UVA and UVB radiation dramatically increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in our skin, causing tissue damage and resulting in oxidative stress. The increase in ROS results in skin inflammation, changes to proteins and lipids, DNA damage and many more leading to cell death. UVA causes the formation of enzymes (MMPs, matrix metalloproteinase), that degrade the ECM (extra-cellular matrix) proteins elastin and collagen, which, if not prevented, can result in visible reduction in skin elasticity and increased wrinkling.
All of these changes promote cancer formation and therefore, regulation of ROS levels is critical to the maintenance of normal skin balance and health.
Many plants are sensitive to high levels of UV radiation and produce organic compounds to protect themselves. Many of these compounds have been found to have potent antioxidant capacity and the ability to counteract UV-induced damage to the skin.
Botanical compounds with particular benefits to skin photo-protection include polyphenols, monoterpenes, flavonoids, organosulfides, and indoles most of which you can find in our ECM Advanced Repair range.
Polyphenolic compounds and their UV protection ability have been extensively studied and are found in several plants including grape seeds and raspberries. It is for this reason we chose to formulate our products with antioxidant rich raspberry water instead of aqua. You can also find grape seed extract in our Eye Lift cream and our Brightening Serum.
The natural antioxidant sulforaphane, also found in our Brightening Serum protects against UVR-induced inflammation. Sulforaphane is well-known for its capacity to neutralize reactive oxidants, is the predominant phytonutrient in garden cress. Sprouts are much richer in phytonutrients than the mature plant. That is the reason why our garden cress extract was prepared from 4 to 5 day old garden cress sprouts. To facilitate absorption into the skin our garden cress extract was encapsulated into plant liposomes. Sulforaphane is a natural compound with important preventative and therapeutic effects.
For those scientifically inclined, it protected against UVR-induced inflammation and edema through the activation of Nrf2 and consequent up-regulation of phase 2 antioxidant enzymes.
Aloe vera leaf extract which you can find in our Balancing Toner contains several active components such as proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Aloe vera has several beneficial properties including antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and as immunity regulator. Again for those scientifically inclined, aloe vera was shown to decrease UVA induced redox imbalance, decrease UVA associated lipid membrane oxidation and increase overall cell survival.
Another natural star that contains many photoprotective compounds is algae. In our ECM Advanced Repair range you can find 3 different types of algae, maximising the number of protective compounds and their benefits.
Did you know strong UV absorbing compounds that are abundantly produced by many species of algae have been incorporated into commercial sunscreens for many years.
In addition to UV absorbing properties, algae extracts also can protect against UVR induced ROS.
The sunscreens currently available offer some ROS protection mainly through the scattering properties of the sunscreen rather than antioxidant effects. Addition of antioxidants to your skincare will help neutralize the UV-induced free radicals and especially with the combination of sunscreen will enhance the protection you give to your skin.
Therefore, adding antioxidants to your skincare, do not just look for the typical vitamins such as Vitamin C, E, A (which you also can find in our products), but discover the abundant world of natural plant compounds that are able to provide significant protection and support to your skin against the harmful sun rays.
- Researchgate.net, Natural Antioxidants: Multiple Mechanisms to Protect Skin From Solar Radiation, Spencer Dunaway, Rachel Odin et al.
- The British Journal of Dermatology, Sunscreen protection and vitamin D status, T. Passeron, R. Bouillon et al.