J. Lademann, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
M. C. Meinke, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
S. Schanzer, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
L. Zastrow, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
M. E. Darvin, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Skin aging is determined by genetic aspects, but mainly by environmental factors and the lifestyle of the human subjects. The UV radiation of the sun, nicotine and alcohol consumption can lead to the formation of free radicals in the human skin. These highly reactive molecules are able to destroy cells or cell compartments, if their concentration exceeds a critical value. However, the human body has developed a protection system against the destructive action of the free radicals in form of the antioxidative potential, which permits the antioxidants to neutralize free radicals before they are capable of damaging the tissue.
Important antioxidants in the human skin are, for instance, the vitamins, carotenoids and special enzymes. Most of the antioxidants cannot be produced by the human organism, but have to be taken up by means of a healthy diet, rich in fruit and vegetables. The single antioxidative compounds in the human skin form protection chains, which act as a safeguard against the destructive action of the free radicals.
Non-invasive in vivo Raman spectroscopy can be used for the analysis of antioxidants in the human skin. In the first part of a study, the antioxidant status of volunteers during one year was investigated. A clear influence of the nutritional habits, lifestyle and stress of the volunteers on their antioxidative potential was found. In the second part of that study, the influence of UV-radiation, infrared radiation and alcohol consumption on the antioxidant status of the human skin was investigated under standardized conditions. Additionally, it could be demonstrated that volunteers of the same age, who demonstrated high levels of antioxidants in their skin showed significantly less furrows and wrinkles than volunteers of the same age with a low concentration of antioxidants.
In another study it was investigated whether biofeedback measurements based on carotenoid determination can be used to influence the nutritional and stress behavior of school students. In this study 50 students were measured for 1 month. They had been asked to not to change their usual lifestyle in that month. The results of these measurements were not disclosed to the students. In the second month, the students were asked to change their lifestyle towards eating healthier, i.e., more fruit and vegetables at the same time reducing their stressors. This time, the measured values were disclosed to the students. A strong increase of the carotenoid concentration in the students’ skin could be detected in this second month. 6 months after the end of the study, the experiments were repeated without advance notice to the students in order to determine whether the increase in the students’ antioxidant status referred only to the time of the measurements or whether the students had sustainably changed their lifestyle.
In a third study the antioxidant status of German and Korean subjects was investigated. The Korean cuisine is among the healthiest worldwide as it is based on stewed vegetables. It had been hypothesized that the antioxidant status of the German subjects would be distinctly inferior to that of the Korean subjects. In this context it was interesting to find out whether the antioxidant status of the Koreans living in Germany would be similar to that of the German subjects or to that of the Korean subjects living in Korea.
In the studies it could be demonstrated that high levels of antioxidants represent an efficient prevention strategy against skin aging. The level of antioxidants in the human skin is strongly influenced by the lifestyle and the stress conditions of the volunteers. Topical, as well as systemical application of antioxidants are well suited for the reduction of skin aging, providing the antioxidants are applied in physiological mixtures and concentrations.
Prof. J. M. Lademann
Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Director CCP
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