and can be found in a number of high quality products like Priori® skin care and select Obagi® products as well.