Making the best of vitamin C skin care. Vitamin C L-ascorbic acid is one of the relatively few topical agents whose effectiveness against wrinkles and fine lines is backed by a fair amount of reliable scientific evidence see our article on vitamin C. Unfortunately, the practical use of vitamin C in skin care presents some difficulties for a number of reasons. First, vitamin C is relatively unstable.

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Open in a separate window Bearing in mind both benefits and possible side effects of dietary supplementation, the decision to start treatment with the use of these products should be preceded by consultation with a specialist — a doctor or a nutritionist.

The time of the treatment should be limited until the resolution of identified deficiencies [ 13 ]. Aim The aim of the study is to analyze the most commonly used ingredients in food supplements, which improve the appearance and quality of the skin.

A group of dietary supplements which is developed for beauty care is called nutricosmetics or nutraceuticals. These are individual diet components, as well as additives, food products and dietary supplements, the consumption of which provides greater health benefits than those resulting from the diet [ 14 ]. They include, in particular, vitamins A, E, C and group B vitamins, horsetail, iron, copper, phosphorus, L-methionine, manganese, borage seed oil and eicosapentaenoic acid EPA and docosahexaenoic acid DHA acids [ 15 ].

On the other hand, in the products for hair and nails, zinc, silicon and calcium are additionally present. Supplements also include neutralizers of free radicals, thereby slowing the aging process. In addition to vitamins E and C those are, for example carotenoids, flavonoids, lycopene and coenzyme Q Preparations that are designed to improve skin firmness and reduce cellulite include, among others, substances which enhance collagen and elastin fibers, such as isoflavones called phytoestrogens that mimic the action of estrogen, female sex hormones.

However, before using supplements, it is advised to read components of the product. It is worth noting that some dietary supplements were named as such only to enhance their attractiveness.

Flavonoids Phytoestrogens are plant compounds having similar effects to estrogen. In dietary supplements, isoflavones are mainly used.

They are derived mainly from soybeans and other legumes, lignans found in flaxseed oil and coumestans found in sunflower seeds and bean sprouts [ 16 ].

Flavonoids polyphenols , including phytoestrogens, are increasingly used in menopause to delay the signs of skin aging. It was also shown that the use of phytoestrogens has a beneficial effect on the serum lipid profile. It is thought that they reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in postmenopausal women.

Furthermore, these compounds positively affect bone metabolism, mucous membranes and skin; also effectively relieve menopausal symptoms [ 17 — 19 ]. Coenzyme Q10 Another compound with strong antioxidant properties is coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone. It is a widely distributed system in nature, hence its name — that is Ubitarius meaning ubiquitous. It occurs both in animal and plant worlds and among microorganisms.

This compound is found in every living cell of an organism. It plays an important role in the mitochondria, where during the oxygen combustion process energy is formed.

The body aging process is a result of mitochondrial damage caused by free radicals. This can lead to a significant impairment of the heart muscle, brain, and liver [ 20 ]. Too small concentration of ubiquinone may initially manifest itself as a chronic fatigue syndrome, then lead to the dysfunction of the organs affected by its shortage.

Coenzyme Q10 activates defense mechanisms, protects body cells from oxidation, and stimulates metabolism and regeneration. It accelerates cell renewal and delays the aging process. Due to its characteristics it is often referred to as the elixir of youth [ 4 ]. Probiotics Clinical studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of probiotics in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea and allergic diseases atopic dermatitis.

They also show an increased resistance of the immune system immunomodulation [ 21 ]. Atopic dermatitis AD is a chronic, recurrent inflammatory dermatosis. This disease is characterized by lesions of a typical location of eczema and pruritus.

AD pathogenesis is not fully discovered. An important role in eliciting changes in AD plays exposure to external and environmental factors. These factors stimulate the immune system to allergic response [ 22 , 23 ]. Research on the use of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis was conducted by independent research centers, including a Finnish team and a Czech team.

The Finnish group gave young children allergic to proteins of cow milk, protein hydrolysates containing strain Lb. Strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. These studies have contributed to the increased interest in probiotics for the treatment of AD [ 24 , 25 ].

In other studies, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG was given to pregnant women with a history of atopic dermatitis, once a day for 2 to 4 weeks before delivery. After delivery, the probiotic was still administered to both mother and child over a period of about 6 weeks. The study, which was randomized, was conducted with placebo-controlled and double-control sample, including women and infants.

The effect of probiotics on the incidence of allergy was assessed after 2 and 4 years. In the second year of life in the group taking probiotics, AD occurred twice less often compared to children taking placebo.

In the fourth year of life, the incidence of AD in the population treated with probiotics remained reduced. Horsetail Horsetail has an antibacterial, remineralizing and regenerating effect. It is a rich source of flavonoids, potassium, and silicon.

