Interaction between free radicals and antioxidants in human skin
Skin ageing is determined by genetic aspects and by environmental factors and lifestyle. Metabolic processes, solar UV radiation, smoking and alcohol consumption can induce the formation of free radicals in human skin. Whereas these highly reactive molecules are very important to control signaling processes in the human body, they also can destroy cells and cell compartments, such as collagen and elastin fibers, if their concentration exceeds a critical threshold.
To counteract the detrimental effect of the free radicals the human body has developed a protective system consisting of antioxidants. These antioxidants are capable of neutralizing the free radicals before they become destructive. Antioxidants in the human body are, inter alia, the vitamins, carotenoids and specific enzymes. Most of these antioxidants cannot be generated by our organism automatically, but must be taken in with food rich in fruit and vegetables. The individual antioxidants form protective chains in the human skin to safeguard each other against the destructive action of the free radicals. Using spectroscopic methods, the interaction between antioxidants and free radicals are described.
- Jürgen Lademann Charitè Univ. of Berlin
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