Low molecular weight antioxidants and their role in skin ageing


M. Podda, Zentrum der Dermatologie, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Tel.: +49 69 63016845. Fax: +49 69 63017139. E-mail: podda@em.uni-frankfurt.de


There is increasing evidence that reactive oxygen species play a pivotal role in the process of ageing. The skin, as the outermost barrier of the body, is exposed to various exogenous sources of oxidative stress, in particular UV-irradiation. These are believed to be responsible for the extrinsic type of skin ageing, termed photo-ageing. It therefore seems reasonable to try to increase levels of protective low molecular weight antioxidants through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables or by direct topical application. Indeed, various in vitro and animal studies have proved that low molecular weight antioxidants, especially vitamins C and E, ascorbate and tocopherol, as well as lipoic acid, exert protective effects against oxidative stress. However, controlled long-term studies on the efficacy of low molecular weight antioxidants in the prevention or treatment of skin ageing in humans are still lacking.