Large amounts of these components are necessary for the proper functioning of rapidly growing tissues: epidermis, hair and nails [ 16 ]. The level of silicon in the body decreases with age, which results in nail and hair brittleness and decreased resistance to fungal and bacterial infections. It participates in the biosynthesis of collagen, which is the main component of connective tissue. In addition, it strengthens the walls of blood vessels, which become more flexible, reducing their permeability and accelerating the wound healing process [ 28 ].

Aloe Aloe vera is used to treat a number of diseases, including dermatological disorders, as well as in the production of cosmetics. Aloe vera gel, extracted from the pulp of the leaf, is used both internally and externally as a topical anti-inflammatory agent and accelerant of wound and burn healing [ 16 ].

It has been shown that aloe gel reduces blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, reduces lipid levels in patients with hyperlipidemia, and inhibits the secretion of pepsin and hydrochloric acid, which prevents formation of stomach ulcers [ 29 ]. Clinical studies have proven that aloe vera gel significantly reduces wrinkles, increases skin elasticity and procollagen production [ 30 ].

The use of extracts from aloe vera helps to maintain proper skin hydration, and may be effective in the treatment of dry skin [ 31 ]. The use of aloe sensitizes to UV radiation. Therefore, after exposure to UV inflammatory reactions of the skin and permanent discoloration may occur. There may also appear other side effects: nausea, dizziness and headaches, tingling in the ears, high blood pressure, insomnia, memory loss, rashes, and more. Toxic effects of aloe vera on the liver have been documented, causing inflammation, which resolved after discontinuation of oral aloe vera preparations [ 29 ].

Tea tree oil Tea tree oil Melaleuca alternifolia is a very commonly used ingredient in cosmetics for oily skin. It indicates a very broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity and acts anti-inflammatory. The distinctive smell of tea tree oil can be eliminated by encapsulating in cyclodextrin, which may also cause a slower release of the essential oil up to 12 h [ 32 ]. Rosalina oil Rosalina Oil Australia can also be used. It may be known as the oil of lavender tea tree Melaleuca ericifolia , which has similar properties to tea tree oil.

The advantage of lavender oil tea tree is its fresh, floral scent of lavender. The main component of this oil, similarly to the tea tree oil, is linalool. Leptospermum scoparium a tea tree from New Zealand — manuka belongs to the myrtle plant family Myrtaceae. Numerous varieties of this species are known for their healing properties.

Manuka bush may be found in Australia, New Zealand and the surrounding islands. Thanks to the antibacterial properties of manuka oil and manuka bush water-soluble extract it is considered a suitable raw material used in sensitive and oily skin cosmetics.

Also, honey derived from the manuka bush flowers can be used for facial skin care. Currently in Australia, a manuka honey extract Leptospermum is produced that can function as a cosmetic raw material. Manuka honey extract is a very good resource for combination skin care [ 32 — 34 ].

Vitamin E Because of its strong antioxidant properties, vitamin E is considered to be one of the main compounds that protect the body against oxidative stress. It may participate in the first line of defense against reactive forms of oxygen species ROS efficiently quenching singlet oxygen. Thus, it does not react with polyunsaturated fatty acids residue, which exists in phospholipids of cell membranes. Moreover, the reactions of lipid peroxidation and free radicals generation are inhibited [ 35 ].

In the second line of defense, vitamin E reacts with lipid peroxide free radicals, inactivating them and inhibiting both their production and the string of their chain reactions that damage the cells [ 35 — 43 ].

Preventing the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E substantially prevents the development of atherosclerosis. It also stimulates the synthesis of antithrombotic substances, reducing the risk of microthrombus. Moreover, it provides adequate stability and permeability of cell membranes and prevents macrocytic anemia in children.

Vitamin E also protects red blood cells during their transportation of oxygen. Supporting the process of cellular respiration it affects the proper functioning and maintenance of high muscle efficiency. That is why athletes are recommended to consume products that contain a substantial amount of vitamin E. It is also essential for proper sperm production in men [ 39 , 44 ].

Vitamin E deficiency may create keratoses and premature skin aging, difficulty in wound healing, impaired ability to concentrate, irritability and impaired fertility [ 35 ]. Vitamin C Vitamin C is the main antioxidant of aquatic organisms. It is an essential cofactor in numerous processes of systemic biosynthesis. As a substance transferring electrons, it participates in metabolic processes. Moreover, it contributes to the biosynthesis of collagen, accelerates wound healing, bedsore healing and setting bones.

It participates in the metabolism of fats, cholesterol and bile acids. Vitamin C is involved in the biosynthesis of adrenal hormones. It facilitates the absorption of non-haem iron and participates in erythropoiesis [ 35 ].

In addition, the immune-stimulating properties of vitamin C and its bacteriostatic properties are stressed [ 43 , 45 — 48 ]. In addition, vitamin C affects the skin immune system — SIS, which performs an important function in the defense of the body. Its proper operation protects the body against various external pathogens, eliminates virus-infected cells and cancer cells.


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