How Topical Supplements Can Help Prevent Skin Cancer

by PUB MED, December 23, 2002

Role of topical and nutritional supplement to modify oxidative stress.

Author: Morganti P1Bruno CGuarneri FCardillo ADel Ciotto PValenzano F.



Evidence suggests that signs of skin ageing such as wrinkling, ragging and actinic lentigines, may be connected to cumulative oxidative damage incurred throughout our lifetimes. To counteract this oxidative injury, skin is equipped with a network on enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant systems, such as tocopherols, ascorbate polyphenols. All these compounds administered topically by cosmetics or by oral route by diet supplements, have been shown to exert an antioxidant/protective effect in skin or skin cells.


The object of this study was to evaluate both in vitro and in vivo the activity performed by different topical antioxidants and nutritional supplements.


A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study was carried out for 8 weeks on 30 dry-skinned elderly volunteers, women aged between 48 and 59 years, with moderate xerosis and photoageing. Surface skin lipids, skin hydration and MDA determination were topically detected by 3C System. ROS was evaluated on the blood serum and on IL-3 stimulated human leukocytes by ROS Meter System at 505 nm. All the subjects applied twice a day for 2 months a nanocolloidal gel and/or take a diet supplement by oral route at the quantity of two capsules per day. All the formulations used were antioxidant-enriched (ascorbic acid, tocopherol, alpha-lipoic acid, melatonin, emblica).


Oxidative stress and consequently lipids peroxidation decreased from 30 to 40% (P < 0.005) in blood serum of all the subjects treated with antioxidant compounds topically and by oral route. Both free radicals recovered in blood serum and on skin (in vivo) and ROS induced by irradiation of leucocytes with UVB light (in vitro), appear sensibly lower in subjects antioxidant-treated.


From the obtained data, it seems possible to conclude that all the compounds used play interesting role as topical and systemic photoprotectants, thanks to their interesting antioxidant property. Moreover, the antioxidant treatment seems to be a promising therapeutic approach also in reducing the oxidative stress of people affected by photoaging.

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