The value of antioxidants in cosmetics.
At Nutexa, we analyze the reasons why natural antioxidants should be a key ingredient in the future of cosmetics, especially those from the olive tree, such as Hydroxytyrosol.
The beauty media and the advertisements of cosmetics brands use frequently the term antioxidants as one of the best weapons to combat skin aging. Today they have become essential in the best cosmetic formulations, but do we know why they are so important? And which of them are the best?
In this article we are going to talk about the processes that the skin undergoes, the mechanisms to protect it and the most powerful antioxidant in the plant kingdom: Hydroxytyrosol.
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Skin, the center of everything.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and is responsible for regulating body temperature, maintaining the balance between the passage of water (from inside to outside and vice versa), eliminating harmful microorganisms and protecting the human body from the negative effects of solar radiation.
Free radicals, one of the greatest dangers.
Free radicals are atoms or molecules produced by the cells of the body with a chemical structure characterized by the presence of unpaired electrons. This trait forces them to react, to be very reactive. How do they react? Attacking stable molecules (without odd electrons) to appropriate theirs. This process causes the oxidation of the stable molecules, and with the additional damage that from that moment they also become free radicals, creating a chain reaction.
This abnormality in the cells causes problems in the organs. In the skin, in particular, it prevents it from performing its functions, causing loss of hydration and elasticity, spots and the formation of wrinkles.
The formation of free radicals has endogenous and exogenous causes. The organism itself produces them through natural metabolic processes in which oxygen intervenes, as occurs in the respiratory and digestive systems. But they can also be formed by external factors such as solar radiation, environmental pollution, exposure to certain chemicals, tobacco, alcohol and changes in temperature. Heating, for example, tends to dry the skin while cold can contract the blood vessels more than necessary to prevent the escape of heat to the outside.
Mechanisms of protection of the skin.
The best way to protect the oxidation of a molecule is with the help of another one capable of preventing the oxidation of the first one. That is, molecules with the hability to act as an antioxidant agent.
The body can generate some antioxidants, such as glutathione, but the most of them come from foods of plant origin such as vegetables, fruits, cereals and legumes.
Some antioxidants are the ascorbic acid (vitamin C), retinol (derived from vitamin A), tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E), melatonin, carotenoids (such as lycopene), and, above all, polyphenols (hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, resveratrol, etc.)
The power of antioxidants.
Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cells by their ability to:
- Capture unpaired electrons. Both reactive oxygen species (free radicals, oxygen ions and peroxides) and reactive nitrogen species, which act together with the former ones.
- Kidnnaping heavy metals. This is also important because no only do they prevent the oxidation of cells, but also protect the organism from the toxicity of certain metals.
- Protect DNA as a result of previous actions.
Positive effects of antioxidants on the skin.
Antioxidants benefits all the organs of the body. On the skin in particular it means:
- A delay in the appearance of aging symptoms (wrinkles, furrows, flaccidity, spots).
- An optimal retention of water, which allows to maintain the hydration, preserve the elasticity and prevent desquamation.
- Anti-inflammatory capacity.
- Protection against damage caused by external agents (tobacco, alcohol, the environment, etc.)
- Scientific studies also show its ability to stimulate the collagen synthesis and consequently the cell renewal.
How to apply antioxidants?
Since most of the antioxidants are produced outside the body and are concentrated in plants, the best way to incorporate them is through the oral intake of these plants and their application on the skin.
The intake can be through the food itself, which requires a high and usual consumption, or through nutraceutical supplements, which must be taken in the appropriate doses and under the supervision of the experts.
Application in cosmetics.
Natural ingredients of vegetable origin (plants, fruits, minerals, etc.) can be incorporated into cosmetics through a process of extracting those active components that you want to add to the formulas. Obviously, the beneficial effect requires previously in vitro and in vivo studies to guarantee its effectiveness, as well as an appropriate extraction method.
Hydroxytyrosol, the great ally.
Creams, lotions, serums and masks are of great help for the skin, but the more potent the antioxidant used, the biggest their effects are.
There is a wide scientific literature on the high capacity of phenolic compounds in terms of neutralizing free radicals. But if there is one of them that stands out above the rest (even on vitamins, enzymes and other substances) is Hydroxytyrosol, the most important molecule in the olive tree.
The incorporation of Hydroxytyrosol in cosmetics through extracts enhances the action and effectiveness of the cosmetics, and is multiplied in combination with other phenols present in the olive fruit such as Tyrosol, Cumric Acid or Oleuropein.
In Nutexa we produce extracts of Hydroxytyrosol from Spanish olives, with ECOCERT seal, the highest European certification body for sustainable development.
Our olive fruit extracts are characterized by their high concentration in Hydroxytyrosol as well as high stability and bioavailability. We control their traceability from the crop and strictly apply the GMP standards in their elaboration.
If you want to incorporate this ingredient into your products, contact us.
- Main Benefits and Applicability of Plant Extracts in Skin Care Products. Ana Sofia Ribeiro, Marilene Estanqueiro, M. Beatriz Oliveira and José Manuel Sousa Lobo. Cosmetics 2015, 2(2), 48-65.
- Phenolic Molecules in Virgin Olive Oils: a Survey of Their Sensory Properties, Health Effects, Antioxidant Activity and Analytical Methods. An Overview of the Last Decade Alessandra Bendini 1, Lorenzo Cerretani, Alegria Carrasco-Pancorbo, Ana Maria Gómez-Caravaca, Antonio Segura-Carretero, Alberto Fernández-Gutiérrez and Giovanni Lercker. Open Access. Molecules 2007, 12(8), 1679-1719.
- Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2009 May;79(3):152-65. doi: 10.1024/0300-98188.8.131.52. Antioxidant activity of olive polyphenols in humans: a review.