Looking Young: Scientists Uncover Antioxidant That Protects Skin from Aging

First Posted: Jan 11, 2014 07:21 AM EST

Want to stay looking young? Researchers may have found a way to do so--at least as far as your skin is concerned. They've discovered that the antioxidant Tiron can offer total protection against some types of sun damage and may ultimately help skin stay looking younger for longer.

The researchers found this antioxidant as they examine what type of protection antioxidants could offer against either UVA radiation or free radical stress. While UVB radiation easily causes sunburn, UVA radiation penetrates deeper and can damage our DNA by generating free radicals. This degrades the collagen that gives skin its elastic quality.

Our skin ages due to the constant exposure to sunlight as ultraviolet radiation from the sun penetrates cells. Over time, this can lead to the accumulation of mutations which can speed up aging and destroy the skin's supportive fibers, collagen and elastin. This, in turn, causes wrinkles. Yet antioxidants can neutralize this damage within cells. That's why researchers decided to take a closer look at various antioxidants to see how effective they were.

The scientists treated skin cells to a panel of antioxidants. Then, they exposed these cells to a physiological dose of ultraviolet A radiation. The DNA within the skin cells was then copied using a polymerase chain reaction machine in order to assess the amount of DNA damage present.

So what did they find? The scientists discovered that the antioxidant,Tiron, provided 100 percent protection against mitochondrial DNA damage. In fact, the researchers found that it gave 100 percent protection against both UVA radiation and oxidative stress. This means that Tiron might possibly be used to help combat aging and the effects of the sun.

Currently, the researchers plan to further examine Tiron to piece out how it works. This could allow them to develop compounds similar to Tiron for use in skin products and supplements in the future.

The findings are published in The FASEB Journal.

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